SOME HEALTHY FRUITS CAN PROTECT YOU FROM DISEASE.
Why Eat Fruits?
Healthy Fruits are not only delicious but healthful too. Rich in vitamins A and C, plus folate and other essential nutrients, they may help prevent heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent some types of cancer and guard against vision loss.
If it’s the vitamins that promote good health, you may wonder if you can just pop supplements. Fruits are a combination of fibre, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals – as well as the vitamins – that work in combination to provide protective benefits. You can’t get all that from a pill but not naturally which can protect you permanently.
All healthy fruits offer health benefits, but the following stand out as nutrient-dense powerhouses with the most disease-fighting potential.
Some Fruits and its Health Benefits.
• Nutritional value (1 medium): 75 calories, 3 g fibre
• Disease-fighting : Apples contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which may help lower the chance of developing diabetes and asthma. Apples are also a natural mouth freshener and clean your teeth with each crunchy bite.
Mentionable, an apple’s flavour and aroma comes from fragrance cells in apple skin, so for maximum flavour, don’t peel your apple. Plus, the vitamins lie just beneath the skin.
• Nutritional value ( ½ avocado): 114 calories, 4.5 g fibre, source of vitamin E and folate
• Disease-fighting : Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol levels when eaten instead of harmful saturated fats. For a heart-healthy boost, replace butter with avocado on your favourite sandwich.
Mentionable, It is soft, creamy texture makes them easy to eat, and their high fat content helps with normal infant growth and development.
• Nutritional value (1 medium): 105 calories, 3 g fibre, source of vitamin B6, potassium and folate
• Disease-fighting : With 422 milligrams of potassium per banana, these sweet delights have more potassium than most fruit and may help lower blood pressure levels.
Mentionable, People with rubber latex allergies may also be allergic to bananas since the two come from similar trees and share a common protein.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 31 calories, 4 g fibre, rich in antioxidants
• Disease-fighting : Blackberries get their deep purple colour from the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin, which may help reduce the risk of stroke and cancer. Studies show that blackberry extract may help stop the growth of lung cancer cells.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 41 calories, 1.5 g fibre, rich in antioxidants
• Disease-fighting : Blueberries rank No. 1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 60 other fresh fruits and vegetables. Blueberries may help lower the risk of developing age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Mentionable, Blueberries freeze very well. Here’s how: Rinse, then let berries dry in a single layer on towels. Freeze in a single layer on rimmed baking sheets. Seal in freezer-safe containers for up to one year. Use them straight from the freezer in your morning cereal, blend them into a smoothie or mix into pancake or muffin batter. (You can also buy frozen blueberries year-round.)
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 25 calories, less than 1 g fibre, source of vitamin A, folate and potassium
• Disease-fighting : Cantaloupe is high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Cantaloupe is a perfect diet food since it has about half the calories of most other fruits.
Mentionable, Since bacteria can grow on the outside rind, it is important to wash cantaloupe before cutting into it.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 46 calories, 1.5 g fibre, rich in antioxidants
• Disease-fighting: Sour cherries contain more of the potent antioxidant anthocyanin than any other fruit. Anthocyanin may help reduce inflammation and ease the pain of arthritis and gout.
Mentionable,Sour cherries, commonly used in pie and jam, have more vitamin C than sweet cherries do, but much of it is lost when they are heated.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 25 calories, 2.5 g fibre, rich in antioxidants
• Disease-fighting : Cranberries are antibacterial and studies show that they can help treat and prevent urinary tract infections. Recent research has also linked cranberries to the prevention of kidney stones and ulcers.
Mentionable, Unsweetened cranberry juice makes an excellent mouthwash – studies show it can help kill bacteria and fight cavities.
• Nutritional value (2 dried figs): 42 calories, 1.5 g fibre, source of potassium, calcium and iron
• Disease-fighting : High in fibre, figs may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Mentionable, Puréed figs make an excellent substitute for fat (like butter or oil) in baked goods. Simply purée 1 cup (250 mL) of dried figs with 1/4 cup (50 mL) of water, then replace half of the fat called for in the recipe with an equal amount of the fig mixture.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 90 calories, 2.5 g fibre, source of vitamin A,
rich in antioxidants
• Disease-fighting : Goji berries are a nutrient powerhouse, containing six vitamins, 21 minerals and a slew of antioxidants. They have been linked to the prevention of diabetes and cancer, but more research is needed to understand their effects.
Mentionable, Dried goji berries, which look like dried cranberries, can be found in most health food and bulk stores.
If your favourite fresh fruit is only available for six weeks of the year, head to the frozen food aisle. Grocery store freezers house a variety of affordable frozen fruit, ranging from cubed mango to woodland blueberries to tropical fruit salad.
Not only is frozen fruit convenient, but it’s also equally nutritious – if not more so – than its fresh counterpart. Fresh fruit starts to lose nutrients as soon as it’s picked. The time between harvest and consumption can be long enough for significant nutrient losses to occur. Frozen fruit, however, is picked and frozen immediately, retaining much of the nutrient value. Plus, since frozen fruit is already washed, peeled and cut, it’s a breeze to use. It can be thawed at room temperature or defrosted in the microwave. Once defrosted, eat it as you would fresh fruit.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/ 125 mL): 53 calories, less than 1 g fibre, source of manganese
• Disease-fighting : Grapes contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that may help prevent heart disease by reducing blood pressure levels and lowering the risk of blood clots. Resveratrol may also help stop the spread of breast, stomach and colon cancer cells.
Mentionable, You can freeze red and green grapes and use them as colourful ice cubes in your favourite drinks.
• Nutritional value (1/2 grapefruit): 52 calories, 2 g fibre, source of vitamin A
• Disease-fighting : Pink grapefruit contains lycopene and flavonoids, which may help protect against some types of cancer. Grapefruit also boasts an ample supply of pectin, a soluble fibre that may help lower cholesterol levels.
Mentionable, Grapefruit can heighten the effect of certain drugs, including cholesterol-lowering statins. Check with your pharmacist to see if grapefruit may interfere with any of your medications.
• Nutritional value (1 large): 56 calories, 3 g fibre, source of vitamins C and E, and of magnesium and potassium
• Disease-fighting: With more vitamin C than oranges, kiwis can help in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums. They can also help lower blood triglyceride levels (high triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease).
Mentionable, Most people remove the fuzzy skin, but kiwis can actually be eaten whole – skin and all.
• Nutritional value (1/2 medium): 54 calories, 1.5 g fibre, source of vitamins A and E
• Disease-fighting: Mangoes are high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help protect vision and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in adults).
Mentionable, Mangoes can be enjoyed ripe as a sweet, juicy dessert choice or unripe as a sour, crunchy addition to chutney and salads.
• Nutritional value (1 medium): 62 calories, 3 g fibre, source of vitamin C, folate and potassium
• Disease-fighting: Oranges are a good source of folate, an important vitamin for pregnant women that can help prevent neural tube defects in their infants. They also contain a phytochemical called hesperidin, which may lower triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels.
Mentionable, The edible white part of the orange rind has nearly the same amount of vitamin C as the flesh, so eat that part too!
• Nutritional value (1/2 medium): 59 calories, 3 g fibre, source of folate, vitamins A and C
• Disease-fighting : Papayas contain papain, an enzyme that aids digestion. Plus, their high vitamin A content aids in maintaining the health of the skin.
Mentionable, The black seeds inside the papaya are edible and have a sharp, spicy flavour. Try blending them into salad dressing as a substitute for black pepper.
• Nutritional value (1 medium): 58 calories, 2 g fibre, source of vitamin A
• Disease-fighting : High in vitamin A, peaches help regulate the immune system and can help fight off infections.
• Nutritional value (1 medium): 96 calories, 5 g fibre
• Disease-fighting: Much of the fibre found in pears is soluble, which can help prevent constipation. Soluble fibre may also help reduce blood cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.
Mentionable, Unlike most other fruits, pears don’t ripen well on the tree. Instead, pears are harvested when mature and are allowed to finish ripening under controlled conditions.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 40 calories, 1 g fibre
• Disease-fighting : Pineapple contains a natural enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down protein and helps aid digestion. Bromelain may also help prevent blood clots, inhibit growth of cancer cells and speed wound healing.
Mentionable, Since bromelain breaks down protein, pineapple juice makes an excellent marinade and tenderizer for meat.
• Nutritional value (1/2 fruit): 53 calories, less than 1 g fibre, source of vitamin A and potassium
• Disease-fighting factor: Pomegranates contain antioxidant tannins, which may protect the heart. Studies show that daily consumption of pomegranate juice may promote normal blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
Mentionable, Pomegranates contain glistening, jewel-like seeds called arils that can be pressed into juice. One medium pomegranate yields about 1/2 cup (125 mL) of juice.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 32 calories, 4 g fibre, source of folate and magnesium
• Disease-fighting: Raspberries are rich in ellagic acid, an antioxidant that may help prevent cervical cancer. Promising studies in animals have led researchers to believe that raspberries may also help treat esophageal and colon cancer.
Mentionable, Raspberries are so perishable that only three per cent of Canada’s raspberry crop is sold fresh. The remaining berries are used to make jam, baked goods and other delicacies.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 23 calories, 1.5 g fibre, source of vitamin C
• Disease-fighting : Strawberries are rich in several antioxidants that have
anti-inflammatory properties, including helping to prevent atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) and to suppress the progression of cancerous tumours.
Mentionable, The flavour and colour of strawberries is enhanced by balsamic vinegar. For a fabulous dessert, drizzle balsamic vinegar over ripe strawberries and serve with vanilla ice cream.
• Nutritional value (1/2 cup/125 mL): 23 calories, less than 1 g fibre, source of vitamin A
• Disease-fighting : Watermelon is 92 per cent water, making it aptly named. It’s a great addition to any weight-loss diet because it is low in calories and satisfies the sweet tooth.
Mentionable, Watermelon rinds and seeds are both edible. Roasted, seasoned seeds make a great snack food, and the juicy rind can be stir-fried, stewed, or pickled.
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