What the fruit!
Fruit, good or bad? Some say don’t eat a lot of it because it has a lot of sugar in it, but I am only human and when that sugar craving hits, I try to resort to fruit most of the time, (don’t get me wrong, I am by far no saint, and I do indulge in the occasional cookie or donut, but fruit is oh-so delicious as well). “But all that fructose and glucose!” I know but fruit has so much more to offer besides sugar, unlike candy, cookies, donuts, and ice-cream. Fruit is also probably not packed with as much sugar as those other desserts and candies that you may think.
LET'S start with blueberries. They have a little snap to their skin when you first bite into one, followed by a medium soft filling of blueberry goodness. When picked at the right time they are subtly sweet, but not too overpowering.
In 100 grams of blueberries there is around (values are based on a 2,000 kcal diet):
24% of your daily value of Vitamin K
17% of your daily value of Manganese
16% of your daily value of Vitamin C
10% of your daily value of Dietary Fiber
10 grams of sugar
84 grams of Water
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, but it also helps to create collagen. Vitamin K can help to improve memory, improve bone density, and lower blood pressure. It does this by improving the functions of the blood vessels, and just one cup of blueberries daily can make all the difference in healthier blood pressure levels. Manganese helps form bones, connective tissue, and blood clotting factors. Not only can a regular consumption of blueberries help you ward off sickness, but they can help to keep the memory sharp, your bones strong and to feel fuller faster.
A 2019 study, by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that eating blueberries can help to reduce the risk of heart disease by 12% to 15%. Another study in 2013 found that consuming blueberries in conjunction with regular exercise, not only created more of the “good” cholesterol, HDL, in the body but it also reduced the amount of triglycerides in the body that are associated with higher risks of heart disease.
NOW onto a fruit that is a beautiful red color, with a denser fruit consistency, and tiny little seeds along the outside of them. Yes, strawberries. That wonderful summer fruit, that when planted in the right spot can grow and multiple like wildfire.
These little gems are also strong in vitamin C, manganese, and water. In 100 grams of strawberries there is around (values are based on a 2,000 kcal diet):
98% of your daily value of Vitamin C
19% of your daily value of Manganese
8% of your daily value of Dietary Fiber
6% of your daily value of Vitamin B-9
5 grams of sugar
91 grams of water
One to two servings a week of strawberries keeps the doctor away and it can definitely help to reduce the loss of mental abilities such as learning, thinking, remembering, problem solving and attention, just to name a few. And if that wasn’t enough of an upgrade to your health, strawberries can also help to fight against cancers and even play a part in preventing them. Daily consumption of those wonderful morsels has shown to dramatically reduce the presence of cancer cells. They can also help to improve eye health, help to prevent glaucoma, boost the immune system, and relieve the effects of arthritis. Yes please! Where do I sign up?
NEXT on my list is one of my favorites, blackberries. These sweet little beauties pack a punch in vitamins, minerals and nutrients. In 100 grams of blackberries there is around (values are based on a 2,000 kcal diet):
35% of your daily value of Vitamin C
32% of your daily value of Manganese
25% of your daily value of Vitamin K
21% of your daily value of Dietary Fiber
8% of your daily value of Vitamin E
8% of your daily value of Copper
7% of your daily value of Vitamin A
6% of your daily value of Vitamin B-9
5% of your daily value of Magnesium
5 grams of sugar
88 grams of Water
I think that list speaks for itself, but blackberries can help to reduce cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, provide healthy gut bacteria that improves digestion, improve brain health, help to fight off genetic mutations, slow cancer cell growth, and they are antibacterial and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Our bodies need healthy doses of nutrition, minerals, vitamins, and water to function properly and at it’s best. If you never put oil or gas into your car, what would happen? Well without gas (unless it’s an electric car) it won’t even start. If your car was without oil, it would run for a little while, but after a short time it starts to smoke and the engine parts will wear quicker than normal. The human body is much the same. It may last a lot longer without the necessary minerals, vitamins, etc. but when the body is unable to find the things it needs to run properly, it starts to malfunction. It may start out with something small, but soon you wake up one day completely miserable. Why you may be asking yourself? Well start by looking at what you are feeding your system. Is it getting the proper amount of oil and gas, are you giving it oil changes and tune-ups. In other words, what food and drinks are you consuming, do they really have all the necessary nutrition, minerals, vitamins and water your body needs to work at it’s best? Only you can answer that question. But if you are feeling miserable regularly take 10 minutes and right down what you regularly eat and drink in a 24 hour period. Then take another 10 minutes and look up the nutritional facts of those things, are they giving your body everything it needs to function at a healthy level? If not, how can you change that?
Keep in mind that fruit is not the only good thing out there. I like fruit to replace sugar cravings but herbs and vegetables are another great source of vitamins and minerals your body needs.
SPEARMINT is an herb I like to add to fruity desserts. It can give them a nice fresh, cooling flavor. I also like to add it to lemonades. Oh so delicious! In 100 grams of spearmint there is around (values are based on a 2,000 kcal diet):
135% of your daily value of Vitamin A
66% of your daily value of Iron
56% of your daily value of Manganese
26% of your daily value of Vitamin B-9
20% of your daily value of Calcium
22% of your daily value of Vitamin C
16% of your daily value of Magnesium
12% of your daily value of Copper
10% of your daily value of Potassium
10% of your daily value of Vitamin B-2
8% of your daily value of Vitamin B-6
7% of your daily value of Zinc
6% of your daily value of Phosphorus
5% of your daily value of Vitamin B-3
5% of your daily value of Vitamin B-1
86 grams of Water
3 grams of protein
O grams of sugar
Holy mac and cheese! That is a lot of good stuff. Spearmint is also naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial, which when used in oral health can help to reduce mouth and throat infections. On top of that, it makes your breath smell refreshing.
Spearmint helps with congestion and respiratory issues because it has natural soothing properties, and it can also help to clear the sinuses, help with migraines and headaches. When we work down to the digestive area of the body, spearmint has the ability to reduce muscle contractions which can help to sooth an upset stomach. It can also help with morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, cramping, bloating, IBS (spearmint tea or just chewing on spearmint leaves can be a great way to ease an IBS flare-up), and it can also help to reduce anxiety and depression.
Hmm…was my reaction to this coooool fact about spearmint. It can help to increase circulation and boost energy levels. This is due to it’s high iron content, which tells the body to create more red blood cells and hemoglobin. I definitely need to partake in a little bit more spearmint in my everyday life. I have always had circulation issues, and this would be a great way to help with that. I will be right back. I’m running to the store.
Okay, I’m back. One last thing spearmint helps the body with is regulating blood pressure by relieving the stress on the blood vessels and arteries through it’s potassium content. This also helps with the prevention of strokes and heart attacks.
Last but not least on my ingredient list, although not a fruit, herb or vegetable, it is something I like to add occasionally to teas, fruity desserts, or sometimes I just eat a spoonful of it to relieve a sugar craving. Raw honey! Yum!
HONEY is another one that is full of antioxidants, and a high antioxidant diet can help in reducing the risk of chronic disease. It is also antibacterial and antimicrobial, which can help to kill harmful bacteria and fungi in our systems. In 100 grams of honey there is around (values are based on a 2,000 kcal diet):
15% of your daily energy needs
4% of your daily value of Manganese
82 grams of sugar
17 grams of Water
Beside the above benefits, something I have used honey for and have found it works wonders, is using it for coughs. Honey can help to relieve a cough, due to its relaxant properties, and has even been shown to work better than over-the-counter cough medicines.
So, there you have it. I say fruit is good, but research it more and make that decision for yourself. I just barely scratched the surface on how fruits, herbs, and vegetables can have a positive effect on the body. I encourage you to look at your eating habits and maybe look more into what fruits, vegetables, and herbs can do to help you reach a healthier and happier state. Not just physically but also mentally. We have the ability to heal our bodies and our minds just by what we choose to put into our bodies regularly. Inspire positive change within yourself and the possibilities are endless.