Friday, 28 June 2013

15 Things You Didn't Know About Fruits

15 Things You Didn't Know About Fruits

Watermelon beats the scorching summer heat with 95% water and its electrolytes. It wards off unwanted pesticides with its think rind and harbours enormous vitamin A, lycopene and an antioxidant - glutathione preroxidase present at the red pulpy area close to the rind. The white rind which we commonly discard as tasteless contains Citrulline, an amino acid that produces the vasodilator - nitric oxide.  The ability of citrulline to convert to L-arginine promotes heart health. It is worthy to note the edible watermelon seeds hide tryptophan, B vitamins and are relatively rich in proteins and lipids.

Cantaloupe/muskmelon is an excellent source of phytochemicals – vitamin A and C. Lesser known is it being rich in an enzymatic antioxidant known as superoxide dismutase (SOD) which is essential for maintaining strong defence with enhanced reactive oxygen species scavenging capacity to combat stress in the human body.

Kiwi fruit with vitamin C, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids from its numerous edible seeds have potential properties of a natural blood thinner. It also has a protein-dissolving enzyme actinidin that digests proteins. Skip Kiwi in desserts containing milk or dairy  as it will dissolve milk

Pomegranate an exotic fruit is an antidote for heart ailments due to its polyphenolic anti-oxidant compound - punicalagin. Pomegranate seeds are high in inflammatory fighting elagitannins, quercetin and anthocyanins. Pomegranate tea is known to lower cholesterol and reduce LDL oxidation. What you may have not known is Pomegranate rind or peel extract which is a decoction, is packed with phenolics, flavonoids and proanthocyanidines that is traditionally used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery or intestinal parasites.

Citrus fruits are synonymous to vitamin C and vitality. Well you may be allured with vitamin C loaded orange juice but ascorbic acid on exposure to light and air gets oxidized to dehydroascorbic acid, highly unstable and further breaks down to 2,3-diketo-L-gulonic acid. It is wise to eat citrus fruits whole.

Star fruit, Bilimbi or Carambola with its high vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc content is used as a cure for acne and oily skin. The extract of the fruit possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties. The scientists were awed with high total oxidizing activity or TAA of Star fruit due to proanythocyanidin compound epicatechin.

Rope in raw Papaya as meat tenderizer, as it has a powerful digestive enzyme papain/papinase that breaks down tough meat fibres. Marinating meat with chunks of raw papaya, especially the deeply pared skin yields a sumptuous and soft texture to the meat. Papain is also anti-inflammatory.  Unripe papaya in large amounts can be an effective abortant.

Amla is a powerhouse of vitamin C, harbouring 20 times more that of an Orange. Many are averse to the pungent - astringent¬ taste of Amla. The vitamin C in Amla is present in a complex form. What is intriguing is Amla retains substantial vitamin C, unlike other sources in spite of drying, powdering or even when boiled for a few minutes. Traditionally, Amla murabba ( Amla soaked in honey) was used early morning for its health benefits.

Our own berry of India – Zizyphus, commonly known as Ber or Jujuba is under-utilized. It is very high in vitamin C. The extract of boiled fruit is used medicinally as tea, to treat sore throat. Jujuboside A – a chemical found in Ber is used to treat insomnia and anxiety as the saponins of the extract mimic sedation.

Avocado, the only fruit with high fat content of 25% is high in mono-unsaturated fats. It is an antioxidant that increases the good cholesterol - HDL. The seed or pit of the Avocado is rich in nutrition and has a long history of medicinal use in traditional culture. The ground Avocado seed can be used in smoothies and other foods. The aqueous extract of the seed is known to control hyperglycemia(high blood sugar).

Pineapple, an excellent source of vitamin C is a natural digestive aid and a meat tenderizer as it contains a proteolytic enzyme - bromelain. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties and significantly alleviates symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis, gout, sore throat or inflammation due to surgery or physical injury. It also helps in fat burning and weight loss due to its thermic effect.

Guava, a powerhouse of vitamin C, protects us from cold and flu with 4 - 10 times more vitamin C than citrus fruits.. Some are dissuaded from consuming this marvellous fruit due to its seedy core.  Those may seek solace in the rind that contains exceptionally higher levels of vitamin C than the seedy central pulp.

Apples contain quercetin an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. It also has considerable amounts of pectin, a soluble dietary fibre, known to reduce blood cholesterol level, help burn body fat, improve gut flora and help in binding loose stools, typically therefore used in diarrhoea.

Grapes have garnered attention due to its polyphenol - resveratrol that promotes longevity and several antioxidants shielding cardiovascular system. Grapes contain ellagic acid. Anthocyanins, found abundantly in red grapes and Catechins, a type of flavonoid found in green varieties also have health promoting effects. Grapes seeds also offer essential fatty acids and tocopherol. 

Tamarind pulp is commonly used in Asian cuisine and Worcestershire sauce due to its pleasing sour flavor. It aids constipation due to its laxative effect and is anti-helmintic, antibacterial and hypolipidemic. The fruit may promote eye health as it moistens cornea and researchers are investigating its chemical content similar to mucin that is known to wet the eye.

Some fruits like apple, banana, when cut turn brown on exposure to air. This unappealing browning can be avoided by coating the sliced fruit with a layer of sugar, salt or lime juice.

Fruits in rainbow colors synergistically boost immunity, revive and rejuvenate health and well-being.


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