Fruit: What’s the point?

picFruit is in season! There is nothing that tastes better than sweet, juicy, cold fruit when it is super hot outside. The question is though, is fruit healthy for you? So I decided to research into a few of my favorite fruits to see what I am gaining in nutrients when consumed. Here are my top 4 favorite fruits:

Apples: We all know that phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The antioxidants in apples promote health and prevent disease in the human body. They are low in calories and contain zero grams of saturated fat and cholesterol. Apples also carry a small amount of minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Apples are a good fruit, so stick to that phrase and try and eat one everyday!

Bananas: They are a good source of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Bananas are an intriguing fruit in terms of their carbohydrate and sugar content. Even though bananas are a fruit that tastes quite sweet when ripe, they only contain about 14-15 grams of sugar per banana. They are also a great quick carb after working out to help your muscles from cramping. Moral of the story, bananas are a good fruit!

Watermelon: It is the perfect fruit for a hot summer day. Although it does lack a lot of nutritional value, but the amount of water it contains helps keep your body hydrated. Watermelon is the top fruit source of the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, which is important for your cardiovascular health. The hardest part when it comes to watermelon is finding a ripe one that is ready to eat. Some tips: choose a dull color, make sure the surface is firm/hard, and make sure it has a uniform shape. Typically when I make sure those three tips are followed, I always find the best one!

Raspberries: They are a rich source of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. When included in your daily diet, they can help lower your risk of cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. Raspberries have also been known to enhance fertility. The sweet taste and the soft texture make them the most craved fruit, especially for me. They are also low in fat and calories but very high in fiber. This makes them a great treat for someone that is trying to lose weight. One of the greatest facts about raspberries is that the antioxidants in the berries help aid in treating depression. So a raspberry is a fruit that makes you happy? Eat away!

Although there are many health benefits of consuming different fruits, there is also one big thing to consider. Many fruits are high in sugar. Yes, that sugar is natural, but either way it packs additional calories into your diet. What I like to do is save my fruit for after a meal. I treat it sort of like a dessert, because not only is it sweet and delicious, but it should also be consumed in moderation!

Are my favorite fruits not the same as yours? The article 31 Favorite Fruits and the Nutrients they Contain gives you the nutritional value of every fruit you have probably consumed. Take a look and see what you are gaining from eating your favorite fruits!

 

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”

~Kenzi Weidman

Spice, Spice Baby

picYou know that feeling of dissatisfaction when you’re either at home or out to eat and you’re ready to indulge in that first bite of food of which looked full of flavor but instead after that first bite you mutter “pass the salt”? And oh hey! While we’re at it, let’s talk about the even worse feeling when the food still tastes so plain that you gotta pull a “pass the pepper”. Before you know it your food is covered in more salt and pepper than George Clooney’s head! You try to boost the flavor as much as you can but you realize it’s a lost cause. Your food was most likely plain from the start due to the lack of variety in ingredients and spices, so next time this happens to you at a restaurant pass some oregano, cayenne and basil the chef’s way because he needs it! Actually, so do you! Not only do spices add flavor but they add nutritional value and can boost your metabolism! Here’s some of the top few spices that are used to enhance your meal’s nutritional value along with how to consume it/what it goes good with.

1.) Cinnamon: This is one that I personally utilize the most and consume pretty much every day, in fact I had a little cinnamon shaker in my dorm room. It’s very easy to pair with, I add it to my oatmeal instead of brown sugar, and also to tea, coffee, and if I want to fight a sweet tooth I’ll cut up a banana and top it with honey and cinnamon. I am a big fan of the honey and cinnamon combo because it’s so tasty but turns out it also fight arthritis pain! Cinnamon is a natural remedy to headaches and migraines! It also stabilizes blood sugar, which is great for weight loss!

2.) Oregano: Another easy one to pair, I use this for eggs, pasta sauce, salad, tofu, quinoa, grilled tomatoes and much more. You can pretty much trust that oregano with pair nicely with any savory or salty-like dish. Nutrition expert Dr. Bazilian says that “one teaspoon has as much antioxidant power as three cups of chopped broccoli (but don’t ditch the broccoli- have both!)” It’s among the highest in antioxidants of dried herbs!

3.) Cayenne: This one is a hit or miss for some people, because spicy food is not everyone’s cup of tea. But did you know that this spicy food can be a cup of tea?  Combined with lemon juice and honey, it is an excellent morning beverage for a total detox. But besides that if this spice is too spicy for you try adding a pinch of it to similar foods that you would combine oregano with, such as eggs. Also, it goes great with avocado! I personally love Cayenne, I try to sneak it into foods as much as possible to get all of the many benefits that it obtains. Studies show that those who had cayenne pepper in their breakfast had less of an appetite and therefore less caloric intake throughout the day. Cayenne is also a great metabolic booster, and aids in burning excess amounts of fats.

4.) Sea salt: While salt should not be over used, it has many health benefits! Sea salt even more so than table salt, since it is obtained directly through the evaporation of seawater. It is usually not processed so it still has minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium and other nutrients! It is effective in reducing inflammation in the respiratory system. Most surprising of all, sea salt can also help you lose weight by creating digestive juices so the foods you eat are digested faster.

So next time you are cooking and you come across a step in your directions that says to “add salt to taste” don’t stop there! Think of all of the benefits you can get from just a pinch of one of your favorite spices! Also get creative with it and think of all the ways you can incorporate these spices and what you can replace with spices such as salad dressing, sugar, and table salt! Make a habit of using these super ingredients and spice it up!

“It’s a good day to have a good day!”

-Alena Purpero ♡