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Diet

Fruits That Are Good for the Body and Brain

Strawberries and peaches are in season and packed with nutrients.

Key points

  • Eating fruit is tied to a reduced risk of many serious diseases. Fruits also provide nutrients and fiber that are essential for wellbeing.
  • Peaches, for example, are a good source of potassium, a moderate source of antioxidants and are high in water and fiber.
  • Strawberries have high levels of antioxidants, vitamin C, and are a good source of potassium, which helps regulate the brain's feel-good hormone.

I strongly agree with many health care professionals that food is our medicine, which is why we must consider nutrition in any discussion about health. Proper nutrition is essential for our body, brain and well-being. A healthy diet is essential for our overall health. The healthier our body, the better our brain will function.

Fruits and berries are in season now and should be an essential part of a healthy diet. Fruit and berry intake is associated with a lower risk of many serious diseases; i.e., heart disease, stroke, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Fruits provide many essential nutrients and fiber that is most needed for keeping our gut healthy. Our gut produces 90 percent of serotonin, the “feel good” substance in our brain, much more than the brain produces. That’s why it’s sometimes called “the second brain.” Our gut’s health is also essential for our immune system.

Barbara Koltuska-Haskin
Source: Barbara Koltuska-Haskin

Peaches

In today’s post, I will concentrate on peaches and strawberries, simply because they are my favorites. When peaches are ripening on my peach tree, warm from a summer sun, fresh, sweet and juicy, peaches and a cup of coffee make a perfect breakfast. Peaches are a good source of potassium and also contain vitamin A, C, E, K, niacin, folate, iron, choline, magnesium, zinc, fluoride and copper. They contain carotenoid lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotenes. They are also a moderate source of antioxidants and are high in water and fiber, which makes you feel full. They are just a perfect summer snack.

Peaches are good for canning and preserves, but if you are a busy person, you can still preserve them for a winter snack just by freezing them whole. It is very simple, just rinse them well, let them dry for a while, spread them on a baking sheet and put them in a freezer for about 24 hours. After that, put them in a freezer bag, squeeze out the air, place them back in a freezer and then enjoy them in the middle of the winter. When defrosted, their skin is wrinkled, but the flesh smells and tastes just like in the middle of the summer, so you can have “a little summer taste in the middle of winter” — just a cheering up moment.

Barbara Koltuska-Haskin
Source: Barbara Koltuska-Haskin

Strawberries

Generally, all berries are very good for our bodies and brains. However, in this short post, I cannot cover all of them, so let’s talk about my favorite: strawberries. They are now available all year long and do not spoil as fast as other berries, so we can enjoy them fresh for a longer period of time. Strawberries have high levels of antioxidants (polyphenols), are packed with vitamin C, and are a good source of potassium and manganese.

Potassium helps regulate serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Also, a decrease in potassium levels can result in feelings of anxiety, so have a few strawberries when you feel anxious and/or have a bad day. They are high in nutrients and low in calories which makes them a healthy choice for a snack, especially for people who are trying to lose weight, so grab a few of them instead of chips or sweets. Strawberries also increase good cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

I hope that today's post will encourage readers to use fruits and berries in their diet instead of artificial snacks. In the end, I have to mention that although strawberries and peaches do not look alike, they are coming from the same Rosaceae family. So if you are allergic to strawberries, you may also need to avoid other fruits from this family, such as peaches, and always talk to your doctor about it. For the rest of us, bon appetit.

References

Giampieri,F. et al. "The strawberry: Composition, nutritional quality, and impact on human health." Nutrition, volume 28, issue 1, January 2012.

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