It’s strawberry season here in little Plant City, so it only seems fitting to talk about how wonderful and beneficial fruits can be for our health and what purposes they serve. Who knows — maybe you will learn something new!
When I was little, my parents always said to eat the rainbow in fruits. But I never understood what purpose each fruit served. I knew they made me feel better, but why? Because differently-colored fruits are linked to higher levels of specific nutrients and health benefits.
We will moderately touch on why it is important to eat a variety of colors in fruit and how they can help improve your brain function and gut health.
We put so much emphasis on how to improve physical appearance and function, but often forget one of our body’s most important organs — the brain. The brain controls your ability to think, talk, feel, see, hear and so much more. Do you have trouble with concentration at work or with your memory when studying? According to Medical News Today, here are a few substantial fruits you can incorporate into your daily diet!
- Avocados are an unsaturated fat rich in vitamin K and folate that can help improve cognitive brain functions, such as concentration and memory, while also lowering high blood pressure — which is linked to a decline in brain function. It is a great additive to your smoothie for a creamy consistency. Another great way to enjoy it is by adding it to your whole grain toast with pepper, salt and red pepper flakes. Yum!
- Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries contain antioxidants that can better improve communication between brain cells and reduce inflammation to increase blood flow, and thus your memory. Berries can also help decrease neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline. Try mixing some berries into your oatmeal in the morning!
In addition to these fruits, other things that can help with brain function are turmeric, oily fish, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, eggs, broccoli and kale.
Gut health is one of the most underrated pinnacles of health. It is where we break down foods and absorb all of the wonderful nutrients they provide.
A high intake of plant-based foods and fibers are shown to improve your gut microbiome immensely, among other things. The Merriam-Webster definition of microbiome is “microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body.”
Here are a few different fruits and the benefits they offer:
- Cranberries are a very powerful prebiotic and stimulate beneficial bacteria growth in your gut, according to Science Daily. They are anti-inflammatory and support the gut lining which can improve overall gut health and digestion.
- Berries and citrus fruits, “such as oranges and grapefruit, contain less fructose, making them easier to tolerate and less likely to cause gas,” according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. In trying to improve gut health, opt for low-fructose fruits and sugars. Juice some oranges and grapefruits together for a refreshing drink!
In addition to these fruits, other foods such as kefir, kombucha, garlic, apple cider vinegar, wild salmon, sprouted grains and collagen can help support gut health.
Each of our bodies are so unique and incredible, so it is only logical to treat them as such. Do your research and talk with your doctor/dietitian to find the best path for you. Don’t wait — make the step today to better yourself and your health.
You’ve got this!
Hannah Franklin is the Wellness Director at the Plant City Family YMCA.