Flirt with Fruit
Fruits are high in nutritive value, and should from an important part your diet, says Sohirag
Fruits are said to be the food of the gods. They are regarded as the basic essence of life and were thought to have magical properties. Fresh fruit juices and vegetables juices have potent cleansing properties.
They help the liver in its job of cleansing the body of toxins. Fruits can be easily digested and offer a pleasant break from eating calorie-laden, difficult-to- digest meals. Over-consumption of animal foods such as chicken, mutton, meats and high fat cheese makes the blood acidic. Fruits, with their alkaline nature, help to balance the over-use of such foods.
Fruits also have a natural laxative effect. They are considered ‘live’ foods because one eats them in their most natural state, without cooking. In this state, they are rich in enzymes — for example, papaya contains papain which helps to digest proteins; pineapple contains bromalain which is excellent for indigestion, gas or flatulence.
Fruits are also rich in antioxidants and bioflavinoids, which help boost immunity and delay the ageing process. Some fruits are especially known for their healing properties.
Apple: It contains pectin, which helps reduce cholesterol. Apple juice is a potent liver cleanser and is also used to remove gallstones. It has cooling effect on the body and reduces heat-related ailments like heat boils and is therefore the ideal summer drink. But pectin also has stool-binding properties which causes constipation in some people. It is therefore also useful in controlling diarrhoea.
Banana: It is rich in potassium and thus useful in reducing blood pressure. Bananas lubricate the intestines and are useful in treating ulcers. Slightly raw banana is used to treat constipation. It is an excellent fruit for the aged as it is easy to digest.
Watermelon: It is not only cooling, but is also a natural diuretic. Watermelon is very alkaline in nature; it has a soothing effect on the stomach and prevents biliousness. It is the best thirst-quencher and is beneficial for those suffering from kidney problems and urinary tract infections. Watermelon helps rehydrate the body and is low in calories and high in nutrients.
Pineapple: It contains an enzyme called bromalain, which resembles pepsin and therefore helps to digest food. Pineapple is a natural diuretic and helps prevent water retention in women. It soothes the effects of excess bile, cools the stomach and is effective in relieving abdominal pain and gas. It contains vitamin C and manganese and helps prevent the formation of blood clots. It is therefore good for people suffering from heart disease.
Cucumber: This vegetable has a very cooling effect on the body. It is rich in potassium, due to which it helps combat fatigue and muscle weakness. It is usually cut and eaten raw, but cucumber juice is also very effective in treating hyperacidity. If you have been out in the sun all day and not eaten much and are feeling faint and weak, then cucumber juice is the ideal drink as it helps quench thirst and reduce the burning sensation due to lack of food. It prevents the accumulation of uric acid and is therefore beneficial to patients suffering from gout and rheumatism. Cucumber juice is a skin cleanser and is more effective when taken along with carrot juice. To make a glass of cucumber and carrot juice, juice three cucumbers and two carrots. You could add ‘chaat’ masala and lime to enhance the taste and enjoy a real cool drink packed with vitamin C, potassium and loads of beta-carotene.
Oranges: Are synonymous with vitamin C, due to which this fruit has got a lot of good publicity. It is also fairly rich in calcium. It has a highly acceptable flavour and is a hot favourite amongst dieters. It helps prevent colds and increases immunity. It can be digested very easily and should be given to children as well.
Oranges, if eaten with the pith, help prevent constipation. Orange juice is a good source of calcium and vitamin C for children. It helps prevent gas and aids digestion.
Mango is also a good source of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. A medium-sized mango can provide the vitamin A supply for a week, and unlike vitamin C, this can be safely stored in the body.
Each fruit contains its own set of known and unknown antioxidants, which work together to protect cells against a number of diseases. Therefore, to maintain good health we should ingest a wide spectrum of fruit and vegetables every day as part of our regular diet.
- Fruit should be eaten raw in order to derive maximum nutritional benefits.
- Fruits should be chewed thoroughly before swallowing. If this is not possible, as in the case of the elderly or the sick or young children, fruits should be taken in the form of juice. The juice should be consumed immediately after extraction as it begins to decompose soon after, and loses its properties.
WATER MELON BERRY SALAD
A cool and refreshing way to serve some of your five-a-day fruits
Serves 2 to 4
- 1 watermelon, cut in half, or half a very large watermelon
- 1 apple, cut into chunks (add a few drops of lemon juice to prevent from browning)
- 1-2 cups raspberries
- 4 nectarines, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Pinch of sea salt
- Natural sweetener (such as rice or corn and barley malt)
- Scoop out the fruit from the watermelon halves, taking care to leave the skin whole.
- Cut the watermelon fruit into bite-size pieces and mix together with the rest of the fruit pieces. Add a pinch of sea salt, sweetener to taste and let it marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
- Fill the watermelon with the fruit salad and serve with your favourite custard or soya dessert.