There is constant hype surrounding the next miracle producing super food and the amazing properties it contains. However, in our endless quest for the latest essential powders from across the globe, we inadvertently neglect the mundane and not so ordinary foods that we have in our own kitchens.
Whilst I use and am a fan of these brightly coloured powders and their significant benefits, the unique attributes of fruits that can be found in our fruit bowls somehow become overlooked.
As the temperature plummets and our thoughts turn to winter, here are some of the benefits of including such fruits in your diet to support your health and immune system at such a crucial time of year.
High in fibre which supports digestive health, and can prevent constipation. Pears contain pectin(which can support cholesterol reduction), potassium and are a good source of vitamin C, for immune system support.
Pears also contain antioxidants and provide a concentration of flavanoids, which, in conjunction with also eating apples, is linked to less type 2 diabetes and stroke.
Due to the high fibre levels in pears, they are classed as a low gylcemic index fruit, so the sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream providing a natural, beneficial energy boost.
Pears also make excellent constituents of salad’s, try mixing with bitter green leaves, walnuts, and a mustard, olive oil dressing.
Often overlooked due to a perceived high sugar content, the humble banana is a powerhouse of nutrients and beneficial properties.
Banana’s will provide a boost of energy from natural fructose sugar, yet the fibre contained in its flesh will donate sustained energy to avoid a blood sugar spike.
Bananas are a fantastic source of the amino acid tryptophan which is converted by the body into serotonin – the feel good neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood regulation.
Tryptophan is also important for sleep as serotonin is then converted, in the brain, to melatonin which is crucial for sleep and sleep regulation.
Banana’s are rich in vitamin B6, which helps the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin and melatonin. Banana’s provide magnesium, often referred to as natures relaxant due to its calming properties in addition to magnesium being a critical component in the synthesis of energy.
Banana’s are a great source of potassium, provide iron and vitamin C.
The somewhat exotic, dinosaur looking custard apple is currently in season and making its annual appearance in box scheme deliveries around the country.
The creamy consistency of its flesh provides a unique, deliciously sweet boost of energy and is increasingly being used as a ground flour for making cookies due to its high concentrations of nutrients. However, the seeds of the fruit are poisonous so must be avoided.
Providing vitamins A, B, C, E and K1, in addition to antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids, custard apples are also a great source of fibre.
Many minerals are contained within custard apples including magnesium, calcium which supports bone health, sodium and potassium in a well balanced ratio in addition to high levels of iron.
Natures offerings are a vital part of a balanced diet and provide a complex synergistic, nutrient dense source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Water in fruit helps keep you hydrated and the natural sugars can be a good source of energy. Eating 2 portions of fruit per day may reduce risk of disease and support a healthy, balanced diet…..Enjoy!
Reiland, H. Slavin, J. (2015). ‘Systematic review of pears and health’, Nutrition today, 50 (6): 301-305. doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000112
Young,s. Leyton, M. (2002).‘ The role of serotonin in human mood and social interaction. Insight from altered tryptophan levels’. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behaviour 71 (4): 857-865. DOI: 10.1016/S0091-3057(01)00670-0
Macchi, M. Bruce, J. (2004). ‘Human pineal physiology and functional significance of melatonin’, Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 25 (3-4): 177-195. doi.org/10.1016/j.yfrne.2004.08.001
Souza, F. et al. (2018). ‘Production of nutritious flour from the residue custard apple for the development of new products’, Journal of Food Quality 2018, 5281035: 10.