The ancient Indian system of medicine and natural living, Ayurveda, considers fruits vitally important in maintaining health. Ayurveda suggests eating fruit daily in the morning for most benefit. Living in Bali we are lucky to have access to an abundance of rich, life-giving tropical, and non-tropical fruits. All fruits contain lots of vitamins and minerals to boost the immune system and prevent sickness. They also all contain natural sugars which provide the body with a fast supply of energy, balancing blood sugar.
Incorporate fruits into your diet in their whole form and as juices. Don’t forget though that juices, whilst full of vitamins and minerals, are missing the beneficial fibre of a whole fruit, which lessens their beneficial effects on the digestive system. Try to get your kids to snack on fruits instead of cakes or biscuits. You can of course over-eat fruits, as they contain a lot of natural sugars, you should eat in moderation. Two serves of whole fruit (size depends upon the fruit being eaten) and a single serve (250mls) of juice per day is a good amount as part of a balanced diet.
Each fruit also has its’ own specific healing action on the body, listed below.
The humble apple is known as the “broom” to naturopaths due to its’ ability to sweep through the intestines, cleansing as it goes. A great choice for a mono-fruit cleanse, this sweeping action of apples is due to the large amount of soluble fibre they contain in the form of pectin. Pectin is also understood to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood. Don’t forget the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.
Long believed to be an aphrodisiac, the banana contains high amounts of potassium for muscle function. If the banana is very ripe it will contain a lot of sugars for a fast energy boost. Slightly less ripe bananas have good amounts of carbohydrates for slower release energy.
Cranberries are known for their healing effect on the urinary tract, and are high in potassium as well as vitamin C. They are anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Blueberries help to combat gastro-intestinal infections. Raspberries cleanse and detoxify the digestive system, as well as providing folate and fibre. Strawberries neutralize plaque so are a wonderful fruit for your kids to eat, cleaning teeth as they go and preventing decay. All berries contain bioflavonoids which strengthen veins, arteries and capilliaries.
A true superfood, coconuts provide food and water. Coconut water is a perfectly balanced isotonic fluid, passing easily into the bloodstream with minimal or no processing, purifying and providing electrolytes as it goes. It has a diuretic effect thus flushing the kidneys and balancing mineral levels. Coconut flesh is highly nutritious providing protein, calcium, magnesium and potassium in significant quantities. It nourishes the whole body, especially the nervous system. The Balinese are right to suggest pregnant women should have a coconut every day, although in fact, everyone could benefit from this advice, pregnant or not.
Having a slightly laxative effect on the body, grapes help to prevent constipation and keep you regular. They also cool the body so grape juice is wonderful on a hot day. Red grapes also help to build up the blood and are good for those with anaemia or red blood cell deficiencies. Due to their high glycaemic index they replenish energy fast and reduce food cravings by balancing blood sugar levels.
One fruit piece contains more than the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C which is necessary for the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein which maintains healthy skin, teeth and cartilage.
Soothes the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines and is considered by Ayurveda to have rejuvenative properties. High in beta-carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant which eliminates free radicals from the body. Contains significant amounts of Vitamin C. Has a high glycaemic index so giving a fast supply of energy.
The high amounts of water in all melons mean they are cooling for the body and also flush out all systems. They also contain lots of sodium and potassium to re-balance mineral levels, particularly if you are dehydrated.
High amounts of Vitamin C which is vital for, amongst other functions, allowing the body to utilize iron. This is why it is suggested to those who take iron supplements to wash them down with a glass of orange juice.
Chock-full of the anti-oxidant beta-carotene which gives it its’ beautiful orange colour and scavenges free radicals, negating their effects. Containing the digestive enzyme, papain, this fruit aids digestion. It also has a high glycaemic index so gives the body energy quickly.
Pineapple has appetite-supressing enzymes so is great for those who are trying to sensibly lose weight by increasing their fresh fruit and vegetable quota and cutting out junk foods. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which is anti-inflammatory and helps to repair damaged tissue caused by micro-tears during sports.
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