Food & Diet
Summer Is Here: Be Sure to Try These 4 Superfruits
1. Dragon Fruit
The dragon fruit is a strange little fruit hailing from Southeast Asia and Central America, although the cactus that produces the fruit is originally from Mexico. The fruit is shaped like a grenade and is covered in what resembles “dragon scales”, if ever dragons did exist. On the inside the fruit can have white, yellow or a deep pink flesh, while the skin on the other hand is usually a fuchsia color.
Dragon fruits are surprisingly high in nutrients. This fruit can contain up to 10% of your daily requirement for vitamin C. The fruit contains several B-vitamins and is even a good source of calcium.
If you want more anti-oxidants in your fruit, pick the ones with the deep pink flesh.
The pigment that causes the color is lycopene – an anti-oxidant that has been found to fight certain types of cancers. Even the tiny black seeds contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Despite being so highly nutritious, dragon fruits are pretty low calorie fruits that are also low in sugar making them ideal snacks for those who are trying to manage their diabetes.
Berries are amazing. They are probably nature’s first portable multi-vitamin. It’s amazing how much benefit we can get from such a small package. Where else can you find a kind of food that helps you fend of cancer, dementia and the common cold that is both yummy and super low calorie.
There is evidence which shows that eating a serving of blueberries and strawberries every week can help delay cognitive decline for up to two and a half years. This is attributed to compounds in the berries called anthocyanidins which cross the blood brain barrier to provide nutrition to learning and memory centers in the brain. Berries are also rich in flavonoids and these compounds have been found to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 40%. To top it all off, berries lower blood pressure as well as promote cardiovascular health.
Bet you never thought of avocado as a great summer treat, but it is! Traditionally used for savory applications this rich and creamy fruit can be made into ice cream, nice-cream (more on that later!) popsicles and creamy fruit shakes.
A pear shaped fruit with alligator like skin and creamy flesh, the avocado is rich in vitamin E and K, vitamins B5 and B6, vitamin C and potassium. Avocado even has more potassium than bananas!
Seventy seven percent of the calories in avocado are from fat. Good thing it’s good fat, mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. It is rich in oleic acids, the same component that makes olive oil so healthy.
Okay, let’s talk about avocado NICE-cream as promised. Most of the nice-cream recipes we see online are made out of bananas but the inherent creaminess of avocados makes them a perfect swap for any of the ice cream cones you can get at any ol’ ice cream truck.
- To make avocado nice-cream simply take 2 ripe avocadoes, 1 ½ cup of milk, 1 cup of cream, ½ cup of sugar and blend in a blender until smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker and wait for it to set.
Papayas, with their sweet juiciness and sunshine-y color, remind us a lot of the tropics and the warm heat of the summer. Once quite exotic and referred to as the “fruit of the angels”, this fruit is now available year round.
Papayas are very nutritious fruits – they are filled with vitamin A and beta carotene (as you can see from their orange flesh), vitamin C, potassium, flavonoids and papain.
The vitamins A and C in papayas are particularly important in fighting atherosclerosis. Plaque develops through the oxidation of cholesterol and these vitamins prevent it from happening, essentially preventing atherosclerosis.
Papain, a proteolytic enzyme found in plants is particularly abundant in papayas. This enzyme has been found to reduce inflammation (by breaking down proteins that cause inflammatory responses) and is also effective in treating burns, possibly by hastening the breakdown of burnt and dead tissue, preventing infection from cell necrosis.
Get a serving of papaya by eating it by itself or with a squeeze of lime. You can also add both ripe and unripe papaya (which has even MORE papain) to salads.