Every decade or so, our quest for new-fangled foods (my grandfather always called good new ideas “new fangled”) stumbles on a fascinating fad, and we grab hold of it like a long-lost relative.
The new “hot” foods these days are exotic superfruits.
They’re usually imported and often are packed with vitamins. They also have the benefit of tasting slightly exotic. Guava and mangosteen, for example.
So we love them because they taste great and also because they are new to our taste buds.
But this search for the “new and improved” in natural foods can obscure how the old standbys got their great reputations for a reason: They’re profoundly good and add depth to a healthy diet.
I’ll give you two examples for how science has discovered how great some “old fangled” fruits are.
A Florida State University study found that when women ages 45 to 65 eat a cup or so of dried apples every day for a year, they cut 23 percent in “bad” LDL cholesterol.
It gets even better. The women’s “good” HDL cholesterol increased by 4 percent, and they also lost an average of 3.3 pounds. Apples contain pectin (a type of fiber) and polyphenols (a group of antioxidants). They make your body purr.
You can’t find a single fruit that does more good for you than that.
Other research shows that apples also protect against asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, possibly due to their high level of flavonoid antioxidants.
My personal secret favorite for everything good a fruit should provide is the tangerine.
If you haven’t been introduced yet, you should get to know “flavanoid” and “nobiletin,” pair of chemical antioxidant facilitators that make your metabolism work. Great health is linked to strong, positive chemical interactions.
Your body actually is a machine, and these are the chemicals that make the machine work.
Flavonoid in tangerines may protect the body against coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, according to research from the University of Western Ontario published in the journal “Diabetes.” When researchers fed mice a typical diet high in fat and refined sugar that was supplemented with the tangerine and nobiletin, the mice had no increase in cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, or blood sugar.
Mice who didn’t get the nobiletin did see a rise. Other long-term animal studies indicate that the compound prevents hardening of the arteries that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
And another trick. Tangerines may also help shield your body from cancer if you eat the peel. A compound in the peel called salvestrol Q40 halts the activity of an enzyme that helps cancer cells grow, a British study found. Try some tangerine zest in your tea or sprinkled on a salad.
You find the same sorts of benefits in dozens of “old fangled” standbys – many varieties of grapefruits, cranberries, and red grapes.
Exotic fruits are all great fun for your palate and most are good for your diet, too.
But science is showing that you miss out by forgetting your old dietary pals.
Who am I, and why would a person listen to me? Both fair questions. I’m Christine Hammerlund and I’ve been a nurse for years. I have delivered babies, saved lives, and cared for hundreds of patients through their medical triumphs and tragedies. Now I run Assured Healthcare at http://www.assuredhealthcare.com. We're a multi-million dollar medical staff provider in Illinois. I live in Antioch, Ill. Got health questions for me, whether large or small? I’ll answer. Visit us at http://www.facebook.com/AssuredHealthcareStaffing and Chrishammerlund@yahoo.com