When people think of fruits, they almost always think of the usual suspects: apples, oranges, bananas, etc. Unfortunately, tropical fruits are not as widely known as their temperate counterparts. Tropical fruits have a unique and subtle flavor that is hard to describe. Instead of tasting sweet as other fruits do, they have a stronger tartness and juiciness. The juices obtained from different fruits are also mixed to create concoctions such as peach passion fruit and strawberry guava wine. Here, we’ll explore some common tropical fruits and their benefits.
Various Benefits of Tropical Fruits
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Tropical fruits are rich sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential nutrients that help protect your cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can lead to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Rich in Fiber
They are also rich in fiber. Fiber helps keep your digestive system healthy and functioning optimally. It also promotes a feeling of fullness, which means you are less likely to overeat.
3. Low in Sugar
Tropical fruits contain low amounts of natural sugars, which is why they’re a good choice for people with diabetes or who are trying to lose weight. However, tropical fruits have high amounts of natural sugars as compared to other fruits like apples and oranges which have higher fiber content but lower sugar content. In addition, tropical fruits have a high glycemic index (GI), which means they can raise blood sugar levels rapidly after consumption. They should be consumed sparingly by diabetics and those with insulin resistance.
4. High in Vitamin C
Since they are high in vitamin C, they can help you fight off the common cold. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant. It’s essential for the formation of collagen, which is the main component of cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron and supports immune function.
Some Common Tropical Fruits
The guava is a small, round fruit that’s native to North and South America, but is also grown in Southeast Asia. Guavas have a sweet flavor and are rich in vitamin C. A single fruit provides more than 100 percent of the recommended daily value. Guavas are also a good source of fiber, potassium, and manganese. To prepare guava, simply slice it open and eat it as is or use it to top ice cream or yogurt.
The coconut is a fruit with a hard, outer layer that contains edible white meat. It’s native to tropical climates and has been used in cooking for centuries due to its versatility. The meat is used to make oil, cream, milk, and flour. Coconut milk is an important ingredient in curry dishes and other Asian recipes. Coconut milk or cream can be substituted for dairy milk or cream in many recipes.
The papaya is a tropical fruit that’s native to Central America but also grows in South America, Africa, India, Australia, and other parts of Asia. It has a sweet flavor with a slightly tangy aftertaste, making it popular for both savory and sweet dishes. Single papaya provides more than 100 percent of your daily value for vitamin C. It also contains folate and potassium. To enjoy this tropical fruit raw or cooked, simply peel off the skin before slicing it open and removing the seeds from inside.
Pineapples are native to Brazil but have become popular around the world because they’re easy to grow in warm climates where other fruits won’t thrive. In addition to being delicious on their own or mixed into tropical drinks like piña coladas, pineapples are rich in vitamin C and contain some fiber as well as small amounts of protein. To enjoy pineapple raw or cooked, simply cut off the crown, peel the skin, and then cut the fruit into wedges.
Not only are tropical fruits delicious, but they also have a ton of health benefits. They contain lots of vitamins and nutrients, and they’re also very low in calories. If you want to get your daily dose of vitamins while still keeping your figure, try adding some tropical fruits to your diet. The next time you’re at the store, look for some exotic fruits from the tropics. You won’t regret it!
Photo by Trang Doan & Engin Akyurt