The health benefits of fruits
Being the richest source of all the important nutrients and energy, fruits are one of the bastions of our good health. God has gifted them with flavor, taste, energy, and essential vitamins and minerals. They not only keep us healthy but protect us from several diseases. Adding fruits to your diet is one definite way to a healthier body. Fruits possess various benefits; some of them include;
Different kinds of fruits provide different kinds of vitamins but whole fruits provide all the vitamins necessary for our body. They are the rich sources of vitamin A, vitamins B, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. All of these vitamins are necessary for the growth n and functioning of our body organs and cells. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that is necessary for the removal of all the toxins from the body.
Fruits are also the richest treasure of minerals as well. They provide all the essential minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc. Fruits not only provide nutrition to our food but with their attractive color, they add more colors and attraction towards food. They make food more palatable. This quality of fruits can be utilized for luring your children to eat fruit and get minerals and important nutrients they possess.
People usually meet the problem of digestion and consequent constipation. Most of the time causes behind these are lack of dietary fibers intake. Lack of fibers in the diet allows fecal matter to stay there and is difficult to digest properly in the intestine and also provides difficulty in its leaving from the intestine or rectum. But if you eat fruits such as banana which is rich in fibers, you will feel a difference. You will find your digestion process quite improved and enhanced. You will evacuate fecal matter on time if your diet is enriched with fibers rich fruits. All of the digestive problems of abdominal cramping constipation, diarrhea, can easily be alleviated by eating fruit. Natural fibers in them help to regulate bowel movements.
Protection Against Different Diseases
It has been found that fruit possesses the wonderful ability to regulate cholesterol levels in the body. They lower its level and therefore prevent the problem of high blood pressure and heart-related diseases. Fruits are natural remedies for many of the diseases as well. Not only do they protect us from diseases but provide the remedy for certain diseases such as constipation and cancer. They possess antioxidant activities that destroy free radicals and make the body free of bad toxins. In this way, these toxins do not react with the body and therefore limit the development of any such cancerous changes in the body.
Help Maintaining Body Weight
Fruits are best for maintaining your body weight. This is because they possess natural nutrients e.g. carbohydrates, proteins, and fats all are naturally occurring and free of bad effects. Therefore if we use them, we don’t gain weight or suffer from diseases. They provide us with all the necessary nutrients and maintain our weight to an ideal level. People even can use them to lose weight but at the same time prevent themselves from nutrient deprivation.
Studies suggest that fruits can increase your memory. People, who eat fruits daily can save more information in their mind and even remember it faster in opposition to those who don’t participate in consuming fruits. The risk of having health problems can be lowered by eating fruits on regular basis.
Thus, fruits are the best natural foods in this world. They are the types of food that grow on a tree that you can consume exclusively of any cooking or preparation.
Acai Berry Benefits
The acai berry has been in the news recently regarding its major health benefits for life longevity, weight loss, and anti-aging properties. There are many forms of berry you can purchase to help take full advantage of these health benefits. Pronounced “Ah-Sigh-EE”, this berry will give you plenty of health benefits within no time.
People have used acai berry for thousands of years because of its wonderful health benefits. The fruit comes from the acai palm, which grows in the Amazon jungle and tropical forests of South and Central America. It is believed that the Amazon tribes used acai berry for its natural healing purposes. In fact, in the Amazon, the acai berry is one of the few berries known to have medicinal properties. In the Shuar tribe, native to the Amazon rainforest, the acai berry was known to hold cures for illnesses and ailments.
These medicinal healers felt that the acai berry was a natural antioxidant, energizer, immune booster, and infection fighter. In today’s scientific world, researchers have taken notice of the Amazon tribe’s “healers” recommendations and have found that the acai berry offers many health benefits, which include disease and illness prevention, cholesterol control, and overall energy boosts.
In the late 1990s, the acai berry was introduced into the western culture a great health benefit, promoting the antioxidant properties it has to offer from what researchers learned from the Amazon rainforest tribes. North America quickly learned how the acai berry helps us feel energetic, healthy and assists diabetics. We can find the acai berry in natural health food stores, vitamin shops, and even in ice creams, energy bars, and energy juices/shakes.
So what are the major health benefits that the acai berry has to offer? Here is a great list of everything you can gain from consuming the tasty berry:
- Enhanced sexual drive
- Greater energy
- Life longevity
- Anti-aging properties
- Lower blood pressure
- Prevention of cancer
- Weight loss
- Relief of headaches and dizziness
- Promotion of healthy sleep cycles
- Enhanced vision
- Healthy heart
- Fights arthritis pain and inflammation
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Reduces the signs of aging
- Memory improvement
- Vital vitamin enabler
- Whole body detoxifier
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Natural body cleanser
- Mental rehabilitator
Many celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, have promoted acai berry and its antioxidant properties. It is very popular for its weight loss, energy increase, and digestion improvement possibilities. According to some researchers, you can effectively fight fat by consuming the acai berry in either supplement form, as a dried berry, or in a protein juice.
Although some say that the acai berry is a super-food, some beg to differ. It is highly nutritious but is not to be confused with a diet food or “quick fix”. Many experts recommend that you eat a healthy diet, maintain regular exercise, and incorporate the acai berry into your diet in moderation or when possible. It is not the “ultimate fix” but it can offer you plenty of overall health benefits, slimming effects, and energy.
“Eat an apple every day and keep the doctor away!” We have all heard this line, but how true is it? Research has shown that eating just one apple a day can reduce the risk of breast cancer, lung cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and more!
The many different types of health benefits that apples have to offer are simply quite amazing. This delicious snack that needs very little preparation to enjoy is filled with many health-improving assets. One of the most recent studies on apples has led researchers to believe that the apple contains large amounts of antioxidants. The properties that apples contain are believed to help us reduce the risk of certain diseases that can be caused by free radicals.
Scientists believe that the antioxidant compounds found in apples can help prevent and repair damage to cells. The antioxidants that apples contain are phytonutrients, flavonoids, and polyphenols. Apples are also high in tartaric acid, quercetin, procyanidin B2, and epicatechin. These are the essential compounds that help our bodies fight and protect us against the harmful effects of free radicals. Research has shown that by consuming apples regularly, our risk of cancer can be greatly reduced. The Triterpenoids, found in the peel of the apple, have been shown to fight cancer cells in the liver, colon, and breast.
The antioxidants found in apples not only help us prevent and fight cancer, but they also can help us fight diseases that affect our brain and nervous systems like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. A recent study was conducted on whether or not consuming apple juice regularly could affect the aging of the brain.
The study showed that in mice, those who are fed an apple-based diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine than those mice that were not on the apple-based diet. These higher levels of acetylcholine may help in reducing the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Another recent study showed that eating fruit such as apples, with high amounts of fiber, may help protect us against Parkinson’s disease.
In addition to offering us wonderful antioxidant properties and fighting certain diseases that can affect our brain and body, apples have also been known to help reduce cholesterol levels, improve our hearts, decrease our risk of developing diabetes, prevent gallstones, control our weight, detoxify our liver, prevent hemorrhoids, prevent and control digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation, improve the quality of our teeth, and even prevent cataracts!
So what kind of apples should you consume? They are all very high in nutrients and antioxidants, however, studies have shown that the Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples rank the highest on antioxidant concentration per serving size. When you purchase apples, make sure to select fresh, bright, and firm apples. Avoid apples that may show signs of age or marks on their surface. Keep apples at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Always make sure to thoroughly wash your apples before consuming them.
Adding apples to your daily diet not only will keep the doctor away but will make you feel healthy all over. Apples taste delicious, they are inexpensive, and easy to take with you for a snack on the go; so visit your local orchard or fruit market and start enjoying this wonderful fruit!
Avocados belong to the family Lauraceae and include camphor, cinnamon, and the bay laurel trees which are believed to have originated in Mexico. The name of the pear is said to be derived from the Aztec word “ahuacatl” which means “testicle” which the fruit is said to resemble.
These fruits are considered as one of the healthiest foods in the world as they contain an array of nutrients including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. They are also high in fiber, protein, and phytochemicals such as beta-sitosterol, glutathione, and lutein which assist in protecting against many diseases and illnesses.
Although the avocado has twenty times more fat than the average fruit, it is mostly monosaturated fat which is of a healthy variety.
A high level of homocysteine has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Avocados contain vitamin B6 and folic acid which assist in regulating the level of homocysteine levels in the body. The avocado also contains vitamin E, Glutathione, and monosaturated fats which all help in maintaining a healthy heart.
Recent studies have shown that patients with mild hypercholesterolemia, who included avocados in their diet for 7 days, had a decrease of LDL, bad cholesterol whilst an increase in HDL, good cholesterol, was noted. The phytochemical known as beta-sitosterol is found in avocados and has been shown to effectively lower blood cholesterol levels.
These versatile fruits are a rich source of potassium; in fact, they contain more potassium than bananas, which helps in controlling blood pressure levels.
The monounsaturated fats in avocados assist in reversing insulin resistance thus helping to regulate blood sugar levels. The high soluble fiber contained in avocados also helps in keeping blood sugar levels steady.
The phytonutrient compounds such as polyphenols and flavonoids have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. These are known to reduce the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders.
Carotenoid lutein is found in abundance in avocados, which protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
The high levels of folate, a B vitamin known as folic acid, in avocados help protect against strokes as has been shown in various studies. A 250ml serving of avocado provides 23 percent of the recommended daily allowance for folate which is ideal for pregnant women as it is essential in preventing birth defects, like spina bifida and neural tube defect.
Avocados are rich in antioxidants that protect against cancers, fight free radicals, and have anti-aging properties. Oleic acid found in avocados is effective in preventing breast cancer and the fruit has also been known to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. A powerful antioxidant, Glutathione, helps fight free radicals in the body, boosts the immune system, slows the aging process, and even encourages a healthy nervous system.
The oil of the avocado is added to cosmetics due to its ability to nourish and make skin glow. It has been found that the oil aids in treating skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis due to its nourishing properties.
The avocado is great for those wanting to gain weight as it has 200 calories per 100 grams whereas most other fruits have 60-80 calories per 100 grams. It is also a healthy source of calories when compared to other calorie-dense foods which contain excess sugar and saturated fats.
Including avocado in the diet has been linked to an increase in nutrient absorption. Studies have shown that those who included avocado in their diet absorbed 5 times more carotenoids than those who did not. These are cancer-inhibiting chemicals.
Avocados are also known as one of the best natural mouthwash and bad breath remedies. It is known to cleanse the intestine which is the cause of coated tongue.
The humble avocado is not only a cabinet of many medicinal properties but also a tasty and versatile fruit used by many in cuisine all over the world.
The common name for breadfruit is SA-KE and the scientific name is Artocarpus Altilis. The Greek meaning for breadfruit is “Artos” which means bread and “Karpos” which means fruit. It was found first in Mexico and the appearance is green in color when the plant matures little sap will be leaking out which makes the fruit appear more yellow when ripe. The fruit itself has a starchy texture and the ripe breadfruit is soft. The fragrance will stay with the breadfruit even when it is cooking. The breadfruit is a tropical tree that is mainly related to the Jackfruit family.
The delicious fruit and the seeds are edible. The breadfruit can be used as a vegetable and it can be baked, boiled, fried, or roasted. The seeds are boiled, steamed, roasted over a fire, and eaten with salt. The dried breadfruit can be made into flour which is richer than wheat flour.
Breadfruit is very high in Vitamin C, dietary fiber, and potassium. The fiber that is found in breadfruit helps to make the intestines and bowels function properly by cleaning them out. Breadfruit is considered a cholesterol controller because of the rich supply of fiber located in it. It will lower the bad cholesterol “LDL” and raise the good cholesterol “HDL”. The fiber will help people with diabetes to control the disease by reducing the absorption of glucose from the breadfruit.
Breadfruit is also very rich in the following vitamins and minerals. They are pantothenic acid, Vitamin B1, niacin, Vitamin B6, choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese. It is also a very rich source of healthy Omega fats and it increases the body’s energy by supplying these three Omegas’. It also supplies high energy to the person through its carbohydrates. Those carbohydrates are mainly needed for warmth and the body’s maintenance during the daily activity of the person. They are Omega 3 and Omega 6, which help with the normal development of the body and mind.
Here is some little trivia on breadfruit. It can help to prevent colon cancer and to reduce asthma. The leaves of the breadfruit are believed to lower blood pressure and believed to reduce asthma. Toasted flowers of the breadfruit tree can be rubbed on the gums as a cure for toothache.
The recipe that I found to use breadfruit is for Breadfruit Cheese Soup and it sounds delicious.
Fry one full onion and garlic (as much as you like) in butter for about two minutes. Add two cups of vegetable stock, one breadfruit (peeled and sliced), and one stalk of celery to the mixture of onions and garlic.
Let it boil and simmer for twenty minutes before removing it from the heat. Puree the mixture in a blender in small batches and returned this pureed mixture to medium heat. Add one cup of milk and three ounces of cheese. Re-heat this whole mixture, but do not let it boil.
Garnish it with more cheese and dig in. Breadfruit Cheese Soup is now a hot and yummy soup that is ready to eat.
Yangmei or yumberries have been grown in China for centuries and taste like a cross between a pomegranate and cranberries. It is known as one of the ”Superfruit” a term coined to describe a group of fruits that are rich in antioxidants and nutrients.
ORAC is the acronym used for oxygen radical absorbance capacity, an index used to rate the antioxidant capacity of superfruits. The measurement is for the fruits’ ability to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals affect human cells which cause premature aging and disease. Foods with a high ORAC prevent premature aging, they stop cancer cell growth and also aid in keeping cholesterol at bay.
Free radicals cause oxidation in the cells which then promotes aging and disease. The yumberry is rich in poly nutrients and antioxidants oligomeric proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins which fight the free radicals. These poly nutrients give the fruit their bright red color. The yumberry contains OPC, or Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins, a water-soluble pigment that changes with the acidity or alkalinity of the cell juice. This naturally occurring component helps in preventing the aging process. Humans cannot produce OPC by themselves, thus it is obtained from fruit and vegetables.
OPC helps to reduce blood pressure by restricting enzyme activity and is known as the vitamin of protection on the cardiovascular system. Free radicals harden the blood vessels and oxidation of LDL causes atherosclerosis or even cerebral infarction. OPC repairs damaged cells and nurture those that require care.
Free radicals erode the connective tissue of joints causing inflammation. OPC neutralizes the effects of the free radicals, nurtures and prevents further damage. OPC is thus valuable in helping with arthritis and other inflammations.
Diabetes mellitus is caused by free radical damage and erosion of the pancreas. As they destroy the normal secretions of the pancreas, insulin decreases and contributes to the forming of Diabetes mellitus. OPC helps to make the blood vessels within the pancreas strong and flexible ensuring that insulin secretion is increased and blood sugar is metabolized.
The eyes are sensitive organs and easily damaged by free radicals stirred up by radiation. The high-intensity ultraviolet rays from sunlight and radiation damage caused by computer displays cause damage to the retina and destroy visual crystals. OPCs prevent oxidation of the visual crystal protein and hinder cataracts forming.
The Yumberry or yangmei fruit, also known as Chinese bayberry, Japanese bayberry, and Red Bayberry has stronger antioxidant properties than oranges, strawberries, or cranberries making them by far a SUPERFRUIT!
Watermelons are related to Cantaloupe, squash, and pumpkins and are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. A triangular slice of watermelon screams SUMMER and it is a thirst-quencher but with many health benefits too. The watermelon is said to have originated in Egypt and the earliest harvest is said to have taken place 5000 years ago.
The amino acid citrulline is found in the watermelon and helps with weight loss. Citrulline is also beneficial to cardiovascular health as it helps relax blood vessels. It has similar properties to Viagra as it relaxes and dilates blood vessels making it a natural drug for those with erectile dysfunction, and it boosts the sex drive.
Citrulline is converted to arginine which is also known for its ability to assist in weight loss. The highest concentration of arginine is in the skin of the watermelon which is usually discarded. However, in some parts of the world, the skin is made into a jam. Arginine boosts nitric acid levels which also dilate blood vessels and provide the same effect as Viagra thus helping to treat and sometimes prevent erectile dysfunction in men.
The lycopene level in watermelons is high and it is an effective antioxidant in preventing certain cancers and coronary disease. The fruit is low in calories but packed with vitamins like A, C, and B6. Vitamins A and C neutralize free radicals that lead to inflammation and chronic illness like strokes and heart attacks. The beautiful color is due to the beta-carotene content which is powerful in fighting against colon cancer.
As watermelons are made up of a large amount of water, it has fat-burning properties which help make increase metabolism. Calories from watermelons are also burnt up quickly once the metabolism is increased. A single slice of watermelon provides you with 33 percent vitamin A and 39 percent of vitamin C, with vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and thiamine also making up a significant portion, although in smaller amounts. They also provide you with 22 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, 5 percent of your daily value for fiber, and 18 grams of sugar. Thus, the watermelon is a great fruit to add to the diet to curb weight gain and sugar cravings.
This jack of all trades looks after the eyes and heart, helps in preventing diabetes, weight gain, and also boosts the sex drive!
We never give the tomato a second thought as we slice and dice them for salads, sandwiches, or to add to sauces for pasta. This native South American Wonder fruit is jam-packed with health benefits. They belong to the deadly nightshade family.
Tomatoes contain Lycopene, the compound that gives them their bright red color acts as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals that damage cells in the body. Recent studies show that Lycopene has twice the effect of beta-carotene. Further evidence from studies indicates that men, who ate 10 servings of tomatoes a week, reduced their risk of developing prostate cancer by 45 percent. Other research has shown that consuming more than 7 servings of raw tomatoes, lowers the risk of developing colon and rectal cancer by 60 percent, and also Lycopene does inhibit the growth of lung, breast, and endometrial cancer cells.
Lycopene prevents serum lipid oxidation thus protecting against cardiovascular diseases. Regular consumption of tomatoes has also been shown to lower cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides in the blood. These lipids are known as the causes of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.
This fruit is a treasure house of vitamin C which is known to prevent Scurvy. It has been indicated that people who bruise easily should include tomatoes in their diet. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps in preventing common colds and degenerative diseases. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce the development of asthma. A study has shown that children who ate tomatoes experienced less wheezing.
Vitamin A is an important factor for immune functions, maintenance of the skin, vision, and tissue lining. Potassium is also important in the growth and is important for the healthy maintenance of the body, especially in osmotic processes in cells. A deficiency could lead to apathy, cramps, and muscle weakness. Folic acid together with vitamin C and beta-carotene help to lower homocysteine levels. All of these compounds are found in the tomato.
Vitamin K is essential in the controlling of bleeding and the process of blood clotting and is found in tomatoes. The coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid help fight nitrosamines which are the main carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. These are also found in tomatoes.
So, the next time you slice up or dice up a tomato, remember that the health benefits of this fruit, almost always taken for granted, are life-saving.
Little tomatoes or Tomatillos are a cousin, although distant, to the tomato and the Cape Gooseberry. A native of Mexico and an integral part of Mexican cuisine is a tangy citrus fruit and is also known as Husk Tomato, Jamberry, Husk Cherry, Tomato Verde, Miltomate, and Mexican Tomato. The scientific name is Physalis philadelphica (Physalis ixocarpa).
100 grams of Tomatillos will provide only 32 calories, and contain slightly more calories, fat, and protein than tomatoes. They are devoid of sugars, low in salt, cholesterol-free, and high in fiber. This makes them ideal for those on a diet to maintain a healthy weight. A cup of tomatillos provides 2.5 grams of dietary fiber and it has been found that fiber binds with fats, promoting excretion and benefitting the gallbladder. Fibre also facilitates regular waste elimination and improves the digestion of carbohydrates by slowing down their absorption into the small intestine and the bloodstream. This helps in lowering blood sugar fluctuations common to diabetics.
Tomatillos are rich in antioxidants and research has found that Ixocarpa lactone has anticancer properties which fight colon cancer and also prevent the development of hepatoma cells.
A single serving of 1 cup of tomatillos provides 354 mg or 10 percent of the daily required amount of potassium which supports the production of contractions in the heart, intestines, and skeletal muscles. It helps in regulating the amount of fluid in the bloodstream and urinary tract which helps to keep blood pressure stable and remove toxins. A high intake of potassium is associated with a decreased risk for stroke and osteoporosis.
1 cup of chopped tomatillos provides 15.4 mg of Vitamin C which is 26 percent of the 60mg daily requirement. Vitamin C aids the repair of organs, blood vessels, and the skin. Vitamin C promotes white blood cell production. It is integral to a strong immune system and helps stave off colds and flu.
Each serving of tomatillos has 15 percent of the daily required intake of Vitamin A and is necessary for the maintenance of teeth, mucous membranes, and skin. Vitamin A also protects the cornea of the eye, benefits night vision, and helps keep the eye moist.
One-half cup of chopped tomatillos contains 0.1 mg of manganese which together with Vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen and also acts as an antioxidant as part of the enzyme superoxide dismutase.
Niacin, a B vitamin, helps derive energy from the food we consume and tomatillos provide 1.2 mg per one-half cup. The recommended daily allowance of niacin for adult women is 14 mg and 16 mg for men.
The Tangerine is native to China and related to the orange. It is also known as Mandarin oranges in Europe and Satsuma in Japan. Like oranges, they belong to the Rutaceae family and are known as Citrus reticulata. There is a variety of Tangerines available, such as Tangelos known as Honeybell which is a hybrid of tangerines and oranges or grapefruits. Tangors are a cross between oranges and tangerines, Clementines and Yuzu fruit, a Japanese hybrid between C. Ichangensis and oranges.
Like other citrus fruit, the tangerine is rich in vitamin C which boosts immunity by acting as an antioxidant and protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C has many essential roles in collagen synthesis and wound healing, antiviral, anti-cancer activity, and also reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. It helps in the absorption of iron in the food by reducing the ferrous form in iron elements to ferric form in the gut. Other antioxidants, like Naringenin, Hesperetin, vitamin A, carotenes, xanthins, and lutein, are also present and are much higher than in oranges.
Tangerines contain natural soluble and insoluble fibers like hemicellulose and pectin which prevents cholesterol absorption in the gut. The fiber in the food helps smooth bowel movement as it acts as a laxative. The fiber also helps to keep one fuller for a longer time, making you feel satiated. Perfect fruit for weight management as it makes one less likely to overindulge.
The tangerine will provide you with 33 mg of bone-building calcium, 146 mg potassium which helps in nerve function and muscles contraction. 18 mg of phosphorus and 11 mg of magnesium are acquired through one fruit and both minerals are required for bone growth.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are plant-based components and function as antioxidants as well. They have 121 mcg of Lutein and Zeaxanthin which help with preventing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Nobiletin, a flavonoid, helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides thus making it favorable for heart care.
Tangerine oil, found in the skin protects against deadly bacteria and is used externally to treat open wounds. It has a relaxing effect on nerves and organic systems thereby providing relief from spasms. It helps in detoxifying the body by purifying the blood and aiding in the excretion of toxic substances and wastes like salt and uric acid. Tangerines help relax nerves and have a sedating effect on an allergic reaction, stress, anxiety, depression, fever, and anger.
Add this delicious fruit to your diet and satisfy your taste bud cravings and improve your health.
Indigenous to Africa but popular in many other countries, including India the Tamarind is used known for its health benefits and culinary properties. Tamarindus indica is the only species of the genus Tamarindus in the family Fabaceae.
Eating 10 to 50 grams of tamarind daily can help alleviate acute constipation as it acts as a mild, natural laxative. It is unknown what mechanism causes this effect. Tamarind is also carminative which means it induces the expulsion of gas from the stomach and intestines. It is also effective as a digestive and a remedy for biliousness and bile disorders. With its rich fiber content, it improves bowel movement. Tamarind is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat gastric and digestion problems. The infusion of pulp which is softened in water is a great combination for the loss of appetite. Adding black pepper, cloves, cardamoms, and camphor is supposed to give better results. Tamarind milk is said to be beneficial in reducing temperature and dysentery problems.
Tamarind is a rich source of non-starch polysaccharides like gums, hemicelluloses, mucilage, pectin, and tannins. 100 grams of tamarind pulp provides over 13 percent dietary fiber which helps increase its bulk and aids bowel movement and helps with constipation. The fibers also bind with toxins and protect the colon mucous membrane from cancer-causing chemicals. They also bind to the bile salts which are produced by cholesterol and decrease their ability to be reabsorbed into the colon. This helps with the excretion of bad cholesterol.
Like lemons, tamarind is rich in tartaric acid which imparts a sour taste and is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight against free radicals. Other phytochemicals, such as limonene, geraniol, safrole, cinnamic acid, methyl salicylate, pyrazine, and alkyl thiazoles, account for the medicinal attributes of tamarind. Potassium is an important part of the cell structure which helps control the heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is instrumental for red blood cell production and also as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes. Both are found in the tamarind together with vitamins like thiamine, vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C all of which are imperative for optimum health.
Some other uses for the tamarind are as follows:
The leaves of the tamarind are used in herbal tea to help reduce malaria fever.
A decoction of the leaves is used to treat jaundice, ulcers and helps in destroying stomach worms in children.
The diluted tamarind pulp is used to treat sore throats.
It is known to be a blood purifier.
The leaves are also used to treat burns. Soft tamarind leaves are kept in a pot, covered, and warmed over a fire. The burnt leaves are powdered and sieved. A paste is then made and applied over the burns to provide relief.
A poultice made out of tamarind leaves crushed in water helps in healing inflamed joints like ankles and wrists. It helps in reducing pain and swelling.
Sugar Apple Benefits
The Sugar Apple or Custard Apple belongs to the Annonaceae family and is known as the Annona squamosa L. in the botanical world. Its origin is unknown but is commonly cultivated in South America, Mexico, the West Indies, Bahamas, and Bermuda but is enjoyed around the world. Also known as the Cherimoya, it has a minty or custardy flavor with soft, creamy flesh and knobby skin. It is a close relative of the Soursop but is smaller in size.
The Sugar Apple is packed with the water-soluble antioxidant Vitamin C which helps the risk of developing Asthma. It also combats free radicals in the body which in turn helps in preventing cancer and reduces inflammation.
The fiber found in the Cherimoya has been shown to slow down the absorption of sugar in the body and is said to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Sugar apple is very heart friendly as it is rich in vitamin B6 which has been found to prevent homocysteine build-up. This amino acid is said to increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. It also contains potassium, a mineral known to regulate blood pressure by controlling the effects of sodium in the body.
Thiamin, a nutrient that converts sugar into energy is also found in this fruit. Riboflavin plays an important role in the body as it regulates all the other B vitamins. The B vitamins are essential for growth, development, and other bodily functions.
Magnesium is a mineral that is said to assist in the formation of teeth and bones as they work with calcium in increasing bone density and strength. It is also packed with niacin which is effective in increasing the good cholesterol in the body. Magnesium protects the heart from cardiac disease and helps relax the muscles.
Folate or vitamin B9 is known for its important role in conception, especially in preventing neural tube problems for babies. Trace elements such as copper helps in the production of the thyroid hormone called thyroxine.
Other medicinal uses that are attributed to the Sugar apple are:
A paste made from the flesh and used as a balm is said to treat abscesses, boils, and ulcers.
The flesh can be sun-dried and ground into a powder that can be used to treat dysentery and diarrhea.
The fruit is also said to act as s stimulant, coolant, and expectorant and is good for treating anemia.
Strawberries have the common scientific name of Fragaria, Fragaria Vesca for wild strawberries, and Fragaria Orientalis for Eastern Strawberries are found and enjoyed all over the world. These fruits are not just good-looking and tasty but they are jam-packed with natural health benefits.
Free radicals and deficiencies of certain nutrients and minerals cause eye problems, especially in older persons. Macular degeneration is prevented by flavonoids, phenol phytochemicals, and Ellagic acid. The potassium in strawberries helps in maintaining the correct pressure in the eye which helps in controlling ocular pressure which if elevated can lead to blindness.
Studies have found that strawberries help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes when added to the diet at least once or twice a week. Ellagitannin, an antioxidant, is said to help in regulating blood sugar levels as they inhibit the activity of an enzyme called alpha-amylase. The enzyme breaks amylase starches into simple sugars and therefore when the enzyme is reduced the amount of sugar released into the bloodstream is decreased.
Vitamin C in strawberries boost immunity and a serving provides 5.15 mg which is about half the daily required amount. Vitamin C helps with cancer prevention together with the phytochemical Ellagic acid suppresses cancer cell growth. The Lutein and Zeathancins are scavengers of free radicals and neutralize the negative effects.
Ellagic acid and flavonoids help the heart in many ways. This helps to prevent bad cholesterol cause the build-up of plaque in the arteries and as they reduce the oxidative damage to cells, they protect the heart and play a role in diabetes control too.
Potassium in strawberries helps regulate blood pressure and acts as a buffer to the negative effects of sodium. The phytochemicals in the berries also help in reducing inflammation of the joints and can be helpful for those suffering from arthritis and gout.
A lack of fiber is the cause of constipation and inflammation of the intestines or Diverticulitis. The fiber found in strawberries helps with digestion and bulks up the feces which helps with relieving constipation. Fiber helps to slow down the absorption of sugars in the blood and is, therefore, assisting in managing diabetes.
Vitamin C in strawberries plays a vital role in the production of collagen which in turn improves the skin’s elasticity and resilience. Skin appears healthier and younger-looking. Wrinkles are kept at bay by vitamin C and Ellagic acid.
Folate, which is recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive and strawberries are a good source as they provide 21 mcg per serving. Folate is needed for the development of the baby’s brain, skull, and spinal cord and is also said to help prevent spina bifida.
Star Fruit Benefits
Native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, the Carambola or Starfruit gets its’ name from its star-shaped look sliced across the middle. It is also known as Belimbing, Bilimbi, Chinese star fruit, star apple, and five-angled fruit. The scientific name for the Starfruit is Averrhoa carambola.
Starfruits are a source of beta-carotene which when converted into retinol or Vitamin A help in maintaining good vision and appetite. Other polyphenolic antioxidants contained in the fruit act as antimicrobials against E.coli, Klebsiella sp., Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. A single cup of Carambola provides 1 percent each of Vitamin A and E.
The high concentration of water-soluble Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, is found in the Starfruit and helps maintain bones, teeth, skin, and mucous membranes, and also boosts the immune systems. Vitamin C also helps aids in lowering the risk of gout and arthritis developing. A single cup of Starfruit provides 37.2 mg of Vitamin C which helps to ward off colds and flu.
The Carambola also has small amounts of B vitamins like B5 or Pantothenic acid which aid in lowering cholesterol and speeds up wound recovery. Folate or vitamin B9 is essential in preventing birth defects and also in reducing the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Folate prevents the build-up of homocysteine which is linked to atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks. There are also trace amounts of Niacin, Thiamine, and Riboflavin.
The soluble dietary fiber found in the fruit helps lower cholesterol and adds bulk and moisture to feces keeping the bowel healthy and preventing constipation.
The small quantities of potassium help regulate blood pressure levels, iron for red blood cell formation, and calcium and magnesium help to fortify bones. The fruit is low in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
The zinc found in the fruit is said to be a natural remedy for clearing up acne and oily skin and can be eaten or applied to the skin.
The fruit is also said to help with nausea and indigestion and is also known to cure hangovers and prickly heat. The fruit is given to nursing mothers as it is believed to stimulate milk flow.
Sore eyes and sunstroke can also be helped by the application or consumption of star fruit. A decoction of the leaves and roots either prepared separately or in combination, helps cure headaches, ringworm, and chickenpox.
The Annina Muricata or Soursop is from the Annonaceae family and is found in Malaysia and Thailand. However, its origins lie in the Caribbean and South America.
The Soursop has many health benefits that make a versatile fruit for eating on its own as pureed into a juice.
The vitamin C in the soursop is found in abundance and stimulates the antioxidants in the body and those found in the fruit itself. 100 grams of soursop provides 20mg of vitamin C is also required for the formation of collagen. The vitamin helps in reducing UTI or urinary tract infections as it increases the acidity levels in the urine causing harmful bacteria in the urinary tract to be destroyed. As it increases the antioxidant levels in the body, it helps in preventing cancers and damage to cells as it fights against free radicals that cause the damage. Vitamin C also builds up the immune system and fights colds and flu.
The fiber content in the soursop helps in treating ailments like constipation, hemorrhoids and prevents colon cancer. Dietary fiber bulks up food that is then passed easily and quickly through the gut relieving constipation and hemorrhoids. Fiber binds with the cancer-causing chemicals are then eliminated, thus reducing colon cancer. The detox process caused by the fiber helps the kidneys by ensuring that toxins are eliminated. Heart disease, high cholesterol, and strokes are prevented by the increased intake of fiber.
The high potassium content makes the soursop ideal in maintaining blood pressure and prevents high sodium absorption. A lack of potassium causes cramps and muscle weakness.
Magnesium alleviates premenstrual symptoms like bloating as it helps in the elimination of toxins, sodium, and water from the body.
Calcium is found in large amounts and is instrumental in strong teeth and bone formation. Manganese, zinc, and copper are also important for the same reason, as they boost the effectiveness of Vitamin D that promotes the absorption of calcium.
Niacin aids in reducing cholesterol and is found in the soursop. Folate that a part of the fruit is important for pregnant women. A lack o folate causes birth defects and pregnancy loss.
Riboflavin helps in preventing migraine headaches and is a component of the soursop. Iron is also available in the fruit and prevents anemia.
The juice of the soursop is used to cure leprosy and the pulp helps to moisturize the skin and eliminate skin conditions. The seeds are also good in treating nausea and vomiting.
Another exotic fruit with many health properties.
The Sapodilla, Sapota, or Chikoo is a tropical fruit that belongs to the family of Sapotaceae of the genus Manilkara and is known as Manilkara zapota. It is tropical fruit originating in the Central American rainforest. Sapodillas are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like tannins and simple sugars like fructose and sucrose.
A Sapodilla of 100 grams provides 102 calories, 0.5 grams proteins, 1.1 grams fat, 22.4 grams carbohydrates, 0.5 grams of minerals, 25 mg calcium, 12 mg phosphorus, 1 mg iron, 18 mg of retinol, and 21 mg ascorbate acid.
The ripe fruit is rich in minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and vitamins like niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid. These all help in maintaining the metabolic processes as cofactors for the enzymes.
The fruit provides 5.6 grams per 100 grams of dietary fiber making it an excellent laxative. The fiber helps protect the mucous membranes in the colon from cancer toxins by binding to them.
The rich antioxidant polyphenol compound, tannin, is found in the fruit and neutralizes acids by precipitating proteins. They are known to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic effects. These properties are helpful as a remedy for hemorrhoids and diarrhea. The anti-inflammatory effect of the tannins, help with conditions like gastritis, reflux esophagitis, enteritis, and irritating bowel disorders.
A 100-gram portion of Sapodilla provides 24.5 percent of vitamin C which is an antioxidant and helps the body develop resistance against harmful free radicals and infectious diseases. Vitamin C also plays an important role in the metabolism of copper. Vitamin A is also found in the fruit and is used by the body to improve vision, maintain healthy skin and mucous membranes. It is also known for preventing oral cavities and lung cancer.
Simple sugars like fructose and sucrose rejuvenate the body with energy. Folic acid contained in the fruit is used in the formation of red blood cells and helps prevent the formation of homocysteine which is harmful to health.
Other health benefits of the Sapota fruit can be found in the leaves and seeds. A decoction of the leaves helps cure coughs and colds and the liquid from the crushed seeds aid in the removal of the stones from the kidneys and bladder. The decoction also aids in the treatment of venomous stings and bites.
The young fruit of the Sapodilla is boiled and the decoction can help stop diarrhea whilst the young fruit and flowers can be drunk to help pulmonary problems.
Ribes rubrum of the Saxifragaceae family is a bright, glossy currant when ripe. They are tart and usually made into jellies, wines, sauces or garnishes to be eaten.
These berries are fat-free, low-calorie, and chockfull of vitamin C which makes them nutritious and versatile.
A 56 gram serving of redcurrants has only 30 calories, 8 grams of carbohydrates which are broken down into 4 grams of sugar and 2 grams of dietary fiber. It also has 1 gram of protein. This makes redcurrants a healthy alternative to add to a weight loss diet. Fiber helps control appetite as it makes one feel full for longer. The fiber helps regulate bowel movement and assists in digestion whilst treating constipation and other digestive problems. Having fiber in the diet also means keeping the cholesterol level healthy thus reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes.
A single cup of redcurrants provides 15 mg of magnesium and the daily recommended allowance is between 310 to 420 mg per day. Magnesium is important as it plays a role in heart function and nerve and muscle function too. It also protects the bones and regulates blood sugar and blood pressure and protects the immune system.
Potassium regulates blood pressure which keeps the heart healthy and aids digestion and is crucial for muscle and bone contraction. A potassium deficiency causes muscle cramps, weakness, and irregular heartbeat.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is found in abundance in redcurrants. A daily allowance for women is 75 mg and for men 90mg. Redcurrants offer 46mg of vitamin C per cup. Vitamin C helps build and protect the immune system. It produces collagen which helps in keeping skin healthy and helps in the process of wound healing. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights against free radical damage to cells and thus is very potent in assisting with fighting cancer and heart disease.
The redcurrant is said to act as a tonic for the appetite and if eaten after a meal is said to help the digestive process and is useful in gastric disorders. They are also used as a diuretic as it helps in the elimination of uric acid and this is helpful for those suffering from conditions like gout, gravel, and rheumatic disease.
They also act as a laxative with high fiber content, are good for demineralization, and also help destroy bacteria.
A member of the bramble and rose family, raspberries are known as “aggregate fruit” as they as some smaller, seed-containing fruit combining to form a single fruit called drupelets.
The most common type of raspberries or Rubus idaeus is pink in color but raspberries can be found in different colors like black, purple, orange, yellow, and white. Boysenberries and loganberries are hybrids of raspberries.
Red raspberries are a store of Ellagic acid which belongs to the family of phytonutrients called tannins. These antioxidants help in preventing damage to cell membranes and other structures by neutralizing free radicals. Other flavonoids contained in raspberries, Quercetin, Kaempferol and cyanidin-3-glucosyl, and cyanidin-3-rutinoside. These flavonoids, classified as anthocyanins are of the group which gives the berries their red color. These anthocyanins also have some antimicrobial properties which prevent the overgrowth of fungi and bacteria in the body, for example, yeast Candida albicans, a bacteria which causes vaginal infections and can lead to irritable bowel syndrome. The antioxidants have also been found to prevent cancer cells from growing and also inhibit the formation of tumors in different parts of the body.
Raspberries have more than 3 times the amount of antioxidants than kiwi fruit and about 50 percent higher than strawberries and ten times more than tomatoes. Anthocyanins constitute about 25 percent of the total antioxidant capacity with Vitamin C making up another 20 percent. Vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and it counters inflammation.
One hundred grams of raspberries provide 52 calories and 6.5 grams of fiber and are exceptionally low in saturated fat but rich in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber aids by maintaining the many functions of the gastrointestinal system. They also act as stimulants and antispasmodics. Their natural high sugar content does not make them ideal diet fruit but their low sodium does make them a healthier alternative to junk foods. Xylitol contains 9.6 calories and is a substitute for sugar which provides 15 calories. Xylitol is extracted from raspberries and is known as a sugar substitute as it is absorbed more slowly than sugar and does not contribute to high blood sugar, thus being helpful to those with diabetes.
Polyphenol antioxidants such as Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene are found in small amounts and help prevent aging and various diseases processes as they protect against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Vitamins A and E also play an important part in the same way.
Raspberries also contain B-complex vitamins which help the body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
All in all this fruit makes for a tasty addition to your diet and also a great boost to your health.
The Quince or Cydonia oblonga as it is scientifically known as a member of the Rosaceae family of pome fruit. It is native to Asia Minor and is the only fruiting tree in the Cydonia genus. The quince is mostly mistaken for pear and has as many health benefits.
The Quince is a storehouse of polyphenolic antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber. The astringent compounds that make up the pulp are known as tannins. These tannins are catechin and epicatechin that bind with cancer-causing chemicals in the colon and protect the mucous membrane from cancers, diverticulitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
A high level of pectin, a soluble dietary fiber, is found in quinces and together with fiber, it helps lower the LDL cholesterol level. It also helps reduce the formation of gallstones and aids with digestion.
The antioxidants found in quinces are useful in relieving stress and as they are low in saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, and high fiber, the quince makes for a great addition to a weight loss diet. The fiber helps in relieving constipation; helps prevent hemorrhoids and aids those with gastric ulcers. The low salt content prevents fluid retention which is a contributing factor in hearing disease. The potassium contained in these fruit help in keeping hypertension under control. The vitamin C in quinces together with minerals such as copper, iron, potassium, and magnesium help boost immunity, reduce inflammation and viral attacks on the body.
Studies, although not conclusive, have found that the quince has anti-allergenic properties and it is suggested in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, cystitis and is perfect for those with food allergies too. The fresh juice of the quince is said to be beneficial in treating anemia, respiratory illness, and cardiovascular disorders.
A Japanese study shows that the peel of the quince has antiviral substances which inhibit the growth of organisms that cause hepatitis A, B, and C. The minerals and vitamins contained in the quince are said to stimulate liver function and help in treating pancreatic deficiency.
To treat bad breath, sore throats, mouth ulcers, burns and to moisturize and heal blemishes, boil quince seeds in water, strain, and cool. The mixture should be used as a mouthwash, a cleanser, or applied topically in the case of burns.
Potassium is good for the heart and helps the body fight against stroke, heart disease, and helps in reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure.
With all of these health benefits, isn’t it time you took advantage of the quince and its medicinal and healing attributes?
Pumpkins belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and got their name from the Greek word “Pepon” or “large melon.” The humble fruit originated in Central America and has become an integral part of modern American culture. Recent research proves that the pumpkin, in all its forms, flesh, seeds, and oil has the power to alter the disease processes in the body.
With just 26 calories per 100 grams, the pumpkin is low in calories, has no saturated fat or cholesterol, and is rich in dietary fiber. Dieticians recommend the pumpkin for those on a weight loss diet and for those trying to control their cholesterol intake. The high fiber content is effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders like constipation and indigestion. The fiber helps in lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and also regulates the blood sugar levels, which, in turn, helps those with diabetes.
The bright orange of the pumpkin is due to the high level of carotenoids present in them. Carotenoids are scavengers of free radicals which cause premature aging, cardiovascular diseases, and certain infections. The high levels of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, help in protecting the eyes against free radical damage, and in older people, it helps prevent the formation of cataracts and degeneration of the eye tissues.
Pumpkins are a storehouse of vitamins; in fact, they provide 246 percent of the daily recommended allowance. Vitamin A, a natural antioxidant, is required by the body as it helps maintain the integrity of skin and mucous membranes. It also helps in protecting the lungs and oral cavity cancers. The carotenes like cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin, in pumpkins, convert to vitamin A in the body.
The seeds or pepitas of the pumpkin are a rich source of proteins. A single ounce of pumpkin seeds contains about 7 grams of protein and their oils are high in phytosterols. These are plant-based fatty acids that have a similar chemical composition as cholesterol. These help in reducing blood cholesterol levels. Pepitas are a good source of dietary fiber and mono-saturated fatty acids which promote heart health. Pumpkin seeds provide 559 calories and are an excellent source of selenium, zinc, iron, niacin, and tryptophan which are converted to GABA in the brain. This is a chemical compound that helps prevent depression.
This amazing fruit has a multitude of other advantages, including being a diuretic, stimulating the kidneys, it prevents kidney stones and it is a great choice for those wanting healthy, wrinkle-free skin.
Pomegranates or Rimmons are one of the oldest cultivated fruit, first grown in Persia. Named by the Romans, the word Pomegranate means “seed apple.” The Babylonians chewed the seeds before a battle, believing it would make them invincible; however, today the juice of the Pomegranate is marketed for its beneficial health properties. The fruit contains about 600 seeds which are known as arils.
These fruits contain as much as three times more antioxidants than green tea. Antioxidants fight against free radicals that damage DNA and cell membranes which are linked to diseases like cancer. The Pomegranate is rich in polyphenols such as tannins, Quercetin, and anthocyanins, all having anti-cancer benefits. They are known to improve healthy cell survival, induce cancer cell death and prevent tumor growth. An Israeli study showed that Pomegranate seed oil caused breast cancer cells to self-destruct whilst healthy cells remained unharmed. Anthocyanins are also said to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties too.
Ellagic acid, another cancer-fighting compound found in pomegranates may help or prevent several types of cancers. Punicic acid is also said to inhibit cancer of the prostate and inflammatory enzymes in colon cancer cells.
Antioxidants in Pomegranates were found to reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol, prevent atherosclerosis and also help in lowering blood pressure among those with hypertension. The juice of the fruit combats the hardening of arteries thus reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. A study found that those patients with coronary heart disease drinking pomegranate juice every day for three months saw an improvement in blood flow to the heart. Pomegranate juice avoids the clumping of red blood platelets and the formation of dangerous blood clots.
Unani medicine has been using pomegranate to treat diabetes for centuries and recent studies have shown that an extract of the flower of the pomegranate lowered blood glucose levels. However, diabetics must realize that the juice of the pomegranate is high in sugar and the seeds are better consumed on a full stomach as the fiber helps slow down the absorption of the sugars. This gives the seeds a lower glycemic index compared to the juice.
Pomegranates have shown evidence of estrogenic qualities as many women report relief from hot flushes and other menopausal problems when they ate pomegranate seeds or drunk the juice.
Oil from the seeds of the pomegranate is used in cosmetics products as they add moisture, revitalizes dull or mature skin, smooths wrinkles improve skin elasticity, and protects the skin against the sun.
Presently research is being carried out to look into the effectiveness of pomegranate juice to HIV prevention. Experiments have shown that HIV-1 inhibitors from the juice are absorbed into cornstarch resulting in complex blocks virus binding and inhibiting infection.
It seems that the Biblical reputation of the Pomegranate is being upheld in the 21st century.
With over 2000 varieties, the Prunus domestica or plums as we know them are found in abundance all over the world. They belong to the family Rosaceae, to the genus: Prunus and are drupes. Plums are related to cherries and peaches.
Potassium, an essential mineral, is necessary for maintaining blood pressure and heart rate. A medium-sized plum provides 104 mg of potassium. The same-sized plum will provide.11 mg of iron which is vital in the production of red blood cells and about .07 mg zinc which the body utilizes in the healing of wounds. They are also a good source of manganese which is a component of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase, copper which aids in the production of red blood cells, and myelin that sheath which protects the nerves.
They contain isatin and sorbitol, both of which stimulate intestinal contraction thus aiding in the regular elimination of waste in the bowel. Lutein, a carotenoid found in plums helps keep the retina healthy and may prevent age-related macular degeneration.
Plums contain no vitamin E or D but have a small amount of vitamin A and k. A single cup of plums provides the body with 9 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin K and 3 percent of vitamin A. Vitamin K helps in the clotting of blood whilst vitamin A supports healthy vision.
A single plum contains about 30 calories, 18g of fat, 9 g of dietary fiber, is low in sodium, and is cholesterol-free. With the high dietary fiber content, plums make an ideal addition to a weight loss program and they create a feeling of fullness which helps to curb overeating.
Flavonoids called anthocyanins are found in plums and function as antioxidants. They help in the prevention of cancer by helping the body rid itself of carcinogenic chemicals. They also inhibit the growth of cancer cells and stop them from spreading. They also assist in keeping the heart healthy by decreasing inflammation and reducing blockages in the blood vessels.
The antioxidants found in plums help in neutralizing the effects of free radicals and thus keep cholesterol levels low and protect cells from free radical damage.
Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron, creates healthy tissues, and boosts the immune system. Plums have a high concentration of vitamin C which is also attributed to protecting against diseases like asthma, colon cancer, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also said to reduce the risk of strokes and heart diseases.
Pineapple or Ananas comosus belong to the Bromeliaceae family. The Spanish name for the pineapple is pina and the root of its English name lies in its appearance which is similar to a pinecone. The pineapple is, in fact, not a single fruit but a composite of many flowers that fuse around a central core. They are said to be native to South America and were first discovered by the Europeans in 1493 on the Caribbean island known as Guadalupe. These vibrant and tropical fruits are delicious to eat and are a storehouse for many health-promoting minerals, vitamins, and essential compounds.
Bromelain, a complex substance that is found in the stems and core of pineapples is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Bromelain helps in reducing swelling in inflammatory conditions like arthritis, sore throat, acute sinusitis, and gout. Regular consumption of about one-half cup of fresh pineapple is said to help relieve painful joints of osteoarthritis. It also helps in reducing the recovery time for surgeries and injuries as it speeds up tissue repair. As a proteolytic enzyme, it helps in breaking down proteins allowing the body to digest them more efficiently. It cleans the blood by removing toxins and debris from the bloodstream.
Low in calories (50 calories per 100g serving) and with no saturated fats or cholesterol, the pineapple is rich in soluble and insoluble dietary fiber like pectin. It also contains a group of sulfur that aids digestion. The fruit has an anthelmintic effect as it helps get rid of intestinal worms.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that defends the aqueous areas of the body against free radicals that damage cells, promote plaque built up in arteries thus causing atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, cause airways spasms that lead to asthma attacks and damage cells of the colon making them more susceptible to cancer and they contribute to the pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Diets, high in vitamin C are useful in preventing or reducing the severity of all of these conditions. Being rich in vitamin C, pineapples are good for oral health as it helps prevent periodontal disease and gingivitis. It is also required for collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of vitamin C helps the immune system to develop resistance to infectious diseases.
Its high manganese content is particularly helpful to older folk whose bones become brittle as manganese assists in the development of strong bones and connective tissue. A single cup of fresh pineapple provides almost 75% of the recommended daily amount. It also helps in healing wounds and keeping skin healthy; regulating blood sugar levels and helping the immune system fight disease.
Pineapples contain Vitamin A and beta-carotene which is vital for maintaining healthy vision and prevents age-related macular degeneration. Thiamine or vitamin B1 is responsible for converting carbohydrates into energy as well as for muscle and nervous system functioning. It is found in Pineapples, egg yolk, and meat.
Pineapples have anti-coagulating properties which discourage blood clot development. Fresh pineapple juice is said to be a remedy for morning sickness too.
The word “Persimmon” is derived from the Algonquian language and means “dry fruit.” The Persimmon belongs to the Diospyros genus of the Ebony family. The fruit is native to China but has today they are cultivated mostly in California. It is the national fruit of Japan and the art of Hoshigaki, hand-dried persimmons, is an important part of the Japanese New Year celebrations.
Persimmons are an excellent source of soluble fiber, vitamins A, B6, and C, and the minerals potassium and manganese. There are two varieties, “astringent’ and “non-astringent”. The astringent cultivar is high in tannins and must be fully ripe and jelly soft before it can be eaten. The non-astringent fruit has fewer tannins and can be eaten while it is crispy.
The Persimmon is low in calories, about 70 calories per 100g, is a rich source of soluble dietary fiber, and has no fat. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate and is divided into two types, water-soluble are water-insoluble. Soluble fiber has been shown to protect against heart disease and also helps lower blood sugar levels. They make a perfect healthy snack instead of the regular fast foods which are fattening and unhealthy.
Persimmons contain many phytonutrients, flavonoids, polyphenolic antioxidants like catechins and gallocatechin. It also contains the anti-tumor compound betulinic acid. Catechins are best known for their anti-infective, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic properties. The disease-fighting ingredients like Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and lutein are also present in Persimmons which all contribute to improved eyesight, whilst lycopene, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin assist in neutralizing free radicals that help prevent cancer. These phytochemicals assist in slowing down the aging process too.
Vitamin C plays an important role in regulating body processes and in the prevention of diseases like colds and the common flu. Persimmons are rich in Vitamin C. They also contain an abundance of some exotic and rare-occurring B-complex vitamins, folic acid, thiamine, and minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and phosphorus. These vitamins act as co-factors in several metabolic enzymatic functions in the body, whilst the minerals are powerful scavengers of free radicals and also help boost the production of blood cells.
The tannins found in Persimmons calm the intestinal movements and relieve diarrhea too. They are also said to slow down subcutaneous bleeding and therefore, are effective in treating bruises. Tannins are also known to protect cells, astringes tissue, and suppress the growth of bacteria.
The large amounts of natural simple sugars, glucose, and fructose, found in Persimmons help in keeping the vascular system healthy by strengthening the cardiac muscle.
And last but not least, the Persimmon is said to have an astringent effect on open pores and smoothes wrinkles when used as a facial mask.
Called the “gift of the Gods” by Homer in the epic The Odyssey, pears have been held in reverence throughout time. The Pyrus communis has been tracked as far back as three thousand years and is said to have originated in western Asia. However, some say that it was discovered much earlier by the people of the Stone Age. Pears belong to the rose family and are related to the Apple and Quince.
Pears are fiber-rich and a medium-sized pear can provide as much as 6 grams of the 25 to 30 grams required daily. The fiber is insoluble and absorbs water which then allows it to bulk up and brush against the intestinal wall moving waste away. This helps prevent colon cancer. Fibre has also been linked to lowering the risk of breast cancer. Fibre also helps keep cholesterol levels low.
Another cancer-preventing compound found in pears is Hydroxycinnamic acid which has been associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancer. The antioxidant Quercetin is also contained in pears and is said to prevent cancer and artery damage that can lead to heart problems. Copper, also found in pears has been associated with the reduction of the risk of colon cancer. Some studies have shown that there was a reduction of 34 percent in breast cancer for those consuming fruit with high fiber content.
The primary cause of vision in older adults is due to age-related macular degeneration but research has shown that the addition of fruits with carotenoids and antioxidants like Vitamin A, C, and E help reduce the risk by as much as 36 percent.
Pears are also a great source of Copper and Vitamin C, both being antioxidants that fight free radicals thus making them good for the immune system. Vitamin C stimulates white cells to fight infection and also kills many viruses and bacteria. It also aids in the regeneration of Vitamin E which has been made inactive by free radicals.
Copper protects the body from free radical damage. It is a component of the superoxide dismutase (SOD) an enzyme that eliminates free radicals that are generated during metabolism and when white cells are being attacked by bacteria or viruses. Pears provide 11.1 percent of the daily recommended Vitamin C intake and 9.5 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Pears contain Vitamins K, B2, B3, and B6. They also contain folate which for nursing moms is important in milk production. They also contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese which all help with heart-related diseases, cholesterol level balance, and keep the immune system healthy. Boron is also found in pears and is needed to retain calcium and together help in the prevention of osteoporosis.
They are also effective in relieving fever as they have a cooling effect and are said to be a great source of energy due to their high amounts of fructose and glucose.
The Peach is native to China and belongs to the genus Prunus, a family of Rosaceae and is known as Prunus persica. It has similar features to the nectarine, plum and is known as a “drupe.”
The delicious peach is low in calories, about 39 calories per 100g, and contains no saturated fats. Their high fiber content is made up of both insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber collects water which helps increase the bulk of the stool. The stool then acts like a brush and removes the build-up of waste. This is said to help prevent colon cancer. This cleansing of the intestinal wall also increases the number of nutrients being absorbed and also rids the body of toxicity. It also is heart-healthy as it helps lower cholesterol levels.
The body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A and peaches are a valuable source of beta-carotene. Vitamin A is essential to many of the body’s functions. Recent studies show that Vitamin A in the diet reduced the risk of developing cataracts whilst other studies showed that it may be useful in curing COPD. Vitamin A is vital for the maintenance of healthy mucous membranes and skin. It is also known to offer protection from oral and lung cancers.
Lycopene and lutein are carotenes that give peaches their color and several studies indicate that these two compounds can help in preventing macular degeneration, cancer, and heart disease. These flavonoids act as protective scavengers of free radicals and therefore play a part in the aging process.
Peaches are also a source of iron which is necessary for regulating body temperature, improving metabolism, creating antibodies and hemoglobin.
They are a good source of vitamin C which is an antioxidant that helps fight cancer by preventing cellular change and improving the immune system. Vitamin C is required for connective tissue synthesis in the body and helps in the eradication of harmful free radicals.
The peach is rich in vital minerals like potassium, iron, and fluoride. A potassium deficiency leads to fatigue, anxiety, poor memory, skin problems, muscle weakness, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, congestive cardiac failure, and tinnitus. For those using diuretics or who suffer from diarrhea or sweat profusely, potassium loss is increased. Iron is required by the body for the formation of red blood cells whilst fluoride is an important component in the development of strong teeth and bones and the prevention of dental decay.
Peaches make a tasty and beneficial part of a healthy diet.
Passion Fruit Benefits
The exotic Passion fruit belongs to the family of Passifloraceae and is known scientifically as Passiflora edulis. It is also known as a Granadilla and is native to the subtropical regions of South America. Together with its pleasant taste, smell, and appearance, the Passion fruit is known for its various health benefits.
Damage caused by free radicals leads to many degenerative and chronic diseases such as immune system problems, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, Dementia, arthritis, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. The seeds of the passion fruit are an excellent source of polyphenols compounds that protect against free radicals. Some of these compounds also prevent premature wrinkling of the skin caused by UV radiation.
The passion fruit seeds have been found to have vasorelaxant effects from major polyphenols, piceatannol, and Scirpus B. This property helps widen the blood vessels which results in the relaxation of the smooth muscle cells within the blood vessel walls. This, in turn, leads to a decrease in vascular pressure which is important for a healthy cardiovascular system.
Magnesium, an essential mineral plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism and is essential for a proper heartbeat and nerve transmission. It also helps genes to function properly and is necessary for the development of strong bones. Passion fruit seeds make a significant contribution to the daily recommended intake of magnesium.
The insoluble fiber found in passion fruit promotes intestinal health. The seeds of the fruit provide 64.1 grams of fiber per 100g of seeds. The addition of passion fruit seeds to the diet enhances intestinal amylase activity and reduces caecal pH and caecal ammonia content. Amylase is important in converting complex sugars into simple sugars during the digestion process. Caecal pH and ammonia assist in balancing bacteria in the intestine and may also help in reducing the risk of tumors in the colon. Fiber helps transport toxins out of the body, promotes regular bowel movement, helping to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. The high fiber content also helps in weight loss and makes the fruit an ideal inclusion in a healthy weight loss diet.
The juice of the passion fruit is said to reduce cancer cell growth and research is being carried out to further prove this.
Recent studies have shown that the antioxidants found in granadillas help in treating and preventing asthma, wheezing coughs, and other allergic ailments.
These fruits are also said to be helpful in the overall relaxation of the body and have somniferous properties which help provide a sound and restful sleep.
The Papaya, once considered exotic, was called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Colombus. Carica Papaya is native to Central America and is known as Paw-paw, Pawpaw, Pawpaw, Papaw, or Tree Melon.
The Papaya is rich in an enzyme called papain and chymopapain. Both help in the breakdown of proteins, during the process of digestion, into amino acids. Amino acids are responsible for the chemical reactions responsible for mental and physical health. This is especially important as we age due to the digestive enzymes decreasing in the stomach and pancreas leading to ineffective digestion of proteins. Undigested proteins lead to the overgrowth of the bad bacteria in the gut and thus the decrease in amino acids to perform the all-important chemical reactions. Eating papaya after a meal helps with digestion and prevents bloating and chronic indigestion.
An excellent source of Vitamin C, E, and A, its high antioxidant content makes the papaya an excellent preventative against atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks, and diabetic heart disease. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in lowering inflammation in the body, alleviates pain and edema caused by injuries. It also helps relieve the severity of Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Papayas are a good source of fiber which also helps lower cholesterol levels. The folic acid it contains also helps in protecting blood vessel walls as it converts homocysteine into amino acids like cysteine or methionine. On its own, homocysteine can damage blood vessel walls and high levels in the blood make for a significant risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
With its rich source of beta-carotene, papayas help the body produce Vitamin C and A, both of which are needed for a healthy immune system. These vitamins also protect against age-related macular degeneration. A study also showed that those who consumed vitamin C-rich foods were less likely to develop arthritis.
Smokers or those frequently exposed to second-hand smoke should make papaya a part of their diet as the vitamin A in the fruit may help prevent cancer. In a study of the relation between vitamin A, lung inflammations, and emphysema it was found that benzo (a) pyrene, a common carcinogen in cigarette smoke, induces vitamin A deficiency. Papaya is also rich in lycopene; therefore, greatly reduces the risk of Prostate cancer.
Papaya is low in calories and high in nutrients making it an excellent food for those on a diet. For pregnant women, papaya is said to help relieve morning sickness and nausea. It is also known for treating skin wounds that do not heal quickly.
So, savor the taste of the papaya whilst also ingesting its nutritional and medicinal benefits.
Sweet, juicy, and a perfect snack from winter through to summer make Oranges one of the world’s most popular fruit. Oranges are semitropical citrus fruit belonging to the Rutaceae genus and are known as Citrus sinensis.
These delicious fruit are low in calories, contain no saturated fats or cholesterol but are rich in a fiber called pectin. This makes them effective for those trying to lose weight. Pectin acts as a laxative, helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon. It does this by decreasing its exposure to toxic substances and by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Pectin decreases the levels of blood cholesterols by decreasing its re-absorption in the colon by binding to bile acids in the colon.
Oranges are known for their excellent source of Vitamin C which is a naturally powerful antioxidant that helps the body build resistance to infectious diseases and also scavenge pro-inflammatory free radicals in the blood. The water-soluble Vitamin C is excellent in preventing damage both inside and outside cells and as it helps prevent mutations of the cells, it makes it perfect for reducing the risks of colon cancer. The anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the severity of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and asthma. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals which oxidize cholesterol making it stick to the artery walls, eventually blocking blood flow.
They contain Hesperetin and Naringenin; flavonoids that help reduce oxidant injury to DNA. Hesperetin is known for its ability to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as act as an anti-inflammatory. Most times, though, these benefits of the orange are thrown into the dustbin as these phytochemicals are found in the peel and inner white pulp of the orange.
Compounds called Limonoids have been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, breast, lungs, colon, and stomach. Limonoid compounds called Limonins found in oranges are found in oranges and are easily absorbed by the body.
A single orange provides 12.5% of the daily recommended intake of dietary fiber which has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels and prevent atherosclerosis. For those who suffer from diabetes, oranges are a perfect snack as they keep the blood sugar levels under control and the natural fruit sugar, fructose, stops the blood sugar levels from rising after eating. The fiber also may help reduce uncomfortable constipation and also for those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or diarrhea.
The natural oils in the orange peel help keep your skin looking healthy and young. They can be used as exfoliating facial scrubs or added to the bathwater to soften skin.
An amazingly delicious and healthy fruit!
Olives are one of the world’s most widely enjoyed foods although attention is mostly placed on its delicious oil. The fruit is classified as fruit from the Olea Europa tree which is known to live for up to a century. Olives are normally green when unripe and turn black once they ripen. However, some are green when unripe and remain green when they do ripen.
About 80 to 85% of calories from the olives come from fat. These fruits are highly unusual as almost three-quarter of the fat is oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fatty acid. They also provide, in small quantities, the essential fatty called Linoleic acid, alpha-Linoleic acid, and Omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are associated with the reduction of cardiovascular disease. Eating olives help decrease LDL cholesterol helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Olives are jam-packed with an astounding range of phytonutrients, some of which are unique to olives. These anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrient richness extend to the respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous, musculoskeletal, immune, inflammatory, and digestive systems.
The most and best-studied antioxidant phytonutrient in olives is Oleuropein and is exclusive olives. It has been shown to decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, lower several of the many markers of oxidative stress, and is a scavenger of nitric acid. It also helps protect nerve cells from oxygen-related damage.
These same phytonutrients also act as anti-inflammatories. Extracts taken from whole olives have shown anti-histamine properties at a cellular level by blocking special histamine receptors called H1 receptors. Extracts from whole olives also help lower the risk of unwanted inflammation as it lowers the levels of leukotriene B4 (LTB4) which is a common pro-inflammatory messaging molecule. Oleuropein decreases the activity of inducible nitric acid oxide synthase. This is an enzyme whose over-activity causes inflammation.
With their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, olives make for natural protection against cancer. The reason for this is that chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are key factors in the development of cancer. The triterpene phytonutrients in olives including Erythrodiol, Uvaol, and oleanolic acid have been found to slow down the life cycle of breast cancer cells. The same has been shown for gastric cancer as well.
Olives are a remarkable source of flavonoids, phenols as well as iron, copper, and dietary fiber. Oil pressed from olives, which the ancient Greeks referred to as “liquid gold”, has moisturizing properties for the hair and skin, helps with a nagging cough or scratchy throat, and is great as a lip balm too.
This symbol of peace and happiness is also a great medicine that mankind has been using since time immemorial.
The Noni is indigenous to Southeast Asia and Australasia and is also known as Great Morinda, cheese fruit, Indian Mulberry or Beach Mulberry. The Latin name for the Noni is the Morinda Citrifolia.
The Noni fruit is a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and proteins whilst being fat-free. The juice is high in Vitamin A, niacin, and iron.
The fruit is said to be good for the skin and people with acne use the juice from the fruit to cure skin problems. The juice of the Noni fruit is also said to prevent hair loss and a few, limited studies have shown the lost hair can be regenerated by using products containing the Noni fruit.
It is also believed that the Noni fruit has cancer-fighting abilities. Testing carried out in mice in labs has indicated that the juice prevents cancer cells from spreading and also slows down the growth of tumors over a while. As research is not yet complete, this information cannot be validated just yet. Medical research has proven that Noni juice decreases cholesterol levels in humans.
The Noni fruit is very much a part of the Polynesian culture and medicine and it has been used for many centuries as:
An immune booster, many of its nutrients are known as stimulants to the immune system.
A digestive stimulant, as it is useful as a laxative.
Analgesic, as it has been found that the fruit is almost 75 percent as effective as morphine sulfate in relieving pain and has no side effects. The tree is known as the “Painkiller or Headache” tree.
The antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic effects of the fruit are due to the active compounds like anthraquinones, scopoletin, and terpenes, making the Noni extremely effective against bacteria and fungus.
Noni juice has shown similar effects as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Some research has shown that extracts of the Noni fruit contain a component that activates serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter plays a significant role in temperature regulation, sleep, hunger, and sexual behavior. A deficiency of serotonin gives rise to many pathological conditions including migraine headaches, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. To counter these conditions, synthetic drugs are used but these also have adverse effects whereas the Noni fruit provides the same benefit with no side effects.
For those affected by diabetes, studies carried out on animals have shown the Noni fruit to treat diabetes normalizing blood sugar levels similar to the drugs prescribed for the condition. The research also concluded that there was less damage to the liver and fatty deposits in the liver were also significantly low.
More health benefits are being discovered about the Noni fruit and despite the many claims regarding the Noni fruit and juice being cared for almost all diseases, scientific evidence is still pending and until the research is complete and the findings verified, the fruit can at least be enjoyed for its known health benefits.
A nectarine comes from the Greek word meaning sweet liquid and this close cousin to the peach is known for its luscious texture and juicy nectar. The nectarines are said to have originated in China over 2000 years ago and the Spanish may have introduced the fruit to the Americas. There are more than 150 varieties of nectarines with the two main varieties being freestone and clingstone. Nectarines belong to the Prunus persica family.
Nectarines are low-calorie fruits, providing just 44 calories per 100g, and contain no saturated fats making them perfect if you are on a weight loss diet and is most definitely a heart-healthy food.
Similar to the peach, the main difference is that nectarines are smaller and have a smoother surface unlike the fuzzy surface of the peach, the flesh is firmer and they taste a little more acidic than peaches.
Nectarines are packed with beta-carotene which is crucial to the body for the production of vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency leads to abnormal bone development, reproductive diseases, and in very severe cases, death. A single cup of nectarines provides 214mcg of beta-carotene which also assists in preventing macular degeneration and helps to keep the eyes healthy.
One cup of nectarine provides 7.7mg of the antioxidant vitamin C which is considered important in the promotion of good health and keeping the immune system strong. Studies also reveal that Vitamin C protects molecules from being damaged by free radicals that cause cellular damage. It also protects the body from the toxins that cause illness.
Lutein is said to have health-protective benefits and the body uses these benefits to support healthy eyes and skin. As an important antioxidant, lutein helps destroy free radicals in the body which have been known to decrease the risk of chronic diseases like cancer. As most people do not consume enough lutein, nectarines are the perfect fruit to add to your diet as 1 cup of fresh nectarines provides 186 mcg of lutein.
Nectarines, in addition to the nutrients mentioned, also provide a range of vitamins and minerals required by the body. A single serving of fresh nectarines provides 2.4 g of fiber and 1.5 g of protein. It also provides 9 mg of calcium, 13 mg of magnesium, and 287 mg of potassium. These tasty fruits are also rich in folic acid, iron, Vitamin K, and naturally occurring sugars which provide energy.
Nectarines are not just a good-looking and tasty fruit but their health benefits are plentiful too.
Melons are of the same family as squashes and cucumbers and originated in the Middle East. Melons include watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.
Melons are loaded with Vitamin B is responsible for energy production; they help process sugars and carbohydrates.
They are a rich source of Lycopene, a carotene that gives melons their color and is known for their antioxidant properties. Lycopene helps in lowering the risk of prostate cancer and prevents heart and colon cancer. Lycopene also helps reduce cardiovascular disease by protecting the body from cellular damage and reducing the build-up and clogged arteries.
Melons have Vitamin C and potassium that help reduce cholesterol and reduce heart attacks and strokes. Cantaloupes provide 10 percent of your daily requirement of potassium and watermelons about 4 percent but are low in calories. Their high water content together with potassium helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
Potassium and magnesium found in melons help in the proper function of insulin in the body thereby lowering the blood sugar levels. Potassium reduces the impact of high-sodium foods. Potassium prevents cramps and helps with PMS symptoms.
Melons have Vitamins B6 that help in maintaining metabolism and low levels of B6 vitamins increase inflammation, oxidative stress, and metabolic conditions. Vitamin A helps to improve vision and bone growth. The cantaloupe is a rich source of vitamin C and 1 cup will provide you with 40 percent of your daily intake. Vitamin C aids in the formation of collagen in bones, cartilage, muscles, and blood vessels. It helps stimulate white blood cells to kill bacteria.
Melons are a good source of citrulline that the body converts to the amino acid arginine. Arginine plays an important role in immune function and it helps in the healing of wounds. Arginine is beneficial in curing erectile dysfunction. Melons provide folic acid required by pregnant women as it helps to create healthy fetuses.
For those who want to lose weight, the high water, and fiber content as well as being fat and cholesterol-free, in melons make them a delicious snack or addition to any meal. The dietary fiber assists in relieving constipation by bulking up food and allowing for easy passage through the intestine.
Melons benefit the skin with their high concentration of minerals and vitamins. Copper is another mineral that helps maintain healthy skin and aids the regeneration and repairing of damaged tissues and muscles. The water content helps flush out toxins that cause digestive issues, nerve disruptions, and breathing problems.
Melons are jam-packed with health benefits and make a refreshing snack on warm summer days.
The Mangosteen or Garcinia Mangostana L. is native to Indonesia and has been hailed for centuries as traditional medicine and its innumerable health benefits. The fruit tastes like a cross between an orange and a peach and is classed as a “Superfruit” although it is not as high ranking as most.
Xanthones are the primary active component of Mangosteens and have recently been discovered to be of the polyphenolic group and similar in structure to bioflavonoids. About two hundred Xanthones have been identified and of these, forty are to be found in the mangosteen. Xanthones have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and anticonvulsant properties. Other antioxidants contained in the mangosteen are polysaccharides sterols, proanthocyanidins, and catechins but they have less medicinal benefit than xanthones.
These compounds with their antioxidant properties are useful in fighting the oxidation by peroxides and oxygen that causes free radicals that damage and destroy cells. The cellular damage caused by free radicals causes cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants protect the body from strokes; heart disease, neurological conditions, and different cancers as they repair, damage cells, capture, and destroy free radicals.
The three main xanthones in the mangosteen are alpha mangosteen, a potent antioxidant, gamma mangosteen, a powerful anti-inflammatory, and Garcinone E, a strong anti-tumor agent. These are effective in preventing arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, kidney stones, glaucoma, neuralgia, Alzheimer’s, and in treating aging, depression, skin diseases, allergies, ulcers, diarrhea, obesity, fever, and pain.
The Xanthones are also responsible for lowering cholesterol in the bloodstream, which brings about a decrease in the risk of strokes and heart disease. Xanthones prevent LDL from being oxidized thus inhibiting it from clogging the arteries and causing blockages.
Alpha mangosteen is effective in treating bacterial infections, especially methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci. Research shows that Alpha mangosteen improves the effect of antibiotics such as Ampicillin and Minocycline and it inhibits the actions of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Catechins are five times more potent antioxidants than Vitamin C, Polysaccharides have highly prized for their anti-cancer and antibacterial abilities as they inhibit mutated cells from sticking to healthy cells that help in stopping the spread of cancer. They also are effective against intracellular bacteria.
Quinones have anti-bacterial properties as well as being strong oxidants while Stilbenes help plants provide a defense against fungi. They are known to retain this property once they have been ingested. Stilbenes are also good antioxidants.
Studies have also revealed that the mangosteen is a weapon against gum disease or periodontitis and a gel containing mangosteen juice has shown a marked improvement in a control group of patients.
A paste made from the skin of the mangosteen has been shown to relieve the symptoms of eczema without the harmful effects of cortisone used to treat the condition.
This is a fruit with many health benefits that the medical fraternity is finding to be more beneficial than some drugs, as these come with several side effects.
The scientific name of the mango is Mangifera indica and originated about 4000 years ago in the sub-Himalayan plains. There are over 1000 different varieties of mangoes and are related to cashew and pistachio.
With their high antioxidant content, mangoes help fight cancer and heart disease. Antioxidant compounds like Quercetin, Isoquercitrin, Astragalin, Fisetin, Gallic, and Methygallat protect against colon, breast, prostate cancer, and leukemia. Pectin, found in the mango, is a soluble dietary fiber that is shown to lower blood cholesterol levels as it binds to and inhibits galectin 3, a protein that plays a role in cancer progression. Fiber protects the gastrointestinal tract by mopping up cancer-causing chemicals. Beta-carotenes, astragalin, and Quercetin neutralize free radicals that damage cells that lead to cancer, heart disease, and premature aging.
Mangoes have a low glycemic index that does not spike sugar levels if consumed in moderation. Being low in calories and fats but high in fiber, mangoes help to keep insulin levels stable.
One cup of mango provides you with 25 percent of the daily-recommended allowance and vitamin A helps to maintain healthy vision and prevents night blindness and dry eyes. For older people, Vitamin A helps in preventing age-related macular degeneration.
These fruits contain digestive enzymes that help in breaking down protein to help digestion, enzymes that soothe the stomach by preventing acidity and poor digestion. Bioactive elements such as esters, terpenes, and aldehydes aid in easy digestion.
Tartaric, malic and citric acid found in mangoes help maintain the alkali reserve in the body. Glutamine acid helps to boost memory and keep cells alive and this is useful for children who lack concentration.
Mangoes help to boost the sex drive as the Vitamin E it contains regulates the sex hormones in the body. Most varieties of mangoes provide about 2.3 to 3 mg of Vitamin E.
Iron-rich, mangoes are a boon to those suffering from anemia, as the regular consumption of mangoes; provides this much-needed component for menopausal and pregnant women. However, too many mangoes during pregnancy should be avoided.
Mangos help in clearing clogged pores that cause acne. Slices of mango applied to the face for 10 to 15 minutes and then washed help in cleansing the skin of oils and impurities.
The juice from green mangoes, mixed with water and sugar helps to cool down the body for those who suffer from heatstroke. This also helps the kidneys as they are overloaded with toxins and this concoction helps to detoxify and cleanse the kidneys.
It is no wonder that the mango is known as the “king of fruit.”
Indigenous to India and China, the Longan fruit or Dragon’s eye is botanically known as Dimocarpus longan. It is from the family of Rambutan and is a cousin to the Lychee.
The fruit contains a range of vitamins and minerals that include iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium as well as vitamins A and C.
With a high vitamin C content, the fruit helps protect the body from colds and flu and helps to boost the immune system. Vitamin C helps the body in absorbing iron and it plays a part in maintaining healthy skin and enabling the body to heal wounds. Vitamin C helps in improving wound healing and increases longevity as it fights the free radicals that damage cells.
Together with polyphenols, it helps in fighting off free radicals that are damaging to cells and cause cancer and damage to arteries thus increasing the risk for heart attacks and strokes. Studies are ongoing regarding the effectiveness and safety of antioxidants in the longan.
The fruit is low in fats and calories and makes a healthy addition to the diet of those wanting to lose weight. Longans contain complex carbohydrates (sucrose) and glucose that increases energy improve stamina and reduce hunger.
Logans are recommended as anti-depressants as they have a relaxing effect on the nervous system, enhance nerve function, lower irritability, and reduce fatigue. All of this is due to the essential minerals contained in the fruit.
They are said to contain iron that is required for red blood cell formation and therefore help reduce the risk of anemia.
The vitamins contained in the fruit help in enhancing the complexion of skin minimizes the cracking and peeling of skin as well as helps in keeping the teeth and gums in good health. It also has a positive impact on vision and helps reduce cataract formation and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and night blindness.
The seed of the fruit is administered as it helps counteract heavy sweating and the pulverized kernel is said to contain Saponins, tannin, and fats that serve as a styptic or a substance that draws tissue together thereby constricting the tissue and effectively stopping blood and other secretions.
Longans are also used to treat insomnia, to overcome anxiety and difficulty in concentration as it contains Fitokimianya that serve to relax the nerves and provide a calming effect.
Native to Southeast Asia, lime is the most widely used fruit of the citrus family and one of the smallest. The scientific name for the lime is Citrus Aurantifolia and is known to favor tropical climates like California, Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico.
Lime is used throughout the world in foods like beverages, sorbets, pickles, jams, candies; the oil from its skin is used extensively in soft drink concentrates, body oils, cosmetics, hair products, toothpaste, soaps deodorants, disinfectants, and other products.
A deficiency of Vitamin C causes frequent infections with colds and coughs, ulcers on the tongue and mouth, spongy, swollen, bleeding gums, and cracked lips. For those working in mines, furnaces, painting shops, and cement factories, limes are distributed to them to help curb this deficiency and to protect them from Scurvy caused by a lack of vitamin C. The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C help to protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and night blindness. A lime weighing 37.5 grams provides 13 mg of vitamin C or 22 percent of the recommended daily allowance. Vitamin C is also required for the formation of collagen that is used to develop and repair skin tissue. It also helps protect against aging caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is known for maintaining the health of teeth and bones, preventing decay and loosening of teeth, dental caries, toothache, bleeding gums, and fragile bones.
The acids present in limes help clear the excretory system by washing and cleaning off the tracts, and the fiber helps ease constipation. Salt together with lime juice acts as an excellent purgative with no side effects.
These same acids aid in digestion as their scent floods the mouth with saliva. They then help break down the macromolecules of food. The flavonoids extracted from the lime helps to stimulate the digestive system and increase the secretion of digestive juices, bile, and acids that stimulate the peristaltic movement of the bowel. Limonoids such as Limonin Glucoside have antioxidants, anti-carcinogenic, antibiotic, and detoxifying properties that help in healing peptic and oral ulcers. As lime helps in combating constipation and in the healing of ulcers, it eradicates the cause of hemorrhoids too.
50 gram serving of lime juice contains 15 calories and it is fat and sodium-free but packs a flavor punch. It can be used as a marinade due to its acidic nature and this makes it ideal for helping to protect the heart. Adding lime juice to plain water provides an instantly refreshing, calorie-free, tasty thirst quencher. A great replacement for salt as it gives enormous flavor to food.
The juice of lime has antimicrobial properties and destroys a wide range of organisms. The citric acid in lime juice helps prevent the development of kidney stones and proves valuable in treating cystitis.
The Lemon is a citrus fruit belonging to the family of Rutaceae of the genus Citrus and goes by the scientific name of Citrus limon. Lemons are said to have originated in the Himalayan foothills of North-East India and this fruit belongs to the citrus group described as “hesperidium”, a modified berry with a tough, leathery rind.
Lemons are packed with many health benefits and are perfect for a healthy heart and weight loss, as they are low in calories, contain no saturated fats or cholesterol, and are rich in dietary fiber.
The lemon helps relieve digestion problems when the juice is diluted with hot water. These conditions include heartburn, nausea, and parasites. It helps relieve the symptoms of indigestion like bloating, heartburn, and belching. The regular consumption of lemon juice helps the bowel in eliminating waste as well as purifying blood and acting as a cleansing agent. It helps in curing constipation and has even aided in relieving hiccups when drunk as a juice. It helps with digestion as it helps the liver produce more bile and decreases the production of phlegm. The nitric acid contained in lemons helps to dissolve gallstones and kidney stones.
Drinking water mixed with lemon juice helps in losing weight as it cleanses the intestinal tract and allows food to pass through easily. As it contains a high amount of potassium, it helps control blood pressure and thus decreases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
It works wonders in helping to relieve dizziness, nausea and provides relaxation to the body and mind as well as reduces mental stress and depression.
As it acts as a blood purifier, it helps to treat diseases like cholera and malaria. It also helps with respiratory problems, breathing problems, and asthma as it has a high vitamin C content. As a diuretic, it helps to treat rheumatism and arthritis.
Lemon is also said to have excellent antibacterial properties and helps fight throat infections. It is also helpful in maintaining the health of teeth and bones as the vitamin C content helps in calcium metabolism.
Its vitamin P content helps strengthen blood vessels and prevent internal hemorrhaging and therefore, proves highly useful in high blood pressure management.
For those with diabetes, lemon juice mixed with water is useful in quenching the thirst and it acts as a sedative for nerves and palpitations. As a diuretic, lemon gives relief to gout and rheumatism sufferers as it helps eliminate waste products efficiently from the body.
With a plentiful supply of antioxidants and anti-carcinogenic, lemons help reduce LDL cholesterol and increase the level of HDL thus lowering the level of cholesterol and protecting the heart. It helps lower the rate of colon, prostate, and breast cancer.
A word of caution, though, it is wise to check with your physician to ensure that you have no allergy to lemons before you start to enjoy the benefits of this fruit.
The Kiwifruit or Chinese Gooseberries are native to China where they were originally called Yang Tao. It has been called the Kiwi after the national bird of New Zealand as it has a brown, fuzzy coat much like the bird. Their botanic name is Actinidia deliciosa and is recognized as the national fruit of China.
The Kiwi contains some antioxidants and these phytonutrients are said to protect DNA in the nucleus of the human cell. Studies have, yet, not been able to pinpoint which of these antioxidants are responsible for this but they are positive that the healing properties are not limited to the vast number of flavonoids, carotenoids, beta-carotene, or Vitamin C found in the fruit.
Vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant plays a major role in neutralizing free radicals that cause damage to cells that in turn lead to cancer and inflammation. The intake of vitamin C has been shown to help reduce the severity of conditions like osteoarthritis rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. It also helps in preventing conditions like colon cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetic heart disease. Vitamin C also strengthens the immune system, aids in the development of collagen, and protects against respiratory systems associated with asthma.
Antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E plus carotenoids prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration and other disease associated with vision.
The high fiber content of the Kiwi helps control sugar levels, thus being ideal for those with diabetes. The fiber also binds with the cancer-causing chemicals in the colon and then expels them, thus, helping to prevent the formation of the disease. Fibre also has been proven to reduce cholesterol levels, which helps those with heart disease and/or prone to high blood pressure. This helps in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Folic acid is important for expectant mothers suffering from anemia and the kiwi provides 10 percent of the daily-recommended allowance. It provides 10 percent of the daily-required allowance of Vitamin E is instrumental in decreasing the risk of heart disease.
The kiwi is a powerhouse of calcium, which helps build strong teeth and bones, Chromium, which aids in maintaining a regular heartbeat, Copper, Magnesium, which is known to enhance energy levels, Potassium, Iron, and Zinc, which helps in keeping hair, skin, and nails healthy.
The kiwi also has alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that cannot be produced by the human body and must be acquired through food consumption. Alpha-linolenic acid is related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The kiwi is said to have the same effect as Aspirin regarding the clotting of blood but without the side effect and is beneficial to heart health.
It helps fight male impotence as it contains Arginine which is known as a vasodilator.
The kiwi is not just a pretty fruit but is also a powerhouse of nutritional benefits.
The Jackfruit belongs to the Mulberry family that is native to parts of Southern and Southeast Asia. It can also be found in East Africa and Brazil. The fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world.
The Jackfruit has an abundance of vitamin C which helps to protect against viral and bacterial infection. It helps in strengthening the immune system as it supports white blood cell function. Vitamin C is widely known for its ability to prevent colds and flu.
Being rich in phytonutrients like Lignans, Isoflavones, and Saponins that are all known for their anti-cancer and anti-aging properties, the Jackfruit helps in destroying cancer-causing free radicals and slows down the degeneration of cells that lead to degenerative diseases. These phytonutrients protect the skin and help to keep it supple and smooth.
The potassium in the Jackfruit is found to help in lowering blood pressure and reverses the effects of sodium that causes a rise in blood pressure that affects the heart and blood vessels. This helps in preventing heart disease and strokes. Potassium also helps in preventing bone loss and improves muscle and nerve function. Another heart-friendly property found in the Jackfruit is due to vitamin B6 which helps reduce homocysteine levels in the blood thus lowering the risk of heart disease.
The high fiber content of jackfruit prevents constipation as it bulks up food consumed which then passes more easily through the gut. The fiber also offers protection against colon mucous membrane by mopping up carcinogenic chemicals in the large intestine and preventing colon cancer. The anti-ulcer properties help cure ulcers and other digestive disorders. Certain extracts from the root of the Jackfruit plant are said to help cure diarrhea and are found to be beneficial for those suffering from asthma.
With a small amount of Vitamin A available, it helps maintain good vision and smooth skin. Vitamin A is instrumental in preventing age-related macular degeneration and night blindness.
The Jackfruit contains iron that helps prevent anemia and aids in proper circulation, magnesium that is important in the absorption of calcium. Calcium is important in the development of strong teeth and bones and helps prevent bone-related disorders like osteoporosis.
It has copper that helps maintain a healthy thyroid and plays an important part in hormone production and absorption. The calcium contained in the fruit also helps in the clotting of blood.
With a large number of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose, it boosts energy and as it contains no fat or cholesterol, it is perfect as diet food.
This exotic fruit is great and can be served raw or cooked but, either way, it has many health benefits.
The Guava, or Psidium Guajava, as it is scientifically known belongs to the Myrtaceae family of the genus: Psidium. It originated in Middle America and is today, the “superfood” is cultivated mainly in Asian countries.
Rich in astringents, the guava helps bind loose bowels for those inflicted with diarrhea. They help cure dysentery as they inhibit microbial growth and remove the extra mucus from the intestine. The high Vitamin C in guavas, together with carotenoids and potassium, help to strengthen and tone the digestive system.
Guavas have high dietary fiber content. The seeds, eaten whole or chewed, are an excellent laxative. These properties help in retaining water, cleaning the intestine and excretory system, and helps in forming the feces for easy removal from the bowel. Proper digestion and excretion are cures to many ailments and guavas are instrumental in ensuring that this is done.
Guavas help in reducing cholesterol in the bloodstream and prevent the blood from thickening. This reduces blood pressure and maintains the fluidity of the blood. Foods with low fiber content increase blood pressure as they convert carbohydrates into sugar too quickly. They also increase blood sugar and guavas being rich in fiber and hypoglycemic in lowering both.
An excellent source of Vitamin C, the guava provides three times the amount of the daily recommended allowance. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps the body build resistance to infections, they destroy scavenger free radicals that cause cancers and help in collagen formation which allows the proper structural functioning of blood vessels, organs, bones, and skins.
The fruit also contains Vitamin A and flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin. These compounds with their antioxidant properties are required to maintain optimal health. Vitamin A also helps to maintain the mucous membranes and the skin. Carotenes found in the fruit also help to protect the body against lung and oral cancers. Vitamin A is also known for preserving and improving eyesight.
Being low in calories and fats, the guava is perfect as a weight-loss food and can make for a delicious snack with many health benefits.
Potassium packed in guavas plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and reverses the role of sodium which causes an increase in blood pressure. The guava also contains folate which is known for its fertility-promoting properties. With a good source of copper, guavas help with thyroid metabolism, especially in the production and absorption of hormones.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is required by the body to help relax nerves and muscles and guavas are a good source. The vitamin B group is important in brain function and guavas are rich in vitamins B3 and B6. Niacin or B3 stimulates brain function, promotes blood flow whilst Pyridoxine or B6 is important for brain and nerve function. The skin also benefits from the consumption of guavas as they provide Vitamin E which has antioxidant properties.
It is said that “a few guavas in a season keeps the doctor away for the whole year”.
Grapes have been around since prehistoric times and are native to Europe and the Mediterranean and were first cultivated in Asia as early as 5000BC. They are known as the “queen of fruit” and have been mentioned in the Bible as “fruit of the vine.”
Grapes are a storehouse of polyphenols phytochemicals that help fight cancer, heart and stroke disease, age-related macular degeneration, and have many other health benefits.
Resveratrol is a polyphenol phytochemical compound that has been found to have a protective function against degenerative nerve disease, cancer of the colon and prostate, coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and viral and fungal infections. The risk of stroke is reduced as resveratrol produces nitric acid which causes relaxation of the blood vessels. It also helps reduce the activity of angiotensin, a hormone that causes blood vessel constriction which elevates blood pressure.
Resveratrol has a positive effect on genes which impact the aging process by activating the enzymes which allow DNA to be stable within cells and increase the lifespan. It also helps oxidize cholesterol which accumulates in the arteries and repairs damage to them as well. This helps reduce cholesterol in the blood as well as reduce stroke and heart disease.
Saponins are found in the skin of the grape, bind to cholesterol which makes absorption into the body difficult and thus aids in preventing strokes and heart disease. Alpha-tocopherol, another antioxidant, is absorbed into the body and helps in the prevention of cancers, heart disease, and strokes. Anthocyanins are another polyphenolic antioxidant found in grapes that have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer properties.
Grapes are effective in combating constipation as they contain organic acid, sugar, and cellulose which bulks up food and allows for rapid passage through the intestine. They also help tone up the intestine and stomach. They help with dyspepsia by reducing heat, indigestion, and irritation of the stomach.
As a low GI food, grape consumption leads to better blood sugar balance, insulin regulation, and increased insulin sensitivity.
White grapes help replenish iron in the body which helps to prevent fatigue as it has simple sugars, it provides instant energy. Together with Vitamin C and the other antioxidants present, the immune system is also given a boost.
Grapes help reduce the acidity of uric acid and also aids in the elimination of the acid from the body, thus, reducing the work done by the kidneys. This also helps those suffering from gout as the uric acid build-up in the joints is the cause.
Red grapes have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties which help protect against infections. Their antiviral properties protect against polio and herpes simplex viruses.
Dried grapes or raisins are packed with nutritious benefits and help with acidosis, anemia, fever, sexual weakness, and helps in gaining weight as well as improving vision.
The best thirst quencher helps in the treatment of asthmas as it helps increase moisture in the lungs.
A delicious fruit packed with Vitamins A, C, B6, and folate as well as essential minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium, they add to a robust and healthy body.
Grapefruits were discovered in Barbados in the 18th century and botanists believe that it may be the result of a natural cross-breed between an orange and a pomelo which was brought from Indonesia to Barbados. In 1814, it was given the name “grapefruit” in Jamaica. It belongs to the Rutaceae family and the genus: Citrus. The botanical name is Citrus paradise after its flavor which is said to be like paradise.
The grapefruit is a powerhouse of Vitamin C which helps to support the immune system and helps in reducing cold symptoms or at least the severity of the symptoms. The more important function that Vitamin C provides is that it prevents free radical damage to cells. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce the severity of inflammation of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin C also helps oxidize cholesterol which leads to causing heart attacks or strokes, thus promoting heart health. There has been researched recently that vitamin C protects against lung and colon cancer. Vitamin C reduces the enzyme that activates cancer-causing chemicals that are found in tobacco smoke. The active compounds, hesperidin, apigenin, limonin, naringin, naringenin, and Nobiletin causes cancer cells to die but increase the production of normal colon cells. Vitamin C is required for the maintenance of connective tissue and also for the healing of wounds. It also facilitates the absorption of iron from the intestine.
Naringenin, a flavonoid found in great concentration in grapefruit, helps repair damaged DNA in prostate cancer cells. DNA repair is the body’s best defense mechanism against cancer as it removes any cancer-causing mutations in cells.
A carotenoid phytonutrient known as Lycopene provides the rich red and pink colors to grapefruit and is said to have anti-tumor activity. Of all the carotenoids, Lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen-free radicals. Another phytonutrient found in grapefruit, called Limonoids, inhibits tumor formation. It promotes the formation of glutathione-S-transferase, a detoxifying enzyme that causes a reaction in the liver which causes toxic compounds more water-soluble thus expediting their removal from the body. Limonoids help fight cancer of the mouth, lung, breast, stomach, colon, and skin. The pulp of the grapefruit has glutarates, a compound that helps prevent breast cancer.
Pectin found in the grapefruit is a soluble fiber that slows down the progression of atherosclerosis. Both red and blonde grapefruit have shown that they reduce LDL cholesterol whilst red grapefruit reduces triglycerides as well. This makes the grapefruit beneficial to those suffering from high cholesterol levels in the blood as well as in reducing strokes and heart disease.
Potassium also found in the grapefruit helps maintain blood pressure, regulates the heartbeat, and counteracts the effects of sodium.
B-complex vitamins like folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and thiamin are also found in the fruit together with minerals like iron, calcium, copper, and phosphorus, all aiding in maintaining the healthy and normal function of the different body parts.
The gooseberry gets its name from the old English word for berries, “grosser”. The gooseberry is native to Europe and North America but the cultivation of gooseberries began in Europe but they can be found all over the world. There are two types of gooseberries, the European and American which are further divided into 2 varieties each. The Clark and Fredonia are of the European type are larger and more flavourful than the Pixwell and Welcome which are of the American type.
Rich in Vitamin C, one cup of fresh gooseberries contains 41.5 mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C is required by the body for iron absorption and collagen formation. Vitamin C also helps maintain healthy bones, muscles, cartilage, and blood vessels, wards off infection, and prevents illness. Vitamin C is also influential in protecting cells against damage from free radicals which are a cause of cancer and the aging process.
Gooseberries add 66 calories to the diet, whilst offering no fat, no cholesterol, and very little sodium. A single cup of gooseberries contains 25 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of fiber required. Fiber expands in the stomach giving a sense of being sated and thus helping to avoid hunger pangs and cravings. 100 grams of berries provide 44 calories making it an ideal food for a weight loss diet. Fiber helps relieve and prevent constipation.
Gooseberries have high potassium content and provide 10 percent of the daily recommended allowance. Potassium promotes a regular heartbeat, maintains the balance of water in the cell and tissues, and offers protection against blood pressure. It also helps in the function of the nervous and muscular systems and is critical for the normal function of nerve cells, muscles, and the heart.
The Vitamin A content of gooseberries is small but this vitamin is instrumental in maintaining mucous membranes and skin as well as vision. Vitamin A has also been found to protect the lungs and oral cavity from cancers.
These berries contain bioflavonoids, collectively found under the name Vitamin P and many have antioxidant properties. These compounds help to protect against cancer and bioflavonoids help maintain the permeability of capillaries, allowing nutrients to pass through blood vessels freely.
Fresh berries also contain small amounts of essential vitamins like Pantothenic acid, Folates, Thiamine, and Pyridoxine. These vitamins help the body in metabolism and need to be replenished via external sources. Gooseberries also contain small but adequate levels of mineral-like copper, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
All in all, gooseberries are a good supply of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fiber, making them healthy and a great fruit to eat.
Goji or wolfberries are known scientifically as Lycium barbarum and belong to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. They are native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia. They have been used for centuries in Tibetian and Chinese medicine and cuisine, in the hope that they would aid in longevity.
Like other berries, the goji berry is packed full of powerful antioxidants which slow down the aging process by fighting the free radicals that damage or destroy cells. Carotenoids like zeaxanthin found in figs help decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in the elderly. Zeaxanthin protects the retina by absorbing blue light and acts as an antioxidant. Other antioxidants like beta-carotene have been shown in research to prevent cancer cell growth, reduce blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Vitamin A is found in Goji berries and acts as an antioxidant which is said to have anti-aging benefits and also help strengthen the immune function, protect vision and help prevent heart disease.
The well-known anti-cancer agents, Selenium, and Germanium are found in the berries making them a potent, natural cancer fighter. Beta-Sitosterol, an anti-inflammatory agent contained in the fruit has been shown to lower cholesterol and has been used in treating prostate enlargement and impotence. Betaine which produces Choline in the liver is known to protect DNA, help with detoxification in the liver, protect against fatty liver disease and enhance memory. Cyperone, also found in the fruit is used in the treatment of cervical cancer and is known to help with menstrual problems. Solavetivone is an antibacterial and antifungal agent contained in the fruit too. Physalin is known to boost the immune system and has been found effective in treating leukemia, hepatitis B, and cancer.
The fruit has no saturated or trans fats and no cholesterol. Goji berries provide 38 grams of fiber per 1000 calories, which is well above the recommended daily allowance. Fiber helps reduce colon cancer risk by binding with the chemicals that cause it. For those with bowel disease or constipation, the fiber helps in bulking up food which allows it to pass through the intestine quickly and softens the feces reducing the risk of hemorrhoids developing. Fiber is also helpful in weight loss as it makes one feel fuller for longer and dispels cravings and hunger pangs.
Some studies have found that the juice of the goji berry is beneficial in mental well-being, athletic performance, and general good health.
For those on the blood-thinning medication, Warfarin, it is best to steer clear of the berries and those suffering from diabetes and blood pressure should check with their physicians before consuming them. The berries are also known to affect those with pollen allergies; however, if eaten in moderation, it appears to be safe.
Figs or Ficus carica grow on the Ficus tree which belongs to the Moraceae or Mulberry family. They originated in Arabia and can be traced back to ancient times and have been mentioned in the Bible and other holy books but have been known to have been first cultivated in Egypt. The Romans and Greeks saw the fig as a sacred fruit. The fig is, in fact, an inverted flower, and the seeds are the fruit.
A fantastic source of soluble dietary fiber, the fig is perfect to add to a weight loss diet as fiber adds bulk which in turn gives a feeling of being full. This reduces hunger pangs and cravings. Being low in calories, 100 grams of figs provide 74 calories; the fig starts to look good for those on a diet. The soluble fiber also helps in reducing the risk of colon and rectal cancer as it binds with the chemicals that cause cancer and decreases the length of time of the food in the colon. Pectin, a soluble fiber found in figs mops up cholesterol and carries it out of the body, thereby lowering the cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Figs are known as a gentle laxative due to their rich fiber content.
Chlorogenic acid is found in the berries which research shows helps in lowering blood glucose levels in Type 2 Diabetes mellitus. Chlorogenic acid together with polyphenolic anti-oxidants like tannins, lutein, and carotenes, are shown to protect against cancers and fight free radicals which are the cause of strokes and heart disease as they damage and destroy cells.
Figs help lower high blood pressure as they contain potassium which regulates blood pressure in the body. Potassium also maintains fluid and sodium balance which aids in maintaining blood pressure. It also has the added benefit of regulating muscle function and helps prevent cramping. For those with diabetes, potassium controls blood sugar levels, which in turn, lowers the amount of insulin required by the body. This also helps increase energy for those not affected by diabetes. The fig leaf has the same anti-diabetic properties as the fruit if not higher.
Calcium, a mineral that promotes bone density is found in abundance in figs. Potassium helps to reduce the loss of calcium caused by high salt diets and thus, prevents bones from thinning out at a rapid rate.
Figs also prevent coronary heart disease as they contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 which reduce fatty acids and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
The fig has been known to be useful in respiratory disorders including asthma, whooping cough as well as being good for fevers, earaches, boils and abscesses, venereal disease, and is excellent for the liver. As a highly alkaline food, the fig helps regulate the pH of the body.
Adam and Eve may have used the fig leaves to cover up but it is the fruit that provides more benefit, it seems!
The Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and these glossy, purple fruits originate in India where they grew wild. They belong to the Solanaceae family of the genus: Solanum. They were first cultivated by the Chinese and introduced by the Moors to Europe during the Middle Ages. The French and Italians began cultivating the vegetables in the 18th century and called it Aubergine. They are also called Brinjal and Melongene. Thomas Jefferson, a keen experimental botanist introduced the eggplant to the US in 1806.
Nasunin, an anthocyanins phytonutrient found in eggplant is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger. It helps protect cell membranes from damage by free radicals. Nasunin was found to protect the lipids or fats in brain cell membranes. This is important as the cell membrane is composed entirely of lipids which protect the cell, allow nutrients into and waste out and receive instructions from molecules. Nasunin has antiangiogenic properties and stops cancer cells from gaining angiogenesis ability.
Angiogenesis means that cancer cells can develop their blood supply, allowing for cancer masses or tumors to grow rapidly. They have a high content of chlorogenic acid which is an antioxidant that offers antimicrobial and antiviral properties and also the ability to lower bad cholesterol. Nasunin promotes heart health and removes excess iron from the bloodstream as the excess iron increases free radical production causing heart problems and cancer. Chlorogenic acid also has anti-mutagenic properties that protect the cell from mutating into cancer cells. The eggplant peel contains angiogenesis inhibitors and has been shown to affect the growth of some cancer cells.
The brinjal is also high in dietary fiber, about 2 grams per cup, which helps protect the colon against cancer and keeps the digestive system regular. They are low in calories, 35 grams per cup, and contain no fat. The fiber helps in making one feel full and can replace higher-calorie pasta or rice in weight loss diets. However, as it acts like a sponge and soaks up oil, it is not for the beat to sauté or fry. A high level of water is contained in the vegetable which helps in hydrating skin and hair.
Eggplant is loaded with Vitamin K which helps in the clotting of blood, manganese which aids in wound healing and bone health. Potassium in the eggplant helps to balance the sodium and hydration levels in the body. It also helps regulate the blood pressure of the body.
Being low in carbs and high in fiber, the eggplant also helps reduce glucose levels in Type 2 Diabetes, thus making it a natural method of regulating diabetes.
The eggplant has antimicrobial, antiviral, antimutagenic, and anti-LDL properties making it an excellent addition to any diet as it is packed with phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
Dragon Fruit Benefits
The Pitaya or Pitahaya is more commonly called Dragon fruit which has a unique oblong shape with a pink or red rind with green-tipped scales. Dragon fruit originated in Central America and is said to date back to the 13th century. Today it is grown widely for commercial purposes in Asian countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. In Vietnam, it is called thong loy. There are three varieties of Dragon fruit, Hylocereus with red skin and white flesh, Hylocereus Polyrhizus with a red rind and red flesh, and Selinecereus Megalanthus with a yellow rind and white flesh. An interesting fact about the flowers of the Dragon fruit tree is that they bloom at night and are called Moonflowers.
A good source of antioxidants, the dragon fruit helps prevent damage caused by free radicals. It contains a rich array of antioxidants that is unmatched in any food or drug. Antioxidants block free radicals which cause heart disease and cancers.
The dragon fruit is low in cholesterol, sodium and has little fat and is a boon for those with high cholesterol problems and for those who are on a weight loss program. The fats are found in the many seeds found in the fruit and they are mono-unsaturated.
Important to both, the young and the old, dietary fiber are important in preventing constipation and irregular bowel movement. Fibre also helps in preventing colon cancer as it binds with the chemicals that cause cancer. It is also said to benefit the liver by preventing urinary tract infection. The red variety of dragon fruit has a higher fiber content than the yellow variety and the rind is also a great source of fiber too. The high protein levels boost metabolism which leads to weight reduction. It is also vital in the production of hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals required in the body.
The fruit has a very high Vitamin C content which helps to heal wounds and bruises fast as well as strengthens the immune system. The dragon fruit provides more than 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Other vitamins include Thiamine or B1 which helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and generate energy, Niacin or B3 which is important for diabetic patients, Vitamin B3 which helps to moisturize the skin, Vitamin B12 which stimulates the appetite.
The fruit is also a source of phosphorus and calcium which help to reinforce bones, make teeth healthier, help in cell development and tissue formation. The high mineral content helps neutralize the effects of toxic, heavy metals like mercury, lead, and arsenic.
The consumption of dragon fruit has been linked to a reduction in insulin usage in a patient with Type 1 diabetes whilst also reducing blood sugar levels for those with Type 2 diabetes. It is also said to be effective in helping the body in releasing uric acid which is a great help to those suffering from gout. The regular consumption of this fruit is also said to alleviate coughs and asthma in children and adults.
Date Fruit Benefits
This is a fruit that is said to be the “almost perfect food” and has had mentioned in the Koran and Bible. The date; the palm is said to have originated on the banks of the Nile and Euphrates rivers and belongs to the family Arecaceae of the genus: Phoenix and is known as Phoenix dactylifera.
The date, an oval or cylindrical has a hard pit with a seed inside which is surrounded by an outer fleshy part and is a “drupe.” When unripe the fruit is 3 to 7 cm long and 2 to 3 cm in diameter and there are many varieties cultivated, with the most popular varieties being Amir Hajj, Khadrawy, Medjool, and Saidy.
Not only is the date fruit delicious but, they contain an impressive list of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that are necessary for normal growth and development.
Rich in dietary fiber, both, soluble and insoluble and each has a valuable function. Insoluble fiber allows food to move through the digestive tract. The fiber content assists in protecting the mucous membrane in the colon as it binds with cancer-causing chemicals decreasing exposure to them. The soluble fiber helps those with diabetes as it decreases elevated blood glucose levels and is also said to lower serum cholesterol levels, especially LDL, in the bloodstream. The fiber also acts as a laxative as it bulks up food and aid with constipation.
Dates have been found to have the highest concentration of polyphenols among dried fruits. The flavonoid, polyphenols antioxidants are mostly tannins which are known as anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic properties. Other antioxidant flavonoids are beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which protect cells from oxygen-free radicals. These protect colon, pancreatic, endometrial, lung, prostate, and breast cancers. Zeaxanthin is absorbed into the retinal macula lutea, offering protection against age-related macular degeneration.
100 grams of dates provides 149 IU of Vitamin A which acts as an antioxidant and is essential for vision. Vitamin A also helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and skin. Studies have also found that Vitamin A protects the lung and oral cavity from cancers.
One cup of chopped dates provides 4.4 mcg of selenium, 63 mg magnesium, 0.3 mg copper, and 57 mg calcium. Potassium helps the body lower high blood pressure that can lead to heart disease and also assists kidney function by encouraging sodium excretion which also lowers blood pressure. Selenium helps to build the immune system and fight cancer. Calcium is important in the constitution of teeth and bones and is used by the body for muscle coordination and nerve impulse conduction. Magnesium is essential for bone growth together with calcium.
An excellent source of iron, dates, contains 0.90 mg per 100 gram of fruit, which as a component of hemoglobin in red blood cells, aids in carrying oxygen in the blood. B-complex vitamins like niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin act as cofactors to help the body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Vitamin K also found in the date fruit is essential for the clotting of blood and in bone metabolism.
Dates are nature’s candy with a nutritional punch!
Cucumbers belong to the botanical family called Cucurbitaceae and to the species group, Cucumis sativus. This is the same family as watermelons, cantaloupes, and squashes. They are the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world and enjoyed by all and incorporated into every cuisine. It is believed to have originated in India and is one of the oldest cultivated fruits.
These fruits are regarded as healthy foods as they are low in calories and fat and provide nearly all the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy body as well as having high water content.
With 96 percent water content, the cucumber provides more nutritious water than regular water. This high water content helps quench thirst but it also keeps the body hydrated and regulates the body temperature. Water is needed to flush toxins out of the body and the high water content in cucumbers helps to do this very effectively. They have no fat, cholesterol, or sodium and are great when added to a healthy eating plan. A single cup of cucumber will provide you with 16 calories and with just 3 grams of carbohydrates, they provide sufficient energy. The high fiber content in cucumbers, 1 gram per cup, when combined with the protein it contains, it helps burn fat. The peel of the cucumber provides a rich source of dietary fiber that helps relieve constipation and protects against certain types of colon cancer. They also help relieve heartburn and acid indigestion.
A cup of cucumber per day will also provide you with 16mcg of magnesium and 181 mg of potassium which help reduced and control high blood pressure. The vitamin K content in a single cup of cucumber is 12 percent and this vitamin helps build strong teeth and bones, assisting in reducing the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. The sterols contained in the cucumber help in the reduction of cholesterol whilst the juice of the cucumber is beneficial for diabetes sufferers as they contain hormones that are needed by the pancreatic cells for producing insulin.
The skin of the cucumber provides about 10 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant and fights free radicals as well as strengthens the immune system. The skin can be used as a relief for sunburn and mild skin irritation. Cucumber is known to reduce puffiness around the eyes as it removes toxins and it also helps calm acne down.
These fruits contain Pinoresinol, Lariciresinol, and Secoisolariciresinol, Lignans that have been shown to bring about a reduced risk of cancers like breast, prostate, ovarian and uterine cancers.
Silica is also found in cucumbers and this compound helps promote joint health as it strengthens connective tissues. Cucumber juice is said to be beneficial for those with teeth and gum diseases and the dietary fiber helps by massaging teeth and gums.
Being rich in vitamins A, B1, B6, C & D, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, and Folate, they can provide relief for gout and arthritis by lowering the uric acid levels in the body. Cucumbers are said to have a high silica content which helps prevent nails from splitting and sulfur and silicon also assist in promoting healthy hair growth.
The seeds of the cucumber are said to be a natural remedy for tapeworm and when braised and mixed with water, they are effective in treating swellings of the mucous membranes in the throat and nose.
A native American and part of the blueberry family, cranberries are grown in bogs and float during harvesting. These tiny, red berries have been lauded for their health-promoting properties. They rank high on the list as being one of the fruits that contain antioxidants.
The Native Americans used the cranberry to treat urinary tract infections and recent medical research has proved that this was not merely folklore.
Cranberries or bounce berries are they are sometimes called contain no cholesterol, hardly any fat, and are exceptionally low in sodium. They also have an abundance of dietary fiber and vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals that are all beneficial to human health.
These tiny red berries contain PACs or proanthocyanidins which stop the E-coli bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract and thus slow down their reproduction process which is required for infection. Although other plants produce proanthocyanidins, they are structurally different from those found in the cranberry which explains why the cranberry is so unique.
The adhesion of the different types of bacteria may be affected as well, for example, those that cause stomach ulcers and periodontal disease may be susceptible to cranberries too. This would have far-reaching positive benefits as the number of infections can be reduced and the use of antibiotics curtailed. The Helicobacter pylori bacteria cause peptic ulcers but cranberry juices, high molecular weight non-dialysable helps by neutralizing stomach acid in the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum.
Antioxidants have been recognized as disease fighters and cranberries contain more antioxidant phenols than 19 other commonly eaten fruit. Antioxidants play a major role in helping to prevent heart disease and certain cancers.
Antioxidants can stabilize free radicals by donating an electron without becoming free radicals themselves. The human body, when under severe stress, loses its inability to produce antioxidants. Cranberries are a perfect source to supplement antioxidants.
It was found that cranberry juice contains a unique component that can reverse and inhibit the growth of oral bacteria which causes dental plaque and periodontal disease.
The many flavonoids in cranberries act as potent antioxidants which help in reducing the risk of Atherosclerosis. These flavonoids and polyphenolic compounds help protect against chronic age-related diseases like memory loss and loss of coordination.
An increase in the consumption of cranberries shows a significant impact on breast cancer cells. Studies are still underway to find further benefits relating to cancer development in humans and the effect of cranberries to help inhibit and prevent cell formation and growth.
Cranberries have a special combination of five separate antioxidants and also a combination of resveratrol, piceatannol, and pterostilbene which when consumed together provide maximum antioxidant benefits. It is this unique aspect of cranberries that makes them a powerhouse berry that supports many bodily systems.
Most of the research carried out has shown that the benefits of cranberries extend to middle-aged women and men but as yet no findings have been made with regards to children.
Cranberries may be more than just a new addition to the Thanksgiving recipe as it does give us a lot more to celebrate.
A commonly overlooked fruit in the western world, the Coconut fruit has been a staple in the diet of many Asian and island countries for centuries. The Cocos nucifera or the coconut is a drupe fruit as it contains a seed encapsulated by three layers – the outer fibrous layer, the hard innermost layer or shell, and the meat or flesh layer known as Copra. This large nut contains vitamins, minerals, natural oils, and fiber.
Copra contains lauric acid; a saturated fatty acid that is responsible for raising the HDL cholesterol levels and thereby preventing arterial blockages by fat or atherosclerosis.
Coconut has a low glycemic index meaning that glucose is released at a much slower rate into the blood, helping to keep blood sugar levels low. This helps by decreasing the demand made in the pancreas for insulin.
It is a source of quick energy resulting in less storage of body fat thus making it good for those on a weight loss diet. Copra also gives a feeling of fullness over a longer time, helping to speed up metabolism and preventing one from overeating.
The coconut has 60% non-digestible fiber, which helps to regulate bowel movement and maintain blood sugar levels. The meat of the coconut fruit helps to relieve indigestion, ulcers, colitis, diarrhea, dysentery, and piles whilst the water gives relief for vomiting, bloating, and dyspepsia. The oil derived from the coconut helps reduce acid production in the stomach. Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that help destroy parasites, fungi, and bacteria causing indigestion. It helps to enhance the absorption process of nutrients too.
The water from the coconut is a natural diuretic, that alkalizes, and improves urine output. It also helps with kidney and liver disorders. This “juice” is naturally nourishing and is packed with essential minerals, potassium, calcium; magnesium, and sodium which help nourish and electrify the body.
This fruit is rich in antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, and capric acid, all possessing antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties which help the body’s immune system to build disease resistance.
The nut is rich in essential minerals like; manganese, zinc, calcium, and iron. These minerals help fight off osteoporosis infections and prevent tooth decay as well as strengthen teeth and bones.
The oil from the coconut is a natural moisturizer for all skin types and is highly beneficial to those suffering from eczema or psoriasis. The oil contains bioflavonoids that help prevent generative diseases and help in the treatment of dermatitis.
The essential proteins and nutrients present in the oil, help repair damaged hair and makes hair healthy and strong. It also nourishes the hair, giving it a shiny complexion.
In the ancient practice of Ayurveda, the coconut is considered a stress buster. During the massage rituals performed to relieve stress and combat body aches and pain, coconut oil is used. It relaxes the muscles and nourishes the skin.
Coconut water is more nutritious than whole milk and is 99 percent fat-free. It naturally hydrates the body and when taken after an illness, it helps by repairing the damage induced by antibiotics.
With its many functional uses, its nutritional value is vastly underrated but coconuts are nature’s medicine cabinet!
The wonderfully delicious cherry is a nutritional powerhouse with so many exceptional health benefits. The cherry is a native of the Eastern European and Asia Minor regions and belongs to the Rosaceae family. There are many varieties of cherries but the two most popular are sweet cherries and tart cherries. The cherry is a “drupe” fruit, meaning it has a central seed with a fleshy exterior.
Known as the “Super-fruit” cherries are packed with rich sources of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and fiber and are one a few low-calorie fruits. A single cup of cherries can provide one with 87 calories, 1 gram of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 22 grams of carbohydrates. They are also chock-a-block full of antioxidants, essential for our wellbeing.
Cherries contain polyphenolic flavonoids compounds which give them their rich purple, red or blue color and are concentrated in the skin of the cherries. Known as Anthocyanins, they inhibit the actions of cyclooxygenase-1 and 2 enzymes thus acting as an anti-inflammatory. Consuming cherries can, therefore, have potential effects against diseases such as gout, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and sports injuries. Eating about 20 tart cherries or drinking juice equivalent to the number could provide as much pain relief as Aspirin or Ibuprofen.
Some research has also shown that tart cherries help the body fight against aging, cancers, and neurological diseases. Other antioxidants or polyphenolic flavonoids found in the cherry are lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, all of which are known for their cancer-fighting abilities. These compounds also protect against harmful free radicals that aid the aging process. Their anti-inflammatory properties have been effective in reducing heart disease by scavenging action against free radicals. Anthocyanin is good for the brain and has been shown to improve memory.
The cherry also contains another antioxidant called Melatonin due to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. It produces a soothing effect on the brain neurons helping to relieve neurosis, insomnia, and headaches, and calms down nervous system irritability. It was found that individuals with low melatonin levels have experienced heart attacks. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD benefit from eating cherries or drinking cherry juice as the melatonin level increased as it brought about a calming effect on the brain neurons. Melatonin is also associated with slowing down the aging process.
Potassium, a heart-healthy mineral and an important component of cell and body fluids that regulate the heart and blood pressure are found in abundance in the cherry. It is a good source of other minerals like iron, zinc, copper, and manganese too.
Cherries reduce, drastically, the risk of developing colon cancer, and the growth of breast cancer cells is slowed as they contain cyanidin, a free radical scavenger. Cherry fruit or juice can help protect against cancer in organs and glands made up of epithelial tissue due to its high beta-carotene content.
The high content of vitamin A in cherries stimulates the healthy growth of hair, nails, and skin.
The cherry stem is also packed with health benefits as it acts as a diuretic when made into tea.
Considering the health benefits of the cherry, it is definitely worth the cash outlay for a punnet.
The Chayote squash or vegetable pear is related to the Zucchini, Cucumber, and is common in Latin America. A pear-shaped green or white fruit can be eaten cooked or raw. It has approximately 39 calories per 200 grams and is nearly fat-free; with 94 percent of its total constitution being water.
With these numbers in mind, one can see that the Chayote is perfect for those on a weight loss diet. AS part of a healthy diet, the Chayote can help reduce calorie intake and as it consists mostly of water, a natural appetite suppressant.
Furthermore, a single Chayote provides 14 percent of the daily-recommended value of dietary fiber, which helps in lowering cholesterol and improving blood sugar control for diabetics. Insoluble fiber aids the passage of food through the digestive tract and provides the bulk required for regulating bowel movement.
It also provides almost 50 percent or 189 mcg of folate, essential for optimum heart health, and is important in the diet of pregnant women as it reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects. Potassium is an essential mineral for humans and the chayote provides 254mcg per 200 grams. Potassium helps regulate water balance in the body as it acts as an electrolyte. It is also an essential mineral for heart health.
The chayote is very low in sodium. For every 200 grams, it provides a mere 4mg of sodium, making it an ideal addition to the diet of those with a high risk of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure. The recommended sodium intake for adults is 2300 mg per day but research has shown that the average American consumes double that amount thus making them more susceptible to kidney and heart diseases.
The Chayote also contains zinc, an essential mineral that helps keep the immune system healthy. It is also rich in copper, which is great for the thyroid. It is loaded with vitamin B6, important for memory retention and assisting the elderly who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia.
The vitamin K in the Chayote helps with clotting and helps in the prevention of osteoporosis whilst the iron helps with red blood cell production. It also contains a good amount of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that protects the immune system, prevents cancer, and is great for cell regeneration thus slowing down the aging process. Vitamin C is also essential in the production of collagen, which is important for the support and repair of tendons, ligaments, and skin and muscle tissue. The Chayote provides almost 20 mg of vitamin C per cup, which is one-third of the required daily allowance.
The flavonoids found in the Chayote, protect against cell damage and inflammation due to free radicals. Even when cooked, the flavonoids remain active in the small intestine from where they are absorbed into the body and used to reduce inflammation. For those suffering from gout or arthritis, adding Chayote to the diet may bring about some easing of the pain and inflammation.
Recent studies have also shown that an herbal tea made from the Chayote squash leaves may help in lowering blood pressure, dissolving kidney stones, and treating the hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis.
In some parts of the world, the Chayote flesh is made into a tea that acts as a mild diuretic and helps in treating bloating.
The Cantaloupe or Cucumis melo derives its name from the Italian papal village of Cantalup where it was first cultivated around 1700AD. The cantaloupe grows on a trailing vine and belongs to the same family as squash, cucumber, and pumpkin. It’s distinctive netted skin and ribless rind caused the melon to be referred to as netted melon. In some parts of the world, it is known as rockmelon.
The cantaloupe ranks high for its concentrated beta-carotene content which is converted to vitamin A when consumed. A cup of cantaloupe provides 108 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin A and just 56 calories. Vitamin A has been shown to decrease the development of cataracts. Beta-carotene is the subject of research regarding its prevention of cancer and oxygen-based damage to cells.
Cantaloupe is also an excellent source of vitamin C which functions as an antioxidant in the water-soluble areas of the body. Together with beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C, the cantaloupe helps against damage from oxygen-free radicals. Vitamin C is also good for immune function as it stimulates white cells to fight infection, kills bacteria and viruses, then regenerates vitamin E by disarming the free radicals. Vitamin C is also associated with the reduction of the causes of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
A combination of B-complex vitamins, folate, niacin, dietary fiber, and potassium can all be found in the cantaloupe. The B-complex vitamins are required by cells to process carbohydrates thus supporting blood sugar stability and energy production. The dietary fiber in the cantaloupe ensures that sugars are delivered gradually into the bloodstream to allow blood sugar levels to keep on an even keel.
For those who smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke, studies have shown benzo(a)pyrene, a common carcinogen in cigarette smoke increases vitamin A deficiency. A diet rich in vitamin A can help counter the effects of this carcinogen thus greatly reducing the risk of emphysema.
Potassium is an important mineral required for almost all the processes within the human body and is found in abundance in the cantaloupe. It plays an important role in heart and muscle contraction and the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Potassium regulates blood pressure which is beneficial to those suffering from strokes and cardiac ailments. The soluble fiber of the cantaloupe helps in lowering cholesterol levels.
Cantaloupe serves as a good source of folate which is a water-soluble micronutrient required for the maintenance of cells and helps in the prevention of anemia. Folate deficiency could lead to intrauterine growth retardation in newborns, stunted growth in infants and children, and an increased risk for brain and nerve congenital defects. Pregnant women, alcoholics, and those taking an anticonvulsant medication are advised to increase their folate intake to prevent health issues from folate deficiency.
Carotenoids, the yellow, orange, and reddish pigments produced by plants help in decreasing a patient’s risk of the development of cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two important carotenoids that help in reducing the development of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts in the elderly.
With its refreshing rich flavor, aroma, minimal number of calories, and attractive health benefits, the cantaloupe is more than just a taste sensation and is fast becoming a popular taste in the US.
The Blueberry is one of the few fruits native to North America and has been enjoyed for centuries by the Native Americans. Over time, Blueberries have become popular all over the world and feature in cuisines from Asia to the Mediterranean.
Research has shown that blueberries with their high level of antioxidants have potential benefits for the nervous system and brain health. There is new evidence that blueberries can improve memory and for slowing down the onset of other cognitive aging problems.
Blueberries also belong to the Low GI group and this has a favorable impact on blood sugar regulation in people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. These berries also contain chlorogenic acid, which helps lower blood sugar levels and controls blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Blueberries are packed with Phytonutrients that function as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the body. Blueberries with their myriad phytonutrients provide protection and support to every body system.
Antioxidants have been shown to protect the nervous system from oxidative stress, especially in older adults who are at a risk for neurodegenerative diseases as well as obese adults. The antioxidants have also demonstrated their protection f the digestive tract, helping by reducing the risk of colon cancer.
These antioxidants have also been shown to improve blood fat balances including the raising of HDL cholesterol and lowering triglycerides. They also protect against Atherosclerosis by protecting the blood vessel structure. In individuals who suffered from high blood pressure, blueberries have been shown to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure and maintain healthy blood too.
The retina of the eye is at a high risk of oxidative stress and blueberries with a high level of Anthocyanins help protect the retina from unwanted damage and the damage caused by sunlight.
Studies carried out on cancer and the effect of blueberries are looking very positive, especially for breast cancer and cancers of the small intestine. They have cancer-fighting and preventing compounds called Ellagic acid and Pterostilbene, a remedy for colon and liver cancer.
These berries also contain a small amount so potassium which aids in regulating body fluid and thereby controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is found in these little wonder berries and is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper and iron are found in the fruit and these assist with red blood cell formation and production.
The small amounts of vitamins C, A, and E, all together form potent lipid-soluble antioxidants and limit free radical injury to the body.
Blueberries are surprisingly beneficial with urinary tract infections as it inhibits the growth of bacteria such as b-Coli that causes these infections. The compound, that aids with this, has so far only been found in Blueberries and Cranberries.
Blueberries contain a special group of antioxidants called Carotenoids (Lutein, Zeaxanthin), Flavonoids (Rutin, Quercetin), and vitamins C, E, and A, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus that all work to protect the retina of the eye and prevent age-related ocular problems. For those who wear spectacles, contact lenses or suffer from problems such as macular degeneration, cataracts, myopia, dryness, and infections of the eye, try adding blueberries to your diet.
These berries also contain roughage which helps to keep constipation away and the vitamins, sodium, sulfur, copper, fructose, and acids all aid digestion.
Blueberries keep you active, fresh, fit and enhance your mood as they are excellent as an anti-depressant, so why not try these little natural wonders instead of succumbing to drugs.
The blackcurrant is the edible berry of a shrub that originated in Tibet and its scientific name is Ribes Nigrum meaning “black ribes”. They are highly prized for their therapeutic value and high vitamin content. In the 18th century, the abbot Bailley de Montaran from a monastery in Dijon considered the current as being an elixir of youth.
The blackcurrant is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. They are renowned for their high content of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, Gamma-Linoleic Acid, a rare Omega-6 essential fatty acid, and potassium. Black currants have four times the vitamin C of oranges, twice the amount of potassium in bananas, and twice the antioxidants of blueberries. Power-packed fruit, indeed!
The potent antioxidant, Anthocyanins, inhibits the enzymes Cyclo-oxygenase 1 and 2, reduces inflammation and the effects of arthritis in the body. It is said to have a similar effect as Aspirin or Ibuprofen thus, the elderly can safely drink blackcurrant juice instead of taking medication to counteract the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
The juice of blackcurrants contains cassis polysaccharides was found to consist of mannose, galactose, xylose and rhamnose, arabinose, and glucose, all of which form a substance proven to be toxic to tumor cells. Further studies are being carried out to establish the anti-carcinogenic properties of the blackcurrant.
With its rich source of vitamin C, black currants are useful in treating cardiac and vascular problems and help in reducing arterial hypertension. Weak circulation due to menopause is intensified and the blood is cleansed of toxins and waste.
GLA – Gamma Linoleic Acid, an essential fatty acid has anti-inflammatory effects and is known to protect against several diseases, and has been shown to slow down cancer cell growth in laboratory conditions. It is one of the few fruits that produce this rare fatty acid. Seeing as the human body does not produce GLA on its own and it is an essential fatty acid, black currants are a good source of this rare nutrient.
It is said to stimulate the digestion and function of the liver, pancreas, and kidneys which proves beneficial against rheumatism, arthritis, and gout. Its high potassium levels help in balancing the electrolytes lost during severe bouts of diarrhea or dysentery. It is also beneficial to those suffering from oliguria due to its diuretic properties.
As a systemic anti-inflammatory agent, and effects similar to those of natural cortisone, it is recommended in cutaneous, acute, and chronic allergies, bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, and diabetic retinopathy.
A mixture made from the blackcurrant fruit is used to treat abscesses, dermatosis, eczemas, and insect stings, while a mixture made from the buds is used in urticaria.
The British blackcurrant has been found to contain antioxidants that aid in the prevention of dementia and studies are being conducted to formulate treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
The blackcurrant is, therefore, a good diuretic, anti-sclerotic, anti-colitic, anti-diarrhetic, anti-astringent, anti-rheumatic, and hypotensive.
Blackberries are known as “aggregate fruit” and are found on thorny bushes cultivated in temperate climates. Blackberries belong to the rose family, of the Rubus species of brambleberries or cane berries.
The Rubus species has a unique structure that increases the nutritional value of the fruit. Blackberries have this structure known as “aggregate fruit”, which describes the many individual drupelets that blackberries are composed of. Each drupelet is like a small berry with a seed, surrounded by a firm core called the receptacle. Each drupelet contributes extra skin, seeds, and pectin thereby making the blackberry one of the fruits with the highest fiber content.
The blackberry is known as the “cabernet” of berries for its earthy, wine-like taste but more importantly, these berries are packed with multiple macro-nutrients – dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and polyunsaturated fats and proteins and high micronutrients levels – vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
These juicy fruits are one of the top ten foods containing antioxidants and polyphenols which help in preventing cancer and heart disease. Anthocyanins, an antioxidant that gives the blackberry its color helps reduce the risk of hypertension and aids in memory retention. It is also known to help maintain urinary tract health. Some studies have shown that blackberries may protect against oesophageal cancer which is caused by gastric reflux. They also contain phytoestrogens, which is a compound believed to play a pivotal role in preventing breasts and cervical cancer. Ellagic acid, another phenolic compound found in the blackberry is a potent anti-carcinogen with antiviral and antibacterial properties. It may even play a role in cancer prevention and tumor reversal. It is also known to protect the skin from damage from ultraviolet light and may repair skin damaged by sunlight.
The high antioxidant content of blackberries neutralizes free radicals or unstable oxygen molecules which damage the cells and cause premature aging and some major diseases. A potent antioxidant found in blackberries has been known to inhibit cell growth and death in prostate cancer cells.
The phytochemicals which give berries their rich color have been shown to have significant disease-fighting and cell-protecting abilities. Quercetin, works as an anti-carcinogenic and an antioxidant, protecting against cancer and heart disease. Rutin, a bioflavonoid, promotes vascular health and also has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties.
Oregon blackberries are crammed with Salicylic acid which is said to have the same protective effect against heart disease as Aspirin. A 100 gram or ¾ cup serving of red berries provides about 5 milligrams of salicylic acid. They also contain the water-soluble vitamin C which also acts as a powerful antioxidant. A single cup of blackberries provides half the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C which helps protect the immune system and aids in the reduction of macular degeneration in the elderly. Vitamin C helps in healing wounds and some studies show that it may even lessen the appearance of wrinkles.
The dietary fiber in blackberries helps to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract which also helps in reducing blood cholesterol levels and thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. The fiber also assists with diabetes as it helps regulate simple sugar uptake thus maintaining blood sugar levels.
Almost 36 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K is found in blackberries and this nutrient is used for the clotting of blood in the body and to aid in the absorption of calcium. Blackberries contribute to the building of strong bones and hemophiliacs; they may help in the clotting process.
Naturally occurring plant estrogens or phytoestrogens contained in blackberries may help reduce the symptoms of Premenstrual Stress like food cravings and bloating or even symptoms of menopause, like hot flushes.
Blackberries are a healthy food choice loved by both adults and children as they are a great way to refuel after a rigorous workout and aid in the fight against obesity.
Nature’s snack in a pack… the banana consists of sugars, glucose, fructose and sucrose, and fiber making them an ideal source of prolonged energy. Bananas are sweet with creamy flesh and packed with essential minerals and vitamins.
Bananas are one of nature’s best sources of potassium but are also low in sodium and due to this, have the ability for preventing high blood pressure. The US Food and Drug Administration has allowed the banana industry to officially make this claim.
For those women who suffer the effects of morning sickness, snacking on bananas helps keep the blood sugar levels elevated thereby avoiding morning sickness. They also have a natural antacid effect on the body and eating a banana brings soothing relief.
With their high fiber content, bananas help in restoring a normal bowel function but their high potassium levels also help in restoring important electrolytes which are depleted when one suffers from diarrhea. They also contain a soluble fiber or hydrocolloid called pectin that helps normalize movement through the digestive tract.
The B vitamins in bananas improve nerve function whilst the tryptophan, an amino acid, is converted to serotonin which leads to an improved mood. The high potassium in bananas aids in the normalization of the heartbeat and regulation of the body’s water balance. During periods of high stress, potassium levels are depleted rapidly and the ingestion of bananas helps in replenishing the lost nutrients.
For those who suffer from ulcers, bananas are the only raw fruit that can be eaten that helps in reducing acidity and irritation. Bananas stimulate the internal lining of the stomach to produce thicker mucus thus protecting against acids. They contain protease inhibitors which help eliminate the bacteria which are the primary cause of ulcers in the stomach.
With the ever-increasing number of cases of kidney cancer annually, it has been found that the daily consumption of fruit and vegetables, especially bananas aid in the protection of the kidneys. Studies have shown that the banana contains high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds which help reduce the risk of kidney cancer. Women who ate bananas four to six times a week halved their risk of developing the disease when compared to those who did not eat bananas.
Fructooligosaccharides are a compound that nourishes probiotic bacteria in the colon, by producing enzymes that increase the digestive ability and protect against unhealthy bacterial infections. Bananas contain large amounts of Fructooligosaccharides which help in increasing the number and functionality thereby allowing the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Green bananas contain indigestible short-chain fatty acids that are nutritious to the cells of the mucosa of the stomach. These cells aid in the absorption of calcium thus aiding in the formation of healthy bones.
Research carried out and published in the Archives of Ophthalmology has shown that 3 servings of banana per day for adults help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. ARMD is the primary cause of vision loss in the elderly.
Bananas that contain high levels of iron aid the body’s hemoglobin function thus helping curb anemia.
The B6, B12 vitamins, potassium, and magnesium found in bananas assist the body to recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal for those wanting to give up smoking.
These power-packed, nutritious pre-packaged fruits are also linked to studies that show that eating bananas as part of a regular diet help reduce the risk of death by strokes by almost 40%.
Adding bananas to your diet not only promotes good health but a wonderfully sweet creamy taste too. So, blend them into your smoothie, make a sandwich or add them to a salad.
Apricots can be enjoyed in many delicious forms, whether they are fresh, dried, or even juiced. They are known for their sweet taste and high nutritional properties. Believed to have originated in China more than 4000 years ago, this fruit was known to positively help women with fertility. Over time, apricots made their way to the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Europe, and finally North America. Vibrant orange-yellow, apricots are generally available in the summer months.
Apricots contain great sources of vitamins and nutrients. High in Vitamin A, they contain almost 20 percent of the daily value of Vitamin A that we should consume. Vitamin A is great for our eyesight, healthy growth, appetite, and taste buds. Apricots also contain a great amount of Vitamin C, which is a wonderful antioxidant and great for our immune system and preventing diseases, ailments, and even cancer.
Apricots also have good nutrients such as iron, copper, potassium, dietary fiber, and beta-carotene. These nutrients are important in helping us prevent disease and ailments. The fiber found in apricots can help us maintain a healthy weight, keep our digestive tract healthy and also prevent us from suffering from constipation or other digestive issues. The potassium in apricots can help us maintain a healthy blood pressure level and reduce the risk of hypertension. Apricots are great for individuals that suffer from anemia because they contain an excellent source of iron. Apricot juice is recommended for pregnant women and young children because of its excellent source of iron and calcium compounds.
In addition to helping us fight disease, cancer, maintain a healthy weight, control cardiovascular and blood pressure levels, apricots are also great for maintaining healthy skin. Many people use apricots in their daily skincare regimen. Apricots have been traditionally used as scrubs and ointments for the skin. The Vitamin A found in apricots has been proven to help reduce skin inflammation and reduce acne. The oil from apricots can help keep our skin smooth and shiny. It is a wonderful moisturizer and can help reduce the symptoms of itchiness from skin ailments like eczema. Apricot oil is also great for providing relief to individuals suffering from sunburn. The Vitamin C found in apricots can improve skin elasticity, which can help slow and prevent the skin from aging.
Apricots usually can be purchased in North America from May to September. This is the best time to receive fresh, ripe, and nutrient-filled apricots. Look for golden-orange apricots. If they are a pale yellow, they were picked prematurely. Store your apricots in the refrigerator and use them as soon as possible. Again, you can receive health benefits from apricots in pretty much any form. Whether they are raw, in juice form, dried, in jam, marmalade, jelly, or cooked (which will give you the least amount of nutrients), apricots make a wonderful and healthy snack for anyone. They are sweet, delicious, and offer a wonderful array of health benefits.