Acerola: A Nutritious Fruit

The acerola, also known as the Barbados cherry, West Indian cherry or the wild crepe myrtle, is a tropical fruit-bearing small tree that is native to Southern Mexico, Southern America, Central America, and the West Indies.  It has glossy green leaves when mature, tiny hairs and small pink-white flowers.

acerola

Fresh, delicious acerola cherries

The cherry is often enjoyed as a sweet-sour fruit by itself.  It can be used to make nutritious acerola juice and a sweet frozen pulp.  Since the acerola is also rich in vitamin C, it is also used to make ascorbic acid concentrate for juice.  As dessert, acerola cherries can be stewed, and the remaining juice, sauce, or purée is simply drizzled as a topping over cakes, puddings, or ice cream.

More of desserts made from acerola cherries include punch and sherbet.  The acerola cherry sometimes is made into delicious jams, pies and syrups.  Its fresh juice prevents the darkening of fruits such as banana slices.  Because of its numerous health benefits, dietary supplements often use the cherry as an ingredient.

Acerola cherries are known to have an extraordinarily large amount of vitamin C.  Other health benefits come from riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A and niacin.  Juice made from acerolas sometimes have many times more vitamin C than orange juice.  Vitamins C helps repair tissues, and prevents cancer and heart disease. Vitamin A is good for improving vision.  Acerola also has a high amount of potassium, which benefits our heart and maintains blood pressure, and folate is essential for the making of new cells and for heart health.

Blood Oranges and Their Various Health Benefits

Apart from being delicious, blood oranges contain vitamins C, A, calcium and folic acid, in addition to various other health-boosting compounds.  In this article, I’ll examine vitamin C and folic acid as well as various other nutrients, from which the main health benefits of blood oranges derive.

blood orange

Blood oranges not only have a distinctive taste but provide various health benefits.

Like other citrus fruits, blood oranges are a great source of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid.  Since the human body does not provide vitamin C, it must intake vitamin C from food.  Vitamin  C can repair tissues in your body, ensure healthy gums and help in healing wounds.  The recommended amount of intake of vitamin C each day can be met by eating 2 blood oranges.

Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is another reason people will want to eat blood oranges.  Folic acid has been studied to show that it can help fight against heart disease or types of cancer.  Experts also say that it helps lower blood vessels.  Although 2 blood oranges are more than enough to provide your daily intake of vitamin C,  it is not enough to provide enough folic acid.  You’ll have to eat other foods as sources, or you might have to eat several of these oranges.

Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth.  Since bones are important to the body, your body should intake a good amount of calcium.  Blood oranges include some of this mineral, and therefore provide health benefits deriving from calcium.

Blood oranges also provide vitamin A, which help in keeping tissues in the body healthy.  An example of one of these tissues is the retina.  It also helps maintain skin health and benefits the development of teeth and other tissues.

The red pigment of the blood orange comes from anthocyanins.  Experts claim that anthocyanins help prevent diabetes, cancer, heart disease and infections.  They are also believed to benefit diseases that come from old age, and reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body.

Blood Oranges: A Unique Flavor

Blood oranges are a type of orange usually with tough and pitted skin, and blood-red flesh.  According to experts, they were first cultivated in China and the Mediterranean.  A blood orange’s characteristic crimson color forms as the fruit develops in cool temperatures in the night.  This unique orange is also delicious in taste, and distinctly different from the typical oranges we see in the supermarket.  When ripe, it tastes sweet and mellow, and some people even feel it has hints of raspberry and strawberry.

blood orange

The distinct blood orange.

People often use blood oranges to garnish their dishes.  The distinct color can make a salad beautiful and darken orange juice made from them to a deep, appealing red.  Slices are often used to make sweet foods such as desserts and drinks, though can be used for other savory foods.  Blood oranges give citrus tarts or pastries a radiant color, and can be used to garnish vanilla ice cream and even find its way as an ingredient in fruit salsa.

Many recipes include blood oranges, such as a blood orange-flavored sherbet or fruit punch.  Though they are known as having a raspberry taste,some think there is not much difference in the taste between regular oranges and blood oranges, so regular oranges are sometimes used as a substitute their relatives.

The blood orange gets its unique color from red pigment called anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant.  just like other citrus fruits, it’s a good source of vitamin C.  And average blood orange has about 28% of the recommended daily fiber intake.  They also provide thiamin, folate and  calcium.

 

Avocados and their Health Benefits

Avocado

A delicious avocado.

The avocado is a tree that comes from Central Mexico.  Its fruit, called the avocado or alligator fruit, is a large berry with a single seed.  The dark green skinned fruit is usually pear-shaped, egg-shaped or spherical, with a soft, sometimes even creamy inside.

Avocados make excellent vegetarian dishes, as they can substitute for meat in salads or sandwiches because of their fat content.  Avocados are used as a filling in some types of sushi, and are made into a Mexican dip called guacamole.  They are also eaten as spread on toast.  In the Philippines, a dessert drink is made from pureed avocado mixed with milk and sugar.  In Brazil and Vietnam, this fruit is frequently added to milkshakes, and even to ice cream.

The avocado has a high fat content, but it is monounsaturated fat which is considered good for your body. It lowers the amount of bad cholesterol in your body and raises the amount of good cholesterol.  Avocados are rich in potassium and are full of vitamins E, B, and K.  They also help absorb carotenoids such as lycopene and beta carotene which are essential to heart health.

Delicious Papaya Recipes

The papaya, or papaw, is a delicious, succulent orange fruit that grows deep in the lush tropical forests of the Americas. With a thin yellow-green rind, inside the fruit is a rich and creamy orange, with a delicately sweet taste and round black seeds.

papayas

The papayas creamy flesh can be used in salads, juices,pies, and cakes.

In the Western world, where the fruit has been widely embraced, papaya is treated like any other fruit. Its diced cubes can be used in fruit salads, or eaten by themselves. It is a common ingredient in papaya juice and smoothies, especially those with a tropical theme. The papaya even finds uses in fruit trifles, cakes, and even papaya pies.

However, in the Americas, the ancestral homeland of the papaya, and in Southeastern Asia, where the papaya is now commonly cultivated, the indigenous people have found a multitude of ways to eat the fruit, many of which may seem foreign or strange to the typical American ear. Used to considering papaya as only a sweet fruit to be eaten in desserts or snacks, the papaya actually has a significant culinary role in dishes such as curries and stews. A traditional Southeastern Asia dish that can be easily made at home is a simple papaya curry, with tropical flavors areas such as coconut, chilies, and cilantro. The green papaya is diced, cooked with coconut oil for fragrance, and then mashed and watered down to form a delicious curry paste.

Another recipe popular in Central America today is papaya stew. This recipe goes against our cultural perception of the papaya as a sweet fruit—it pairs up the green fruit with flavors like jalapeño and chilies, but also meats, something unconventional from our cultural perspective. The unripe papaya, when simmered, lends a unique thickness and fragrance to the stew that pairs up well with the other flavors. A dash of cocoa, a typical staple in areas like Costa Rica, completes this aromatic dish.

The papaya is a very versatile fruit, and though it has mainly been used a delicious and juicy fruit, it can also lend its flavor and texture to dishes like curries and stews. Keep an open mindset, and when papaya season rolls around again, maybe try making some new dishes. You never know what culinary wonders might lay in store when you view a fruit from a whole new cultural perspective.

Lychee: Health Benefits

The lychee, or “litchi,” is a delicious exotic fruit popular throughout China and other Asian countries. With a thin, bumpy pink peel and a pearly white flesh, the fruit has a delicately milky and sweet taste. However, the lychee also has a multitude of proven health benefits. The fruit contains very low levels of potentially harmful compounds such as unsaturated fats, and with its delicious taste, it is a safe and healthy snack. But what else can it do?

lychees

A lychee’s pearly white inside has a delicious, delicate sweet taste.

First off, the lychee has high levels of vitamin C, an excellent health benefit it provides—over 72 mg per 100 grams of lychee, and the daily requirement for humans is only 100 mg. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that keeps your body in balance. Vitamin C is essential to healthy living but also gives your immune system an extra boost, helping fight off harmful chemicals such as foreign pathogens and free radicals, which can cause cancer. A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology showed that with its high levels of antioxidants, consumption of the lychee fruit could reduce the formation and progression of breast cancer, a problem that is becoming increasingly important in modern society.

The lychee also contains good amounts of essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium—each serving of lychee contains at least 10 mg of magnesium, 31 mg of phosphorus, and 5 mg of calcium. These three minerals are necessary for bone growth, so lychee can be an excellent snack for growing children. However, if you are past the stage of growth, these three minerals can also help you maintain and replenish bone health.

Lychee is just a great fruit overall if you’re looking to feel better about yourself and your body. As a mild digestive and diuretic, some lychee after each meal can aid your digestive processes and lead to a more balanced and better you. As a rich source of fiber and carbohydrates, a serving of lychee can help regulate your digestive system and give you a healthy boost of energy, leaving you feeling awake and ready for whatever may come. As a juicy and delicious fruit as well, eating a serving of lychee anytime in your day will result in a happier and healthier person.

How To Eat Starfruit

Starfruit is a delicious and exotic tropical fruit found in Southeastern Asia. With a rich yellow color and hints of green, the most unique part of this fruit is the shape for which it was named: when cut horizontally into cross sections, the slices form perfect stars. Star fruit has a tangy and sweet taste when ripe, and is also a great source of Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, an important antioxidant that fights off the harmful compounds called free radicals and gives your immune system an extra boost.

starfruits

When cut apart, this unique fruit produces star-shaped slices.

However, eating star fruit may be intimidating at first, as it is not a very common food in the western world. The ripest star fruit will be bright yellow all over, with a few splashes of green—which is common. Don’t be put off by brown streaks on the flesh, as this is normal in star fruits, but be careful of them, as too many brown spots or streaks and no green could mean that the star fruit is overripe.

Now for starfruit preparation!  Of course, the first thing to do once you’ve picked a good star fruit is to wash it thoroughly as you would with any fruit. Next, take a sharp, thin knife and shear off the tips of each ridge that sticks out from the fruit. If you have picked a good fruit, this should get rid of most of the green or brown. Next, slice off the two tips of the oblong star fruit and discard them. By now there should be no more green or brown left on the fruit.

Now you can just put the starfruit down and slice it into cross-sections, which should be shaped like stars. You may notice a small dark pit or seed in a few of these pieces. With the knife, peel these seeds out and discard them. The slices can be cut thick or thin, as with any other fruit. The sweet and distinct flavor of starfruit can be played with, and you can put slices of star fruit in fruit salad, smoothies, a juice drink, yogurt, or just eat them plain, as they are a delicious fruit after all.

Passion Fruit: Health Benefits and Nutrition

The passion fruit is a fruit that may look nondescript at first, as a small, round, egg-sized fruit with a dark purple skin. However, when cut open, it is filled with golden pulp and black seeds that give it an exotic appearance. Not only does it make a delicious jam or jelly with a crunchy texture from the seeds, the passion fruit also provides a plethora of health benefits to keep the human body in optimal shape.

passion fruits

These delicious fruits can even help reduce stress.

The passion fruit has been traditionally used by the natives of the South American region where it originated to calm and relax. The somniferous properties of the passion fruit make it so that it decreases tension and stress in times of high nervous pressure. The natural properties of the passion fruit can also help decrease cholesterol and high blood pressure, both common symptoms of the rushed lifestyle that so many people lead.

The passion fruit has also been known to contain very high levels of essential vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants, which fight free radicals, harmful toxins and compounds that can cause cancerous growths throughout the body. These helpful vitamins and minerals include the likes of vitamin A, which can maintain and improve eyesight, vitamin C, which gives the white blood cells of the immune system an extra helpful boost, and potassium, which helps protect the body from strokes. Along with defending the body from disease, though, passion fruit also contains a high amount of dietary fiber, which helps keep the digestive system in order and maintains healthy bowel movement. The crunchy seeds from just a few passion fruits contain enough fiber to regulate the digestion of other foods.

Last but not least, passion fruit can improve the quality of anyone’s daily life. Obesity is becoming increasingly common in modern society, and passion fruit is successful in reducing weight. With high levels of essential sucrose and fructose, this delicious fruit can also provide an energy boost to whoever is eating it, helping them get through the day. The modern lifestyle often leaves people feeling drained, sluggish, and with a multitude of health problems, but a regular daily intake of passion fruit can boost the immune system, fight off free radicals, regulate digestion, help you shed a few extra pounds, and improve life for whoever is willing to try this exotic fruit.

Papaya: Health Benefits and Nutrition

Papayas are fleshy orange fruits native to the South America region. You might know them for their faintly sweet flesh, or its prevalence in the jellies, sauces, and curries of Southeast Asia. However, the papaya is more than a delicious snack. It has a multitude of health benefits for the bodies of the average citizen.

Most notable among these health benefits is what the papaya can do for your skin. It is rich in antioxidants, which are powerful compounds that fight against the free radicals in your body, harmful and toxic agents which, if they build up, can cause cancerous growth or disease. Vitamin C, carotene, and flavonoids—all powerful antioxidants that can reverse the degeneration of skin as it ages. Additionally, this exotic fruit can have a revitalizing effect on skin that has been damaged by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays. Recently, papaya—along with the multitude of essential vitamins and enzymes contained in its flesh—has become a popular ingredient in skin products, such as moisturizing lotions and creams, for its healing properties.

The papaya also contains compounds which can be helpful for digestion. In addition to containing an extraordinarily high level of dietary fiber, which is necessary to the colon for proper digestion and bowel movement, the flesh of the papaya is also home to enzymes called papain and chymopapain which aid digestion by breaking down ingested proteins into their fundamental amino acids. The vitamins and minerals in the papaya can also increase one’s immune health. With high amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin which improves the overall health of white blood cells, eating papaya on a regular basis can help boost the strength of your immune system. With the high levels of vitamin A and vitamin E as well, papayas are great for heart health, since these antioxidants target the oxidation of cholesterol in the main arteries of your body and ultimately prevent against stroke or heart disease. Additionally, healthy amounts of folic acid help convert homocysteine into the more benign cysteine and methionine, thereby preventing damage to blood vessel walls.

With healthy servings of essential vitamins and minerals as well as a boost in immune health and digestive aid, papayas are a perfect snack whenever anyone’s feeling run down or under the weather. On top of the plethora of health benefits this exotic fruit can offer, it is also delicious and growing more popular every day.

Jackfruit: Health Benefits and Nutrition

The jackfruit is a fruit native to the thick tropical jungles of southern Asia, in the Bangladesh and Sri Lanka region. It has a prickly, light green exterior, which can be sliced open to reveal a thick yellow fruit. It is delicious and sweet when ripe, and is served up as a sweetmeat in many Asian countries. However, the jackfruit not only provides a tasty snack, it also can do wonders for the human body.

jackfruit

This fruit, not to be confused with breadfruit, provides wondrous boosts for your body.

First off, jackfruit has a multitude of the essential vitamins and minerals that are needed to keep the human body in prime condition. It contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, and many others. These vitamins and minerals can improve the health of your bones, blood, digestive system, and immune system, and after eating a few servings of delicious jackfruit, you will start feeling the effects already.

One of jackfruit’s main benefits to the human body is improving the body’s ability to fight disease by strengthening the immune system. With its extraordinarily high concentration of vitamin C, it can provide a boost for your immune system and your white blood cells, which fight against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful pathogens that may enter your body. But the nutrients of the jackfruit are also useful against deadlier opponents—studies have shown that a sustained intake of jackfruit will increase the body’s ability to fight against cancer, through high levels of antioxidants which fight free radicals, harmful compounds which can cause cancerous growths

Apart from the boost to your immune system, the jackfruit also contains healthy amounts of fiber, which aid in healthy digestion and bowel movements. Vitamins in the fruit can also help rebuild and revitalize aging and sagging skin, most notably the soft skin surrounding the eyes. These essential vitamins, especially vitamin A, can reverse signs of aging in the face and the vision, such as night blindness and other degenerative diseases. Simple sugars present in the fruit, like fructose and sucrose, can also help give the recipient a boost of extra energy for the day; combined with the healthiness of the dietary fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants, the jackfruit is an extremely delicious fruit which can work wonders for your body and your appearance.