A Fruitful Diet: The Many Benefits of Fresh Citrus & Fruit

April 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Cooking, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition

Fresh Fruits are Recommended for a Daily Healthy Diet

Fresh Fruits are Recommended for a Daily Healthy Diet

Looking for something to turn back your internal clock by increasing your vitality and improving your appearance?

Of course there’s no Fountain of Youth, but research suggests that nature has provided us with an answer that comes very close — fruit. It almost seems too simple: Eat fruit; fool Mother Nature.

Yet studies show that by eating four to five servings of fruit each day, you can improve your chances of staying healthy and vibrant as you age. That’s because fruit is loaded with phytochemicals, which are natural compounds that may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of many diseases.

Phytochemicals fight to protect your overall health by providing antioxidant effects, stimulating your immune system, modulating the metabolism of your hormones, and acting as antibacterial and antiviral agents. Get too few of these marvelous compounds and you set yourself up for premature aging, as well as placing yourself at risk for some cancers, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cataracts, osteoporosis and urinary tract infections. But if you eat the recommended amount of fruit each day, you improve your odds for a healthier life.

If you think “eat more fruit” means you should just have another slice of strawberry pie, it’s time to explore the variety of offerings Mother Nature has provided in her fruit basket:

* APPLES

Granny Smith, Jonathan, Macintosh, Red Delicious — there are many different varieties of apples. Whether you like them tart or sweet, apples are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. (One medium apple has 5 grams of fiber.)

* APRICOTS

Apricots are “stone-fruit” and are related to the plum and peach. Buy apricots that are orange-yellow — that indicates ripeness. They spoil quickly so if you don’t eat them right away, freeze them for later. Apricots contain vitamin A, which you need for healthy skin and to protect against infections.

* BANANAS

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins C and B6. Store bananas at room temperature, never in the refrigerator. (The cold makes the fruit decay from the inside.)

* BLUEBERRIES

Blueberries have more antioxidant power than any other fruit or vegetable, giving them remarkable anti-aging potential. Research suggests that blueberries protect against the effects of age-related deterioration of the brain, such as short-term memory loss. Blueberries are also a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

* CANTALOUPE

Cantaloupe is high in vitamins C and A and a good source of potassium and folate. Folate is linked to the prevention of birth defects (such as spina bifida), heart attacks, stroke and colorectal cancer.

* CHERRIES

Cherries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

* DATES

Don’t mistake dates for dried fruit — they’re not, even though you’re likely to find them in the dried fruit section at the supermarket. Sometimes known as “the candy that grows on trees,” dates are a good source of fiber.

* GRAPEFRUIT

Grapefruit is high in fiber and vitamin C, and a good source of vitamin A. Just one-half a grapefruit counts as one serving of the recommended four to five servings of fruit per day.

* GRAPES

Grapes are not only high in vitamin C, they contain the phytonutrient “reservatrol,” which is known for its potent antioxidant properties, as well as providing protection against cancer and heart disease.

* KIWIFRUIT

Kiwifruit may look a little funny — it’s brown and fuzzy on the outside; bright green on the inside with tiny black seeds — but it’s high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber, vitamin E and potassium. You’ll know kiwifruit is ripe when it’s slightly soft to the touch and has a fragrant smell.

* MANGOES

This tropical fruit has a flavor that’s often described as tasting like oranges, peaches and pineapples all in one. You’ll know you have a ripe, delicious mango when you can detect a pleasant scent of pine and peach from the stem (no fragrant aroma usually means no flavor). Mangoes are high in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C.

* ORANGES

Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the world, with navel oranges and Valencia oranges the two most common varieties. One orange contains all the vitamin C your body needs for the day.

* PAPAYAS

Papayas are a tropical fruit that are rated as one of the most nutritious. They’re high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber and folate. As an additional treat, the black seeds found inside a papaya are edible and have a spicy, pepper-like flavor.

* PEACHES

Ever wonder why peaches smell so great? The peach is a member of the rose family and has a similar sweet fragrance when ripe. Peaches are a good source of vitamin C.

* PEARS

There are more than 3000 varieties of pears; Bartlett being the most popular. Pears ripen better off the tree, so ripen your pears in a brown paper bag at room temperature. Pears are a good source of vitamin C and fiber.

* PINEAPPLE

When selecting a fresh pineapple don’t look for shell color — that’s no indication of ripeness. (A green pineapple can be just as ripe and sweet as a pineapple with a golden shell.) Look for a pineapple that has a fresh appearance with deep green leaves, and remember to refrigerate it when you get home to preserve freshness. Pineapple is high in vitamin C.

* PRUNES

Prunes are actually dried French plums, and just eight of them make one serving of fruit for the day. Eat them right out of the bag for a healthy snack — they’re high in fiber and a good source of vitamin A.

* TANGERINES

One of the most distinctive features of tangerines is that when they are peeled, the segments of fruit separate easily, making them an excellent snack food for kids! Tangerines are high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber.

* WATERMELON

Whether seedless or full of seeds, watermelons are high in vitamins C and A.

Remember that whole, fresh fruit is better than canned fruit or fruit juices, but any fruit is better than no fruit. It’s a sweet treat or an excellent side dish or dessert, comes in its own easy-to-open packaging, and best of all, can provide your body with unsurpassed health benefits.

Visit MyOnlineHealthArticles.com for a vitamin C fact sheet and many other natural health articles.

Fat Burning Foods – The Truth Behind Grapefruit and Citrus Fruits

grapefruit1According to an array of research and studies, many citrus foods-specifically grapefruit-help the body to burn fat. For example, the Nutrition and Medical Research Center at Scripps Clinic in San Diego initiated research and studies that prove how the simple consumption of grapefruit or grapefruit juice led to a significant loss in body fat and weight. While a fad-diet from the 1980s, titled the “grapefruit diet,” may have been the first source of the grapefruit fat burning rumors, experts and scientists are uncovering new information that supports the fruit’s powerful effects!

The Fat Burning Benefits of Grapefruit

Whether you drink a simple glass of pure grapefruit juice, or if you enjoy the fruit in its whole form, consumers of grapefruit experience significant fat burning benefits. In examining a clinical study of this fruit, leading researcher Dr. Fujioka created a trial wherein 100 obese individuals were monitored as some participants consumed grapefruit while others did not. While engaging in this trial, participants did not make any changes to their diet or exercise habits, other than those who were required to add a daily serving of grapefruit. Dr. Fujioka broke the participants into three groups, and studied their fat burning processes by implementing specific grapefruit requirements:

  • The first group did not consume any grapefruit
  • The second group ate half of a grapefruit before each meal, three times each day
  • The third group drank grapefruit juice before each meal, three times each day.

According to Dr. Fujioka’s results and reports, the two groups who consumed grapefruit before each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds over the course of 12 weeks! When comparing this to the group abstaining from grapefruit, the non-citrus eaters only lost an average of half of a pound during the 12 weeks.

Additional Benefits of Grapefruit

While grapefruit has been proven to work as a fat burning food, consumers of grapefruit will also experience additional health benefits. According to Dr. Fujioka’s study, individuals who consumed his allotted amounts of grapefruit each day also experienced decreased levels of insulin, which is a hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism, energy, and blood sugar levels. An excess of insulin can actually lead to serious illnesses, such as diabetes; therefore, a steady diet of grapefruit can actually prevent the development of this health disorder.

When examining how grapefruit provides consumers with fat burning and health benefits, some suggest that the lower insulin levels are the main catalyst for enhanced fat burning abilities. Essentially, as grapefruit stabilizes energy levels and insulin levels, the body is able to maintain a more stable energy state. Oftentimes when faced with an energy crash or feelings of fatigue, the body will jump into a hunger-mode, as the body will seek out sugary and unhealthy foods to receive an immediate and fast energy boost. When engaging in these habits, individuals are choosing foods that lead to weight gain. In contrast, when individuals experience more stable blood sugar levels, the body is able to regulate its energy, burning up fat cells in order to invigorate and boost the body.

Additional Citrus Fat Burning Foods

While grapefruit has been the most researched and verified fat burning citrus product, some studies indicate that other citrus foods can also lead to fat burning effects. For example, lemon and oranges may also promote enhanced fat burning processes; however, these fruits are less clinically supported than the powerful grapefruit benefits. When choosing to incorporate grapefruit into your diet, enjoy the whole fruit or purchase a juice with no additives, sugars, or concentrates. Fresh squeezed and all natural grapefruit will deliver the greatest fat burning benefits.

John Hartie is a recognised authority on fat burning foods, his website, http://www.bestfatburningfood.com provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on everything you will need to know about fat burning foods.

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