Daily Health Tips: Let’s Go Fruity!


Q: What is the health importance of APPLE FRUIT?
 
A: This reminds me of the very old cliché: ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’! Eat them raw and include them in smoothies. Same goes for bananas, mangos, oranges and carrots. Water melon and pineapples are also very nourishing and their health benefits are best experienced on an empty stomach. Blue berries, black berries and strawberries contain lots of anti-oxidants that are effective in preventing cancer. All these can be eaten on their own or added to smoothies.
 
I now reproduce below a post I had made on fruits and healthy snacking generally, with focus on fruits:
Smoothies are fruit juices extracted in a smoothie maker. ..almost like blending the fruits; the smoothie maker goes a step further by removing the pulp so that you are left with the pure fruit juice. Traditionally, yoghurts are added but be sure that be sure that they are then low fat and no-added sugar variety. To be extra sure you are not being fed ‘hidden’ sugars, you could make yours (a cup of milk to four cups of water. Leave in an airtight container overnight. You can add a little amount of ready made yoghurt – unsweetened – to this and then refrigerate).
 
These fruits and vegetables also come packed with vitamins, minerals and lots of other benefits:
 
Apples are known to be anti-cancer health promoters and also helpful in reducing blood pressure
 
Bananas help to keep hunger pangs away as they bring about a slow release of energy
 
Mangoes mop up free radicals and stimulate the immune system. (By the way, free radicals are produced by the body as part of the natural process of converting food to energy; they can also be extracted from the air and generated by the sun’s action on skin and eyes. These toxic substances can start off a domino-like chain reaction leading to malfunctioning and dead cells and ultimately, a lot of diseases in the body). I’m sure you need a breather here just to digest this 😀 Take a deeeep breath……
Oranges aid the destruction of free radicals (again) that cause skin aging
 
Carrots promote healthy skin and eyes
 
Water melon is refreshing and helps reduce blood pressure.
 
Pineapples aid digestion and help dissolve mucus
 
Blue berries, blackberries and strawberries destroy free radicals (yet again!) and slow down the signs of aging
 
Talking about smoothies, do you know you can live on a diet of raw fruits and vegetables made into smoothies for days? Okay, just before you decide on the particular (unpleasant :D) name you want to call me, perhaps starting off with a day and then graduating to three days is a better idea. Away with the face that says ‘Yuck and all manners of Eew’ . The smoothies do taste good and more importantly are good for you. You come away after three days feeling light and absolutely refreshed PLUS, you will see that tummy bulge reduce…bearing in mind that the quantum of reduction has to do with the initial size. The more the paunch (afo ukwu in Ibo or beer belly in ordinary parlance:D), the less visible the outward effect ( but the inward cleansing and detoxification is constant). Fruits and veggies like celery, beetroot, apples, pineapples, black berries, blue berries, avocado pears, pumpkin leaves (ugu), lemon (with its rind), avocado, cucumber, ginger, cucumber and carrots are some of the ingredients used in their raw state to make different smoothies for the three-day period. The vegetable, green (as known by ‘us’ Okoros) or efo tete (as known by my Yoruba peeps) can also be added to the blend. Check for these fruits and vegetables in the fruits and vegetable sections of major supermarkets. Truth is you can mix and match any of the ingredients. My favourite smoothie ‘brew’ is pineapple, water melon, bananas and some mangoes when in season. The pineapples and water melon go in the smoothie maker. Then the smoothie (fruit blend) is added to the bananas and mango pulp in the blender and it’s all whizzed up….Scrumplicious!
 
For those with a sweet tooth, you can still take a teensy weensy bit of chocolate. BUT, focus on the dark variety.
 
Lemon has vitamins and possesses cleansing properties. A slice of lemon in cold or hot water is a great energy booster. Taking a cup of warm water with a lemon slice is a great way to start the day. A slice of lemon in cold water or blended in a smoothie maker with beetroot with water added to it, is a healthy detoxifying brew for all times. Coconut water is also a good way of preventing dehydration and I have always been baffled by people who break the coconuts and pour away the water.
 
Green salads without all the fatty dressings are also great. Balsamic vinegar is better as salad dressing as it is derived from vines and rich in anti-oxidants. Be wary of the plastic packed varieties of fruit/vegetable salad hawked by fruit vendors which is really a mix of fruit and vegetables and has good intentions at the root of it. But those fruits and veggies spend so much time baking in their plastic packs in the sun such that when they are eaten, they pose more of a health hazard than benefit! Avocado pears with their heart healthy oils can be used as a spread on wheat bread sandwiches and also in salads.
 
Nuts are also a good way to snack. Almonds, cashew nuts and pistachio nuts are good examples of nuts with fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids (the good fatty acid). These nuts are available in all major supermarkets either as mixed nuts or one-nut packs. A small handful of peanuts( or groundnuts) will also not go amiss due to its high content of unsaturated fats and protein. Be sure to go for the unsalted and dry roasted varieties of all the nuts as opposed to the oil roasted ones. Walnuts are healthy and are pretty cheap when in season. They are called ukpa in Ibo and Asala or Awusa in Yoruba. In fact, there some evidence that this could boost fertility in men. You are absolutely allowed to go nutty here 😀
 
Final tip, try eating your food slowly. Make a conscious effort to chew every bite and savour every single bit of it. This gives your tummy enough time to realize that it is actually full and reduces the amount of food you eventually eat and by extension, how often you get the munchies.
 
So….no more excuses guys. On the go, at home….you’ve got healthy snacking options. Go for it.
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