September 22, 2012

Fabulous Fruits

After discussing veggies yesterday, I would be remiss in discussing health if I did not take time to explain the benefits of fruits. Unlike the vegetable, many people love fruits. In fact, even candy, cereal, and other treats try to mimic the taste of fruit. We love fruit because it’s sweet and tart, bitter and sour, and even a bit salty sometimes. It’s also very pretty to look at. Many painters, sculptors, photographers, writers, and artists of all types have honored fruit in their works. Fruits stimulate our eyes, our taste buds, and even our hands; we like the way fruit feels. Fruits are versatile. We can eat them in dinners, salads, desserts, breakfasts, and lunches. Plus, fruits provide us with amazing benefits. Let’s take a look at three fruits to better understand this. Again, this is not my top-three list. It’s just my list of three fruits worth taking a deeper look into.

  1. Berries—these fruits are A-W-E-S-O-M-E! The come in different varieties, tastes, colors, and flavors. There’s blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, and cranberries just to name the five most popular. Each of these provides the pallet with different taste sensations. And as if taste, color, and flavor weren’t enough, berries provide so much nutrition. The BBC reported that blueberries are good for memory while strawberries are full of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, which all contribute to our health, and we’ve all heard how important cranberries are to combating various diseases including urinary tract infections. Just this past spring redOrbit reported that scientists found strong scientific evidence that berries have “beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss.” So the next time you indulge in these tasty treats, remember that you are helping your brain, body, and stomach. Did I mention that they’re low calorie and low fat? Yep, I’d say that’s pretty awesome.
  2. Citrus fruits—these bright fruits make delicious juices. In fact, most of us drink orange juice on a regular basis. But lemonade, limeade, and grapefruit juice are equally as tasty. Why do we like these so much? They are sweet and tart appealing to two areas of our tongue’s taste buds. According to ThinkQuest Library, our sour taste buds are on the right and left sides while our sweet taste buds are in front. Citrus flavors affect those areas, but they can also stimulate the bitter taste buds in the back. So what does that mean? All of our taste buds are tickled when we eat or drink citrus fruits. Beyond the senses, citrus fruits provide antioxidants and vitamin C. Though they also are acid-forming, if we eat the right citrus fruits, we can minimize the acid-formers. For instance, lemons are just as high in vitamin C as the beloved orange, but have less sugar and are easier to metabolize than the orange. Not all that long ago, redOrbit found evidence of how citrus fruits have been found to lower the risk of stroke for women. That’s a fruit I can get behind.
  3. Apples—we’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” This old cliché isn’t all that cliché after all. As the Huffington Post details, a medium-sized apple packs at least 4 grams of soluble fiber, is a low-calorie snack, can contribute to weight loss, support heart health and metabolic functions, and can help extend an exercise session. They make superb, scrumptious snacks, and they support our health in so many ways. We should all add more apples to our diets.

Like with vegetables, I could write so much on the fabulous benefits of fruit. We really just can’t get enough of fruits and veggies, and the more we eat, the healthier we will be. Both foods are generally low in calories and fat, provide us with the good sugars, and support our systems with the vitamins and minerals we need, not to mention the important fibers that they provide. A healthy diet has a good balance of fruits and vegetables. I daresay that in no time at all, we’ll find our jeans fitting a little looser and our hearts and brains feeling a lot stronger. So why aren’t we eating some right now?

Image Credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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