Superfruits Are Super Good in a Balanced and Healthy Diet
By Dr. Molly Casey
It seems there are endless ideologies with regard to food and diets. I don’t know how it’s possible, but new ones come out of the woodwork as often as time keeps moving. As mentioned previously in other articles, my approach is to look at the basics and apply what seems to be pertinent to your path along the way. I wrote about superfoods last month and, particularly, the role of vegetables and super greens.
This month let’s review the superfoods and look at superfruits.
What Do Fruits Do for You?
Fruits, like vegetables, are full of vitamins and minerals. Many fruits are too full of antioxidants.
Vitamins are organic substances found in very small amounts in natural food. The body requires vitamins for proper development and optimal functioning.
Minerals are inorganic elements found in the earth and food, again in very small amounts, that help the body develop, grow, and promote optimal functioning.
Antioxidants are compounds that slow the process that produces free radicals and other reactions that can damage cells of the body.
Free radicals are molecules with an odd number of electrons and are necessary for certain processes in the body; however, when present in too high numbers, free radicals cause damage and are linked to many disease processes. Consistently ingesting good quality antioxidants is a wise idea.
Fruits provide good quality carbohydrates that are high in fiber and low in calories. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and used for energy in the body’s cells, tissues, muscles and organs. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate and takes longer for the breakdown to occur, which helps keep blood sugar levels from spiking and helps people feel full for longer. Fiber also helps with waste elimination and healthy bowel movements.
Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Fruits have gotten a bad wrap over the years because they mainly provide carbohydrate fuel that breaks down into glucose, aka sugar. Food is neutral. It’s neither good nor bad. What the food is used for and how much is ingested is either helpful or not helpful.
Carbohydrates are part of what the body runs on, including the brain. So let’s lighten up, carbs are not bad. It is, however, wise to look at quality and look to gain the biggest bang for your buck -- the most vitamins, nutrients, minerals, antioxidants for the fewest calories. Below are three very strong superfruits; they can easily be sneaked into your daily life by adding them to a smoothie of vegetables, taking them as a fresh handful snack, or let them be your dessert at night.
Blueberries - These have very high levels of antioxidants. They are quite low in calories and contain good amounts of fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Vitamin C is used in making blood vessels, muscle, cartilage, and collagen in bones. Vitamin K is required for blood clotting and wound healing.
Acai - These berries look similar to blueberries and are the fruit of a specific type of palm tree. They are full of antioxidants that are thought to help with detoxification and have anti-inflammatory effects largely through the high levels of antioxidants, anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have also been shown to enhance memory and improve memory and brain health.
Pomegranates - This unique fruit is full of polyphenols, which are a powerful antioxidant. Polyphenols help with the health of blood vessels by keeping them flexible and promoting good circulation. They also help decrease chronic inflammation. There are three times the amount of polyphenols in pomegranates than there are in green tea. It’s jammed-packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and carotenoids. Perhaps the easiest way to consume the benefits of pomegranates is through the juice, either by itself or the base for a smoothie.
When it comes to feeding your body to meet your agenda, it’s easy to get caught up in dogma and ruts. Look at the basics and choose variety. Make different choices that support your health and health journey; let superfruits be a part of that journey and add a little sweetness into your life.
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