Star Fruits to Keep you Healthy This Winter
As the frost settles on the grass in the southern states of Australia, and people across the north switch from singlets to long sleeves, the hardy winter roots and vegetables such as horseradish, leeks, potatoes and broccoli are whipped out in kitchens and stewed up to keep everyone warm. While everyone loves a good stew in winter, it’s important to keep up an intake of fruit as well as vegetables. Many may think that there’s slim pickings in the fruit department over the winter months, but not if you know what you’re looking for.
Probably the most well-known fruit to fight off the winter woes is the humble orange- but why not try something different this season and go for its brighter brother? The rich, almost red flesh looks and tastes great in anything from a salad to a cake, and is something different in a lunch box to keep the kids interested.
One medium-sized blood orange will provide you with more than your daily vitamin C needs, one of the reasons that the citrus family are known as flu fighters. It is also high in anthocyanin, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from cancer and heart disease. Blood oranges are a great addition to any pregnancy diet with their folate content- folate, or vitamin B9, is an important nutrient to assist in the development of a fetus.
So whether you want to keep the kids sniffle free, or you just want an afternoon snack, make sure to keep stocked up on citrus this cold snap.
Carambola (Star Fruit)
A huge perk of living in tropical North Queensland is that there is a range of extra tropical fruit readily available- and it’s all packed full of goodies for your body! The star fruit, one of the most interesting-looking fruits you will come across, is low on calories but high on health benefits.
Carambola is full of fiber, which is great at helping to prevent the absorption of cholesterol. Like blood oranges, these also have high vitamin C content, as well as an abundance of flavonoids. Flavonoids are known to be antioxidative, and there is research suggesting they assist in the prevention of coronary heart disease and cancer. Flavonoids are mainly found in fruit, vegetables, tea and wine- there’s nothing unhealthy about a glass of wine with dinner!
If you ever pull over to a fruit market on the side of the road, it is definitely worth branching out and trying a star fruit instead of the everyday apple.
Australia produces 2,500 tonnes of this fruit annually, but we are making less than 1% of the world’s production. Persimmons are in season until the end of June, however many people like to wait to eat them until they are soft and mushy like the original persimmons originating in Asia- so are generally popular in winter.
A tiny persimmon contains more fiber than an apple, as well as higher levels of a lot of minerals and antioxidants. They are also an example of another vitamin C-filled fruit, as well as containing beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is turned into vitamin A by the body, which leads to healthy skin and better vision. Excess vitamin A is toxic, so the best thing about eating beta-carotene rich foods is that the body only converts as much as it needs into vitamin A, leaving no excess toxins.
Although they may look slightly like a tomato, persimmons are surprisingly sweet, and are a great addition to any salad or dessert.
The best thing about strawberries is that, due to different parts of the country having the best climate to grow them at different times of the year, they are almost always in season. However, Queensland strawberries are the ones to get over the winter months- the sweet red fruit thrive in the warm days and cold winter nights of a north Australian winter.
Many people argue that a bad thing about strawberries is their high sugar content- however their fiber is also extremely high, meaning that they have a low glycemic load- leading to no sugar crash! Eating eight average strawberries will provide you with roughly 150% of your daily vitamin C needs, and is also stocked full of potassium and manganese. Manganese promotes great bone health, through higher calcium absorption. Manganese is also important in helping with the proper function of sexual hormones- a natural aphrodisiac!
US research has shown that strawberries can delay memory loss and possibly assist in preventing cancer, making this tiny fruit pack an extremely powerful punch.
Lucky last is another member of the citrus family, a cross between a grapefruit and a mandarine. Tangelos from across the southern states are known to have a stronger flavour, however north Australia boasts having ripe tangelos a bit earlier in the year.
This is yet another fruit stocked full of vitamin C and flavonoids, and is a great winter fruit to eat to help with respiration problems such as asthma and bronchitis. If you are looking for a fruit to include in a weight loss diet, the fiber content in tangelos is a great help for that. These sweet little citrus fruit also lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
It’s extremely hard to pick one stand out fruit, when each of them boasts so many benefits to the body and are so delicious to eat. The best advice we have is to chop up a handful of each of these winter goodies, and have yourself a healthy fruit salad, with all of the flavours and a huge list of natural benefits!X
- Toni McMahon