All the Colors of the Rainbow – Mangos

This post is part of a new series for Bekah’s Bites. We will be sharing nutrition tips about colorful fruits and vegetables. Think about rainbow colors when you choose your produce because those bright shades not only mean better flavor, it means they contain healthy nutrients.

Mangos

Mango with section on a white background
Mango with section on a white background

Decide if you want to use fresh pre-cut or frozen mangos and look for recipes to add a burst of orange color to your healthy diet.

Mangos are the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines but are a native of South Asia and commonly grown in tropical climates. Since mangos are a fragile fruit, their cultivation in Florida and California has been limited, most of the produce we use in the U.S. comes from Mexico and Central America. Even though this fruit is grown and harvested in hot climates, it is known to have cooling properties for the body (mango ice cream anyone?).

mango1As with most tropical fruits, mangos have a lot of Vitamin C and a one cup serving (about 100 calories) also contains 35% of Vitamin A which is an antioxidant and aids with vision. Around 10% of probiotic fiber can be found in this orange fruit. Nutrients such as copper and magnesium, which provide enzymes, and potassium to balance sodium, share their health benefits with Vitamin B for energy. The juicy orange center of this fruit also benefits a healthy diet by:

  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Improving skin
  • Promoting eye health
  • Alkalizing the body (reducing acidity and inflammation)
  • Improving digestion
  • Boosting immune system

mang03Sharing a basket of mangos is considered a gesture of friendship so make friends with your diet and add this wonderful fruit. Look for our Easy Friday Lunch post featuring a great chicken recipe enhanced with mangos to cool you off during the heat of midday!

 

Resources:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-health-benefits-of-mangos.html

https://healthimpactnews.com/2013/17-reasons-why-you-need-a-mango-every-day/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mango

Cooking tip

Mangos are a clingstone fruit (where the seed clings to the meat of the fruit) and they require a special slicing method so for convenience buy pre-cut or frozen.

All the Colors of the Rainbow – Strawberries

PerfectStrawberryThis post is the start of a new series for Bek’s Bites. We will be sharing nutrition tips about colorful fruits and vegetables. Think about rainbow colors when you choose your produce because those bright shades not only mean better flavor, it means they contain healthy nutrients.

Strawberries!

After buying your strawberries either from a local Farmer’s Market or at an organic grocery store, you can start to enjoy the many benefits of this amazing fruit.
The same strawberries that help us celebrate summer (and Valentine’s Day!) were brought from the wild and into the garden in France in the 18th century. Strawberries were initially cultivated for their various medicinal uses; however, they grew in popularity because of the wonderful taste. Who doesn’t love strawberry shortcake and whipped cream?
One serving of strawberries has around 50 calories and is an excellent source of Vitamin C. Low in sugar but definitely sweet enough to curb any cravings, this fruit is a healthy snack because it reduces blood sugar spikes. Strawberries have such vital nutrients as B-complex, manganese, fiber and a healthy plant compound called ellagic acid, which may reduce cancer risk. These may be reason enough to eat as much as you can of this summer harvested fruit, but strawberries also:

strawberrys-3312804342642C4p

  • Boost immunity
  • Promote eye health
  • Ease inflammation and prevent collagen destruction
  • Fight bad cholesterol and regulate blood pressure
  • Help with weight management

With so many good qualities, this fruit is a staple in any healthy diet. Check us out tomorrow and see how to make an easy Friday lunch with strawberries.

Resources:
http://www.fitnessrxwomen.com/nutrition/healthy-eating-tips/10-health-benefits-of-strawberries/

Cooking Tip!Strawberries_with_hulls_-_scan

Buy organic strawberries when you can. Strawberries are part of the “dirty dozen” list and commercially grown fruits may have a lot of pesticides. You can also buy from your local Farmer’s Market and ask how the strawberries were farmed.

The Power of Pomegranate

Pomegranates aren’t just for staining your mom’s white couch or your favorite shirt. They’re also incredible for you! Grown in the fall and early winter, pomegranates thrive in areas that provide an abundance of sunshine throughout every season. These fruits grow in flowering formations on trees, like apples do, however; the insides are so packed with jewel-like seeds (arils) they provide a more condensed, and delicious, amount of nutrients than most fruits offer. In fact, the word pomegranate actually means ‘seeded apple’ in French.

Winter is a time of hustle and bustle, and this stress can lead to a less than perfect immune system. While it’s easy to maintain a healthy intake of antioxidants in the summer months, with bright colored foods around every corner, the winter season is when your body needs them most- pomegranates are here to save the day! They are absolutely packed with benefits. Not only do they provide antioxidants, but also a large dose of fiber, Vitamin C, potassium (about 400 mg- that’s almost much as bananas!) and niacin. Studies have also shown that drinking a glass of pomegranate juice can help lower LDL cholesterol!  Truly, pomegranates are a remarkable fruit. Just stay away from mom’s couch.

So how can you add them into your diet? It’s easy! Pomegranate juice can be made into delicious jellies and jams (pomegranate toast, what a fun breakfast!) or added to salads. Still, nothing can beat a warm meal after a long winter’s day.

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Farro Salad (Adapted from Eatloveeat.com)Pomegranate