7 Fascinating and Educational Fruit Facts

This is a guest post by Ingela Johansson.

Fruit facts are great, not just because of their fascinating nature, but also because learning more about fruits will inevitably lead to a life with more energy, better sleep, and more joy.

Fruits are natures own multivitamins, they usually contain a lot of vitamin C, dietary fiber and different minerals and antioxidants. I’ve heard a lot of people say that fruits are bad and they’ll do this and that to you if you eat too much of them. Usually these statements aren’t backed up by any solid scientific evidence at all. Now, I’m not saying that consuming only fruit is recommended. We still need variety in our diet (hello vegetables!)

With all that said: let’s look at some quick fruit facts.

#1 – Apples

There are 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide, that’s more than you’d think, isn’t it? 2,500 of these are grown in the U.S.

Apples have been proven to support heart health, protect against certain cancers, alleviate asthma, speed up weight loss and lower cholesterol. This is amazing, all these benefits just from eating apples! I personally like the green ones the best, because they taste sour.

#2 – Avocado

Some say that Avocado is a vegetable, but I personally think that it is a fruit.

Avocadoes are higher in fat than most fruits, because of this it can increase your absorption of carotenoids from vegetables. Just add some avocado to your salad! Avocados also promote heart health by lowering cholesterol.

Because avocados are a rich source of healthy fatty acids, it has been shown to offer significant protections against breast and prostate cancer. I personally don’t like eating avocadoes by themselves, so I mix it into things like salads, smoothies and other yummy recipes.

#3 – Bananas

There are many different varieties of bananas, as to how many, it seems that people disagree on that part. Something they do agree on is their health benefits! Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium.

Potassium is a very important mineral that helps your body maintain a normal blood pressure and heart function. A banana therefore may prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.

Bananas are also effective in soothing ulcers because of their antacid effects. I like to use bananas and sparkling water whenever my stomach is feeling off balance, don’t ask me why, that mix just seems to work.

Bananas also help against constipation and I am living testimony to this because whenever I am feeling a bit blocked down there I make a big banana smoothie and things just start flowing ;).

#4 – Blueberries

Mmm, blueberries are delicious. I always sneak back home after summer when my mother has gathered a few buckets of blueberries from our summer cottage. I go in quietly, steal them and sit in the corner and devour them.

Blueberries are supercharged with antioxidants that stop free radicals from damaging your body. Free radicals cause damage to your cells and tissues, which can lead to problems such as glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, ulcers, heart disease and even cancer.

Blueberries have also been shown to improve night vision, how cool is that?

Blueberries help protect your brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. There are too many benefits of blueberries to list here, but let’s do one more.

No, let’s do two, I’m in a good mood today! Blueberries also keep your intestines healthy and protect your colon against cancer.

#5 – Grapes

Grapes are one of my favorite fruits, but you have to make sure you get organic grapes, because non-organic grapes can be heavily sprayed with all sorts of chemicals, and since you do not peel grapes, you get more of those chemicals in you.

Grapes keep your heart and lungs healthy, and grapes also fight cancer. Red grapes also contain something called resveratrol, which is believed to be one of the reasons the French live so long even though they eat a bad diet.

#6 – Oranges

Oooh, oranges, squeezing your fresh orange juice, have you ever tried it? If not, I think you should, it is better than candy, cakes, pizzas and any other unhealthy (but potentially yummy) food in the world!

Oranges contain a lot of vitamin C, which protects against some cancers, may lower cholesterol and keeps your stomach healthy because of all the fiber it contains.

#7 – Strawberries

Eating strawberries with raw unheated honey is a good snack that I enjoy in the summer time when strawberries are plentiful here in Sweden. In the winter they come from other countries and are pretty expensive, so I don’t really eat them.

Strawberries protect your body from oxygen damage, rheumatoid arthritis, improve your eyes, decrease the risk of developing cancer and much more that hasn’t been discovered yet!

That’s my list. I know I’ve left many fruits out, but these are my favorites and it is good to not get too overwhelmed if you’re relatively new to fruits.

Remember to buy your fruits organic if you can and wash them gently before you put them in your mouth.

Start eating more fruit today, your body will thank you!

Ingela Johansson is in love with natural skin care. If you want more natural anti aging tips, you can visit her blog, where you will find topics ranging from how to prevent oily skin to finding the best anti wrinkle cream.

Ultimate Antioxidant Recipes

This is a guest post by Katrina Robinson.

It can be difficult finding great vegetarian recipes that are not only chocked full with antioxidants but also taste fabulous. What’s so special about antioxidants, you might ask. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A help to prevent and slow the oxidative damage that is done to your body. When your body uses oxygen, the body’s cells produce free radicals, which can lead to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Antioxidants help to prevent and repair damage that has been or could be done by these free radicals. So you can see why they’re so important! But now the trick is to find recipes that also taste great…well, I’ve found two fantastic recipes that taste fantastic and are filled with antioxidants! These recipes are for those who aren’t all raw. Not all the ingredients are vegan but they’re a great example of how to pack a lot of nutritional value into a recipe. Check them out below!

Baked Apples with Walnuts and Dried Fruit

You’ll need the following for this recipe:

6 medium Golden Delicious apples
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup of dried cranberries (raisins work, too)
½ cup apricot preserves
1 ½ cup apple cider
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Core all of your apples, creating a 1-inch-wide hole. Peel the upper third of the apples. Score the flesh about ¼-inch deep around the circumference where the peeled and unpeeled portions meet. Now cut a shallow crater around the top of the hole. This will help to hold the preserves that will go there. Set apples aside.
3. Put walnuts, dried cranberries, and coconut in a food processor and chop. Add lemon zest, maple syrup, nutmeg, and cinnamon and pulse several times to combine the ingredients.
4. Put the apples in the baking dish and press ¼ cup of the filling into each cavity. Spoon a tablespoon of preserves into the crater you created in each apple.
5. Combine the butter and apple cider in a saucepan and keep over low heat until the butter has melted. Now remove it from the stove and stir in the vanilla. Pour the liquid all over the apples.
6. Cover the apples with aluminum foil and bake on your oven’s center rack for thirty minutes. Remove the foil and baste the apples, then continue to bake (uncovered) for twenty to thirty-five more minutes, basting every ten minutes, until the apples are tender.
7. Serve and enjoy!

Vegan Spicy Beet Soup

You’ll need the following for this recipe:

6 medium beets (with skin; greens and stems removed)
2 cups water
1 ½ cup vegan vegetable bouillon broth
1 cup red wine
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup vegan soy sour cream
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups beet greens and stems, chopped
2 medium chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

1. Put the beets, vegetables bouillon broth, and wine into a large soup pot and add water.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for forty-five minutes to one hour.
3. Remove beets with a slotted spoon. Reserve the cooking liquid in the soup pot.
4. Once beets have cooled, coarsely chop. Set aside ½ cup of ½-inch diced beets for garnish.
5. Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat.
6. Add onion and brown sugar.
7. Saute for two minutes until sugar is dissolved.
8. Add the onion and brown sugar mixture, the chopped beets, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, soy sour cream, and chilies to the beet liquid in your soup pot.
9. Stir the mixture together and add to a blender in batches, mixing it until it’s smooth.

These are just two vegetarian recipes that are full of antioxidants and are downright tasty, too! Katrina Robinson is a freelance writer who blogs about a wide array of topics, from health to beauty to colon cleansing.

Why You Need Antioxidants & How to Get Them Naturally

We hear nutrition buzz words like antioxidants, free radicals, and oxidative stress all the time… but what do they really mean, and more importantly what does it mean for your health?

What are antioxidants?
Photo by Darren Hester

What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals is a chemistry term that describes a molecule that is unstable. A molecule is unstable when it has an uneven number of electrons, and is constantly searching to bond with other molecules to gain that electron.

When an unstable molecule bonds with an existing stable molecule, it “steals” the electron it needs and causes a domino effect by making the once-stable molecule turn into a new free radical.

The term “free” refers to the fact that these molecules are traveling throughout the body looking for a fix (an electron).

Sounds innocent enough, but free radicals are responsible for:

  • Accelerated aging
  • Destruction of DNA
  • Clogging of arteries
  • Tissue damage

I should add that our body naturally produces free radicals when it needs to fight off viruses and bacteria. However, most of us have way too many free radicals due to environmental factors like pollution, radiation, smoking or inhaling smoke, pesticides, herbicides, and stress.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are phytochemicals, vitamins, and other nutrient dense substances that fight free radicals. Antioxidants to the rescue!

How can you tell if a food has antioxidants? Colors!

Plants create different colorful pigments to protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays. Plants too can develop free radicals if they are under too much ultra violet sun light. That’s why they develop bright and colorful antioxidants.

Lucky for us, we can eat these colorful plants and fruits and gain the beneficial antioxidants to help us fight free radicals.

Ever notice how all of these “antioxidant superfoods” are dark and colorful like pomegranate, blueberries, acai, etc? Yep, it’s those color pigments that have the antioxidant properties we’re looking for.

Antioxidants act like scavengers for free radicals, giving them one of their electrons. The key is that antioxidants continue to be stable even if they donate an electron. Hence antioxidants have a stabilizing effect, that can repair damage and prevent more from happening.

Antioxidants also improve your body’s immune system, helping you fight off colds and out of control cell reproduction.

Antioxidants are colors
Photo by Doug Wheller

How Do You Get Antioxidants Naturally?

I’ve already hinted at this in the previous section, but the trick to getting your antioxidants in naturally is to eat lots of colorful plant based foods.

Think in rainbows. Dark blues and purples, shimmering reds, yummy oranges, delightful yellows, powerful greens.

When you shop at the farmer’s market or grocery store, look for the bright colors. Manufacturers try to lure you in with brightly designed boxes and cans, but if you let your instincts kick in you’ll be drawn to the naturally beautiful colors of fresh organic produce.

Studies have shown that eating more than 5 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables each day can cut down your risk for heart disease and stroke by 25%.

I think these natural antioxidants are working their magick!

Leave a comment

What’s your favorite colorful fruit or veggie? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Love, Nathalie