We all need fruit for healthy living because they are extremely vital for fighting all kinds of disease. Fruits are packed with life-saving nutrients, are low in kilojoules and contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants as well as fibre.
All the good stuff to help reduce ill-health, including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and a host of other ailments. But are you aware that many of us don’t get to eat enough fresh fruit?
The fruits listed here include bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, pineapple, pomegranates, peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and so many more.
It’s been said that nine out of ten people around the world eat less than the recommended daily allowance. You can, of course, eat too much fruit too. But if you live in tropical regions like South East Asia, where fruit is plentiful, by all means, help yourself to two or three portions of fruit daily.
However, if you live in places like Alaska, you’d be excused from consuming too much fruit. In other words, it’s best to eat more fruits in the country where they’re seasonal and grow in abundance.
The health benefits of fruits in places such as Thailand, as well as in many other South East Asian countries, bear testament to this.
The thing you need to keep in mind is to eat small portions of different fruit so that you get all the benefits of each variety. A good way to do this is to make a small fruit salad. If you eat too much fruit too often, you may be getting more fruit sugar than you should. And that’s probably not such a good idea.
When you consume cane sugar, the body releases the hormone insulin, which tells the brain when you’ve had enough. However, when you eat fruit, the Sugar (Fructose) within doesn’t provoke the same reaction as cane sugar, therefore the brain doesn’t get the message.
Fructose also raises triglyceride levels, which is linked to heart disease and can also cause tooth decay. It’s for this reason you should eat a variety of fruits and to also keep the portions small.
People who are overweight and those with heart conditions should limit their intake to one portion of fruit a day. Instead, eat larger portions of vegetables. That’s the way to maintain a healthy life.
Why not colour your world in purple, and what better way to do this than with purple fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, black currants, and plums. While most of these “purple fruits” are not so much purple in name, they are nevertheless largely purple in colour.
But they all have one thing in common and that is, they have properties that can ward off cancer and age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and heart problems. A compound found in purple fruits is also present in green tea and curcumin, the key ingredient found in the spice turmeric.
Strawberries make an excellent snack and the protein found in these little red gems increases antioxidant activity and helps to reduce cholesterol in your blood. As with all berries, strawberries help to reduce wrinkles, improve memory and are all packed with vitamin C.
Strawberries are also rich in folate and potassium and have anti-inflammatory properties which may enhance your iron absorption. And because strawberries are low in kilojoules, they are great if you are wanting to keep your weight in check.
Did you know that drinking a small glass of unsweetened cherry juice in the evening before retiring will help you get a good night’s sleep? If you do this before going to bed, you’ll have more uninterrupted rest than drinking the same amount of any other juice.
The reason for this is that cherries contain a lot of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle. The beauty of fresh cherries is that they don’t have any side-effects unlike the melatonin found in the form of medication.
A diet that includes fresh cherries has the ability to lower the risk of heart disease. They also contain cyanidin, which is a free-radical scavenger that has been known to help the body’s fight against cancerous cells. Their anti-inflammatory properties may also benefit you should you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. A recent study found that eating cherries can reduce your risk of gout.
And speaking of refreshing juice, what better way to healthy living than by taking a daily dose of pomegranate juice. This wonder fruit has a wide range of health giving properties such as helping with the fight against cancer, heart disease, and the ageing process.
It also contains antioxidants to help you beat stress by lowering your heart rate. Studies have also shown that people who drink a small amount of pomegranate juice every day are less likely to feel distressed and nervous.
Two or three portions of fruit per day can do wonders for your well-being. Take bananas, for instance, they’re packed with potassium, which has a positive effect on blood pressure among other things. Getting a daily dose of potassium helps you reduce the risk of a stroke by up to twenty-four percent.
As an adult, your recommended guideline of potassium should be in the region of around four grammes a day. If you are plagued by persistent muscle cramping, that could be attributed to low electrolytes such as potassium and or magnesium. You can pump up your potassium levels by eating more bananas, prunes, and oranges.
The power of Pineapples can do wonders for your health and well-being as these tangy tropical fruits are high in manganese content which will help protect you against osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Pineapples also contain bromelain, an antibacterial enzyme which helps to reduce inflammation as well as helping with your digestion. It’s much better to eat fresh pineapple than it is to consume the canned variety, as canning destroys much of the fruit’s health-enhancing properties.
Not only can you enjoy pineapple on its own, you can add the fruit to your morning smoothie or with your lunchtime salad too. Why not try pineapple as a refreshing juice with other fruits or vegetables. There are endless possibilities you can achieve with the power of pineapples.
Who would have thought that apricots were a natural stress buster? And if you’re looking for a low-calorie, high fibre snack, why not opt for these sweet and tangy treats. Not only are apricots high in beta-carotene, which helps in protecting you against heart disease, the high vitamin A content promotes good vision. Apricots are also an excellent source of vitamin C, which will strengthen your immune system. And the fibre within these succulent orange fruits helps to lower cholesterol too.
There are a great many ways in which you can enjoy apricots. You can slice up fresh apricots and put them in your breakfast cereal or you can eat them with plain low-fat yoghurt. You can also stew some apricots and then add them to a custard or you can add either fresh or stewed apricot to your main dish of the evening.
Dried apricots are rich in the mineral magnesium, which is known to help lower stress levels as it boosts your nerve health, thus helping to relax your muscles. Just be aware that dried apricots sold in most supermarkets may contain sulphur dioxide, a preservative which can be a hazard to your health should you be sensitive to it.
And should you suffer from Sulfite sensitivity, you’d be better off purchasing sulphur dioxide free dried apricots from your local organic store.
Apples are a great source of potassium, fibre, vitamin C and disease-fighting antioxidants. Apples are best eaten with their skins still intact as the skins contain a high concentration of antioxidants.
Don’t underestimate the power of these small, sweet fruits. Lychee, also known as Litchis makes a perfect snack and contain only trace amounts of fat. A handful of fresh litchis has only about 0,600 kilojoules. The same amount will contain around 68 milligrammes of vitamin C, essential in revving up your immune system.
The daily recommended requirement of vitamin C is 75 milligrammes for women and 90 milligrammes for men. They are also an excellent source of folate, which aids your red blood cell health and metabolic processes. Litchis also provide antioxidant benefits such as ridding your body of free radicals, which promote disease and slows ageing.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and lemons all contain fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants. These fruits have many health benefits too. Eating an orange or any other citrus fruit daily can help you against heart disease and strokes. They can also protect you against bowel cancer.
However, drinking large quantities of citrus fruit juice is not the way to go as they contain way too much sugar. And in some cases, may even increase the risk of certain cancers. Also, you’d be losing much of the goodness during the juicing process. You’d be far better off eating the fruit in its whole form.
Stone fruits such as Plums and Peaches will not only help you to manage your weight and therefore combat obesity, but they can also control diabetes. The reason for this is that stone fruits help inhibit fat accumulation as well as chronic inflammation.
Plums in particular low in kilojoules and are packed with fibre and compounds that help regulate the digestive system. Plums are also a rich source of iron, fluoride, and potassium.
Sweet Melon is packed with health benefits. Sweet melons contain vitamin A, which helps the body rid itself of dead skin cells. Vitamin A also helps reduce inflammation in the body, protecting you from heart disease and other health problems.
Two small slices of sweet melon a day is all you need. The recommended daily intake of Vitamin A is about 800 milligrammes, so don’t overdose. Sweet melon is found to lower your risk of metabolic syndrome, which tends to put body fat around your waist.
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