Exotic Fruit: Tasty and Healthy

Photo by Pink Sherbet

Photo by Pink Sherbet

Doris remembered the apples, pears, strawberries and oranges that were available at the local grocery store when she was a kid seventy odd years ago.  You didn’t see guava, kiwifruit, mango and papaya like you did now.  Those were all considered exotic delicacies when she was young.  But now you could find them all year round at the supermarket. Things had sure changed since she was a kid, she mused as she pushed her cart past the papayas.

Improvements in shipping and horticultural methods have made many tropical fruits that were not available at the grocery store in Doris’s time, available year round now in most supermarkets and specialty food shops.  You no longer have to travel to a tropical locale to get your fill of tropical fruits.  You just need to head to your local supermarket.  That is great for our taste buds, but is it a benefit for our health as well?

Are tropical fruits healthy to eat?
Many tropical fruits are packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals. Here are 6 common tropical fruits and their nutritional profiles (a serving is a 3.5 oz edible portion).

  1. Papaya: Has a sweet, mellow flavor and is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of folate, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin K.  It has 39 calories per serving.
  2. Guava: Has a sweet or sour, aromatic flavor and is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A and B vitamins.  It has 51 calories per serving.
  3. Kiwifruit: Has a sweet-tart flavor and is a great source of vitamin C and a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and copper.  It has 61 calories per serving.
  4. Mango: Has a spicy aroma and a peach-like flavor and is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of B vitamins, vitamin A and potassium.  It has 65 calories per serving.
  5. Lychee: Has a sweet, grape-like flesh and is a very good source of vitamin C, folate, copper, potassium and vitamin B6.  It has 66 calories per serving.
  6. Passion fruit: Has an intense sweet flavor and is a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron and potassium.  It has 97 calories per serving.

How can I fit tropical fruits into my diet?
Even though tropical fruits are easily available, they tend to be a little on the expensive side.  So, if you are watching your budget, don’t expect to replace your daily apple with a mango or kiwifruit.  However, it is nice to spice up your meal with these different tasting fruits once in a while.  Here are 5 ways to serve tropical fruit:

  1. Salads: Kiwifruit, lychee and papaya are some tropical fruits that are a nice addition to fruit salads or even green salads.
  2. Cereal: Many tropical fruits can be added to cereals, which is a tasty way to start your day.
  3. Jellies or Preserves: Passion fruit, quince and guava are some common tropical fruits that are used in jellies or preserves.
  4. Desserts: Guava, quince, kiwifruit and kumquat can be used in pies or tarts.  Papaya and passion fruit make great ice cream toppings.
  5. Snack: The best way to eat these fruits is by themselves.  They are very healthy, low-calorie snacks.

The bottom line:
If you want to spice up your fruit selection, have a piece of tropical fruit occasionally.  Not only are they very tasty, they are also a great low calorie snack or dessert that is loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals.

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  1. Maria Isabel says:

    I love all these fruits specially the passion fruit. I have them in my backyard and I love to make juice out of them. They are an easy plant to grow in California.

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