In Nigeria, we tend to underrate the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. The best part about including fruits and vegetables in our regular diet is that they can keep us away from the doctor! They are super packed with vitamins and minerals, and should be combined with our daily meals.
We’re in the month of April and we have highlighted four (4) yummy, juicy fruits in season. Let’s discover these fruits as well as their health benefits!
This is such a yummy traditional fruit, predominantly found in Africa. In Nigeria, it Is locally called: Agbalumo in Yoruba language, Ciwoh in Hausa language and Udara in Igbo language. Apart from chewing its skin as gum and using its seeds to play, this juicy fruit has amazing health benefits.
1. It is a natural cure: African Star Apple is a natural cure for toothaches, constipation, sore throats, mouth gum disease, and a number of other ailments.
2. Good source of calcium: Agbalumo is a good source of calcium. One agbalumo fruit contains around 10% of the calcium your body requires per day. Calcium is a source of strength for the bones and teeth.
3. It has a high vitamin C content: The benefits of Vitamin C include immunity from immune system defects, cardiovascular diseases, prenatal health complications, eye disease, and even skin aging. With 25 mg of vitamin C per 100 gram of fruit, agbalumo is a great source of vitamin C.
4. It is a natural antioxidant: African star apples are natural antioxidants which help to eliminate free radicals from oxidative stress disorders.
5. It helps with weight loss: When it comes to weight loss, Agbalumo can be highly beneficial. It has just 67 calories per serving, making it a healthy option for those looking to lose weight by consuming less calories.
6. It is good for pregnant women: For pregnant women, the acidic taste of Agbalumo helps pregnant women escape morning sickness by avoiding the desire to vomit.
Did you know that mangoes are the world's most common fruit? I get so excited when mango season approaches, as it is right now! Mango is usually sweet, but the colour, taste and texture of the flesh vary by varietal, with some varieties having a smooth, pulpy texture and others having firmer flesh, similar to an avocado. Mangoes that aren't quite mature can be ripened in brown paper bags. The health benefits of mango are numerous, ranging from antioxidant properties to skin rejuvenating nutrients....
- Mangoes lower cholesterol: Pectin, Vitamin C and Fibre are found in mangoes and help reduce high cholesterol levels in the blood serum.
- Mangoes are skin-friendly: Mangoes are high in Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene, which clears and cleanses the skin by reducing fatty oil accumulation, lowering the risk of pimples, acne, and wrinkles, unclogging pores, and adding natural freshness, according to study. Mango pulp can be used as a natural skin cleanser, but eating mangoes often results in healthy, youthful skin.
- Good for the eyes: Mangoes are high in vitamin A, which helps to maintain good vision and protects against night blindness and dry eyes.
- Improves Digestion: Mangoes produce enzymes that aid in protein digestion. Mangoes are also high in prebiotic dietary fibre, which aids digestion.
- Boosts Immune system: Mangoes are high in vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as other plant pigments known as carotenoids. These essential nutrients help to keep the immune system strong and healthy
- Aids concentration and memory: Mangoes are high in glutamine acid, which is a protein that helps with concentration and memory. Mangoes should be fed to children who have difficulty concentrating in school.
This is, in my opinion, one of Nigeria's most underappreciated fruits. Many people eat it without even realizing how beneficial it is to their wellbeing. It's the King of Nuts, after all. It is known as "Asala" in the western part of Nigeria and "Ukpa" in the Southern part. Its health benefits include:
- Boosting the immune system: By eating a serving of African Walnut everyday, one can be protected from infections, anaemia and even eye problems. This is as a result of its high antioxidant and iron content.
- Improves Brain Function: The vitamin B-6, also known as pyridoxine, found in walnuts helps the human brain function properly and enhances cognitive capacity. Growing children need to take advantage of this benefit!
- Manages sleep disorder: African Walnut enhances melatonin, a hormone that works on your brain and signals your body to sleep.Thus, it is beneficial for sleep management.
- Tackling infertility issues in men: Walnut seeds contain healthy fatty acids such as Omega-3 fatty acid and they boost sperm production in the testicles, thus helping to tackle male infertility issues.
Growing up, I never really liked this fruit. I was ignorant of its numerous health benefits, especially for pregnant women. In Igbo language, it is called Anyara/Afufa, and Igba in Yoruba language. Garden eggs can be enjoyed fresh alone or with groundnuts/Nigerian peanut butter (Ose Oji). The amazing health benefits include:
- Prevention of cardiovascular diseases: Garden eggs give the body vitamin B1 for normal growth and proper heart and nervous system function, as well as Niacin (Vitamin B6) for cellular respiration. It has the ability to lower the risk of cardiovascular problems including strokes and heart attacks.
- It prevents liver disorder and helps control sugar level: According to sources, the importance of garden eggs to the liver cannot be overstated, as the antioxidants in garden eggs help protect the liver from contaminants, making it a remedy for liver problems. Garden eggs have also been shown in studies to assist diabetic patients in controlling their blood sugar levels, making them a healthy dietary option. It reduces glucose absorption in the body, which helps to lower blood sugar levels. It also contains a low amount of soluble carbohydrate, which is beneficial in this regard.
- Improves heart health: The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and antioxidants in garden eggs all help the heart and nervous system function properly.
- Aids Digestion: The fiber and water content of garden egg aid digestion. This speeds up the digestion of food particles and reduction of weight gain by increasing the body's metabolism rate.
I always recommend that we enjoy fruits while they are in season. This will enable us to relish amazing fruits with awesome health benefits, all year round!