What are one of the first thoughts you have when you hear or think about Mexico?
Besides Tequila it’s the food, right?!
For me, it is all about the fresh fruit that is available, not only because it tastes great, but also because of the amazing health benefits they can boast about!
I often have people tell me that they love seeing all the fresh fruit available here in Mexico, but they don’t know what they are nor how to eat them. You are in luck because I have compiled a list and description of the top four strangest looking fruit that you can easily find here in Bahia de Banderas, which not only taste great but from a nutritional point of view also have many health benefits!
Mamey for Digestive Health
Mamey is a fruit containing high amounts of vitamins C, A, B6, also minerals such as copper, iron, and potassium as well as fiber. Fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by your digestive system and is either soluble or insoluble. The sweet fruit Mamey contains about 9 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber per one cup serving which equates to almost half of the daily fiber recommendations for a day! This fiber not only acts as a bulking agent which stimulates smooth bowel movements (to keep you regular) but helps to delay the onset of hunger. This is because 30% of this fruit’s carbohydrates come from starch and it is these complex carbohydrates that contribute to long-term satiety as they take us longer to digest. Additionally, the insoluble fiber found in Mamey takes up space in your stomach to help you feel fuller on fewer calories. Its soluble fiber slows the rate at which digested food exits your stomach, lessening the need to eat more, all of which can contribute to healthy digestive environment and even weight loss
Carambola/Star Fruit for Respiratory Health
Carambola can improve respiratory health due to its high antioxidant content which has both anti-inflammatory and cooling effects. These beneficial effects are particularly useful for coughs and colds as they promote the soothing of redness, swelling and sore throats, as well promote salivation, inhibit the production of excess phlegm, and even have anti-microbial activities! On top of this, a particular phytochemical called saponins found in Carambola foams when mixed with water – think of it like soap – so it can thin and loosen mucous to be coughed out. As Carambola contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and immune-boosting properties, this fruit can aid in guarding your body against fungi, bacteria, and viruses, as well as stimulate the production of immune cells, for a powerhouse of respiratory fitness!!
Nance for Mental Health
There are many medications, herbs, lifestyle changes and foods that have proven to assist with depression. One of these foods is the little yellow fruit called Nance. Historically, Nance has been used in Mexican traditional medicine for the treatment of mental-related diseases, and according to recent research, the consumption of Nance can have a protective effect on the neurons (brain messengers) in the brain by reducing oxidative damage and therefore reducing the signs and symptoms of depression. There are four main compounds found in Nance that are responsible for these antidepressant-like effects and they are the flavonoids rutin, quercetin and hesperidin as well as vitamin C to reduce damage done to neurons. These naturally occurring chemicals affect the neurotransmitter activity and balance in the brain, thus reducing depression and making us feel happier and healthier!
Tuna/Prickly Pear for Liver Health
The Tuna (fruit not fish) can assist in improving liver health as research has revealed that specific phytochemicals in Tuna fruit have hepatoprotective abilities – meaning the ability to assist and protect with liver functioning, and detoxification abilities. Not only is Tuna fruit high in vitamin C, vitamin E and has plenty of antioxidants but it is also equipped with betalains. The betalains in the fruit are responsible for the bright pigments of the inner flesh but more importantly increase antioxidant activities in the liver to help with reducing inflammation and increasing the detoxification pathways. So, this is great news if you are thinking of pouring yourself another glass of wine! Eat Tuna fruit to assist in reducing the symptoms of hangovers by improving alcohol metabolism in the liver and reducing liver damage!
All the above fruits are best eaten when fully ripened for the most beneficial nutritional benefits. You can eat them all raw, however, it is not recommended to eat the skin of the Mamey and Tuna fruit. They do however, all taste fantastic in a smoothie or in a nice fruit salad topped with nuts and seeds of your choice, and some Greek yoghurt on the side.
One of my most popular smoothie recipes using one of these fruits is the Mamey Satisfying Smoothie – this makes a great breakfast or snack option that can have you feeling full for hours!
MAMEY SATISFYING SMOOTHIE
Serves 2 glasses
1 cup oat milk
1 tablespoon linseeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Cup open the Mamey, remove the seed and spoon out the contents into a blender.
Add the oat milk, linseeds, and cinnamon with the Mamey and blend well.
It will blend to a thick consistency, add more oat milk depending on the size of the Mamey.
Pour into two large glasses and sip the benefits down!
Lonneke Botello Hernandez is an internationally recognized Clinical Nutritionist and Personal Trainer, with over ten years of clinical experience. She has helped countless people to enhance and improve their long-term health and wellbeing, from weight loss to reducing disease and illness. If you would like to receive a personalized program to reach your health goals sooner, contact her at Aslon Antiaging Clinic Facebook page or website www.aslon.com.mx. We welcome you to visit us in Bucerias, Nayarit.