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

Kale: What’s all the hype about?!

Kale PhotoIt seems to me everyone these days is talking about kale. For those who have not yet heard of it, kale is by definition is “a hardy variety of cabbage that produces erect stems with large leaves and no compact head.”  Based on my research, kale is basically the super food that would knock Popeye off his feet. After hearing about all the health benefits to kale, I thought I’d see what all the hype is about.

Let’s get the facts on what this leafy veggie offers: 

  • Low Calorie (36 calories per cup)
  • High in Fiber, Iron, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium
  • Zero Fat
  • One cup has about 3g of Protein (Not a lot, but for those of you who don’t eat meat, it’s something!)
  • Anti-inflammatory food: Which can help fight against asthma and arthritis
  • Detox food: With the combination of fiber and sulfur, kale is sure to keep your liver healthy.

Now I know that the majority of you have heard some of the hype about kale, but if you follow this link, it will give you a refresher as to WHY it is so good for you.

Not convinced?! Check this out!

With all of those benefits it is hard to ignore the hype. Adding kale into your everyday routine does not have to be a complete difficult, but more so a healthy addition. If you normally eat salad with iceberg or romaine lettuce, try mixing some kale into to add the benefits while keeping the taste you love.

Another way to incorporate kale into your everyday diet is to puree it. When you mix a large handful of kale into a fruit smoothie you can hardly taste it!

There is also possibility of making kale chips. This is a recipe I have tried numerous times, and I have yet to be disappointed. All you need to do is preheat oven to 350 degrees. Break the kale into pieces as large or small as desired. Drizzle olive oil, sea salt, and any other seasonings you’d like over the kale and bake for 10-12 minutes (depending on your oven) on middle rack. Pull out of oven when the edges begin to brown, and they are done! Volia! This is not only delicious, but it won’t be a diet buster as well. You can keep little kale chips like this around your house as a healthy substitute for potato chips.

One last idea for now, is also the route of chopping up kale and adding it to your pizza as a topping, spaghetti sauce, soups, sandwiches, or anything else you can think of. These recipes, from experience truly do deliver in satisfaction, but just remember that eating kale, or any vegetable for that matter, is going to offer you the most nutrients and full supply of vitamins it offers if eaten raw.

Check out this link for some more awesome recipes!

Hope this inspires you to try kale soon!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Mary Marren