Fruits of the World

Fruits and Veg­eta­bles – Over­all Impor­tance and Indi­vid­ual Benefits/​Uses

The Impor­tance of Fruits and Vegetables

Grow­ing up, we were all encour­aged by par­ents and guardians to eat our fruits and veg­eta­bles. We were always told they were impor­tant and ben­e­fi­cial to us. How­ever, while we all may know that fruits and veg­eta­bles are a cru­cial aspect of our diets, how many of us know why this is so? Below lists the rea­sons why fruits and veg­eta­bles are impor­tant and thus should be made a vital aspect of our diet:

1. They are low in unhealthy fats, calo­ries, salt and sugar but are great sources of fibre and thus it keeps the body healthy.

2. The vit­a­mins, min­er­als and antiox­i­dants con­tained in fruits and veg­eta­bles are such that reg­u­lar con­sump­tion of them can reduce the risk of con­tract­ing dis­eases includ­ing cer­tain types of can­cer, dia­betes and car­dio­vas­cu­lar diseases.

3. Reg­u­lar con­sump­tion of fruits and veg­eta­bles also helps to reduce and con­trol per­sons’ blood pres­sure and cholesterol.

4. Fruits and veg­eta­bles, due to their high fibre con­tent, are good for reliev­ing and pre­vent­ing constipation.

5. They aid in the pre­ven­tion of cataract and mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion (two com­mon eye con­di­tions), thus mean­ing they are good for our eyes.

6. They keep the skin, gums and teeth healthy.

7. Fruits and veg­eta­bles make it eas­ier for indi­vid­u­als to man­age their weight, as after con­sump­tion, they leave you feel­ing full, thus reduc­ing your intake of other food.

8. They pro­vide great boosts to the immune system.

Indi­vid­ual Uses and Ben­e­fits of Fruits

The above sec­tion pro­vided the gen­eral rea­sons why fruits and veg­eta­bles are impor­tant. How­ever, in this sec­tion, the indi­vid­ual fruits and their ben­e­fits will be pre­sented, enabling per­sons to see the ben­e­fits of their favourite fruits as well as to show what needs to be eaten more! Please note that the lists may include both com­mon and uncom­mon fruits but not every detail about each indi­vid­ual nutri­ent is pre­sented. Fruits con­tain a wide vari­ety of nutri­ents and min­er­als and this sec­tion a con­densed and sim­pli­fied ver­sion to illus­trate the spe­cific health ben­e­fits of each item. Also, before read­ing this arti­cle, have a look at our Vit­a­min and Min­eral Guide, so you can be famil­iar with some of the vit­a­mins and min­er­als men­tioned in this arti­cle. Addi­tion­ally, there may be cer­tain unfa­mil­iar terms within this arti­cle, so use the Glos­sary of Terms while read­ing this article.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

ü Apples – good for heart and lung health and also pre­vent cer­tain types of can­cer. They improve diges­tion, help in the reg­u­la­tion of blood sugar lev­els and reduce cho­les­terol. Apples are rich in Vit­a­mins A, B1, B2, B3, and folic acid and also have antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties. The high min­eral con­tent in apples makes them great for healthy hair, skin and nails.

apples

ü Avo­ca­dos – con­tain oleic acid which helps to lower cho­les­terol; also high in Vit­a­min E which acts as an antiox­i­dant. They also help to reg­u­late blood pres­sure and are great for those on a plant based diet, as they are a good source of pro­tein. Avo­ca­dos are rich in Vit­a­min K which has been said to be good for bone health in elderly persons.
Avocado

ü Apri­cots – can pro­tect the heart and eyes and fight numer­ous dis­eases and are good sources of fibre. Apri­cots are great for those who suf­fer with anaemia due to its high iron con­tent. They can also aid in the heal­ing of wounds, get­ting rid of worms in the body and can treat var­i­ous skin issues such as eczema and sun­burn. They con­tain most of the B-​vitamins, as well as other essen­tial vit­a­mins and minerals.

ü Ash gourd (bet­ter known as win­ter melon) – good for metab­o­lism and is there­fore used in treat­ing obe­sity. It can also aid in treat­ing uri­nary dys­func­tion and con­sti­pa­tion. It is alka­line and main­tains the ph of the body, while negat­ing the effects of acid­ity in the body caused by acidic foods.

B

ü Baobab fruit – con­tains Vit­a­min C, cal­cium, iron and fibre, the lat­ter of which pro­motes the growth of healthy bac­te­ria in the gut. This fruit also has antiox­i­dant properties.

ü Bananas – high in potas­sium and help to main­tain a good blood pres­sure. Also said to be good for the heart and high in energy (due to its Vit­a­min C, mag­ne­sium and potas­sium con­tent). They are a good source of B vit­a­mins which may help with insom­nia and mood swings.

ü Black­ber­ries – berries are the high­est source of antiox­i­dants in all fruits. These berries are excel­lent sources of Vit­a­min C, fibre, iron, cal­cium, man­ganese and potas­sium. Their rich potas­sium con­tent helps to reg­u­late blood pressure.

Banana

ü Black­cur­rant – helps in the pro­duc­tion of col­la­gen in the body, which is the pro­tein respon­si­ble for healthy skin. It is used to pre­vent vari­cose veins and to treat rheuma­toid arthri­tis. Also con­tains anti-​bacterial and anti-​cancer properties.

ü Blue­ber­ries – use­ful in the pre­ven­tion of eye dis­or­ders (e.g glau­coma, cataract), heart dis­or­ders, vari­cose veins, pep­tic ulcers and can­cer. The high flavonoid con­tent means that blue­ber­ries have been asso­ci­ated with a decreased risk of type 2 dia­betes. They also con­tain sig­nif­i­cant amount of tan­nin that can kill bacteria.

C

ü Can­taloupe – high in Vit­a­min A and rich in potas­sium, the lat­ter of which helps to reg­u­late blood pres­sure. Can­taloupe is also very low in calo­ries which means it is great for weight man­age­ment and it can also help those who suf­fer from eye dis­or­ders. Con­tains good lev­els of folic acid, Vit­a­min C and the B vitamins.

ü Chay­ote (also known as Christophene) – con­tains folate, Vit­a­min C and K, cop­per, zinc, potas­sium and man­ganese. It aids in low­er­ing blood pres­sure, helps pre­vent bone loss and main­tains healthy skin and thyroids.

ü Cher­ries – have anti-​bacterial, anti-​cancer, anti-​inflammatory and antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties. They con­tain iron which helps to build blood and are also rich in Vit­a­mins A and C.

Bajan Cherry

ü Choke­ber­ries – aid in cir­cu­la­tion and in the strength­en­ing of the heart and also pro­tect the uri­nary tract. They have anti-​inflammatory, anti-​cancer and antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties, the lat­ter of which may help fight/​reduce the risk of neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases, dia­betes and bac­te­r­ial infec­tions. Choke­ber­ries con­tain folate, along with Vit­a­min A, C and E. They can also pro­tect the eyes from age related mac­u­lar dis­ease in the elderly.

ü Cran­ber­ries – aid in reliev­ing uri­nary tract infec­tions and other inflam­ma­tory dis­eases. They are a diuretic fruit which means they can help flush out excess water from the body. The high Vit­a­min C con­tent also gives cran­ber­ries antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties. Cran­ber­ries con­tain phy­tonu­tri­ents such as flavonoids that have been shown to be suc­cess­ful in pro­tect­ing the body from heart dis­ease, can­cer, gum dis­ease, stom­ach ulcers, liver dis­eases and other diseases.

ü Cupuaçu – con­tains a wide range of vit­a­mins includ­ing the B vit­a­mins. It helps stim­u­late the immune sys­tem, aids in health­ier skin and hair, while also reg­u­lat­ing blood sugar and cho­les­terol lev­els. It is good for the brain and the libido as well and has antiox­i­dant properties.

D

ü Dates – good for over­all well being, they revi­tal­ize the body and pro­vide energy imme­di­ately upon con­sump­tion. Dates are rich in many of the B vit­a­mins, offer pro­tec­tion against car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases and also have antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties (specif­i­cally against colon, prostate, breast, endome­trial lung and pan­cre­atic cancer).

E

F

ü Figs – have been found to be effec­tive in shrink­ing can­cer tumours. They are high in potas­sium and fibre, which makes them good for reg­u­lat­ing blood pres­sure. Figs have anti-​seizure, anti-​diabetic and anti-​tumour prop­er­ties and can also lower cho­les­terol. This fruit also pro­motes good sleep­ing habits.

G

ü Goose­ber­ries – pro­vide good sources of Vit­a­min A, C and other vit­a­mins and min­er­als. They can help pre­vent con­sti­pa­tion, colon can­cer and heart dis­eases as they pro­mote nor­mal func­tion of nerve cells, mus­cles and the heart (due to its high potas­sium con­tent). Goose­ber­ries are high in cal­cium, which makes it a good fruit for main­tain­ing good bone and teeth health.

ü Grape­fruit – high in vit­a­min C and thus is excel­lent in fight­ing symp­toms related to the cold. It con­tains fibre and limonene, the lat­ter of which may pro­tect against breast can­cer. It also con­tains Vit­a­mins A, B5 and B6 and aids in boost­ing the immune sys­tem. Grape­fruits have antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties can help to lower cholesterol.

ü Grapes – use­ful in pro­tect­ing the good cho­les­terol in the body and pre­vents harm­ful blood clot­ting. They are also good for blood pres­sure and the heart. The skin of red grapes may help in resist­ing the devel­op­ment of can­cer in the body. They pro­vide a fan­tas­tic source of Vit­a­mins A, B and C, are high in antiox­i­dants and also con­tain potas­sium, cal­cium and iron.

ü Guava – has many health ben­e­fits. Con­tains Vit­a­mins A and C, omega 3, dietary fibre, as well as other essen­tial vit­a­mins and minerals.

Guava

H

ü Hon­ey­dew melon – con­tains Vit­a­mins B6 and C, potas­sium and fibre. It helps to reg­u­late the blood pres­sure and is good for eye and skin health. Also has antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties and is good for preg­nant women as it strength­ens the immu­nity of both the mother and the unborn child.

I

J

K

ü Kiwi – con­tains Vit­a­mins C, E and K, potas­sium and fibre, and the seeds con­tain omega 3 fatty acids. It can pro­tect against res­pi­ra­tory dis­or­ders, reduce the risk of can­cer, and also act as a detox­i­fy­ing agent for the blood.

L

ü Lemons – are anti-​inflammatory, anti-​nausea and aid in diges­tion. They are very high in Vit­a­min C and may help to pre­vent breast cancer.

ü Limes – rich in Vit­a­mins B6 and Cm folic acid, potas­sium and flavonoids. They have anti-​cancer and antibi­otic properties.

M

ü Man­goes – great source of Vit­a­mins A and C, potas­sium and flavonoids. They are use­ful in main­tain­ing a strong immune sys­tem and the reg­u­la­tion of heart rate and blood pres­sure. Man­goes also pro­tect against cer­tain types of can­cer for exam­ple, colon, breast, leukaemia, and prostate. In addi­tion to this, they help to main­tain the alka­lin­ity in the body, lower cho­les­terol, aid in diges­tion and they also have antiox­i­dant properties.

ü Mel­ons – have antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties; also reduce the like­li­hood of strokes.

N

O

ü Olives – high in Vit­a­min E, olives pro­tect against heart dis­or­ders and dis­eases, while also aid­ing in gas­troin­testi­nal health.

ü Oranges – high in vit­a­min C, they reg­u­late blood pres­sure due to being rich in mag­ne­sium and potas­sium. They are antiox­i­dant and anti-​inflammatory, pro­vide a boost to the immune sys­tem and also con­tain cal­cium mak­ing them great for the bones and teeth. Oranges are also good for the skin and blood.

P

ü Papayas – have antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties, aid in diges­tion and can help reduce con­sti­pa­tion. They are also high Vit­a­mins A and C and potassium.

ü Pas­sion fruit – this fruit can act as a pain reliever and seda­tive and can also treat con­sti­pa­tion, cough, sore throat and diar­rhoea. Pas­sion fruit can aid in the recov­ery of those who have suf­fered from liver and kid­ney dis­or­ders, pro­vide a boost to the immune sys­tem and increase the strength of anti­bod­ies in the blood. They also con­tain a vari­ety of the essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als and have anti-​cancer, anti-​seizure and anti-​inflammatory properties.

ü Peaches – have antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties. They are high in Vit­a­min A and potas­sium as well as niacin (Vit­a­min B3).

ü Pears – pro­vide an excel­lent source of fibre, Vit­a­min C and potas­sium. They are effec­tive in pro­mot­ing colon health, thus reduc­ing the risk of colon can­cer. Pears are also good for energy and they have antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer properties.

ü Per­sim­mon – rich source of fibre and pro­tects the eye from dis­eases. This con­tains Vit­a­mins A and C, folic acid and potas­sium and also has antiox­i­dant and anti-​tumour properties.

ü Pineap­ples – aid in diges­tion and have anti-​inflammatory and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties. They pro­vide a good source of potas­sium, Vit­a­min C and iron and can also be used to rehy­drate the body.

ü Plums and Prunes – con­tain Vit­a­mins A and C as well as cal­cium. They act as a nat­ural lax­a­tive and thus can aid in reliev­ing con­sti­pa­tions. Also, they have anti-​bacterial and antiox­i­dant properties.

ü Pome­gran­ate – aids in reduc­ing the risk of prostate can­cer. It acts as an antiox­i­dant and is very high in tan­nins and flavonoids.
Pomgranate


Q

R

ü Raisins – relieve con­sti­pa­tion and aid in good brain, heart, eye, skin, den­tal and bone health. These can also help those who are aim­ing to gain weight. Raisins con­tain many of the essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als nec­es­sary for good health includ­ing the B vit­a­mins and have antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties (specif­i­cally against colon can­cer). They can also be used to stim­u­late the libido and induce arousal.

ü Rasp­ber­ries – boost the immune sys­tem and act as a great antiox­i­dant; con­tains iron, Vit­a­min C, potas­sium and niacin (Vit­a­min B3).

ü Rose­hips – pro­vide a rich source of Vit­a­mins A, C, D and E, iron and cal­cium. These can aid in the reduc­tion of pain caused by osteoarthri­tis and also have antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties. When used in tea form, it can help with cold symp­toms. The seeds of the rose­hip should not be eaten as they can irri­tate the stom­ach and mouth.

S

ü Straw­ber­ries – rich in antiox­i­dants and pro­tect against cel­lu­lar dam­age in the body.

T

ü Tan­ger­ines – anti-​bacterial, anti-​cancer and also act as a diuretic and decon­ges­tant. Great for symp­toms of the cold, aid in detox­i­fi­ca­tion (due to its sul­fur con­tent) and also pro­vide a good source of cal­cium, iron and protein.

U

V

W

ü Water­melon – rich in Vit­a­min C and A, potas­sium, mag­ne­sium and other antiox­i­dants. They have a very high water con­tent and also have anti-​cancer properties.
Watermelon

X

Y

Z

As you can see, fruits are even more impor­tant than many of us real­ized. It is no coin­ci­dence that those who eat health­ily tend to live longer and more fruit­ful lives (par­don the pun). If we have missed any fruit from our list, please let us know so we can include it in any future updated ver­sions of this article.

©Arti­cle of Caribbean Dreams Mag­a­zine
© Pho­tos from Fruits​.com

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