WHY IT’S GOOD TO GO BANANAS
Eating a banana gives you a substantial and immediate energy boost due to the natural sugars – fructose, glucose and sucrose – and the fibre they contain. Bananas also contain pectin which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and a protein which converts to serotonin which is mood enhancing.
Bananas are good sources of essential nutrients and vitamin C. They’re high in Vitamin B6 and low in sodium, which mean they are a good addition to a heart healthy diet. Bananas also contain potassium, which is understood to help with alertness, as well as helping to alleviate stress.
Bananas are available all year round and in our opinion should be called a Super fruit.
Avocado is a fruit that is highly nutritious providing a rich supply of vitamins and minerals and is an excellent source of fibre, both soluble and insoluble. This fruit contains B vitamin in particular vitamin B6 and is also a good source of potassium, which has a beneficial effect on regulating blood pressure. Avocados also contain vitamin E, an antioxidant which is good for heart health. Avocados are higher in total fat content than other fruits and vegetables but are low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat.
Cherries are a delicious fruit with nutritional health benefits. Cherries contain anthocyanin 1 and 2 which researchers also believe can have a significant impact on relieving muscle and joint soreness. This fruit contains beta carotene (19 times more that blueberries or strawberries), vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron and fibre. Other benefits include relieving the pain of arthritis, reducing risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, preventing memory loss and delaying ageing process. Cherries should be fresh or frozen – glace cherries contain too much sugar.
Cherries are available year round as dried, frozen, canned and cherry juice.
Dried cranberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents of any fruit, which means they may help reduce cancer and heart disease risk. Plus, they contain unique compounds that help prevent urinary tract and other infections. Toss them into salads, bake them into muffins or add them to your morning cereal.
Apricots – eat on their own, bake, cook and puree.
Blackberries – pick from the hedgerows at the end of the summer, rinse thoroughly before use. Use in crumbles and pies and stew with apples.
Blackcurrants – intense flavour so best used with other fruits like raspberries and apples.
Blueberries – sweet enough to eat without sugar. Bake in muffins and spoon over ice-cream.
Cherries – sweet varieties delicious raw, other varieties best cooked and used in tarts, pancake fillings or sauce with meat.
Plums – lots of different varieties – available all through summer. Most are sweet enough to eat raw or can be baked in crumbles and tarts.
Raspberries – eat on their own, use in ice-cream, fruit salads and tarts.
Strawberries – eat on their own, use in ice-cream, fruit salads and flans – start to disappear from mid-July so enjoy them while in season.
Some summer fruit are around for only a short time so make the most of them while they are in season. Remember to freeze your favourites for later in the year.
SELECT SEASONAL FRUIT FOR DESSERT
Rethink dessert and treat yourself to fresh seasonal fruit rather than pastry and cakes. You will get that sugary boost your sweet tooth is after while stocking up on some essential vitamins and nutrients.
Summer Fruits include apples, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, gooseberries, mangoes, melons, peaches, raspberries, strawberries.
The term ‘superfruits’ is normally applied to fruits that are particularly high in antioxidants. When consumed, antioxidants help to counter the effect of free radicals – molecules that can act to inflame joints, damage arteries and cause potentially dangerous changes in nerves and cells. Superfruits such as blueberries and pomegranates are often expensive and research now suggests that the same positive effects are achievable from less expensive fruits like plums, peaches and nectarines.
Plums contain quantities of antioxidants that match or even exceed other ‘superfruits’. Plums are rich in Vitamin C and fibre, have low calorie content and also contain lutein and zeaxanthin – two natural pigments that help to promote the health of eyes. The best time to enjoy plums is in late summer to early autumn when they are in season. As well as plums, it has been shown that similar fruits like peaches, nectarines and prunes are rich in antioxidants, giving a wide variety of low cost healthy options. With all of these fruits, it is best to eat the skins as well (making sure you wash them first) in order to enjoy the full antioxidant benefit.