Friday, June 17, 2011

Eat only seasonal fruits and fresh vegetables

Topics covered in the article
  • The benefits of fruits
  • Summer fruits and their benefits
The scorching summer heat not only drains our body of energy but also depletes it of certain vital nutrients. Fruits, if included daily in our diet, will help our bodies deal with this summer assault and help keep many diseases at bay. Sadly, with so many varieties of junk food and ready-to-eat food available, fruits are losing their place in our always-on-the-run lifestyle today.
Fruits in general are good for health in many ways: they are good for the immune system, digestion, skin, hair, eyes, heart and blood circulation. They are also good for nervous and respiratory systems. The benefits go on and on. It would be a nice idea to fill yourself up with fruits this summer. After all, summer isn't that bad when you come to think of all the fruits you can find this season. Here are some trivia about summer fruits in India, their health benefits and things you can do with them.
Mango: All fruits will be sidelined when the king comes calling. Yes, the mango season is here! What is an Indian summer without mangoes, anyway? The king of fruits is loaded with nutritional benefits apart from its heavenly taste. It contains high levels of dietary fibers, beta-carotene and Vitamin C. It is rich in pectin which is helpful in lowering cholesterol levels, especially Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol). Mango is also found to be rich in iron, potassium and nicotinic acid. It is believed to be highly beneficial in improving vision and protecting against liver disorders; it tones the heart, improves complexion and helps combat skin problems. It also serves as an excellent antioxidant by aiding in speedy recovery from various ailments. The same property also helps in protection against cancer.
Mango is a warm-temperament fruit and makes for an excellent combination with milk. Enjoy your mango as a chilled mango milk shake and you will definitely love it!
Watermelon: A slice of watermelon feels like a god-sent gift in this scorching heat. The one thing you probably cannot resist in summer is a cool, red, juicy slice of watermelon. Watermelons have high water content and taste sweet and juicy. Apart from its cooling effect, watermelon is used in the treatment of urinary infections (kidney & bladder problems), hepatic congestion and intestinal disturbances. It is rich in Vitamins A, B and C and is good for preventing high blood pressure.
fMake yourself a tall glass of fresh watermelon juice at noon or in the afternoon. It restores the dehydrated water content of the body.
If you want to remove ugly blemishes on your skin, watermelon juice is your best friend this season. Juice from a small slice of watermelon can be extracted and applied over your face and neck. After it dries, splash your face and neck with cold water to close the open pores on your skin.
Orange: The refreshing smell of an orange alone is enough to rejuvenate your senses. Orange counters the harmful effects of meat consumption. It also helps fight against aging and has valuable benefits when consumed if afflicted by typhoid fever and other diseases like scurvy, rickets and pellagra. Orange is known to prevent putrefaction and auto-intoxication in the digestive system. It contains Beta-carotene, which is a powerful anti-oxidant, guarding the health of our cells.
Oranges also fulfill our requirement for potassium, which helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and electrolyte balance in cells. Orange peel in dried form can be an excellent exfoliate for the skin. Apply a face pack made with orange peels for that cooling effect and glow you always wanted to see during summers.
Muskmelon: Muskmelon is a thirst quencher, diuretic and refresher. Muskmelon isn't just a cool and delicious combatant against the heat, it is also packed with many nutrients. Muskmelons are high in water content and are relatively low in calories. Due to their high water content and combination with potassium (a mineral that helps control blood pressure), muskmelons are helpful in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. They are a good source of the antioxidant vitamins A and C that protect you from many diseases. Muskmelons contain good amounts of dietary fibers, making them good for those suffering from constipation. They are relished due to their sweet and juicy flavor. A glass of muskmelon juice will be definitely be a savior in this scorching heat!
Litchi: Delicious and juicy Lychees or "Litchis" herald the onset of summer. The fruit has a sweet, fragrant flavor and is delicious to savor. Fresh litchi is enjoyed best without any additions. Litchi slices can be a great addition to fruit salads and dressings and can also be added to jellies, sauces and syrups. Litchi juice can be a refreshing drink during summer. Litchi, like citrus fruits, is an excellent source of vitamin C which helps the body developl resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. It also contains good amounts of minerals like potassium and copper. Potassium offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases while copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Litchis are a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and folates. These vitamins are essential since they function as co-factors to help the body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Tender coconut: Nothing quenches our thirst like coconut water does, especially when we are feeling drained of energy in summer. This juicy water is also popular for its health benefits. This clear, sweet, sterile, wonder liquid is composed of chemicals such as sugars, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, cytokines and phyto-hormones, which helps replenish hydration levels in the body. Research studies suggest that cytokinins in coconut water could have anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic effects. Despite very light consistency, its water has a higher concentration of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc as compared to fruits like oranges. Coconut water can be enjoyed without additions and tastes great chilled or with ice. Fresh coconut water can also be made into a special drink by adding lemon slices, mint leaves, orange zest, etc.
The gel-like meat (kernel) in the young tender coconuts is very sweet and delicious and can be relished as such.
Go ahead and enjoy this summer with these delicious seasonal fruits and satisfy your sweet tooth, at the same time gaining maximum nutritional benefits from them. Try fresh fruit salads with some flavored low-fat yoghurt for variety. Relish a glass of fresh fruit juice to satisfy thirst and prevent dehydration in summer days. It is so much better than preserved fruit juices which contain preservatives and added sugar. Why settle for processed items when the natural variants are so widely available this season?

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