A long time ago, there were 3 valleys in the Nature country. Each valley had houses of fruits. Summer valley had fruit houses of mangoes, watermelon, muskmelon, plums, Ice apple (tadgola). Monsoon valley had fruit houses of pear, apple ber, blueberries. Fruits in the Winter valley were oranges guava, papaya, pomegranate, custard apple, strawberries, sweet lime, fig, pineapple.
Nevertheless, this has become an age-old story. The industrialization has made it possible that today, all the fruit houses are present in all valleys.
Seasonal fruits come along with weather changes. The geographical distribution shows the variation of fruits in several parts of India. Right from the peaches of Himachal Pradesh, grapes of Nashik, to the mangosteen (mangostaan) of Kerala. India is the 2nd largest producer of fruits!
Thus, to cherish these blessings, let us learn more about fruits today!
The weapon for hydration and more!
Fruits can help maintain micronutrient and electrolyte balance. They are abundant in minerals and vitamins as well as soluble fiber. People usually tend to drink less water during winters. Many winter valley fruits are pulpy with good water and electrolyte content, helping us stay hydrated.
Many fruits like mango, amla, and apple have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties. Fruits show cancer-fighting properties due to the richness in the phytochemicals and flavonoids, and fiber.
The color code!
Based on the colors of the fruits we can identify the beneficial flavonoids and carotenoids present in them. These can provide us with the benefits they are there to offer.
Red color fruits like tomatoes, cherries, grapefruits, pomegranate, watermelon contain ‘Lycopene’
Yellow-Orange fruits like sweet corn, banana, oranges, lemon contain ‘Lutein’ ‘zeaxanthin’
These compounds have anti-cancerous, anti-oxidant properties, that help our body to get rid of the toxins, improve our blood quality and prevent several health problems. They prevent skin damage, bacterial growth, and unwanted inflammation in the body.
Immunity and Diseases!
The seasonal fruits of nature complement the needs we have. For instance, in these ongoing winters, Oranges come loaded with Vitamin C to help build our immunity.
Research shows fruits and vegetable consumption are inversely associated with the risk of stroke (in this particular research, they associated the benefits with consumption of apples and pear). The “trivial” triggers like gastritis, stress-induced health issues, inflammation. These lead to chronic issues like diabetes, high BP, and even cancer. Tackling these discomfort sooner will prevent them from turning into critical issues later.
- Lemon and amla (Indian gooseberry) have several health benefits right from being an antioxidant, rich in vitamins related to immunity building.
- Fruits high in iron, vitamin A, E, calcium, B complex vitamins support good skin and hair health, protect us from aging, and pigmentation. (banana, avocado, apricot, dates, grapefruit, etc)
Favor to the Gut!
The onset of stomach issues occurring right from the age of 15-30 is saddening to see. Indicating the need for proper nutrition education amongst the population. Our goal is to use these food groups to our benefit and avoid unwanted health illnesses.
Let us address these issues to fruits.
Fruits have several therapeutic benefits
Using tactics such as
- Bananas on an empty stomach help people with acidity and strengthen gut health.
- Fruits rich in fiber like guava, mango, chikoo, pomegranate, plum show relief to patients with constipation and indigestion issues.
- Better to avoid pineapple in gastric ulcers, as it contains ‘bromelain’ that might trigger the inflammation.
Fruit contains fructose, and it being a sugar, will have its repercussions. It is very important to understand our body and its needs. Fructose will impact in a similar way that sugars do. We must know the damage of over-consumption of fructose. Though fruits have numerous benefits, it does not justify replacing them with a meal!
Excess fructose increases risk factors associated with hypertension (high BP), hyperlipidemia (cholesterol issues), insulin resistance (diabetes). Yet, there is numerous evidence to prove that as long as fructose is consumed in moderate doses, fructose may not augment any risk factors.
REMEMBER: Several diseases like Hypertension, diabetes, kidney disorders do not support the consumption of certain fruits. Do consult your dietitian concerning your condition and safe food products.
The Math behind fruits!?
The very important factor to know before making changes in the diet is the Amount!
Be it any choice of diet, For instance, in Keto diet, the key is majorly to manage the proportion and quantity.
As per the fructose content,
The recommendation for fruit Intake is 2-3 fruit units per day (150-200 gm of fruit)
Some points to remember are
- WHO suggests at least a minimal intake of 500 gm of fruits and vegetables per day,
- Avoid over-ripened fruits as the fructose content rises with ripeness.
- “When life gives you a lemon, make a lemonade” don’t always take this literally!
Choose whole fruit over fruit juices, as juices have high sugars and lower fiber content.
- Bored of having whole fruits? Once in a while, including recipes like SUGAR-FREE ‘Fruit popsicles’, ‘banana/strawberry/mango shake’, ‘fruit plate/fruit salad’.
- Kitchen gardening of fruits such as lemons, tomatoes can be done.
- Fruit peels can be used as a fertilizer/manure to your house plants.
Fruit yourself today!
When we talk about having a cheat day, we often settle for refined, fried, or high sugary foods.
The word treat is only restricted to ordering calories at your fingertips!
Snacking options of Indians have evolved over the years with constant western influence. Western food choices have taken a huge space in our food choices. Right from whole wheat roti being replaced with refined flour bread, their snacking options have also secured a place in our household.
Processed ready-to-make snacks are now our convenient munching option. Whereas people have started to sideline fruits from their diets. Fruits being a carbohydrate are an instant energy source. Rich in various vitamins and minerals, fruits are beneficial for our health, additionally, the fiber content in fruits provides satiety (satisfaction).
For the nibbling before meals, evening/midnight cravings, fruits are the guilt-free option to choose!
Next time you wish to cheat,
Fruit yourself instead of a treat!
The mindful inclusion of nutritious foods in the diet, daily physical activity is conducive to our well-being.
In the end, we would like you to stay healthy! And relish nature’s gift of sweetness.