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Health

Fruit and Juice Therapy

Delicious, Healthy, Healing Treats

One of Nature's most wonderful gifts is a bountiful harvest of fruit. Who can resist a cool glass of apple juice or a blended smoothie of fruits in a hot summer day?

Fruit and fruit juice have long been utilized in healing treatments. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional form of treatment originating in India, use juice therapy to strengthen and fortify the system as do many naturopathic physicians. Naturally low in fat, packed with nutrients and fiber, juices can help promote weight loss, boost the immune system and in general, help you look and feel better. We know they are tasty, but what do they contain that is important to our physical well being?

Apples

Remember that old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"? From Biblical times to present day, apples have always been thought of as one of the healthiest fruits available.

Available year round, apples are cholesterol free, almost fat free and, depending on the size, generally less than 125 calories. The description sounds like a perfect diet food. But they also contain a tremendous amount of the soluble fiber, called pectin, which can trap things like cholesterol and aid in removing it from the body. In turn this removal of cholesterol can help maintain blood pressure. Pectin also can assist in balancing blood sugars.

Apples also contain vitamins and minerals including A, C, folate, calcium, potassium and iron.

Apricots

Many studies around the world link apricots to long healthy lives. They are often called a super healing fruit and, according to the National Cancer Institute, can help protect against cancer because they contain almost as much beta-carotene as vegetables.

These natural taste treats have been said to be a quick energy fix, aid digestion and are sometimes used as a laxative. Apricots also contain iron, some cobalt and copper, which may help the body counteract anemia, and potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure.

Unfortunately, apricots should also carry a warning, especially for anyone who is diabetic. If you prefer the dried form of this fruit, it is important to know that when dried they contain five times more sugar than its fresh twin.

Bananas

Native to the Americas, the banana is packed with potassium, full of fiber that comes from pectin and good amounts of vitamins A, C, B, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Great to eat when on the run, bananas are a satisfying healthy snack.

Berries

Blueberries. Blackberries. Strawberries. Raspberries. A great summer snack, these sweet, low-cal colorful delights contain a powerful combination of frutose, which is fruit sugar, and fiber. This combination can give you lasting energy because the fiber helps to release the frutose slowly into the blood stream. Insoluble fiber, like that found in whole grains and present in blackberries and raspberries, aids the digestive system and is recognized as a cancer preventative. Here's a tip for those of you that are dieting, studies in Europe indicate that insoluble fiber reduces absorption of calories from food. A cup of any of these berries have less than 100 calories, no cholesterol and all rich in potassium. Strawberries and raspberries are packed with vitamin C.

When you buy fresh berries, make certain they are firm and dry. Be sure there is no mold or damp places that could promote rapid decay.

Did you know?

Natural Way Magazine says that research in Europe and South America

indicates that standardized bilberry extract that contains the flavonoid anthocyanosides may be effective in helping certain visual problems such as night blindness?

Cherries

Obviously one of my favorites. These delicious fruits generally have less than 120 calories per cup, are fat-free and nutritionally full of vitamins A and C and the minerals calcium, potassium, and iron.

Cherries are a recognized natural therapy for helping to prevent gout and, in some cases, have helped in the treatment of gout Another plus to this little fruit is that clinical research at dental centers indicate cherries may help prevent plaque formation and thereby help prevent tooth decay.

Citrus

Lemons. Oranges. Grapefruits. Each of the rough skinned fruits is packed with vitamins C, A and B and are wonderful sources for calcium, phosphorus and potassium, as well as the fiber, pectin. Vitamin C does so much good for the body. It fights the cancer-causing chemicals, nitrosamines, pumps up the immune system, and helps to prevent cardio-vascular disease.

There are a couple things to keep in mind. When purchasing oranges, the rule of thumb is generally the smaller, the sweeter. As for lemons, the juice can be sweetened and quite tasty, they add a wonderful flavor to foods, but they are a diuretic and they are so acidic that can damage tooth enamel when eaten as a food.

Cranberries

Cranberries have different healing properties from the other berries mentioned earlier. Cranberries are recognized for their ability to assist in preventing urinary tract infections. Their highly acidic quality increase urine acidity which, in turn, does not promote the growth of bacteria and viruses.

Figs

According to the USDA, figs seem to decrease the appetite. Nutritionally, they contain vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium and magnesium. One raw fig has about forty calories, no cholesterol or fat.

Japanese researchers have discovered that figs contain a chemical, benzaldehyde, that fights cancer. This natural chemical has tested so effective against cancer that it has been added to several medications in Europe and Japan.

Grapes

Recent worldwide research indicates that the skin and the seed of the grape both contain cancer fighting, cholesterol lowering natural chemicals known as tannins and polyphenols. Some studies even indicate that red grapes may be helpful in fighting bacterial infections.

All grapes contain calcium, potassium and zinc and vitamins A, B and C. They contain a very small percentage of fat and only about 60 calories per cup. Raisins (dried grapes) contain ore sugar, but they have the same nutritional content, plus a bit of iron.

Mangos

This juicy fruit is considered by many to be an excellent blood fortifier because they contain iron. Some people even say the naturally help to control body odor. Mangos contain natural frutose which helps to energize the system and at the same time they help regulate the appetite because they also are a form of fiber, which also helps with digestion.

However, the most impressive research has shown that one mango can provide a day's supply of beta-carotene, now believed to be a natural, healthy, cancer-fighting agent.

Melons

Sweet and nutritious have a tremendous fiber content and are full of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene boosts the immune system and assists in preventing cancer. Beta-carotene does helps the body in these ways because once it enters the system it immediately converts to vitamin A.

Papaya

Bite for bite, the papaya is one of the most powerfully nutritious foods available. The enzyme papain, which is contained in this tropical fruit, is a powerful digestive aid. Papain also can be responsible for breaking down fats and flushing them through the kidneys. Papayas contains malic acid and citric acid which also assists in cleansing fats from the body.

Papaya contains vitamins A, C, and E, all three of which are antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals in the body. Free radicals are harmful compounds that, in some research, have been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other serious effects that are often associated with aging. This fruit has a high concentration of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and some manganese.

Peaches

Fuzzy and full of fiber, peaches are good for digestion and circulation. Iron in the fruit is a blood fortifier which combined with frutose provides energy. Peaches are full of beta-carotene, which becomes vitamin A, and they contain a compound which is said to protect the stomach against inflammation.

Pears

Pear juice is so sweet it is often used in desserts in place of sugar, but one fresh pear contains less than one gram of fat and only about 100 calories. These fruits are packed with the B-complex vitamins which are essential in today's hectic world. The reason? B-complex vitamins help us ward off stress and fortify the nervous system. Pear also have a very high potassium and calcium content. Potassium helps regulate the circulatory system and calcium strengthens bones, teeth and the overall physical body.

Pineapple

A fresh ripe pineapple is like a healthy candy from Nature. It contains bromelain, a enzyme similar to papain. Bromelain is also a digestive aid that assist in flushing toxins from the body. Pineapple is rich in manganese, which is a natural fat burner, and is recognized as a good digestive aid that helps eliminate toxins from the body.

Plums & Prunes

These little purple fruits are reportedly very good for the nervous system because they contain a great amount of phosphorus. They are also full of iron and potassium which promotes strong healthy blood and circulation. Plums are pulpy, but sweet, and loaded with fiber, vitamin A and beta-carotene.

Most of us know that prunes, the dried form of a plum are a natural laxative. Most of us don't know that an un-dried plum contains that same natural compound which can promote regularity. One of the best thing about prunes is that one serving provides the same amount of fiber as one cup of bran cereal and prunes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is healthy for the whole physical body.

Good health and high energy centers on nutrition, which is one of the reasons we added Cooking in the Lite to the website. In the Cooking in the Lite area of ShirleyMacLaine.com you can learn about nutrition, food allergies, energy maintenance, and much, much more. You will also have access to healthy recipes, the monthly Cooking in the Lite Newsletter, and the monthly Cooking in the Lite Radio program.

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