anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidising compound, Apricots, Beta carotene, bio-active compounds, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, cell regeneration, Collagen, free radicals, gastrointestinal distress, insulin sensitivity, LDL, Magnesium, micronutrient deficiencies, minerals, peaches, phytochemicals, Plums, potassium, prunes, Saba Gul Hasan, Selenium, skin cancer, Texas A&M University, Vitamin A, Vitamin C
Research conducted at Texas A&M University earlier this year has revealed that stone fruits (including apricots, peaches, plums and prunes that have a stone-like seed at their centre) are packed with phytochemicals, vitamins and essential minerals which prevent micronutrient deficiencies and can give health a boost.
These fruit contain bio-active compounds with anti-inflammatory properties; these prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol), which often leads to cardiovascular disease. The fruit provide a substantial amount of the required daily intake of potassium and magnesium, which can help you keep chronic ailments – such as blood pressure and hypertension – at bay.
Packing a nutritional punch, make the most of these stone fruit while they are in season:
Apricots are a rich source of vitamin A, with high beta carotene content that strengthens blood vessels, promotes cell regeneration and prevents cataracts, while vitamin C boosts immunity against degenerative diseases. If you are looking for delicious yet low-fat fruit, incorporate six to seven fibre-rich apricots in your diet for healthy weight loss.
Peaches, with their fuzzy, velvet-like skin are loaded with vitamin C as well as an anti-oxidising compound that increases collagen production, giving your skin a healthy glow, while selenium helps combat skin cancer-causing free radicals. You can also use peach skin – dried, crushed and mixed with a few drops of milk – as a natural and effective sunblock. If applied regularly, this mixture is believed to reduce wrinkles.
Prunes (dried plums) are an ideal snack when you are craving a sweet fix. High in carbs and fibre, regular consumption of prunes can relieve gastrointestinal distress, although be careful not to have more than five a day, because their acidic content can damage your stomach lining. Like apricots, the vitamin A in prunes boosts optic health, while the presence of soluble fibres delays the absorption of sugar in the body, thereby increasing insulin sensitivity and regulating glucose levels.
– Saba Gul Hasan
The writer is a nutritionist and a wellness coach.
First published in the Health Advertiser of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 14, 2014.