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The Wellness Column By Anchan Vegetarian

The multiple uses of fruits

“Eat your veggies, eat your fruits” is what my grandmother always used to say to me on a daily basis. She believed in their benefits with an unyielding force, nearly a force of nature, not unlike herself.
But was she right? Over the next few weeks we will take a look at the health benefits of fruits and their multiple uses in our everyday lives from food to medicine and to cosmetics.

Fruit is an abundant resource in Thailand, available all year round and nearly at every street corner, so there is really no excuse not to enjoy this natural treasure in its many forms and varying numbers of nutritional health benefits. Whether you decide to eat it raw, in a salad or smoothie, mixed with yoghurt or plain juiced, in combination with veggies and other health foods or not, fruit is always good for you. They are rich in vitamins, fiber, anti-oxidants and minerals.

Let’s take a look at a selection of products that deservedly get a place in the top 50 healthiest fruits worldwide. I mention them here in no specific order, as different people need different nutritional additions; preferably you will eat healthy portions of all of these fruits and others on a daily basis, the best way to achieve optimal benefits.

Mangosteen is a seasonal favorite of mine and featured in this category because of its tricky nutritional constitution. The white flesh which is ever so tasty has no specific nutritional benefits, yet the astringent purple rind does. So in order to extract the benefits of this fruit you need to incorporate the soft inside rind (not the hard outer shell) in a smoothie or juice. It also has a folkloristic use in traditional SE Asian medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent mainly used for skin infections.
Lychee is low in calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. This ideal fruit for weight loss purposes also has a high content of vitamin B complex and vitamin C, as well as minerals. Furthermore one of the polyphenols contained in the fruit has recently been researched and shows very promising anti-oxidant as well as anti-influenza viral functions.

Papaya is packed with numerous health benefiting nutrients. This fruit should be one of your favorites as it is packed with nutritional, digestive, and medicinal properties. Not only is it an excellent source of fiber, it contains very high amounts of vitamin A, B, C and flavonoids; essential nutrients for the basic bodily functions. Papaya has been proven to be a natural remedy for many ailments. In traditional medicine, papaya seeds are anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and analgesic, and they are used to treat stomachache and ringworm infections.

Passion fruit, how could I possible not write about this amazing little ball of satisfaction? The sweet-sour taste is only surpassed by the smell when first opening a fruit. High in minerals, vitamins and one of the most excellent sources of fiber, this fruit shouldn’t be missing from anyone’s diet.

Durian, the fruit that is hated by some but loved by many, has a high nutrition profile, just like bananas, avocados and jackfruit. Rich in fiber, potassium and vitamin A and C, this fruit is an occasional must. The tryptophan inside its flesh regulates our sleeping patterns, sleep induction and the treatment of epilepsy.

Banana must be the most abundant fruit in Thailand, mostly grown in people’s gardens or sold extremely cheap at the local market. Rich in fiber, vitamin B6 as well as moderate amounts of minerals and vitamin C it remains an important source of starch in developing countries. Recent research has shown a very high potential in the prevention of colorectal and breast cancer. The riper the banana, the more dark brown spots it gets; the better it is for you. A warning to people who have a latex allergy as they will most likely be allergic to this fruit as well.

Mango fruit is rich in pro-biotic dietary fiber, vitamin A and C, minerals and polyphenol flavonoid anti-oxidant compounds. According to a new research study, mango fruit has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. Several trial studies suggest that these PFAO compounds in mango are known to offer protection against breast and colon cancers.

Fresh pineapple is low in calories. Nonetheless, it is a warehouse of several unique health promoting compounds, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Pineapple fruit contains the enzyme bromelain that digests food by breaking down protein. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that consumption of pineapple regularly helps fight against arthritis, indigestion and worm infestation.

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The multiple uses of fruits