Five Tropical Fruits You Should be Eating

Papayas are great for skin and digestion - find out what other benefits including tropical fruits in your daily meals can have for you...

January 17, 2014

Tropical fruits are a winter staple in many North American states because there are few domestic (or even local) fruits in season this time of year.  Tropical fruits are nutrition powerhouses and taste great. Here are five, but of course there are many more!

Kiwis are Loaded with Vitamin C, and have potent antioxidant properties, which help boost the immune system and enhance cell protection and repair. Studies point to the high-fiber, potassium and vitamin K-rich kiwi as a possible aid to heart health and to respiratory function. Research suggests that kiwi is also beneficial for children with respiratory problems. Kiwis are also rich in serotonin – our happy neurotransmitter which relates to the quality of our sleep.

Mangoes are tropical fruits with deep yellow orange pulp and sweet perfume. They are a rich source of vitamin C, and A, as well as fiber and B vitamins. Stuides have demonstrated a link between mangoes and lowering risk for cancer, cholesterol, improving eye and skin health, and more. Mangoes are tricky to peel, but very juicy and sweet. Their skin should be a smooth red tipped with golden yellow and will give slightly when ripe.

Papayas are a bulbous pear-shaped fruit with deep yellow skin and black seeds. If either are green, they should be allowed to ripen and come to their red or golden color before eating. Papaya is another rich source of beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin C, magnesium, and fiber, and also contains potassium and folate. Folate prevents developmental defects in fetuses and helps supports cardiovascular health. Papayas are also great for digestion and radiant skin. 

Pineapples are rich in vitamin C, manganese as well as B vitamins and fiber. They are also deliciously sweet.  Pineapple also contains bromelain and researchers now know that bromelain has a wide variety of health benefits. Inflammation, excessive coagulation of the blood, and certain types of tumor growth may all be reduced by therapeutic doses of bromelain when taken as a dietary supplement (much more than you can get from a ½ cup of pineapple). How to choose the best pineapple? One trick is to pull a green spike or two out of the top. If they don’t move out easily, the pineapple is not ripe. Or, if it has lots of sugar crystals or brown spots on the rind, it may actually be rotten. Again, the sniff test is the best indicator. It should definitely smell like a pineapple — sweet, light and exotic.

Starfruit resembles a star when sliced crosswise. They are rich in vitamin C, and fiber and make for a great snack. Ripe starfruits have thin, glossy yellow-green skins with some brown spots indicating sugar development. Store at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate, covered.

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