Health

‘A-List’ fruits for better health

There’s something important you’re not doing - and you’re far from alone in your neglect, because most of us are every bit as lax as you are on this score

Too many of us aren’t filling the recommended half of their plates with fruit and vegetables, and if you’re part of this crowd it’s something you’ll need to address, because your diet is likely deficient in the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals your body needs for optimum health

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, NMTBP’s lowdown of fruit might just put him out of business

Here are our top eight fruit A-listers

Apples

One medium-sized apple is a filling, ready-to-eat snack that is packed with four grams of soluble fibre - 17% of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). This is important for colon health and controlling blood sugar levels. It’s also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C. Apples also contain quercetin, which has antihistamine and anti allergy properties

Grapes

Research has shown that consuming high-glycemic carbs after workouts produces a greater amount of glycogen, replenishing what you’ve depleted after a hard session. Grapes are a very high-glycemic fruit which makes them an ideal post-training snack

They’re also loaded with vitamins A, C, and B6, and folate, in addition to several essential minerals

Cherries

Many experts hold that inflammation in the body is the root cause of most disease and discomfort. Chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on your vascular system, as can acute inflammation caused by a lifetime of sports injuries

Studies suggest that you can ease your aches and pains by eating tart cherries. These have the highest concentration of anthocyanins 1 and 2, which help block enzymes associated with inflammation

Pomegranates

If you’ve ever suffered from erectile dysfunction, try adding this ‘natural Viagra’ to your daily diet.

Research shows that the powerful antioxidant agents in pomegranate seeds and juice can help reverse oxidative damage - what nutritionists call ‘natural rusting’ - to the vascular system, which plays a major role in the ability to achieve and maintain erections

Perhaps this is why some theologians believe the pomegranate - and not the apple - was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden!

Blackberries

Blackberries have exceptional phytonutrient power and vitamin K content (36% of the RDA)

This is important for men because it’s been shown to help lower risk of prostate cancer. Blackberries are also high in the mineral manganese, which helps support optimal testosterone production

Blackberries - along with blueberries, bilberries, and raspberries - are also rich in the antioxidant lutein, which helps promote eye health by helping prevent macular degeneration

Grapefruit

The famous Scripps Clinic ‘Grapefruit Diet’ study showed that participants who ate half a grapefruit before each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds in 12 weeks

Grapefruit is undoubtedly a great appetite suppressant, but they also contains pectin, a soluble fibre that’s been shown to slow the progression of atherosclerosis

Be careful about eating grapefruit when taking prescriptions or over-the-counter medications, though. It interacts with liver enzymes in a way that can keep the medication in your system longer than expected

Lemons

The citric acid in lemons helps break down lipids and stimulates digestive juices. Adding the juice of half a lemon to a glass of water every morning supports liver and gall bladder function

Try drinking some fresh lemon juice before your next important meeting. The energizing scent has been shown to mitigate fatigue, anxiety, and nervousness, and can increase concentration and alertness

Papaya

Papain, an enzyme in papaya, has been shown to relieve gas from indigestion. Another of its enzymes, chymopapain, has been used to relieve inflammation. One cup of fresh, ripe papaya has only 60 calories, yet packs a whopping 144% of the RDA of vitamin C. When buying papayas, look for ones that are mostly yellow and yield slightly to pressure

And 3 (almost) unheard of exotic Superfruits

Camu-Camu

These purple-skinned berries from the Amazonian rain forest of Peru have a higher naturally occurring concentration of vitamin C than any other food. The fruit generates vitamin C as a self-defense mechanism to ward off yeasts, moulds, and bacteria. That antioxidant power energizes your immune system, fights off free radicals, prevents disease, and can even lift your mood

Amla

Also known as Indian gooseberry, Amla has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for 10,000 years to treat ailments from bed wetting to heart disease. It’s a potent antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial agent, but it also helps lower inflammation, bad cholesterol, and triglyceride levels

Baobab

This sacred ‘Tree of Life’ fruit, grown wild in Africa, requires virtually no processing

The pink-orange powder inside its bulbs contains eight essential amino acids, very high levels of fibre (including pectin), and triple the antioxidant agents found in blueberries

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