In the hotter weather we naturally begin to crave and consume more cooling foods such as raw vegetables and salads, and plentiful summer fruits. Our taste buds get bombarded with fresh flavours and textures, and our plate becomes a rainbow of colour and variety.
One group of foods in particular that shines at this time of year, are the tropical fruits. Even just looking at them brings about thoughts of white sand beaches and palm trees. For me, tropical fruits are the essence of summer.
Aside from their bursting flavour, tropical fruits also pack a massive punch nutritionally. Here are a few top reasons why you should include more of these summer superstars on your plate:
1. Coconut: The juice, oil and the flesh all supply essential nutrients for our health and wellbeing, aiding numerous health conditions. Specifically important for summer is the nutritional profile of the juice, the juice contains electrolyte minerals, in fact the juice has the same electrolyte balance as human blood! These minerals are important for nerve, muscle and brain function and they are lost in high amounts through sweat. These minerals can help with muscle cramps, tension, headaches, fluid retention and more! Think of coconut juice as your natural sports drink. From the nut is best, but sugar and flavour free packaged options will still be helpful.
2. Pineapple: This fruit is rich in an enzyme called bromelain, which has powerful anti-inflammatory advantages. It helps to reduce the pain and inflammation experienced in joints from arthritis, it reduces inflammation and speeds up the recovery from muscle injuries and sprains and reduces sinus inflammation in sinusitis and hayfever. The enzymes within pineapple also help to boost digestive power, people with digestive complaints report improvement when starting the day with a small bowl of pineapple and other tropical fruits, as a bonus just 100grams of this fruit provides your entire recommended daily intake of vitamin C!
3. Mangoes: there is no shortage of mangoes in the North West this season! Again this fruit is high in Vitamin C, with one cup providing 100% of your daily needs. It is also rich in Fibre and Soluble fibre in particular, which not only aids bowel function but ‘feeds’ your good gut bacteria, boosting immune function. Particularly exciting is the polyphenolic antioxidant within Mangoes protects against bowel, prostate and breast cancers, which are all at alarming rates in Australia.
In general eating seasonal foods is an important health booster, as it increases your levels of certain nutrients that a particularly helpful for your body during that time of year. Get in touch with what each season provides, and make these the staples of your plate each day!