Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Fruits for Pregnant Moms

Are you an expecting mom? You are indeed going through a wonderful period of new beginnings. It is time to eat well to nurture two lives, you and your baby growing inside you. Make fruits a must-have in your meal plan to take care of your extra nutritional needs, and toast happily to the good health of your baby.

Load up on fiber

Many women find bowel movement difficult during pregnancy, which makes them feel heavy, bloated and uncomfortable. You can incorporate fruits rich in fiber into your diet to check constipation. Be sure to drink enough fluids along with your fiber fix.

Sources: Apple and pear are excellent sources, while banana, kiwi and orange are good sources.

Get vitamin C boost

You would do well to make vitamin C-rich citrus fruits a regular part of your diet. The sharp flavor of citrus is just perfect for and appealing to an expecting mom. It gives a welcome relief from morning sickness and food aversions.

Iron deficiency anemia is most prevalent among pregnant mothers. It is a condition that goes often unnoticed: there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body tissues, which in turn lead to low birth weight, premature birth and maternal death.

It is essential that you eat adequate amounts of iron-rich foods during pregnancy to prevent anemia. Iron gets absorbed only when you boost up vitamin C intake.

Sources: Orange, lemon, lime, melon, grapefruit, strawberry, honeydew, kiwi and cantaloupe.

Consume folic acid

As an expecting mom, you should be aware that folic acid or folate, a vitamin B, is essential for the healthy development of the brain and the spinal cord of your baby even while in your womb.

Consume folate-rich fruits before and through the entire term to prevent major birth defects of the baby's brain and spinal cord.

Sources: Orange, pineapple, papaya, banana, and grapefruit

Include potassium

During pregnancy, your blood volume swells by about 50 percent. This is why you need a little more of electrolytes like sodium and potassium, to retain the right chemical balance in the extra fluid.

Leg cramps is a discomfort you may face while pregnant. Consume enough potassium to ease off leg cramps.

Sources: Banana, kiwi, watermelon, peach, cherries and grapes

Dos and don’ts

Think beyond apples and oranges. Have variety on your fruit bowl to feed your baby a fine mix of nutrients.

Though fresh fruit juice is a great pick-me-up, there are chances of food poisoning. Stay away from unpasteurized juices sold in restaurants and farm stalls.

Take care to rinse fruits thoroughly under running water before consumption. Do not use soap. Instead, scrub using a soft brush. Chop off bruised portions. Avoid eating left-over cut fruits that may have harmful bacteria.

Stay away from overdosing on refined carbs, to keep sugar levels steady. Keep yourself well hydrated to prevent preterm labor. Go for smaller meals to minimize heart burn.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Dish out in a Jiffy: Fruit Dessert Recipes for You

Hosting a dinner party? Is it one of those busy weeknights or a chill-out weekend? A delicious dessert is always welcome to round off a meal – be it for a kid or the child in you. Let’s make it refreshingly healthy by turning to fruits.

We will walk you through some quick, no-bake fruit dessert recipes, ideal to spring a surprise at get-togethers or to appease the hungry kids back from school. Just clean, peel, remove pits and stems of fruits, you are all set to say ‘wow’!

Mixed berry salad

Combine 1 cup fresh blueberries, 1 cup raspberries and 1/2 cup halved strawberries in a bowl for a cool and light salad.

Chef’s tip: For a yummy dressing, mix quarter cup of sour cream, honey and orange juice – two teaspoons each. Top with a scoop of ice cream for a creamy finish.

Nutritional bonus: Lots of fiber

Peach-cherry-strawberry salsa

Finely dice 2 peaches, 6 cherries and 5 strawberries, and craft a fruity color splash in a bowl. Spray with balsamic vinegar-honey-salt-pepper mixture for a sweet-spice kick.

Catching up with old friends? Fruit salsa is a simple dessert to stack a batch in the refrigerator before your guests arrive. Serve with cinnamon sugar pita chips, tortilla chips, corn chips or toast squares.

Chef’s tip: Have a sweet tooth? Whisk 2 tbsp yoghurt with 3 tbsp powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to pour over salsa. If you have a pound cake sitting in your pantry, serve fruit salsa over the cake with a swirl of whipped cream on top.

Toss strawberries with finely diced avocado, red onion and fresh cilantro for a change of flavor. Truly customizable with any combo of fruits you desire!

Nutritional bonus: Less doctor visits and anti-aging creams.

Fruit with whipped yogurt

Serve freshly chopped pineapple over beaten yogurt mixture. To prepare yogurt, whip 2 cups low-fat Greek yoghurt with 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest, 2/3 cup heavy cream until you see velvety, soft peaks. Sprinkle with dried fruits, toasted coconut shavings or freshly grated nutmeg. Or, dust with cocoa.

Chef’s tip: Spoon a good serving of whipped cream over diced apples and toasted walnuts.  Berries or bananas work well also. Serve whipped yogurt as a dip for your pickiest eater.

Nutritional bonus: Yogurt is full of bacteria, friendly to your digestive system.

Fresh fruit sundae

Puree ¾ cup chopped strawberries in a blender till smooth. Gently toss together cubes of apples, bananas, cherries and seedless red grapes in a mixing bowl. Spoon to waffle cones, and drizzle with strawberry puree.

For asthetics, arrange the fruit sundae in tall glasses. Layer the sundae glass with chopped fruit and granola, and finish with swirls of vanilla ice cream. Serve with a long spoon.

Chef’s tip: Another option is to blend mangoes and bananas till smooth, and dress up with an assortment of toppings: fruit preserves, almonds, candied walnuts, Graham cracker crumbs, maple syrup, organic date syrup, and crystallized ginger.

Nutritional bonus: All the goodness of fruits in a glass.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Exciting Ideas for You to Eat Pear

The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) recommends piling half your food plate with fruits and veggies at every meal. Pears are one of the most popular fruits and meet most of your nutritional needs.

Pear Health Benefits

Soft and juicy pears pack in good amounts of antioxidants and dietary fiber. Dense with water, this fruit helps keep your digestive system clean and clear, naturally. Making pears part of your meal plan, helps a glowing complexion and maintaining optimal body weight and helps lower your risks of diabetes and cardiac disorders.

Yummy Pear Recipes

Pear cobbler

Pile sugared pear slices in a large casserole dish. Add white cake batter and bake. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Grilled pear sandwich

A great lunch time snack!  Pear slices, bacon and cheddar on toasted bread.

Poached pear

Poach peeled pears in honey, ginger and cinnamon syrup until soft. Add vanilla bean for flavor. Let the fruit stand in the syrup after poaching to soak up the flavor. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or with a slice of ginger bread.

Pear pie

Toss cleaned and sliced pears with lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar until coated. Bake in a double crust pie shell.

Pear-bread pudding

Treat yourself to tasty and warm bread pudding! Layer bread mixture with caramelized pear slices with add drops of vanilla extract. Sprinkle nuts and dried cranberries on top for texture. Add brown sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon or candied ginger to taste.

Pear-goat cheese-pecan salad

The go-to food you can dish up in a jiffy. Put together pear slices and chunks of soft goat cheese. Add sugared pecans. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil. Mix. Enjoy!

Ginger pear smoothie

Just blend sliced pears, frozen bananas, vanilla and almond milk or yogurt. Add grated ginger and cinnamon for a hint of zing or add ground flax on top for fiber.

For more ideas visit:

http://allrecipes.com/recipes/1107/fruits-and-vegetables/fruits/pears/

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Your Ideal Fruit Platter for Diabetics

Anyone would assume that fruits laden with natural sugars are a strict no-no for diabetics. Not so. Choose fruits smart and eat in moderation to meet nutritional needs and keep diabetic complications at bay.

Make apples a ‘must’ for vitamin C

Eat apples and bid farewell to bad cholesterol. The red crunchy fruit is low-cal, high fiber and rich in vitamin C. Termed a ‘miracle fruit’, three servings of apple per week could keep the diabetologist away. And, do not peel away the antioxidant-rich red skin. It packs in large amounts of wonderful substances that promote your health.

Serving Tip: Add apples to your oatmeal or pancakes. They are classic additions to any food - from desserts to crumble to pie to sandwich. For something warm, add apple chunks to hearty soups. Quinoa salad with apple works well too.

Load your meal with berries for antioxidants
Be it any berry, a diabetic can indulge sans guilt. Berries are the super foods with high levels of antioxidants and vitamins. The high fiber content helps stabilize blood sugar levels, and cuts health risks linked to diabetes. By reducing bad cholesterol, berries scale down heart complications.

Serving Tip: Smoothies, salads and muffins are great ways to sneak in berries into your meal.

Incorporate cantaloupes for eye health

Incorporating this variety of luscious melon into the diet boosts your vitamin A levels that makes it the guardian angel of your eye health, states American Diabetes Association.

You may also build on your body resistance from its rich vitamin C content.

Serving Tip: Cool off with a cantaloupe-raspberry smoothie, or a fresh salad with strawberries.

Include kiwis for fiber

Kiwi is less on carbs and a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamin C. On top of it all, it is available through the year, and packs in a long shelf life when stored in the refrigerator. It is a wise choice to maintain your sugar levels.

Serving Tip: Kick off your day with kiwi-blueberry-low-fat yoghurt smoothie.

Eat tart cherries, fight swelling

Cherries are other powerhouses of antioxidants that help fight heart disease, an offshoot of diabetes. If you are facing problems of inflammation, say ‘yes’ to tart cherries in your diabetic food regime. Make sure you eat only fresh cherries, and do not load on added sugars from preserves.

Serving Tip: Beat up a smoothie, toss into green salad, or add on to your waffle/pancake batter.

Pack in peaches for potassium

Go in for juicy peaches to get healthy amounts of fiber. Their good levels of potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C are worth a try.

Serving Tip: Eat them fresh, or whip up a smooth delicacy with low-fat milk. Add peaches to your iced tea for a fruity twist.

Chomp on fiber-rich apricots

Low cal and low-carb, apricots are. This golden orange summer delicacy is high on dietary fiber and vitamin A. High on antioxidants and potassium, apricots are heart-friendly.

Serving Tip: Eat them as a whole with skin. Jazz up your cereal or salad with sliced apricots for a sweet kick.

Consume pears to detox

The National Institute of Medicine attests that dietary fiber significantly reduces risks associated with diabetes. Easy way out for you is to consume fiber-rich pears that make you feel fuller for a longer duration; the bonanza is you get to maintain a healthy body weight – no fuss, no sweat. Its high percentage of water regularizes bowel movements, flushes out toxins and cleanses your body naturally.

Serving Tip: Add sliced pears to spinach salad to make it a double delight. Blend grapefruit with pears for a perfect smoothie.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Top 10 Reasons Why You should Eat Bananas

Bananas, the all-season fruit are botanically berries. They belong to the largest of herbaceous plants. They were first found in Southeast Asia. The Arab conquerors took them westward: the plant moved from Asia to Africa and finally reached Americas.
Do you know? A bunch of bananas is known as a ‘hand’ and a single fruit is called a ‘finger’. Now, listed here are top ten reasons why you should make bananas a part of your daily menu.
Lose weight
Are you the one looking to lose weight? Switch to eating bananas and say ‘no’ to snacking and binging. Packed with natural sugars and fiber, bananas are calorie dense. They keep you full for a longer time and cut your trips to the vending machine or the burger outlet down the road.
Beat your blues
Grab a banana to beat your blues. The fruit has tryptophan, a natural mood enhancer, which the body converts into serotonin, a feel-good hormone that helps ease off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Punch in energy
Hitting the gym? Eat a banana before or after a workout to refuel and maintain your blood sugar levels. Athletes get their energy boost in bananas that come with a healthy mix of vitamins, minerals and carbs. They also keep muscle cramps at bay, which one might experience during strenuous workouts.
Keep your heart healthy
Make bananas a must-have in your diet to maintain normal blood pressure. Their rich potassium and magnesium content get absorbed into the blood stream directly from the gut that helps regularize heart rhythms and protect against heart attack and stroke.
Maintain good vision
Want to keep your eyes in the pink of health? Go for the fruit. They have a small dose of vitamin A that includes a series of compounds like beta carotene and alpha carotene. They are the guards of membranes that surround your eyes. These compounds convert to vitamin A that keeps your eyes healthy.
Say ‘no’ to laxatives
The water-soluble fiber content regulates your bowel movements. They increase the growth of helpful bacteria in the bowel and flush out toxins and metals from the body.
Soothe heartburn
With its compound called protease inhibitor, bananas have an antacid effect, protect the stomach from unfriendly bacteria, form a protective coat in the digestive system and guard against peptic ulcers.
Energize your brain
Sitting for exams? Say ‘yes’ to bananas. Their potassium content keeps your brain alert and energized for a longer duration while the magnesium improves focus. Research has proven that students get better exam grades when they eat bananas through the day. Their high levels of Vitamin B6 assist in preventing memory loss seen commonly in old age.
Keep anemia at bay
The rich iron content of bananas assists in maintaining healthy hemoglobin levels and keeping anemia at bay.
Boost immunity
Are you prone to frequent bouts of cold and flu? Eat 1-2 bananas a day to increase body resistance. Fully ripe bananas with dark spots are more effective in increasing the number of white blood cells to fight against disease-causing germs and also have anti-cancer effects.
Serving tips
  • Blend a banana with 2 tbsp peanut butter and a cup of almond milk for a perfect on-the-go protein boost.
  • Cook up banana pudding with flour, milk, eggs, ripe bananas, butter and a dash of cinnamon. Dust with icing sugar. Blissfully comforting for sure!
  • Flip up fluffy pancakes sneaking in mashed bananas.
  • Make chocolate-banana toast with mashed bananas, chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla extract. Indulging!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

How to Make a Perfect Fruit Salad: 5 Great Ideas for You

One might think chopping fruits and tossing them in a bowl makes up a fruit salad in the blink of an eye. However, if you want to make it an enticing visual spread like a pro, there are some tricks. And, easy-to-follow, they are. Here we go.
Buy in-season fruits
Always buy fresh in-season fruit from the farmer's market or your neighborhood store. Flavor and texture-wise, seasonal fruit always tastes good. Make it a thumb rule to always pick up regular produce that grows in your country. Let it be soft and just ripe with a slight crunch to each bite.
A clean prep is a must
Wash fruits thoroughly under running water.
Give them a nice prep, removing seeds and skin, if inedible. Will anyone like to bite into the bitter seeds of a grape or chew on the fibrous skin of a pineapple?
Cut evenly. Not only is it nice-looking, but also is eating easier. Whether you dice or slice or cube, make it one size.
Let it be a right combo; use equal parts of each fruit for the right blend of flavor and color.
Bring on the rainbow
Combine fruits of varied hues – red, green, purple, yellow – to make quite a brilliant splash.
Think about incorporating diverse textures to keep your palate engaged. Some fruits have a crunch; others are juicy while some are starchy.
Berries and water melon go with everything, strawberries and kiwis are a universal pair, oranges add a nice flavor and a mix of tropical fruits is a heavenly combo.
Add zest with toppings and seasonings
Perk up the flavor of fruit salads with a squeeze of lemon. The citrus juice prevents fruit from turning an unpleasant brown. If you like a strong citrus flavor, sprinkle grated lemon zest.
Add refreshing mint to salads with melons, berries, and citrus. Condensed milk makes it creamy and satisfying.
Lime and honey dressing will spring a surprise of sweet-sour flavor.
Add quinoa or seeds for a nice bite.
Make it fun for kids
It is a bit of a challenge to make those fussy kids eat fruits. All it takes is a matching bit of your imagination to make it cool.
Top up with a blob of whipped cream or Greek yogurt on berries and stone fruits. Nuts and granola give it a nice texture.
Sprinkle granulated sugar or give it a swirl of honey for kids with a sweet tooth and a dash of freshly ground black pepper for a spicy relish.
Pour a blend of lemon and orange juice for a citrus boost.
Mayonnaise, pepper and salt combine gives it a velvety texture.
Go easy with a generous squeeze of chocolate syrup or a blob of vanilla ice cream.
Carve a salad bowl from a hollowed out cantaloupe or melon or citrus.
Slide fruit chunks on to wooden skewers. Put out a bowl of yoghurt dip and granola or coarsely ground nuts to sprinkle on top.
Use cookie cutters to make cool shapes.
Simply go wild!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Fun Fruit Titbits for You

A fruit basket full of red apples, blue berries, luscious pineapples and the rest is an awesome package of natural nutrition and fine health. On the flip side, prop yourself to chomp through some not-so-commonly-known bits and bites of fruits.
Did you know? Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona are the top citrus fruit producers in the United States. Florida boasts of cultivating the most delicious and juiciest oranges in the world!
Pear – ‘Gift of the Gods’
As early as 800 B.C. Homer, Greek poet and author of Odyssey called pear the ‘Gift of the Gods’. Pear belongs to the rose family. It was first commercially grown in China by Feng Li, a diplomat. The ancient Chinese regarded the pear tree as a symbol of immortality, as it can yield fruits for 100 long years!
Grapefruit – a Cross between Pomelo and Orange
First spotted in Barbados in 1750, the sour to semi-sweet grapefruit is believed by some to be a cross-produce of a Jamaican sweet orange and an Indonesian pomelo.
Banana – ‘Fruit of the Wise Men’
Banana, one of the earliest plants to be grown, was first cultivated in Africa by 500 AD. The Portuguese sailors brought them to the Americas from West Africa in the 16th century.
In 327 BC, Alexander the Great, came across sages in India who meditated under banana trees and apparently got wise, which is why the fruit is called so. And, all that the sages ate were only bananas!
The fruit looks like a finger; but do you know the Arabic word for a finger – it is ‘Banan’ and, a clutch of bananas is called a ‘hand’. 
The potassium content in banana makes it somewhat naturally radioactive, but do not get alarmed; the level is not steep enough to cause harm.
Banana, technically a berry, does not grow on a tree, but on a giant herbaceous plant.  Being a hermaphrodite, a banana tree bears male and female flowers on the same stalk and reproduces without pollination.
Grapes Usher in Prosperity
People in Spain, Portugal and Latin American countries traditionally eat 12 grapes at midnight on the New Year’s Eve.  They pop in a grape with each ring of the clock, each one symbolizing each month of the New Year. The belief is that those that pop all 12 grapes before the clock finishes with its ringing will have good luck all through the year. 
Strawberry – ‘Nature’s Candy’
Strawberry is not a berry, but a member of the rose family. California produces 80% of the strawberries in the United States. Strawberry is the only fruit to wear its seeds on the outside. An average berry could be studded with some 200 of them. Should you chance upon a bush of strawberries, you will get to suck in sweet smell just like they taste. No surprises there, it is called the ‘Nature’s Candy’.
Pineapple Symbol of Hospitality
Pineapple is native to South America. It was first brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in 1493. It was named so, as it closely resembled a pine cone.
Life revolved around hospitality in the colonial Americas. Pineapple decorated the dining tables as a center piece greeting guests, symbolizing cheer and warmth and was a part of elaborate American banquets.
It is a common belief that George Washington, the first President of the United States, grew pineapple on his Mt Vernon property, which he considered his favorite tropical fruit.