Written by Pharm.Tope Taiwo

Fruits are generally part of the dietary intake that are essentially rich in minerals, nutrients and antioxidant activities (an antioxidant is a substance that may help to prevent formation of or remove free radicals which may harm the body severely).  Eating fruits daily, therefore, can boost health. Some fruits however are taken for specific health benefits. The work of fruits in the digestion of food (breaking down of food), and the supply of essential nutrients needed by the body cannot be overlooked.

Following the research done by the National Library of Medicine, ( University of Alabama, Birmingham), the percentage of people with atherosclerosis (the damage to vascular vessels that carry blood which may lead to total obstruction) and oxidative stress diseases increase as a result of lower amounts of Carotenoids, Vitamin C, Selenium compared to the people who have those elements in greater proportion. These various antioxidants are majorly derived from fruits and vegetables. From the research, the right intake of fruits on daily basis helped to prevent this damage and the diseases associated with those with lower intake.

Various diseases can be prevented, likewise many disease conditions can be improved upon by daily intake of fruits. Examples of such diseases are hypertension, cancers, diabetes, goiter, bowel diseases and arthritis. Eating fruits in right quantities may also help in delaying aging and promoting healthy skin.

Fruits and essential nutrients

From the research done on cardiovascular assessment for heart diseases and stroke on 469,551 people, it was found out that “the higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease compared to people who took less fruits and vegetables. This means that cultivating the habit of taking fruits as part of daily food intake reduces the risk of stroke, hypertension, and diabetes of every individual.

Just as nutrients and minerals are essentially needed for growth, development and body tissues replenishment,  fruits can serve as reservoir for the supply of minerals and nutrients like Iron, Manganese, Potassium, Calcium, Sodium, Folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12 etc

Eating the recommended minimum of 5-servings of fruits daily helps in strengthening the immune system.

This write-up focuses on 5 health-promoting fruits which, if taken on a daily basis are very beneficial to the body. They are readily available and relatively affordable.

They are:

Oranges:  Orange is one of the most popular and nutritious fruits in the citrus family. Orange is a very good source of Vitamins C, B and folic acid. It also contains some flavonoids, carotenoids and citric acid which make it to have health benefits. The vitamin C and citric acid content help the absorption of Iron, hence, help to prevent anaemia (low blood level).

Pineapples:Rich in Vitamin C, Manganese, Bromelain (an enzyme which digests protein and can be used for its anti-inflammatory activity i.e. swelling in the body). It has also been found to have activity related to reduction of tumor growth i.e. cancer-preventing activity.

 

Apples: Contain Potassium, Vitamin B, Vitamin K, Vitamin C. Apples are rich in fibre and have been found to help in the management of diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer disease because of their potent antioxidant activity. A small apple provides about 75 calories.

 

Bananas:Rich in Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Pectin and fibre which really improve the metabolism of sugar by helping to fill the stomach and prevent unnecessary intake of starch. A medium-sized banana has about 100 calories.

 

Watermelon: It has high content of vitamin A and C. It is rich in antioxidants like lycopene, carotenoids and cucurbitacin E. The Lycopene intake reduces the risk of cancer of the digestive system (e.g. colon, appendix), and cucurbitacin E inhibits tumor (cancer) growth. Lycopene can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure too. Watermelon is made of 92% water which helps to hydrate the body (to prevent dehydration or water loss).

Summary

  • Fruits and vegetables are generally highly nutritious and help protect the body against diseases especially through boosting the body’s immunity.
  • The daily requirements of minimum of 5 servings of fruits can be made up of any of the above fruits where one serving is a large-sized Banana, a small apple, a cup of chopped watermelon, a medium-sized orange and half cup diced pineapples.
  • Fruits may be taken as snacks in between meals or anytime of the day irrespective of meals. They can be taken before, with or after meals.
  • Trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight? There is a lot of evidence to show that people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables throughout the day are more likely to weigh less and less likely to gain weight.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables this year than ever before and be ready for a healthier you!
  • For more information talk with your dietitian, pharmacist or other healthcare professional.

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