Archive for pineapple

Tropical Fruits and Their Miraculous Benefits part 1

Posted in Healthy with tags , , , , , , , on October 18, 2011 by rizkymygift

I’m Indonesian and I’m proud of being Indonesian and one of its tropical fruits lovers. Indonesia is just like other tropical countries, having many kinds of fruits that can cover your necessity of  essential vitamins : C, B, A name it.

Here, I would like to let you know the most beneficial tropical fruits which also can keep you healthy…

1. Pomegranate

Though this Punica granatum L is native from Iran to the himalayas in northern India, but it is widely cultivated in Southeast Asia and considered as one of the most beneficial tropical fruit. In Indonesia, we usually call this as ‘Buah Delima’ or ‘Deep Red Fruit’ and consume it directly without extracting it in juicer.

This yellowish to reddish outer layer fruit has very high content of punicalagins, a potent anti-oxidant component found to be responsible for its superior health benefits. Researches indicate that the capacity of anti-oxidant in this fruit is two or three times higher than that of red wine and green tea.

The level of anti-oxidant in this fruit is even higher than those of other fruits known to have high-levels of anti-oxidant, including blueberries, cranberries and oranges.  This was attributed to the very high polyphenol content in the fruit. They are also a good source of vitamin B (riboflavin, thiamin and niacin), vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus.  These combination and other minerals in pomegranates cause a powerful synergy that prevents and reverses many diseases.

A study has shown that drinking pomegranate juice frequently is extremely beneficial in fighting the hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis).  It reduces the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol which contributes to artery clogging and hardening. Another study also positively proved that pomegranates contain a powerful agent against cancer, particularly prostate cancer. It also can be your healthy booster if you drink its juice regularly. It helps for Anemia, asthma, anal itch, Atherosclerosis, Bleeding Piles, Dysentery, Morning Sickness/nausea and Sore Throat.

Tip: Drinking pomegranate juice a day can help you to boost your immunity system, don’t forget to expel its seed unless you want to consume that as a good source of fiber 🙂

2. Mango

This lovely texture fruit, has been one of Indonesian most favourite fruit. Indonesia itself is one of the best exporter of mango — more specific mango (Kuweni mango). A good mango is usually considered one which has a small seed and has a delicate and smooth pulp. It is sweet but slightly acidic in taste.

Mangoes are one of the best sources of beta-carotene, quercetin and astragalin. These are powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells and lead to heart disease, cancer, premature aging and degenerative diseases.

One small mango provides a quarter of your recommended vitamin C, nearly two thirds of your daily quota for vitamin A, good amounts of vitamin E and fiber. They also contain vitamin K, phosphorus and magnesium. Mangoes are particularly rich in potassium which can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Mangoes also contain pectin, a soluble dietary fiber, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. Recently, scientists at The Institute for Food Research, discovered that a fragment released from pectin binds to, and inhibits galectin 3, a protein that plays a role in all stages of cancer progression. Other population studies, including the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer, have identified a strong link between eating lots of fiber and a lower risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

Mangoes are rich in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 boosts immunity, especially in the elderly, reduces the risk of kidney stones in women and cardiovascular disease, and also improves brain functioning. Vitamin B6 may also help alleviate the symptoms of PMS. Other cases where Mango is beneficial : fever, respiratory problems, and also constipation.

Tip: Pick ripe mango, slice and eat it fresh. Or you may add it to your favourite salad. Mango juice is also good as summer thirst-quencher. Make it as smoothies will be amazing too 🙂

3. Mangosteen

The mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana L. ) is a tropical evergreen tree, believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas. 2-3 inch tropical fruit with juicy flesh suggestive of both peaches and pineapples.”

This mild acidic fruit is rich in vitamin C; provides about 12% of per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. Fresh fruit of Mangosteen is a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and folates. These vitamins are acting as cofactors help body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Mangosteen also contains a very good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese and magnesium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps control heart rate and blood pressure; thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.

Tip: Fresh mangosteens are wonderfully delicious. Enjoy this exotic juicy fruit all alone without any additions. Mangosteen juice is very tasty thirst quenching cool drink for summer.

4. Papaya

Ya, papaya is one of Indonesian favourite fruit. We usually consume it after meal. For sure, Papayas are shaped like elongated melons or pears.  The flesh is deliciously sweet with a musky undertone, and its texture has a soft melting quality.  Ripe papaya flesh is a rich orange color with either yellow or pink hues. Papaya is a proteolytic enzyme called papain which is an excellent aid to digestion.  This enzyme is so powerful that it is said to digest an amazing 200 times its own weight in protein.  It assists our body’s own enzymes in assimilating the maximum nutritional value from the food we eat.

It is a rich source of anti-oxidant nutrients such as beta-carotene (which is what gives it the orange color; green papaya does not contain this carotene), vitamin A and C and flavonoids, B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid. It also contains small amounts of of the minerals calcium, chlorine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, silicon and sodium.

The papaya has remarkable medicinal virtues recognized from ancient times.  It is not a commonly allergenic food.  Being one of the most easily digested fruits, it is an excellent wholesome food for young to old, a rejuvenating choice. It also can help us for some common ailments such as for inflammatory disease (arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout and asthma), colon cancer (prevention), intestinal disorder, heart disease (protection), menstrual irregularities, skin disease (as in acne and psoriasis), spleen enlargement (to normalize the spleen), and also for throat disorders.

Tip: Choose papayas that have reddish-orange skin if you want to eat them within the day of purchase.  Avoid fruit that is bruised or has patches of deep orange color which indicates that it is over-ripe. A papaya can be eaten as it is, with its skin cut. Cut the papaya length-wise, and then into smaller pieces and add them to your favourite salad. Or finally, you may blend it with other fruits like strawberry or yogurt to make a smoothie. Enjoy!

5. Tamarind

Tamarind or ‘Asam Jawa’ is one of the most beneficial fruit in eastern medicine especially in Indonesia. We’d like eating it fresh from the pod or making its juice. Tamarind is encased within a brown pod. Inside the pod of tamarind is a soft, brown pulp with hard-coated black seeds. It is this pulp that people eat to get all the nutritional and health benefits of tamarind. The pulp of tamarind has a very sour taste while it is young, but as it ripens the pulp gets sweeter. Though the pulp will sweeten with age, tamarind generally has a sour, acidic taste.

Tamarind is a good source of antioxidants that fight against cancer. Tamarind contains carotenes, vitamin C, flavanoids and the B-vitamins. Tamarind protects against vitamin C deficiency and reduces fevers and provides protection against colds. Tamarind also helps the body digest food and is usually used to treat bile disorders. Tamarind is widely known to lower cholesterol, promotes a healthy heart and can be gargled to ease sore throat.

Tip: Drink a cup of Tamarind juice to prevent your body from cold. Or you can make an infusion by taking one ounce of pulp, pour one quart of boiling water over this and allow to steep for one hour. Strain and drink tepid with little honey to sweeten. This will bring down temperature by several degrees.

6. Pineapple

Pineapple ( Ananas Comosus) is tropical or near tropical plant which is said to be native of southern Brazil and Paraguay. This oval to cylindrical – shaped in which many small fruits fused together is very juicy and also fleshy. Its juiciness balances the flavor of sweet and sour, brings the real freshness. In Indonesia we call this yellowish fruit as Nenas/Nanas, and we do make various products such as jam and chips. Well, the benefits of consuming this fruits are quite many for example, as quoted from WHFood, this fruit might have potential strength of Anti-Inflammatory, Immune Support and also digestive benefits. The benefits might come from Bromelain, Vitamic C, Vitamin B1, those are found dominantly in Pineapple.

Bromelain is a complex mixture of substances that can be extracted from the stem and core fruit of the pineapple. Among dozens of components known to exist in this crude extract, the best studied components are a group of protein-digesting enzymes (called cysteine proteinases). Originally, researchers believed that these enzymes provided the key health benefits found in bromelain, a popular dietary supplement containing these pineapple extracts. In addition, researchers believed that these benefits were primarily limited to help with digestion in the intestinal tract. However, further studies have shown that bromelain has a wide variety of health benefits, and that many of these benefits may not be related to the different enzymes found in this extract. Excessive inflammation, excessive coagulation of the blood, and certain types of tumor growth may all be reduced by therapeutic doses of bromelain when taken as a dietary supplement.

Pineapple is also an excellent source the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. For example, the key oxidative enzyme superoxide dismutase, which disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells), requires manganese. Just one cup of fresh pineapple supplies 128.0% of the DV for this very important trace mineral. In addition to manganese, pineapple is a good source of thiamin, a B vitamin that acts as a cofactor in enzymatic reactions central to energy production.

Tip: For everyday consumption its is very important to choose a fully ripened pineapple since this fruit is the one that stops ripening once it’s picked. Simply peel the skin, remove its eye, cut into several pieces that you want then right before you enjoy it, you’d better sprinkle a pinch of salt on it in order to prevent itching in your tongue (most common problem that’s found).

You can also start to mix pineapple into your favorite salad. Try to combine diced pineapple with chopped shrimp, grated with ginger and a little olive oil, taste and serve this fragrant shrimp salad on a bed of Romaine lettuce. Enjoy 🙂