Most fruits are cheap, available in abundance and easily accessible in virtually all parts of Nigeria. They are in the local markets, super marts, shops and bus stops. Some are seasonal, while others are available all-year round.
Apple, mango, pawpaw, orange, pears, cashew, banana, guava, garbage, avocado pear, cucumber, carrot, watermelon, cherries, coconut, and many others, are some of the familiar fruits that stare people in the face on daily basis, waiting to be savoured.
There are many exciting benefits of eating fruits that cannot simply be ignored, experts in nutrition and diet have said. They pointed out that there are more to consuming fruits as food, stressing that fruits strengthen the immune system to fight against communicable and non-communicable diseases. In fact, the amount of fruits you consume or fail to consume influence your total well-being.
But unfortunately, out of sheer ignorance, most Nigerians are unaware of the amazing health importance of eating different kinds of fruits, while others simply approach the issue with lackadaisical predisposition.
As a Lagos-based dermatologist, Bright Zehiuwa explained, fruits benefit the skin, body and hair because they contain vital vitamins and minerals. He said not until Nigerians develop a conscientious habit of eating fruits, the nutritional benefits would continue to elude them.
The skin expert said nothing could perform more magic in one’s health than eating fruits everyday. He added that apart from the fact that it imparts a healthy sheen to the skin and hair, it serves as a healing balm and maintains all-round health.
Nutritional facts of fruits
Fruits are naturally rich in nutrients, like potassium, calcium, folate and dietary fiber. They are low in calories, sodium and fat.
Fruits are always low on cholesterol. Fruits rich in fiber helps in lowering cholesterol and fiber helps to regulate the bowel movement and gets rid of constipation and other stomach disorders.
Fruits, like peaches, banana, apricots, prunes, oranges, and honeydew melons are rich in potassium that help in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
Vitamin C in fruits helps repair skin cells and help in formation of skin firming protein, collagen apart from speeding healing of wounds.
It equally keeps teeth and gums healthy too.
Folate obtained from fruits help in formation of red blood cells. Women of child-bearing age must consume folate rich fruits to reduce the risk of anaemia. More so, it can minimise the risk of neutral tube defects, spina befida, anencephaly during the phase of foetal development.
Benefits for the skin
As scientifically proved, fruits have multitude of vitamins, which benefits the skin when eaten daily. The more fruits one consumes the healthier the skin. For example, Vitamin A is a skin refining vitamin. Pawpaw and apricot are rich in Vitamin A, which helps in maintaining the health of skin.
Vitamin C, folate, iodine, phosphorous and zinc in mango and watermelon helps to build up collagen, which is a protein that firm up the skin and makes it younger. In addition, orange is fruit which helps in tightening your skin when taken orally on your diet.
According Zehiuwa, when you incorporate fruits, such as guava, carrot and pawpaw in your diet, it helps to defy wrinkles for long time.
Fruits are also rich in anti-oxidants and they fight skin damaging free radicals. Beta-carotene found in guava and cantaloupe help in fighting the skin-defying effects of UV rays.
Fruits rich in papain, like pawpaw, is a natural skin softener that nourishes the skin deep down. Indeed, pawpaw is beauty food, which nourishes your skin when taken internally and applied topically. It contains Vitamins A, C, E and plenty of carotene, which keep the skin flawless and glowing naturally. Eating the fruit keeps your bowel clean and keeps your digestive system in good condition, which means no acne and pimple, but simply glowing skin.
Though pomegranates are not common everywhere, it is said to heal wounds and scars when eaten. They are rich in punicic acid, elagic acid and antioxidants. In addition, pomegranates are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help in cell regeneration and helps in healing scars and wounds.
Moreover, consumption of this fruit also helps to increase the red blood corpuscles, resulting in fair and glowing complexion. It is power-packed with the supplements of vitamin A, B, C and plentiful of minerals, like potassium, phosphorus, iron, niacin folic acid, thiamin and riboflavin in it.
To hydrate the skin, watermelon is good. It is rich in water, which hydrates your skin. It contains 92 per cent of water and eight per cent of sugar. It reduces the risk of UV generated free radicals, which causes sun burn and freckles.
To have firm skin, apple is essential. The age-old adage that says eating an apple a day keeps doctor away still holds true till date. Apple is high in mallic acid, which is very gently on skin. It is gentler than sallyclic acid or glycolic acid and it promotes glowing and firmer skin. Fiber in apples cleans the colon and keep the bowel clean and it imparts a glow to your skin.
To get spotless skin, fruits, like banana, which is rich in potassium, is good. This hydrates and moisturises the skin. It nourishes the skin to look fuller and younger. Vitamin A, E and D in banana promotes spotless skin and prevents dark spots. So eating banana in your daily diet replenishes all essential nutrients for keeping your skin in good health.
Benefits of fruits to the hair
Just as similar to the skin, your hair is reflection of your inner well-being. Fruits that are high in vitamins and minerals aid in maintaining the health and texture of hair. There are a few fruits that helps you get rid of baldness, hair breakage and help in regrowth of new hair.
For shiny healthy hair, eat oranges. Oranges are rich in Vitamin C, flavonoids and magnesium that promote healthy hair. Also to prevent hair Loss, eating fruits, like apple is a sure way of doing it. Apple is a boon to our health and skin, likewise it is good for health of hair too. It has soluble fiber, vitamins, and oxidants, which work in preventing hair baldness. Phenolic compound and biotin in apple strengthen the roots and help in growth of hair.
A renowned nutritionist and dietitian, Dr. Chika Ndiokwelu emphasised the need for adults and children to increase the amount of fruits they consume. She described the nutritional value contained in fruits as unquantifiable.
She revealed that daily consumption of fruits lowers the risk of cancer, high blood pressure, anxiety and boosts one’s body’s immunity, adding that eating varieties of fruits was the cheapest way to prevent diseases.
The good news to people struggling with overweight is that fruits rich in fiber keep the stomach fuller for long and induce the person to eat less, thereby helping reduce weight. According to experts, both men and women should eat variety of fruits everyday to remain healthy.
Munching on whole fruits is said to be better than gulping a glass of fruit juice. The findings further explained that one could get the minerals and vitamins from juice but will miss out on fiber, especially comparatively for weight watchers. Eating fruits low in calories, such as papaya and pineapple also aid in weight loss and maintaining ideal weight.
In addition, fibrous fruits prevent heart disease by reducing hyperlipidemia and hypertension, mellitus and obesity. Fiber-rich fruits also possess anti-carcinogenic properties which prevent colon cancer and other bowel disorders.
Fruits high in potassium helps in lowering blood pressure and risk of kidney stones and bone loss.
When best to eat fruit
It is common to see people eating fruits after meal. For them, fruits are dessert, to “aid digestion.” However, experts said it is better to eat fruits on empty stomach.
Kufunu Charles Maboshe, writing on linkedin.com said: “If you eat fruits on empty stomach, it will play a major role to detoxify your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities.”
The benefits of eating fruits in the morning include the following: It helps avoid indigestion, absorption of mineral, control of blood sugar level, control of cholesterol, prevention of constipation, gives more energy, detoxification and absorption of more antioxidants and weight loss treatment.