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Have you ever wondered why fruits are so beneficial and highly recommended? Or if an apple a day really does keep the doctor away? Fruits are low in kilojoules and fat, and are a source of simple sugars, fibre, and vitamins, which are essential for optimising our health.

Many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of soluble dietary fibre, which helps to ward off cholesterol as well as bad fats from the body.

Fruits and Vitamins

Apples: An apple a day may not keep the doctor entirely away, but apples are nutritious, convenient, and always available. Apples get an A+ in fibre content, since they contain a lot of the soluble fibre and pectin, which helps to lower cholesterol.

Apricots: Five apricots contain around the same number of kilojoules as one apple, but they have much more protein, calcium, iron, vitamin K, zinc, vitamin A and folic acid. Apricots are high in beta carotene, as well as potassium and fibre.

Bananas: They contain lots of potassium, so eating a banana daily is helpful to people on certain medications, such as diuretics, which may deplete the body of potassium. Even though most bananas are imported, the easy-to-peel feature makes it easy to peel the pesticides off.

Grapefruit: Grapefruit is a GREAT fruit, low in kilojoules, high in fibre, with lots of vitamin C and is also rich in beta carotene. Half the fibre is the insoluble type (good for the intestines) and half is soluble pectin fibre (good for the heart). Remember, though, that a lot of fibre is in the stringy walls that separate the segments. If you’re digging out grapefruit segments with a spoon, you’ll miss out on much of the fibre.

Grapes: The skin of red and purple grapes contain cancer-fighting anthocyanin pigments, similar to the ones in blueberries. Green, seedless grapes are not exactly nutritional standouts, but kids love to snack on them, especially on hot days. They’re a popular alternative to soda or candy.

Guavas: Guavas are hard to find, but gobble them up when you can. They rate high among the fruits for fibre and vitamin E. Guava juice is readily available in the juice section of most supermarkets, yet it contains added corn syrup, diluting the nutritional value compared to the raw fruit.

Lemon and lime: Lemons and limes are a moderately good source of vitamin C, with lemons containing about one-third more vitamin C than limes. Lemon and lime juice add flavour to dishes, which can be helpful if you’re cutting back on salt.

Oranges: Oranges are known for their vitamin C content, but they’re also a good source of folate and fibre. They even contain some calcium. As with grapefruit, the white membrane under the skin of the orange contains more vitamin C than the flesh, and a lot of the pectin fibre. When peeling the orange, try to leave the white inner peeling on and eat it with the flesh (if you don’t mind the slightly bitter taste).

Pears: A high sorbitol content, plus extra fibre, makes pears ideal for persons suffering from constipation. Most of the vitamin C in pears is concentrated in the skin, as is some of the fibre, so peeled, canned pears are not as nutritious as fresh.

Most of these are easy to find at markets or stores, and you can’t go wrong with having them on your shopping list if they aren’t already there.

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