Contributing writer: Yasmina OLABI, Licensed Dietitian
In the middle of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that we act with complete responsibility and consciousness. As social distancing is a decision that we are committed to, our daily habits during this quarantine hugely affect our safety and health. It is not easy to deal with this rapidly evolving situation but coping is one way to overcome the struggle.
Taking care of our psychological and physical status helps us in acquiring strength to fight this virus with all its accompanying changes. The goal of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a long term one that protects and defends the well-being and health of an individual. A healthy life style doesn’t means that there is a list of food to be restricted or allowed. Yet, it is a way to endorse healthy eating habits and food choices. Fruits are a food category which is a source of essential nutrients that are vital for health and body maintenance.
Maintaining a healthy immune function can be achieved through a balanced diet. Boosting immunity helps the body in fighting infections. One way of boosting the immune system is by adding colors to your meals and snacks. Introducing fruits to our daily diet keeps our immune system strong. Fruits have a remarkable nutritional value where most people tend to consume fruits that are rich in Vitamin C during flu season. It is true that vitamin C helps in building up the immune system through increasing the number of cells that fight infections. In general, citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, they include: Orange, Clementine, Lemon, Grape fruit, Pomelo, Kiwi, Kakadu/Sour Plum (Janerek), Cherry, Strawberries and many other.
Fruits also serve as a source for several essential micronutrients such as potassium, folic acid and Vitamin A. These micronutrients maintain healthy body organs’ normal functioning. Increasing fruit intake helps in blood pressure regulation as well as the growth and repair of all body tissues. The variety of fruits consumed during the day will help us acquire the daily values needed by our body. They provide energy and serve as building blocks to protect our body and its regular processes. To maximize the benefits of fruits, one should eat in moderation as some are high in sugar content. Though the sugar in fruits is natural, balance is the key.
Another important value for fruits is their high fibrous nature. Fiber has many benefits including their ability to regulate proper bowl function, reducing blood cholesterol levels and lowering risk of heart diseases. Fruits are fiber-containing foods that promote the feeling of satiety for longer periods of time. Hence, the feeling of satiety decreases one’s cravings. To benefit from their fiber, eat fruits without pealing, when applicable, instead of drinking juices. And if you like juices from time to time, try adding the pulp so that you don’t lose their fiber content. Consequently, having fruits as part of our daily snacks between meals serves as a healthy substitute for processed foods and sweets.
Many are the reasons why your diet should include fruits with all of their varieties. Just keep in mind that all the precautions should be made. As much as fruits are beneficial, as much as we ought to be careful for food safety measurements. Wash your fruits before storing them and enjoy their fresh juicy taste.
On a side note, try to buy your fruits from local sources. Encourage small farmers and know that this source will provide you with fruits that have a better quality and taste.