Fruits You Don’t See Everyday ( in US)

The list of exotic and tropical fruits is ever-growing and lengthy, here are some key facts about just a few!

Durian

Labelled the “king of fruit,” this spiky melon originally hails from the forests of Southeast Asia. Since Durian literally means “thorny fruit” in Malay, its spiky exterior makes it hard to attempt opening the fruit, as some consider it more dangerous to touch than most cacti. The inside of a Durian consists of pods that are filled with a custard-like substance. The smell can be strong to the point where some find it intolerable, but a sign of a ripe Durian is a strong smell that isn’t sour.

According to Proscitech.com, “To choose a Durian, pick a fruit which is comparatively light and who’s stem appear big and solid. When shaking a good Durian, the seed should move.” Durian lends itself well to milk-based foods like milkshakes, ice cream, and even cakes. The custard-like consistency can be used on its own for a rich dessert.

Durian season is typically summertime (from June to August). They can be found in many mainstream supermarkets in the East, particularly in Japan. But in the West, they’re often only found in Asian groceries and markets. Aside from its countries of origin, (Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei), the largest exporter of the Durian fruit is Thailand.

Kiwano (Horned Melon)

The kiwano has taken on so many different descriptions in its day ranging from having the seeds of a cucumber, the look of a pomegranate, and the smell of a banana. The only sure facts about the kiwano are that they have yellow skin with spikes throughout, and bright green gelatinous insides with seeds throughout.

The fruit that bears such an aptitude of names like melano, jelly melon, and others in addition to kiwano and horned melon, was born in the Kalahari desert of Africa. Also called the African horned melon, is now also regularly grown in California and New Zealand.

Lychee

Another Southeast Asian native, the lychee is part of a whole family of small rough nut-shaped fruits. Along with its cousin, the rambutan, the lychee is often red in color with white gelatinous insides. Used in some desserts, the flavor is sweet and citrusy.

The fruits are harvested during early summer, and are supposed to be eaten fresh. But, there are also such fruits as sun-dried lychees that take the name of lychee nuts. This preservation method was the only way lychees were consumed prior to 1950, according to Proscitech.com

Pitaya (Dragonfruit)

A fruit of cactus plants, the pitaya has a bright reddish pink leathery skin with green long and curly spikes protruding from it. The insides are white with black specks throughout, making this fruit one of the most variable in color. Some variations of the fruit have red flesh, or yellow skin.

The dragonfruit was originally found in Mexico, Central and South America, and is now cultivated in China, the Phillippines, Israel, Taiwan, and many Southeast Asian countries. Only growing at night, the pitaya is also labelled “Queen of the night.”

Guava

Guavas are native to the Caribbean, Central and South Americas, and Mexico. They grow on trees with tropical shrubs and white flowers, and can be yellowish-green or red in color. Both have a red juicy flesh on the inside that tastes sweet and flavorful, hence why guavas are often particularly used in desserts. With a long list of cultivars, the guava fruit thrives in humid weather, according to the Purdue University Horitculture Department.

Noted for its strong odor, the guava has also been cooked and prepared in salads and main courses, in addition to desserts. Some eat the guava raw by itself, or with cream cheese. The fruit can be round or pear-shaped and its seeds can be chewable.

Carambola (Starfruit)

The carambola fruit comes from the Carambola trees of Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries. The yellow plasticky skin with distinct green edges gets its “starfruit” nickname from the shape it creates when cut latitudinally (please tell me it goes without saying that that would be a star). Carambola is now readily available in the United States as it is commercially grown in both Florida and Hawaii.

Carambolas are crunchy and juicy in texture, with a citrusy taste. Some believe that carambolas taste similar to apples or grapes. A significant amount of oxalic acid is present in the fruit, which can be dangerous for those with kidney trouble. It’s also said that the consumption of starfruit with certain drugs can increase their effectiveness, so consumers should be careful.

Starfruit can be used to make wine in some countries, and in Myanmar is known for being a main ingredient in tea pickles.

Mangosteen

The mangosteen is seen as a precious commodity in the States these days because it wasn’t until recently that it became available. Still very expensive in the West, mangosteens are grown in Southeast Asia, along with Durian and many of the other exotic fruits. One of the interesting facts about mangosteens is that it naturally possesses an acid that deters insects.

The sweet flesh is the only edible part of the mangosteen and is said to be creamy, citrusy, and remniscent of a peach’s flavor. “The ripe mangosteen is dark red and tastes best if harvested before turning purple or blue-black,” according to www.Proscitech.com.

And unlike what you might think, the mangosteen has no relation to the mango.

Nutritional Value Of These 7 Key Fruits

Fruit is a great way to start eating more nutrition and eating at least five to nine servings can make a big difference in the way you feel. Some fruits are more nutritionally valuable than others. We will discuss some of the most nutritious fruits and why they are so good for you.

A is for Apple

We have all heard the expression, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. This might not be entirely true, but eating apples is a great way for you to get the fiber you need in your diet. They are delicious and readily available all year around. Apples also contain pectin and that aids in lowering the bad cholesterol. They are also known to contain flavenoids that are beneficial to fighting cancer. It is better to eat a fresh apple rather than drink apple juice. The reason behind this is that some of the nutrients and important minerals may be lost during the processing.

A is also for Apricots

Apricots are chock full of zinc, folic acid, vitamins A and K, calcium and protein. They are also very high in beta carotene, fiber and potassium. Apricots are often found on the top ten lists for fruits and you can purchase them fresh, canned or dried. Eating dried apricots will give you an excellent source of essential nutrients. If you are going to purchase dried apricots, it is good to read the label. You will want to avoid those dried apricots that are laden with chemicals and preservatives. The best place to purchase dried apricots or any other dried fruit is from a health food store or a natural market. You will find a large selection of tasty treats that contain no additives; just the valuable nutrients you need in order for your body to perform in peak condition.

An Avocado is a Fruit Too

Many people mistakenly think of avocados as a vegetable when in reality they are a fruit. An avocado is considered a “super fruit” and is loaded with zinc, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin to name just a few of the important nutrients that an avocado has. Avocados are great for growing kids. Those who are conscious of their weight may want to forgo avocados because of their high calorie content. They also have a high fat count, but it is the heart healthy monounsaturated fats such as the Omega 3 fatty acid, an important brain food. Avocados can be eaten fresh after they have been peeled, or can be made into guacamole by adding garlic, onions and tomatoes.

Start Monkeying Around

Bananas are high in potassium and can aid in those people who take such medications as diuretics which are known to deplete the potassium from your body. They are easily mashed for easy consumption for babies and toddlers and because you have to peel one before you eat it, they will not contain pesticides that many other fruits are vulnerable to. A banana is a handy snack for eating on the go and keeping a supply of them in your home will make snack time a snap.

Blueberries

For many years, blueberries have been thought of as a tasty summertime treat. We now know that blueberries can pack a lot of punch because of the anthocyanin, a cancer fighting antioxidant that can be found in the skin. They are a tasty addition to any health conscious person’s diet and can make many other foods even tastier with their addition. You can add blueberries to a salad, cereal or ice cream or use them to make your fruit smoothie even more delicious. Adding blueberries to your diet whether fresh or frozen is a great nutritional step for you to take.

Cantaloupe Tonight, My Father is Using the Ladder

Cantaloupes are not only juicy and delicious; they are high in potassium, vitamin C and beta carotene. Melon that is fresh can be enjoyed in a variety of ways and is nutrition that is tasty as well as good for you. There are other varieties of melon, but cantaloupe is a melon that you can trust to give you the healthy nutrients you need.

Grapefruit

Eating grapefruit has long been a staple of dieters. It is a fruit that is high in fiber yet low in calories. The best grapefruit for you are the red or pink type. So if you have a choice, opt for these instead of the white variety. There is a lot of fiber packed into the strings that attach the grapefruit segments, so do yourself a favor and don’t use a spoon to scoop out the tasty flesh.

5 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Using 1 Great Fruit

If you ate a green salad with fresh chopped tomatoes, then you not only got a healthy dose of this powerful antioxidant, but you have also taken significant action toward lowering your blood pressure. A recent double-blind study conducted in Israel has confirmed what hearth-healthy Italians have enjoyed for centuries – tomatoes (and tomato sauce) lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

The Israeli study was led up by Dr. Esther Paran, head of the hypertension division of Soroka Medical Center. It involved patients who were already being treated for hypertension, but were not responding well to the medications. Dr. Paran had patients take a supplement of tomato extract. The results were a significant drop in blood pressure after just four weeks.

Tomatoes are so effective at lowering blood pressure because they contain lycopene. This potent antioxidant is even the focus of some hybrid tomatoes grown by the Israeli company, Lycomato, in order to have higher concentrations of lycopene in each piece of fruit. Other antioxidants found in tomatoes make this one super-food in the prevention of heart disease. It can even help keep LDL cholesterol from oxidizing which makes it stick to the arteries and narrow the passage way causing blood pressure to increase.

Even during the peak growing season it can be difficult to consume four whole tomatoes each day, which is the recommended amount for having a positive impact on blood pressure. Here are some ways to get the benefits of tomatoes without having to eat them straight off the vine.

1. Make Chili. Using tomato puree, which is a concentrated form of tomatoes, as the base for your chili utilizes the antioxidants without the bulk of a whole tomato. Add some ultra-lean and high protein ground bison and kidney beans with minced garlic and onions, and cayenne pepper and you have a heart-healthy main course and a full day’s allowance of tomato.

2. Since using olive oil with the tomatoes enhances the curative quality, make your pasta sauce red with tomatoes, tomato paste and olive oil to sauté the garlic and onion. Tomato paste used in making sauce contains more than 10 times the nutrients of a single tomato.

3. Have a fresh salad as a side dish to either of these entrees and cut one whole tomato on top. You’ll get one-quarter of you tomato intake right there.

4. Drink tomato juice. It is better to make your own fresh juice so that you can control the sodium. Store bought juices can be high in sugar and sodium-based preservatives. If you have a juicer, you can make some incredible veggie juices to suit your own tastes by adding carrots, celery and some low-sodium seasonings.

5. Take a tomato supplement. If you just can’t stomach tomatoes, then a 200 mg supplement provides the equivalent of more than the recommended four tomatoes.

Adding tomatoes to your diet can reduce systolic blood pressure by 10 points and diastolic pressure by 4 points as was evident in the Israel study. Whatever way you slice it, tomatoes will keep strengthen your immune system and lower blood pressure.

5-HTP – Nature’s Anti-Depressant

What is 5-HTP?
The Griffonia Extract is rich in 5-HydroxyTryptophan (5-HTP), which comes from an African vegetable, the Griffonia simplicifolia seed, and contains 30% 5–HTP. 5-HTP is an amino acid that is a direct precursor of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter having pain soothing and relaxing effects. 5-HTP is not present in significant amounts in a typical diet. The human body manufactures 5-HTP from L-tryptophan, a natural amino acid found in most dietary proteins. However, eating food that contains L-tryptophan does not significantly increase 5-HTP levels.

5-HTP and Serotonin
5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin. It improves mood, anxiety and is beneficial in weight loss. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that is the intermediate step between tryptophan and the important brain chemical serotonin. There is a massive amount of evidence that suggests that low serotonin levels are a common consequence of modern living. The lifestyle and dietary practices of many people living in this stress-filled era results in lowered levels of serotonin within the brain.

5-HTP and Carb Cravings
Researchers believe that inadequate serotonin levels are in part responsible for the desire to overeat. Not surprisingly, obese individuals who crave carbohydrates usually show abnormally low levels of serotonin. Taking a 5-HTP supplement half an hour before a meal can ” turn off” cravings and hunger pangs by feeding the brains carbohydrate satiety center. In this way 5-HTP can be a great asset as part of a weight-loss regime.

5-HTP and Addiction
The use of many addictive substances, such as tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and certain narcotics, elevates serotonin levels. When these substances are eliminated, serotonin levels drop drastically, causing anxiety and cravings. Taking 5-HTP can stabilize serotonin levels and help minimize the symptoms of withdrawal.

5-HTP and PMS
PMS sufferers report pain relief, as well as decreased irritability and mood swings from using 5-HTP. The supplement works by countering the hormone-induced decrease in serotonin levels that occur naturally during menstruation.

5-HTP and Sleep
Because of its calming effect, many rely on 5-HTP to alleviate stress-attacks, as well as to encourage restful sleep. Unlike sedative drugs, 5-HTP is not associated with unwanted side effects, such as disturbed sleep patterns or grogginess. It can be taken regularly one hour before retiring as a remedy for insomnia.

Side Effects
Very high intakes of 5-HTP have caused muscle jerks in guinea pigs and both muscle jerks and diarrhea in mice. Injected 5-HTP has also caused kidney damage in rats. To date, these problems have not been reported in humans. “Serotonin syndrome,” a serious but uncommon condition caused by excessive amounts of serotonin, has not been reported to result from supplementation with 5-HTP; in theory it could be triggered by the supplement. However, the level of intake at which this toxic effect might potentially occur remains unknown.

Warnings
5-HTP should not be taken with antidepressants, weight-control drugs, other serotonin-modifying agents, or substances known to cause liver damage, because in these cases 5-HTP may have excessive effects. People with liver disease may not be able to regulate 5-HTP adequately and those suffering from autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma may be more sensitive than others, to 5-HTP. These people should not take 5-HTP without consulting a knowledgeable healthcare professional. The safety of taking 5-HTP during pregnancy and breast-feeding is not known at this time.
Conditions with low serotonin levels helped by 5-HTP:
• Depression
• Obesity
• Carbohydrate craving
• Bulimia
• Insomnia
• Narcolepsy
• Sleep apnea
• Migraine headaches
• Tension headaches
• Chronic daily headaches
• Premenstrual syndrome
• Fibromyalgia

Griffonia and the 5 htp side effects

Griffonia and 5htp side effects

Griffonia Simplicifolia

It has been said and written a lot about a Griffonia seed extract and the amino-acid 5htp. First let’s see the medicinal properties of this  new phenomenon in  losing  weight and afterwards we have look at 5 htp side effects.

  • Griffonia simplicifolia plant has been used since ancient times in African countries such as Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast as a medicine, but especially as ancestral form of food, aspect that has provided researchers a great source of information regarding results and also regarding the safety of prolonged use.
  • The seeds of Griffonia are easily digested and about three-quarters of its ingredients, including 5htp, pass directly into the blood. For this reason, other amino acids present in the diet do not interfere with its absorption and, unlike tryptophan, can be taken with meals.
  • The seed of Griffonia is a natural source of 5htp an amino acid essential for the production of serotonin, which helps relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is also stated that this extract can help suppress appetite and pain sensation.
  • 5htp is an extract of Griffonia seeds. 5htp, 5 -hydroxy tryptophane is an significant building factor to create serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that controls several vital processes in the body, including sleep, emotional stability and sensitivity to pain. A lack of this neurotransmitter is a crucial factor for depression, insomnia, anxiety, migraine and an increased appetite.
  • Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates the central nervous system it is reducing the anxiety and is also acting on the appetite center.
  • In certain situations of overweight or obese, there is less presence of 5-HTP, which leads to decrease of serotonin concentration. This is associated with increased consumption of food rich in carbohydrates and conduct people to overeat.
  • Many people who eat ice cream, chocolate or other sweets in stressful times or depressed are instinctively trying to take more tryptophan to increase serotonin levels. Unfortunately it requires large amounts of these nutrients with high content of sugar and calories to feel the increased level of serotonin.
  • It has been observed that the 5-HTP intake decreases these symptoms and signs, with a dramatic consequence in losing weight.
    Griffonia and 5htp side effects

    Griffonia Seeds

You can take an infusion of the herb Griffonia simplicifolia, or you can try some of the weight  loss supplements which contain pure 5htp and increase so levels of serotonin and by this reduce the hunger and anxiety for sweet foods.

Let’s talk now about 5 htp side effects. Are there some? Is it safe to take these supplements in a long term?

  • We have to use the common sense.
  • Many of the supplements have some side effects even if the symptoms are minor we have to keep them in mind. As for the possible 5 htp side effects on humans we have to consider that 5htp has not been studied exhaustively in clinical settings.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting have been observed upon administration of 5htp, also the supplement may cause drowsiness.

Warning

  • Always consult your doctor before using any 5htp supplement, especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding, if you are using MAO inhibitors, antidepressants or other drugs. And don’t forget to keep it out of reach of children.
  • Remember that these data are merely informative, only your physician is who may recommend a dietary supplement for weight loss.