Food Note

Make fruits your daily snack

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

Alarge six-year study (‘Age and Aging’) found that eat­ing at least two serv­ings of fruits each day (along with three por­tions of veg­eta­bles) was as­so­ci­ated with a lower risk for de­men­tia in older adults. Other re­search (‘New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine’) points to the car­dio­vas­cu­lar ben­e­fits of fruit con­sump­tion – among more than 5,00,000 peo­ple aged up to 79 years, those who ate fresh fruit (pri­mar­ily ap­ples and or­anges) ev­ery day had 30% lower risk of dy­ing from a heart at­tack or stroke, com­pared with par­tic­i­pants who rarely or never ate fruit. De­spite data like these, it’s been noted that adults don’t eat enough fruits. Mount Si­nai nu­tri­tion con­sul­tant Fran Grossman, RD, MS, CDN, CDE, rec­om­mends you rec­tify this sit­u­a­tion if you tend to by­pass fruit be­cause you think a daily mul­ti­vi­ta­min can re­place it in your diet. All fruits are good for you, but Grossman sug­gests that you stock up on these to get the most nu­tri­tional bang for your buck:

1 Berries Blue­ber­ries, blackberries, straw­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries, acai and goji berries are packed with an­tiox­i­dants, in­clud­ing vi­ta­mins A, C, and E, and the an­tho­cyanins that give berries their red or pur­ple hue. “An­tiox­i­dants help com­bat free rad­i­cals, which are nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring mol­e­cules that may con­trib­ute to the sys­temic in­flam­ma­tion that has been linked to car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, can­cer, arthri­tis, and de­men­tia,” Grossman notes. Re­search has linked blue­ber­ries es­pe­cially with bet­ter cog­ni­tion in older adults, while a 2013 study found that women who ate three or more serv­ings of blue­ber­ries and straw­ber­ries per week had a 30% lower risk of heart at­tack. “Berries freeze well, so if you see them on spe­cial at your lo­cal gro­cery store, buy ex­tra – then sim­ply rinse them and al­low them to dry be­fore spread­ing them on a cookie sheet and putting them in the freezer,” Grossman sug­gests. “Once frozen, they will keep for up to a year in an air­tight con­tainer.”

2 Cher­ries are an­other good source of an­tho­cyanins, and also con­tain cal­cium and potas­sium (see box) as well as nu­mer­ous vi­ta­mins. Re­search sug­gests that tart cher­ries may help relieve the pain and stiff­ness of arthri­tis, as well as lower the risk of gout flare-ups.

3 Or­anges con­tain im­mune sys­tem-boost­ing vi­ta­min C, fo­late, potas­sium, and choline (which may ben­e­fit your mem­ory), among other nu­tri­ents. They are also high in zeax­an­thin, an­other an­tiox­i­dant that may help ward off mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, a se­ri­ous eye dis­ease that can af­fect se­niors.

Or­anges con­tain im­mune sys­tem-boost­ing vi­ta­min C, fo­late, potas­sium, and choline (which may ben­e­fit your mem­ory), among other nu­tri­ents.

4 Pa­papa Like or­anges, pa­payas are high in vi­ta­min C, fo­late, beta-carotene, choline, and zeax­an­thin. They also are rich in be­tac­arotene and ly­copene, which have been as­so­ci­ated with a lower risk for can­cer; and may help bal­ance your lev­els of HDL (good choles­terol) and LDL (bad choles­terol, which is linked to a greater risk for car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and di­a­betes). “Pa­paya con­tains an enzyme that aids diges­tion, and may help pre­vent con­sti­pa­tion,” Grossman adds.

5 Ki­wis These are rich in vi­ta­min K and even higher in vi­ta­min C than or­anges. Ki­wis have been shown to re­duce lev­els of triglyc­erides (fats that cir­cu­late in the blood). They also have mild lax­a­tive prop­er­ties that may help clear up a bout of con­sti­pa­tion.

6 Grapes are rich in the an­tiox­i­dants resver­a­trol and quercetin. Both may ben­e­fit car­dio­vas­cu­lar health by re­lax­ing the ar­ter­ies.

7 ap­ples “Ap­ples are nu­tri­tional pow­er­houses that also are rich in fi­bre, in­clud­ing pectin, a type of fi­bre linked to lower choles­terol and blood pres­sure and bet­ter car­dio­vas­cu­lar and di­ges­tive health,” Grossman says. Eat­ing ap­ples has also been linked to a lower risk for can­cer and asthma. “Keep in mind that

you’ll need to eat the skin of your ap­ple to get the most fi­bre and an­tiox­i­dants,” Grossman adds.

8 Ba­nanas Packed with potas­sium, ba­nanas also are full of fi­bre and are gen­tle on the di­ges­tive sys­tem – one rea­son that mashed ba­nana is of­ten rec­om­mended to help re­plen­ish nu­tri­ents that may be lost dur­ing di­ar­rhea.

9 Pomegranates The thick outer skin of this fruit, encloses hun­dreds of ed­i­ble seeds called ar­ils, which are rich in vi­ta­min C and K, potas­sium, and fo­late. Ar­ils are also an ex­cel­lent source of pro­tein and fi­bre.

Packed with potas­sium, ba­nanas also are full of fi­bre and are gen­tle on the di­ges­tive sys­tem.

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