The Benefits of Winter Fruits

In Blog, Health, Nutrition, Podcasts, Vitamins & Minerals by Wendy Christien

Fruits are seasonal for a reason. Seasonal fruit has a higher nutritional value and is more flavorful because it has ripened naturally.

Winter fruits are beneficial because they provide the nutrients to nourish and protect our immune systems from the typical winter infections like colds and flus. They are typically high in antioxidants, and Vitamin C.

Winter fruits include apples, dates, citrus fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and naartjies, papayas (or pawpaw’s), pineapples, and guavas.

Dates:

Dates provide fiber and vitamins such as B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin K. They also contain the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorous, sodium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Dates are a natural sugar and can be used as a sugar alternative. You would want to limit your intake due to their sugar content.

Papaya:

Papaya is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate, potassium, and antioxidants which help to fight aging and reduce inflammation. Papaya is rich in the enzyme papain which aids digestion and is necessary to break up proteins in the diet. It is a good addition to your diet if you suffer with constipation of irritable bowel syndrome.

Papaya also contains the carotenoid lycopene which is necessary for cardiovascular health and sun protection.

Apples:

Apples are tasty and versatile and are a rich source of nutrients, fiber, and pectin, which is necessary for a healthy gut lining. Stewed or baked apples can be used to help with many digestive ailments.

Citrus Fruits:

Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and naartjies all form part of the citrus family. They are high in vitamin C which is necessary for immune function and to help fight off infections. Vitamin C also helps to aid the absorption of other vitamins such as iron so if you tend to be iron deficient be sure to include some citrus with your iron-rich foods.

Guavas:

Guavas contain vitamin A, folate, potassium, copper, and fiber which help to keep our cells healthy and reduce inflammation. They are also a good source of pectin which is good for gut health.

Fruit is great as part of a balanced diet, but we do need to monitor our consumption because there is such a thing as too much fruit.

Fruits contain natural sugars, and some fruits have higher levels of sugar than others. Like with other sugars if we have too much it can contribute to health issues.

The fiber in fruit does slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream so it is always a good idea to eat your fruit whole. Juicing strips the fiber and can increase the risk of blood sugar-related diseases. The fiber in fruits and vegetables helps to feed the beneficial bacteria and to eliminate toxins from the gut.

Some winter fruits, like citrus, can be too acidic for some people which can aggravate inflammatory conditions such as arthritis so if you suffer from joint pain, it might be an idea to reduce your intake of these fruits.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 24 March 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am