Summer super fruits

Posted on: 30 August 2013 by 50connect editorial

If you’re hoping to lose weight, save your skin from the damaging effects of the sun or alleviate the symptoms of hayfever, eating berries is the answer.

summer super fruitsA berry a day keeps the weight, wrinkles and hayfever away. Strawberries and raspberries are the “superfruits of the century” according to Patrick Holford, the leading nutritionist, founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and author of the best-selling Holford Diet.

While the Government recommends eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, not all fruits are equal. Strawberries and raspberries contain ten essential nutrients. Not only is this more than are found in other foods, five of the nutrients are not found in any multi-vitamin pill. According to Patrick Holford, who on behalf of British Summer Fruits analysed all fruits, strawberries, followed by raspberries, came out top.

Raspberries are the ideal all-round good-for-you summer food, according to Holford. “If you want to look good, stay in shape and have an action packed summer, simply snack on a handful of raspberries a day, whether eaten on their own, with yogurt, as a natural sweetener on cereal or even in a cocktail,” he said. A daily helping of strawberries provides three times more health benefits than most other fruits, and they even help hangovers. Holford recommends everyone, from children to adults, eat a handful every day as they are delicious, versatile and easy to eat, needing no preparation.

“Berries are as close as you can get to the perfect fruit,” he said. “In addition to being an important food for anyone watching their weight or wanting to lose weight, they provide numerous benefits from boosting energy levels to reversing the signs of ageing, improving a person’s sex life and aiding concentration, and preventing cancer, colds, hay fever and asthma. I recommend a serving of berries every day - that, far more than an apple, is likely to keep the doctor away.” Here are more of Patrick Holford's reasons to eat raspberries and strawberries:

Low Sugar and Low Glycaemic Load

Strawberries, followed by raspberries, are the best fruits to eat for those wanting to lose weight and have sustained energy levels. This is because they are low in calories and have the lowest glycaemic load of any fruit - the glycaemic load of a large punnet of strawberries is 1.

The glycaemic load of a food is a measure of how much a food raises a person’s blood sugar level, and how much it is likely to cause weight gain. Stable weight and stable energy are achieved by eating foods with a low glycaemic load. It is a myth that bananas provide sustained energy. They are among the fruits with the highest glycaemic load, at 12. This means a person would have to eat 12 punnets of strawberries to have the same effect on your blood sugar as one banana.

Raspberries are one of only a few fruits recommended to followers of the Atkins diet. This is because they are exceptionally low in calories, at 122 per punnet. One punnet of raspberries contains zero grams of fat. Strawberries are very low in calories too, at 90 calories per punnet.

Folate, the 21st Century Panacea

Described in the British Medical Journal as a ‘leading contender for panacea of the 21st century’, folate - a B vitamin - relieves depression, improves memory and concentration, and lowers heart disease risk and homocysteine levels, now thought to the single greatest measure of a long and healthy life.

There is 100 times more folate in a small punnet of strawberries than there is in one apple. 5 strawberries provide 125mcg of folic acid which is more than half of a day’s RDA.

Their high content of folate means strawberries and raspberries are beneficial for pregnant women, those wanting to conceive or those who have just had a baby, helping prevent pregnancy problems and miscarriages.

Fruity Zinc

Zinc is the nutrient that aids growth, of everything from hair to nails, babies to plants. All berries contain high levels of zinc, but raspberries have the highest of all fruits. Unlike most fruits, the zinc-rich seeds of strawberries and raspberries are eaten rather than removed.

Loss of sex drive, impotence and infertility are attributable to a deficiency in zinc, so eating berries is beneficial to a healthy sex life. As human sperm is packed with zinc, and because it’s the mineral that makes the male hormone testosterone, which is needed for sperm production, zinc is the nutrient most associated with sex. Zinc helps give men harder erections and strengthens sperm, and a woman’s body prepares itself for sex more quickly if zinc levels are high.

"It’s not just the zinc content of the berries which is beneficial in the bedroom," said Patrick Holford. "They are incredibly high in anti-oxidants which helps to optimise blood flow to the sex organs, and they have the lowest glycaemic load of any fruit meaning they provide sustained energy levels at only a few calories. My message is simple: every time you have sex, or simply want to ready yourself or your partner for sex you should consume a handful of raspberries or strawberries.”


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