If you are like me, you may not be able to travel south this winter where the warmer, sunnier weather awaits. So if you can’t get to the tropics, maybe you can bring the tropics to you? How? Start by eating more tropical fruits.
Tropical fruits are colorful, sweet, delicious, full of fiber, and loaded with nutrients. They are also available in most grocery stores imported from countries like Mexico, Chile, and Belize. Here are a few healthy tropical fruits you should try:
Papaya is a melon-type fruit containing an orange-reddish pulp which is sweet and juicy. It grows in trees in countries like Mexico, Asia, Australia, and the Caribbean. It is a fruit that contains large amounts of vitamins like vitamin C and folic acid.
Papaya is also one of the fruits which contain the highest amounts of an important chemical called beta carotene. Our bodies can convert beta carotene directly into vitamin A but it also can act as a potent free radical scavenger and immune enhancer. Papaya is excellent in a fruit salad or as an addition to yogurt or cottage cheese.
Sweet Red Pepper
Although most people think pepper is a vegetable, it is actually classified as a tropical fruit. Sweet red peppers are grown in Mexico and South America but they are readily available here in North America too.
Bell peppers, especially the red and yellow varieties, contain large amounts of vitamin C, B vitamins, and carotenoids like beta carotene, lycopene, and lutein. Bell peppers also contain ample amounts of fiber and can help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and keep your blood thin.
They have a sweet taste and are great raw or roasted. They make an excellent ingredient in salads, sandwiches, or on pizza.
This unusual fruit is typically grown in India, parts of Asia, and South America. It is a large yellow or green oval-shaped fruit which has a rough surface.
Most jackfruit is available in Asian markets and can be sold pre-sliced. The taste is similar to pineapple but not as crunchy. The fruit can also be used as a meat substitute if consumed from the immature fruit. The seeds of the jackfruit can also be eaten and, like the pulp, are a great source of vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber, zinc, and carotenoids.
Pineapples are large, thorny fruits which grow in tropical locations like Asia and Hawaii. Inside the pulp of the fresh, ripe pineapple is sweet, succulent, and very juicy. The pineapple contains an excellent source of enzymes called bromelain and papain which can greatly reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
This fruit is also a great source of soluble fiber which can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Pineapples can be eaten raw or grilled and they are an excellent source of vitamin C. This is also a fruit that you can use in a fruit salad in baking or place in yogurt.
Introducing tropical fruits into your diet in the winter is an ideal way to bring the tropics to you but also enhance your nutritional experience, taste, and enjoyment.
“Fruits Info;” http://www.fruitsinfo.com/, last accessed Dec. 31, 2013.