Acai Berries
/Acai Berries/

Fruit

Acai berries come from the Acai palm native to Central and South America. It is sold as a powder, in capsules to take as a supplement, as a juice or as frozen pulp. It's a gorgeous deep purple colour, and that colour comes from the presence of various anthocyanins, phenolics and other antioxidants present.

The antioxidant capacity of acai has been debated, but certainly as measured by ORAC (used on the US antioxidant database) it's pretty impressive with a value of 102,700 micromol TE/100g - for comparison wild blueberries have an ORAC value of 9,621 micromol TE/100g. Whether this translates into real health benefits in the body is as yet unknown, but this is a hot topic in nutrition science.

Acai is sold as a superfood, but whether it really has extraordinary powers over locally grown berries is debatable. It is expensive and so you have to make up your own mind. The pulp is delicious in smoothies or you can combine with banana, milk, toasted muesli and fresh fruit for breakfast. You can add the powder to your cereal or muesli (and be ready for purple milk!), or mix through yoghurt. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
The majority of acai comes from the Amazon rainforest, so do be sure that you are buying products from a company with good sustainable farming practices and a fair trade policy.  

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Apple
/ap-uh-l/

Fruit

Apples are one of our most commonly eaten fruits, yet are not usually thought of in any special nutritional light. That's a real shame as they truly deserve recognition.

They are an excellent source of fibre with one apple providing about 4g, 13-16% of your recommended daily amount. 

Apples have a low GI, so the natural sugars present in the fruit are slowly absorbed, helping you to feel full and eat less. They make for a pretty perfect snack!

Apples are incredibly rich in antioxidants - they have twice the antioxidant power of an orange, and a Choice review found Red Delicious apples to have 10 times the antioxidant power of goji berry juice sold on its antioxidant credentials! Be sure to eat the skin as this is where most of the antioxidant compounds are found.

Apples also provide a good level of vitamin C, potassium along with small but significant amounts of B group vitamins and several minerals. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
The old adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" now has pretty solid scientific evidence to support it. Oxford University researchers recently published a study in the prestigious British Medical Journal showing that in the over 50s eating an apple a day would have similar effects in terms of reducing blood cholesterol and heart disease risk, to taking a statin drug. The benefits would go way beyond heart health, it would be far cheaper, far tastier than swallowing a pill, and there would be no side effects. I'd take the apple over a drug any day!
 

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Apricot
/ap-ri-kot/

Fruit

The scientific name for apricots  is Prunus armeniaca because Armenia was one of the first known countries to cultivate them. They have been consumed since ancient times, and were popular with the Romans and ancient Greeks. They were also grown in Persia and the Middle East, and apricots remain popular today.

Since the flesh of an apricot is drier and firmer than other stone fruits, they cook really well. Traditionally they are used in savoury dishes such as tagines, sweet in tarts or simply eaten raw. Apricots don't ripen well once picked so be sure to buy good quality fruit that is soft to touch.

Nutritionally apricots are rich in vitamin C and the wonderful orange colour comes from the beta-carotene present. This can be converted to vitamin A in the body, essential for good vision and eye health. Apricots also contain the carotenoids beta-crytoxanthin (a strong antioxidant), lutein and zeaxanthin - the latter two both shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Apricots are also full of fibre - a single fruit provides a gram. They also have a low GI, although to be honest since a single fruit contains only 3g of sugars, you would have to eat a whole load of apricots to make much impact on blood glucose levels. 

Dried apricots also have a low GI, but here it is more relevant as it's all too easy to eat these like lollies! Each dried apricot provides about 35kJ and 2g of sugar. I do love them as an all-natural sweet snack and they are delicious mixed with a handful of nuts. The drying process does not affect the antioxidants present, although you will lose some vitamin C. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Dried apricots usually have sulphur dioxide added to preserve the wonderful bright orange colour. For most people this causes no problem, but if you have asthma or are sensitive to chemical preservatives look for organic dried apricots. You'll spot those without the preservative easily as they will be a dark brown colour. Don't let that put you off - the flavour is just as good. 

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Avocado
/av-uh-kah-doh/

Fruit

Avocados are one of only two common fruits that are rich in fat - the other being the olive - and both provide predominantly healthy monounsaturated fats. A solid body of scientific evidence supports making these fats the major ones in your diet. They can help you to achieve a healthier blood cholesterol profile, improve your insulin sensitivity, help you to control blood glucose levels, improve a fatty liver, and even reduce the amount of fat you store around your abdomen.

Avocados are an impressively good source of fibre. Half an avocado contains 6-7g of fibre – almost a quarter of your daily goal.

You may also be surprised to know that avocadoes are a good source of vitamin C. This makes them a great addition to a vegetarian meal as they will help you to absorb more plant iron.
 
Half an avocado also provides about a fifth of your daily folate needs. Folate protects your DNA and cells all around the body from damage and therefore plays a key role in anti-aging.
 
Try using mashed avocado in your sandwich or wrap, on toast instead of butter with sliced tomato, boiled egg and cracked black pepper, dice into salads or make into a guacamole dip. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Although not the richest source of vitamin E, avocados do contain a significant level and it’s highly usable. Vitamin E is a major protector of polyunsaturated fats from oxidation and because these poly fats are low in the fruit, almost all of the vitamin E is available for use within your body instead. 

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Banana
/buh-nan-uh/

Fruit

Bananas are a pretty fantastic natural snack, served up in it's own biodegradable packaging. If you've been avoiding them because you're scared to eat carbs, then it's time to reevaluate the humble banana. It has a whole load more to offer you than a commercial, highly processed high protein bar!

A medium banana provides about a third of vitamin C, 13% of your potassium, 12% of your magnesium, 10% of your riboflavin and 10% of your folate for the day - all for only 350kJ. The carbs are not in fact much higher than many other fruits, with a medium sized fruit providing ~18g. Furthermore those carbs are slowly absorbed as the GI of bananas is 52 (low GI is 55 or less). This is what makes them such a popular snack with athletes. 

Freeze ripe bananas, removing the skin and stringy parts first, to use in smoothies or in your Yonanas machine.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
When bananas are still firm and slightly green, they are high in resistant starch. This is starch that resists digestion by us, and so acts like fibre, entering the colon where it is preferentially fermented by the 'good' bacteria present. This helps to promote their growth and push out the 'bad' bacterial groups. A healthy gut flora improves our immune system, can help improve blood cholesterol profiles, has an effect on our brain health and may even influence our body composition. 

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Blackcurrant
/blak kur-uh nt/

Fruit

Blackcurrants are the berries of a shrub called Ribes nigrum. It grows best in a temperate climate with plenty of rainfall and therefore is most abundant in northern parts of Europe and Asia. As a child growing up in Scotland we used to pick wild blackcurrants in summer and eat them directly off the bush, although they tend to have a quite tart taste and are not as sweet as other berries. They do make the most fabulous jam however!

Nutritionally they are incredibly rich in vitamin C with half a cup of berries providing about 100mg - more than twice the amount adults need in a day. They also provide small but significant amounts of iron, potassium and manganese. Like other berries the energy density is low with a half cup providing only 150kJ. However since theya re usually consumed with added sugar as a jam, this of course bumps up the energy content.

’s ‘Did You Know?’
Blackcurrant puree is a wonderful ingredient to use in marinades for red meat, imparting a rich flavour. Try buying blackcurrant jelly and adding it to a marinade for your roast, or simply add a tablespoon to your gravy. 

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Blueberries
/bloo-ber-ees/

Fruit

Blueberries are without doubt one of my favourite foods. I have them almost every day during the warmer months - either on my muesli for breakfast, with natural yoghurt and nuts for an afternoon snack, or I eat them straight up from the punnet. During winter the price for fresh berries spikes, so that's when I switch to using frozen. These are just as good nutritionally as they are snap frozen on the day of picking so the nutrients are well preserved - in fact vitamin C levels may be higher than fresh!

They are pretty much impossible to overeat since they are low in kilojoules with only 115kJ per 1/2 punnet (60g), but are packed with phytonutrients (antioxidants and other beneficial plant chemicals) that boost our health.

The glycaemic index of blueberries is irrelevant since the level of carbohydrate is pretty low. A half punnet has only 6g, with a pretty even split of glucose and fructose. This makes them suitable for those on low FODMAP diets for management of irritable bowel syndrome. You'll also get a gram of fibre in that same serving.

They are rich in vitamin C - that half punnet of blueberries gives you 24% of your recommended daily amount. They are also great sources of vitamin K - essential for healthy blood clotting - and manganese - required for blood glucose control, healthy skin and bones, and is part of an antioxidant enzyme in the body so plays a role in protecting cells from free radical damage.

The fabulous purple-blue colour of blueberries comes from wealth of antioxidants present, primarily anthocyanins, a sub-group of flavonoids. These compounds have been shown in scientific studies to help protect our heart and blood vessels, protect blood components such as LDL-cholesterol from oxidative damage (it is damaged LDL that is taken up into plagues lining blood vessels resulting in atherosclerosis), reduce age-related oxidative damage so we look and feel younger, and they have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Blueberries seem to also have an impact on our brain health, with several studies showing beneficial effects on reducing cognitive decline with age, and improving memory. 

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Boysenberry
/Boysenberry/

Fruit

Boysenberries are thought to be a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. They were developed in the 1920s by a Californian horticulturist called Rudolph Boysen - hence the name. 

Boysenberries do not have a long shelf life and so you may have more luck finding them in the freezer section. Nutritionally they stack up pretty well, as with all berries. They are rich in fibre with 100g proving 5g. They are also a good source of folate with a 100g serve providing 16% of your recommended daily intake, and you'll get 10% of daily manganese. You'll also get plenty vitamin C, vitamin K and small but significant amounts of several minerals including iron.

The fabulous purple-red colour comes from the presence of a special group of antioxidants called anthocyanins. They are being studied for their anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
New Zealand are now the largest producers and exporters of boysenberries. They are less common in Australia, but you may find them a farmer's markets, specialist grocers and frozen from New Zealand. 

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Cranberry
/Cranberry/

Fruit

Cranberries have gained a reputation as being beneficial for preventing recurrent urinary tract infections. This nowhas some good research backing. It seems the protection comes from the naturally present chemicals called proanthocyanidins. These seem to prevent bacteria from attaching to the cells of the bladder and urinary tract, preventing cystitis. The trouble is that you need a high quantity to get any effect. For that reason most studies have used either concentrated cranberry extract supplements, or a cranberry juice. Since cranberries are pretty tart, juices tend to be either sweetened with some sugar, or mised with other sweeter fruit juices. But if you're suffering frequent UTIs it's well worth a shot.

Cranberries are pretty fabulous for all us aside from the above benefit. They have a host of different antioxidants including flavonoids and anthocyanins. Cranberries have therefore been studied for their potential impact on reducing our risk of heart disease, cancer, and in anti-aging with promising results. 

Like other berries, cranberries are rich in vitamin C, although much of this will be lost in the more common dried varities. They also provide some vitamin E, but you'll need to eat them with some fat to absorb this. They're also an excellent source of manganese and will give your day a pretty good fibre boost. 

Cranberries are most commonly sold as 'craisins' where they have been sweetened. You can also buy them fresh when in season, or frozen the rest of the year. They are then best usedin baking, or mixed with other sweeter berries. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Cranberries have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Since low grade chronic inflammation is now implicated in obesity, heart disease, cancer and aging, eating a diet that helps us to reduce inflammation is likely to be highly beneficial.

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Dates
/deyt-z/

Fruit

Dates are the fruit of the date palm and are native to North Africa and the Middle East. They are sometimes referred to as 'candy that grows on trees' and for good reason. They are sticky, soft, sweet and really are a wonderfully unprocessed, all-natural sweet treat of nature. They have been consumed by humans for many thousands of years, tracing back to 4000-6000BC in Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula.

Dates have almost no fat and only a trace of protein. 98% of the energy in dates comes from carbohydrate, and most of that from the sugars present. This has made them a key ingredient in many whole food or raw bars, so that they can then claim 'no added sugar'. I actually support this in favour of using added refined sugar, but be careful not to think that means you can eat such foods with no restraint. Read the nutrition label to understand the appropriate portion size.

The dates so far tested for their GI have low to moderate values. This is good news, although once part of a processed food product the result may not be the same. 

They are fairly energy dense so do watch your portion sizes. 4 dates (about 100g) provides 1160kJ, 75g of carbohydrate and 2g of protein. They are rich in fibre with 7g per 100g. That makes them pretty fabulous to keep you regular. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
The high carb content makes them a terrific option for fuelling endurance sporting events. I have used dates as part of my fuel kit for my half Ironman, my 100km Coastrek walk and while climbing Kilimanjaro. I much prefer this strategy over using lollies and jelly snakes as are more common!

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Dried Apricot
/drahyd ap-ri-kot/

Fruit

Dried apricots are one of my favourite dried fruits. They have a delicious tang and work well in both savoury and sweet dishes, or simply as a snack mixed with a few nuts. They are also nutrient-rich, high in antioxidants and they have a low GI. 

Dried fruit is of course more energy dense compared to fresh, as the water is removed. That does mean you can't eat dried apricots like lollies! If 2 fresh apricots is a serve of fruit, then 4 dried apricot halves is equivalent. This gives you 130kJ, no fat, a trace only of protein, only 6.5g of carbohydrate and over a gram of fibre.

The wonderful orange colour comes from the presence of beta-carotene. This contributes to the antioxidant power of the fruit, and can be converted to vitamin A in the body. 4 apricot halves provides 8% of your recommended vitamin A intake. 

Unfortunately the drying process does destroy the vitamin C present in the fresh fruit, however the minerals do survive. That same serve will give you half a gram of iron - not a huge amount but significant, particularly for vegetarians and vegans.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Sulphite preservatives are used to preserve the bright orange colour of dried apricots. This doesn't cause a problem for most of us, but others can be sensitive, particularly if you have asthma although this has not been shown when tested in double blind studies. Nevertheless if you think they may be a problem for you or someone in the family, you can purchase organic dried apricots. These have a dark orange colour as without the preservative the fruit browns due to oxidation.

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Fig
/fig/

Fruit

Figs are a wonderful, sensual Mediterranean fruit that can be eaten alone as a snack, served with cheese or as the Italians do, with proscuitto and mozzarella as an elegant starter.

Figs have a low energy density, but a high nutrient density - just what we want for our core everyday foods. 2 fresh figs provides around 195kJ (46 calories in old currency), about a gram and a half of protein, no fat and 8g of carbohydrate. They are terrific for fibre with the same serve providing 3.3g. Although prunes are the fruit that comes to mind for keeping you regular, figs fare well in this department too!

Figs are not outstanding for any particular vitamin or mineral, but they do contain small amounts of vitamin C, B group vitamins, magnesium, zinc and iron. The vitamin C is lost in the drying process to make dried figs, but the other nutrients including the fibre, are well preserved. They are a valuable addition to your team of plant foods.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
The Ancient Greeks believed so fervently that figs were health promoting, they fed them to their athletes competing in the original Olympic games. 

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Goji Berry
/Goji Berry/

Fruit

Goji Berry, also known as wolfberry, are native to Asia where they have been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Although grown commercially in several countries today including the US, China remains the largest producer. You can buy goji berries in a dried form, or as goji juice.

A cup of goji juice contains 380kJ and 22g of carbohydrates present, as with most fruit juices, as sugars. It's rich in vitamin C, very impressive for folate and has good levels of the B group vitamins riboflavin and niacin. It's also a good source of iodine, often low in Western diets.

Goji berries are also nutrient rich. Although the vitamin C will be lost in the drying process, the majority of the antioxidant compounds will remain. All berries are good for us, and it remains to be seen whether goji have anything exceptional to offer over other locally grown berries. But if you like them then go for it! You can add them to your muesli or cereal, or soak them and then add to muffins or other baked goods.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Goji berries are sold as a superfood with claims of extremely high antioxidant power. However the data on this is not consistent. In the US antioxidant database goji have an ORAC value of only 3,290 micromol TE/100g - about a third the value for wild blueberries. 

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Grapefruit
/greyp-froot/

Fruit

Red grapefruit has significantly higher levels of antioxidants than regular grapefruit varieties. It is also slightly sweeter and therefore more likely to be enjoyed by children and adults alike, without the need for adding sugar. It gets it’s pinky-red colour from the presence of a particular carotenoid, lycopene - the same antioxidant found in tomatoes.

Lycopene has been shown to have the greatest antioxidant power of all the common carotenoids, including beta-carotene. In research studies lycopene has been associated with reduce risk of several cancers including breast, prostate and ovarian. Lycopene along with other carotenoids may also help to reduce UV damage caused to the skin on sun exposure. However lycopene is not soluble in water and therefore needs some fat to be present to be absorbed maximally. If having your grapefruit for breakfast, this fat can come from nuts and seeds in a muesli mix, nut butter or avocado on toast, eggs, or mix red grapefruit segments into a Bircher muesli and drizzle with a little flaxseed oil. 

Red grapefruits are an excellent source of vitamin C - half a red grapefruit provides almost 5 times as much vitamin C as an apple and almost 3 times as much as in 100g blueberries.

Red grapefruit may also help to lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides. High levels of these fats in the blood are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, and high cholesterol levels are a common problem in Australians.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Grapefruits are available all year round in Australia, so don't forget to use them through the winter months too. Slice the skin off with a sharp knife, and simply cut into slices - or it you don't like the pith, simply slice out each segment leaving the pith behind. I use half on my muesli and store the rest in a tuperware for the next day. You can also add to smoothies, juices, salads, or as a tangy glaze for baked chicken. 

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Grapes
/greyp-z/

Fruit

There are many varieties of grape varying in colour from green to red to the darkest almost blue-black. They can be seedless, small and tightly clustered, to large tear-shaped and firm. All of these varieties are descendants of the wild grape-vine.

Grapes are perhaps best known for making wine and they have been used in this way for several thousands of years. Archaeological evidence suggests that wine was first made some 8000 years ago. Grapes naturally have yeast on their skins, they contain sugar that feeds the yeast, the tannins in the skin and seeds and the natural acids present together create just the right ingredient mix to ferment the fruit to make wine. 

Some grape varieties are dried, traditionally in the sun, to make sultanas, raisins and currants. These are of course more energy-dense than the fresh fruit so you need to make sure you eat them in small quantities. The sugars are however all naturally present and the fibre is retained along with several nutrients and phytochemicals.

Eaten fresh grapes are a terrific low kilojoule option for one of nature's sweet treats. A 100g bowl of grapes provides less than 300kJ and about 15g of carbohydrate. Only one variety of grape (black Waltham Cross grapes) are listed in the International GI Tables with a value of 59 meaning they have a moderate GI. I would therefore watch your portion size to ensure the overall glycaemic load (GL) remains relatively low. You can also combine grapes with cheese or nuts to help slow down the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrates present.

Grapes are high in fibre with that same 100g serve providing between 2.5 and 3.5g depending on the variety. Most of the fibre is found in the skins and seeds of the fruit, as are many of the phytochemicals. One phytochemical of interest is resveratrol found in the skins of red grapes. This has been shown to promote better cardiovascular health and has even been tipped as an anti-aging compound. Whether or not we can obtain these benefits from eating normal amounts of red grapes is debatable, but since there are always concerns over more concentrated supplements (and some studies showing negative effects in particular groups) I almost always vote for the whole food. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Unripe grapes which have a slightly sour taste are pressed to make verjuice - a liquid that is a little like vinegar but not so strong. It has been used since medieval days as a flavouring for dressings and sauces. You can buy it today in the supermarket or grocer. I love to use it in a lighter style salad dressing when serving with fish or other more delicate dishes.

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Incaberry
/ing-kuh berry/

Fruit

Incaberries are extremely high in fibre. One handful of these tiny berries provides more than a quarter of an adult’s requirements. The fibre in an Incaberry is both insoluble (vital for bowel function) and soluble (controls hunger, reduces cholesterol reabsorption and promotes the growth of good bacteria in the bowel). Just a single handful contains more fibre than a salad sandwich on whole grain bread.

In the heart of these fruits are tiny seeds that provide a slight crunch and a potent source of antioxidants. Scientists have measured the level of antioxidant capacity and have found that incaberries have more antioxidants than green tea, broccoli, pomegranate juice. Further research has found that the antioxidants in incaberries also have anti-inflammatory qualities.

In addition to the benefits of fibre and antioxidants, this little berry is a source of vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous and naturally low in sodium.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Incaberries are quite tart... which means you can use them in both sweet and savoury dishes!

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Kakadu Plum
/kakadoo pluhm/

Fruit

The Kakadu Plum is a native Australian bush fruit that grows in the Northern parts of the country and the Kimberly region. The Aboriginal peoples of the region have been growing and harvesting these fruit as food and for medicinal use for thousands of years, but they have remained unknown from a commerical perspective.

Nutritionally Kakadu Plum are pretty extraordinary. A government report back in 2009 looked at the antioxidant capacity of many Australian natuve foods and this funny looking little plum was a standout for anitoxidant capacity. Over 100 phytochemicals with antioxdiant capacity have been identifed including the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol. Kakadu plum is also an exceptionally rich source of vitamin C. It also contains lutein, vitamin E, folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and iron. All up it's a pretty impressive native superfood.

If you live in Australia we can now all benefit from the nutritional offering of this fruit via the Kakadu Plum Co. They work with the local Aborginal populations to harvest the fruit and create Kakadu Plum Powder. I was so impressed with this product that I asked them if we could sell it in our shop... you'll find it here
’s ‘Did You Know?’
The Indigenous people of the Arnhem Land pound the Kakadu Plum and use it as an antiseptic balm and healing remedy. Today science has shown that the fruit does indeed contain chemicals with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

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Kiwifruit
/kee-wee-froot/

Fruit

Kiwifruit, also called Chinese gooseberry, originally come from China and were brought to New Zealand in the early 20th Century. They were then named kiwifruit in 1959 after the kiwi bird, native to the country. New Zealand remain one of the major producers of kiwifruit in the world, coming second only to Italy. The Hayward species is the most common, but you will also find golden kiwifruit and the smaller (and completely delicious) kiwi berries.

Kiwifruit are one of the richest dietary sources of vitamin C, higher even than oranges. In fact only guava has a higher vitamin C content Just one kiwi fruit provides well over your recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is the major water-soluable antioxidant in your body and it works as a team with vitamin E, the major fat-soluble antioxidant, also present in kiwifruit. Collagen production in the skin requires vitamin C and so good inatkes of this vitamin are essential for healthy, radiant skin that ages well.

Vitamin C also enhances our absorption of non-animal source iron. It is therefore a good idea to slice a kiwi fruit on your muesli or breakfast cereal in the morning, or finish a vegetarian meal with a fresh kiwifruit for dessert. 

They are also rich in fibre, especially if you eat the skin although I have to confess I don't - but it is edible if you like it. But even with the skin removed a single kiwifruit provides 3g of fibre putting you well on your way to meeting your daily target. 

Kwifruit are also rich in two carotenoids known to be important for eye health, reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts - lutein and zeaxanthin. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
If you're worrying about the sugar content of kiwifruit, rest assured that an average fruit has only 7g of naturally present sugar, bound up in the plant cell walls. This means your body works to break these cells down annd digest and absorb the sugars. This happens slowly and the Hayward kiwifruit has a low GI of 47. The whole fruit has only 170kJ (40 calories) and even provides a gram of protein, with only a trace of fat.

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Lemon
/lem-uh n/

Fruit

Lemon's are usually not eaten in great quantities due to their sour taste, but do dleiver a lot of taste in small quantities. This is largely due to the citric acid, comprising 5-6% of the juice. I'm not sure why I continually see references on the internet to lemons being alkalising, when lemon juice is undoubtedly acidic. The common practice of drinking hot water with lemon first thing in the morning 'to aid digestion' is without scientific rationale. All I can see this doing is eroding your tooth enamel. A very real hazard of acidic drinks. 

However I do love to use lemons and they have much to offer us. The juice is rich in vitamin C, although if you cook with lemons you destroy much of the vitamin C. But you will benefit from fresh lemon juice in dressings or simply squeezed over your steamed greens. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
The skin of a lemon contains a potentially beneficial phytochemical called limonene. This is terrific at dissolving oils and so if often added to natural cleansers - or simply use a fresh lemon to clean your bench top. But there is interest in what this chemical can do within our bodies that may be beneficial. At least in the lab it has been shown to block carcinogens and kill cancer cells. We need more research to know if this happens in the body. For now you might like to grate some lemon zest into your salad dressing or into your stirfry or baking. 

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Lime
/lahym/

Fruit

Lime juice is incredibly rich in vitamin C, but you need a little more than a wedge in your drink to make it significant. The juice from one lime gives you about 13mg of vitamin C. Try adding it to a vegie juice for a pretty terrific boost.

Lime juice is not so tart as lemon and adds a delicious flavour to meals. I mix it with avocado to use as a spread in sandwiches or on toast with sliced tomato and a boiled egg. I squeeze fresh limes over chicken, add a bunch of fresh finely chopped herbs, marinade for an hour and then BBQ. I add fresh lime juice to salsas and use in dressings. And of course if you enjoy a certain Mexcian beer on a summer afternoon, a wedge of lime is a must!
’s ‘Did You Know?’
The rind of limes contains a potentially beneficial compound limonene - also found in lemon rind. This is being studied for it's anti-cancer effects. Until we know more it might be worthwhile grating the rind into your marinades and salsa. It adds a wonderful zesty flavour and just might be helping protect our cells from damage.

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Mandarin
/man-duh-rin/

Fruit

Mandarins are the perfect little fruit. Not only do they come in their own easily removed packaging, but they are divided into the ideal bite sized portions. In Australia, mandarins are in season during the cooler months from April to October.

Like all citrus fruits they are rich in vitamin C. One mandarin will give you 86% of an adult's recommended daily intake. They're also low in kilojoules with only 150kJ (35 cals) in a typical fruit. The energy does come from the naturally present sugars, but one fruit has only 7.4g and this is bound up with 1.5g of fibre and a whole host of beneficial phytonutrients. This is not the same as eating a handful of lollies! The complete nutrition package of mandarins earns them a well deserved place in your shopping basket.

Many of the phytonutrients in mandarins, and other citrus, are found in the skin and in the white pulp. Juicing them therefore elimiates these potentially beneficial compounds. Obviously peel the fruit to eat, but try using a little peel in dressings, cooking and baking, or pop a small piece into your Vitamix when making a smoothie.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
There are a variety of different kinds of mandarins with Imperials being the the most popular as they are the first to be harvested each season. Imperial mandarins are easy to peel, have very few seeds, and can be enjoyed as a perfect portable snack.

Nutritional Information

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Dr Joanna Plate Category: Plants

 
 
Mango
/mang-goh/

Fruit

One of the wonderful things about the start of summer is that mangoes come into season. These delicious tropical fruits are a real treat both in taste and nutrition. They provide several nutrients including vitamin C - a cup provides about 3/4 of your daily requirement. They also provide several B group vitamins, especially vitamin B6 and are fibre rich. Mangoes are also incredibly rich in beta-carotene, much richer than other fruits, and hence the wonderful orange colour. This can be converted to vitamin A in the body or used as an antioxidant in its own right. 

Enjoy them sliced on your muesli for breakfast, chopped in a salsa and served with chicken, or simply as a mango 'hedgehog' on a summers afternoon. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Mangoes have a low glycaemic index making them ideal for those living with diabetes and for all of us watching our weight. A cup of diced mango provides about 28g of carbohydrate that is slowly absorbed, providing you with slow release, sustained energy.  

Nutritional Information

Dairy free Gluten Free Nut free Vegan Vegetarian

Dr Joanna Plate Category: Plants

 
 
Mangosteen
/mang-guh-steen/

Fruit

Mangosteen is a tropical fruit popular in South East Asia. It has been grown commercially in Queensland, Australia since the 1970s. If you've never tried a mangosteen, you're in for a treat. They have a unique melt-in-the-mouth texture and slightly sweet but delicate flavour. They are often referred to as the queen of tropical fruits, possibly because they look so regal. They're available in Australia for a relatively short season, from February to April, so be sure to enjoy them while you can!

Mangosteen are a good source of vitamin C and contain a few other nutrients including magnesium. However the unique aspect of these fruit is a compound called α-mangostin being studied for it’s anti-cancer potential. Extracts of mangosteen have been studied in the lab with promising results. You're unlikely to gain much benefit from the occassional mangosteen, but regular consumption while they're available can only add to your team of antioxidant defences.

They are best eaten just as they come, or they add a touch of glamour to a fruit salad. To prepare just cut around the circumference of the skin and remove the top half. You'll then be able to scoop out the fruit. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Mangosteen look so divine you'll want to have them on show in your fruit bowl. This is fine for a few days, but they are best stored in a cooler place. On the other hand the fridge can be slightly too cold and damage the delicate fruit. If you need to keep them longer than a few days wrap them in newspaper and store on the top shelf of your fridge.

Nutritional Information

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Dr Joanna Plate Category: Plants

 
 
Nashi Pear
/nah-shee pair/

Fruit

Nashi pear are known by many names around the world including Asian pear, Japanese pear, Korean pear and sand pear. Essentially this is a type of pear native to East Asia, but it is now also cultivated in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. 

It is related to the more common European pears, but it tastes very different. While European pears are sweet and soft, nashi are crisp and firm making the eating experience and their cooking uses quite different. They have a high water content and this makes them a good food for filling you up without to many kilojoules - a medium sized fruit contains approximately 400kJ or 98 Cals - and for contributing to your hydration levels. 

Nutritionally they are not standout, however they do provide a good but not spectacular amount of vitamin C - about half that present in an apple but nothing like the amount you'll get from eating an orange. The potassium levels are good though and this is important for blood pressure control. They are also a good source of fibre; if you consume them with the skin you'll get about 4g and a nice mixture of both insoluble (found in the skin) and soluble. 

From a carbohydrate and sugar perspective nashi are similar to other pear varieties and apples with roughly 20g per piece of medium sized fruit. They have not had their GI tested as far as I know (they are not yet listed in the International GI tables), but since other pear varieties are low GI there is no reason the nashi pear would differ. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Apparently in China it is considered bad social etiquette to share a pear with loved ones. This is because the phrase "sharing a pear" sounds the same as "to separate" and not what you want as a gesture to loved ones!

Nutritional Information

Dairy free Gluten Free Nut free Vegan Vegetarian

Dr Joanna Plate Category: Plants