Thursday, January 13, 2011

Power Fruits - Part 1

More than half of Americans don’t eat enough fruit. (As a fruit lover, I can say with certainty that I am not in the 60 percent). But many people do find it hard to have the recommended amount of two to three cups of fruit per day.

Eating fresh fruit will deliver the best nutritional value compared to many fruit products that claim “made with real fruit.” These so called fruit products such as: pop tarts, fruit juice, sorbet, fruit leather, chocolate-covered fruit, fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, and even dried fruit have added sugars and calories and can skimp on other nutritional values when compared to the fruit in its pure form. Fresh fruit, canned and frozen fruits that don’t have any added sugars or syrups offer the best nutrients. Keeping a variety of fruit is best since each kind offers different benefits.

See below for descriptions of the powerful benefits of fruit. For those of you who find it too hard to have a fresh piece of fruit, I have included some fun recipes that go along with each fruit.

Pomegranates are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and have cancer-fighting antioxidants, specifically polyphenols. One glass of pomegranate juice has the same polyphenol content as two glasses of red wine, four glasses of cranberry juice, or 10 cups of green tea. 

Apples contain an ample dose of fiber (two-thirds of which is in the peel), some potassium, and a modest amount of vitamin C. Eating apples regularly reduces the risk of stroke and chances of dying from a heart attack. Studies have shown that apple’s antioxidant flavonoids and fiber can help lower cholesterol & that apples are the best fruit source of catechins (cancer preventive substances). An apple a day CAN keep the doctor away!

Cranberries have moderate levels of vitamin C, dietary fiber as well as other micronutrients. Cranberries are also a good source of polyphenol antioxidants, which can help reduce cholesterol. Drinking 100% concentrate cranberry juice can help fight bladder infections by preventing harmful bacteria from growing. Cranberry juice can also prevent bacteria from adhering to teeth.   

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