Checking out the new superfoods: Fruit
Superfood is the health buzz word of the moment, and as we are what we eat, we should all pay a little attention to what could be good for us in both the short and long term.
Goji berries have been at the top of the list of superfoods for a long time. Packed with vitamins C and E, along with carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene, some research suggests goji berries help increase metabolism and boost energy levels.
Used in Chinese medicine to treat diabetes and high blood pressure, maintain eye health, and nourish the liver and kidneys, goji berries can be added to your smoothies and salads for your daily fix.
Strawberries are quintessentially the fruit of summer. Luckily for the strawberry fans out there, they are also an excellent source of folate (vitamin B9), which carries out several important functions in the body, including keeping the nervous system healthy.
Strawberries also contain compounds that help widen arteries, which may prevent plaque build-up, are packed with vitamin C and K, and aid digestion. They are even a natural teeth whitener too.
An apple a day…
Red apples are not only for teachers! With their glowing, blushing skin, red apples are good for our health, so the old adage that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ may really be true.
Full of polyphenols and fibre, red apples have the ability to melt cholesterol. They have been shown to effectively lower levels of the bad cholesterol (LDLS) and high blood pressure, and also the insoluble fibres found in the skin of red apples can aid digestion. Red apple varieties include Rome Beauties, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Fuji and Gala, so go and get some!
Full of red delicious jewels, the pomegranate has a long and exotic history. This fantastic red fruit that originated in Persia is high in powerful polyphenols, which are abundant micronutrients in the human diet that have a role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Some of the polyphenols in pomegranates include anthocyanins and tannins.
Studies have shown that pomegranates may help to reduce the build-up of plaque in arteries and lower blood pressure. Other research hints that pomegranate juice may help manage prostate cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
Guavas are a wonderful fruit that many of us simply do not eat enough of, yet as rich sources of vitamin A, C and flavonoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and cryptoxanthin, we certainly should eat more! Guavas are also a very rich source of potassium, containing more potassium than other fruits like bananas, pound for pound. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
Guavas are also a source of B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin E and K, as well as minerals like magnesium, copper, and manganese.
From Portugal to Afghanistan, figs are of considerable cultural importance throughout the tropics, both as objects of worship and for their many practical uses. Yummy figs are high in both soluble fibre, which helps slow digestion and makes you feel fuller as it stabilises and lowers blood sugar levels, and insoluble fibre, which provides the bulk needed to help cleanse the large intestine and eliminate waste easily, reducing incidents of constipation. Figs are therefore helpful for weight management. They are also full of magnesium and potassium, help build stronger bones and can guard against anaemia. Want to learn more? Click here.
Not many of us want to eat cactus on a regular basis, but the prickly pear cactus is another story. These spiky plants contain an impressive array of nutrients including 18 amino acids, 15 potent phytonutrients, 10 minerals – calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc, plus vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E and folate. The prickly pear can even help with weight loss by increasing metabolism. What’s not to like? Apart from the spikes…
Get out to the shops and try some of these superfood health boosters!