Monday, July 13, 2009

Guava - Rich in Vitamin A and C

Scientific Synonym - Psidium

Also Known As - guayaba, Guave, goyave, gujawa, goiaba , jwafa,amrud,guaba,goiyaa, kuava

Native to -
Mexico and Central America, northern South America

Rich Source of - Vitamin C, Vitamin A and B, Calcium, Nicotinic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Folic acid and Fiber

Tastes like - The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet
Guava pulp may be sweet or sour

Propagation - Guava trees can be nursery propagated by grafting, by budding, by stem cutting (succulent green stems), or by root cuttings

Interesting Facts -

  • Guava is better than orange because guava contain more Vitamin C than orange
  • Guava should be had when it is just ripe to gain the maximum nutrients from it. Once it is overripe it becomes pulpy and emits unpleasant odour, it also loses its Vitamin C content.
  • This fruit is very good for weight watchers as it makes you full and is low in calories.

Availability - Fruit matures almost year round, with the peak season during the summer months.

Health Benefits -

  • Anti-Cancer: Essential oils from guava leaves have shown strong anti-cancer activity in vitro.
  • Diarrhea & Dysentery: Guava is very rich in astringents (compounds those make your gums feel tighter and fresh after you chew guava leaves or eat a raw guava or use some toothpaste) which binds up loose bowels in diarrhea. These astringents are alkaline in nature and have disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties, thus help cure dysentery by inhibiting microbial growth and removing extra mucus from the intestines.
  • Diabetics: Guava is low in sugar content making it a good choice for diabetic individuals.
  • Skin Care: Guavas can help improve your skin texture and avoid skin problems more than the best of beauty creams or skin toner gels can do. This is chiefly due to the abundance of astringents in its fruits (more in immature ones) and in leaves. You can benefit from it either by eating the fruits (this help tighten your muscles apart from your skin) or by washing your skin with the decoction of its immature fruits and leaves. It will tone up and tighten the loosened skin. In addition to the astringents, guava is very-very rich in vitamin-A, B, C and potassium which are very good anti oxidants and detoxifiers and keep your skin glowing and free from aging, wrinkles and other disorders.
  • Cough & Cold: Juice of raw and immature guavas or decoction of guava-leaves is very helpful in giving relief in cough and cold by loosening cough, reducing mucus, disinfecting the respiratory tract, throat and lungs and inhibiting microbial activity due to its astringent properties.
  • Constipation: Guava is one of the riches sources of dietary fiber. Its seeds, if ingested whole or chewed, serve as excellent laxatives. These two properties of guava help forming bowels, retaining water and clean your intestines and excretory system thoroughly.
  • High Blood Pressure: Guava helps reduce cholesterol in blood and prevents it from thickening, thereby maintaining fluidity of blood and reducing blood pressure.
  • Scurvy: Guava can outdo many other fruits, including orange and other citrus fruits, when it comes to concentration of vitamin-C, whose deficiency causes scurvy and which is the only remedy to it
  • Prolonged menstruation
  • Poor circulation (strengthen the heart)
  • Congestion of the lungs
  • Acidosis
  • Asthma
  • Catarrh
  • Obesity
  • protects prostrate

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Banana - Fruit for Energy

Scientific Synonym -
Antonio Musa

Also Known As - Plaintain, Platano (SPanish), Pisang susa

Native to - Malaysia Then to India, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Philippines , Indonesia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, Colombia, Burundi

Rich Source of -
Bananas are a valuable source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium.
Vitamins and minerals are abundant in the banana, offering 123 I.U. of vitamin A for the large size. A full range of B vitamins are present with .07 mg of Thiamine, .15 mg of Riboflavin, .82 mg Niacin, .88 mg vitamin B6, and 29 mcg of Folic Acid. There are even 13.8 mg of vitamin C. On the mineral scale Calcium counts in at 9.2 mg, Magnesium 44.1 mg, with trace amounts of iron and zinc.

Tastes like -
starchy to sweet

Propagation -
These are propagated asexually from offshoots of the plant. The plant is allowed to produce 2 shoots at a time; a larger one for fruiting immediately and a smaller "sucker" or "follower" that will produce fruit in 6 to 8 months time. The life of a banana plantation is 25 years or longer, during which time the individual stools or planting sites may move slightly from their original positions

Interesting Facts -
  • Arabian slave traders are credited with giving the banana its popular name. They were small, about as long as a man's finger. Ergo the name banan, Arabic for finger. The Spaniards, who saw a similarity to the plane tree that grows in Spain, gave the plantain its Spanish name, platano.
  • India is one of the Top Banana producing nations
  • It was almost three hundred and fifty years later that Americans tasted the first bananas to arrive in their country. Wrapped in tin foil, bananas were sold for 10 cents each at a celebration held in Pennsylvania in 1876 to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Instructions on how to eat a banana appeared in the Domestic Cyclopaedia of Practical Information and read as follows: "Bananas are eaten raw, either alone or cut in slices with sugar and cream, or wine and orange juice. They are also roasted, fried or boiled, and are made into fritters, preserves, and marmalades."
  • A single, sterile, male banana flower, also known as the banana heart is normally produced by each stem (though on rare occasions more can be produced—a single plant in the Philippines has five[7]). Banana hearts are used as a vegetable in Southeast Asia, steamed, in salads, or eaten raw. The female flowers are produced further up the stem and produce the actual fruit without requiring fertilization.
  • As the banana plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy they are often mistaken for trees, but their main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem (literally "fake stem").
  • Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.
  • Eat at least one banana a day, they are said to contain everything a human needs and they contain all the 8 amino-acids our body cannot produce itself.
  • Never store bananas in the refrigerator. Below 8 degrees Celsius the fruit will decay from the inside. These fruits will not ripen but will turn black in the refrigerator
  • Bananas and plantains are of major importance to food security.
  • Banana fibre is also used in the production of banana paper
  • The banana plant has long been a source of fibre for high quality textiles
  • The fibres are sent to the Kathmandu Valley for the making of high end rugs with a textural quality similar to silk. These banana fibre rugs are woven by the traditional Nepalese hand-knotted methods, and are sold RugMark certified.
  • Used as ornamental Plants
  • One green cooking banana has about the same calorie content as one potato.
  • In Eastern Africa you can buy banana beer. This beer is brewed from bananas;
  • Is the (only) fruit that for some people can work fatting because they contain a lot of starch (more starch than sugar). Those people shouldn't eat too many bananas a day;
  • Bananas are also humorously used as a phallic symbol due to similarities in size and shape;)
Availability - All Year, because of different planting seasons across the world

Health Benefits -
  • Anaemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.
  • Blood Pressure: Prevention of Hyper tension. This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect food for helping to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
  • Brain Power: 200 students at an English school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
  • Constipation: High in fibre, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
  • Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin - known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
  • Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
  • Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body so if you suffer from heart-burn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
  • Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
  • Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
  • Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
  • Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods (such as bananas) every two hours to keep levels steady.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, trypotophan.
  • Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking, as the high levels of Vitamin C, A1, B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalise the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water-balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
  • Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine"eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!
  • Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
  • Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronic ulcer cases. It also neutralises over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
  • Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that, if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
  • Eyes - Maintenance of night vision
  • Prevention of Bone breakdown
  • Electrolyte replacement in diarrhea
  • Healthy Kidney - Reduces cancer
  • Banana was considered an important food to boost the health of malnourished children

Fig - Fruit with high Sugar

Scientific Synonym -
Ficus carica

Also Known As -
Higo (Spanish), Figue (French), Feige (German), Fico (Italian).

Native to - southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region (from Greece to Turkey) Iran and Pakistan, and also in the rest of the Mediterranean region and other areas of the world with a similar climate, including California, Oregon, Texas, and Washington in the United States, Nuevo León and Coahuila in northeastern Mexico, as well as Australia, Chile, and South Africa.

Rich Source of -
Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber

Tastes like -
soft sweet fruit, full of small seeds and often eaten dried

Propagation -
Figs can be propagated by suckers, layering, or cuttings

Interesting Facts -
  • Although commonly referred to as a fruit, the fig fruit is actually the flower of the tree, known as an inflorescence (an arrangement of multiple flowers), a false fruit or multiple fruit, in which the flowers and seeds grow together to form a single mass.
  • The fig fruit is an inverted flower with both the male and female flower parts enclosed in stem tissue.Actually, these so-called seeds are usually nothing more than unfertilized ovaries that failed to develop, and they impart the resin-like flavor associated with figs
  • Dried figs contain a lot of sugar, about 60%. It is thought that that was the reason why Plato advised Greek athletes to eat many figs. Its nutrition for athletes
  • The white juice that drips out of the fruit if the the stalk has been broken off is called latex. It was supposed to represent the universal energy and was used as a remedy against infertility and to incite the breast feeding process.
  • Good food for increasing weight and strength
  • In Mediterranean countries the fig is so widely used, both fresh and dried, that it is called "the poor man’s food".
  • It was one of the first plants ever to be cultivated by humans.
  • Fossilized figs dating to 9400-9200 BC were found in an early Neolithic village in the Jordan Valley. About's Archaeology Guide, Kris Hirst says figs were domesticated "five thousand years earlier" than millet or wheat. This common fig has been very kind to us throughout human history.
  • Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed forms, since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well.
  • The sap of the tree's green parts is an irritant to human skin.
  • The fruits were used, among other things, to fatten geese for the production of a precursor of foie gras.
Availability - July and August

Health Benefits -
  • Immunity - It helps in the quick recovery after prolonged illness. It removes physical and mental exertion and endows the body with renewed vigor and strength.
  • Constipation - The tiny seeds in the fruit possess the property of stimulating peristaltic movements of intestines which facilities easy evacuation of feces and keeps the alimentary canal clean.
  • Piles - The fig is an excellent remedy for piles.
  • Asthma - Figs are considered beneficial in the treatment of asthma phelgmatic cases of cough and asthma are treated with success by there use.
  • The stem bark of fig tree is used as a medicine for bleeding gum's and pus in the gum.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Strawberry - a false fruit

Scientific Synonym -

Native to - originated in Europe in the 18th century. Most countries developed their own varieties during the 19th century,
They are grown throughout most of the United States and Canada; in European countries, including France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, and Poland; in southern and eastern Africa; in New Zealand and Australia; and also in Japan

Rich Source of - Strawberries have higher levels of vitamin c, fiber, folate and potassium than most other fruits like bananas, apples and even oranges

Tastes like - Tempting looks, tastes sweet

Propagation - It isn't necessary to grow strawberries from seed. Strawberries take care of propagating themselves admirably by sending out runners or daughter plants that root nearby.

Interesting Facts -
  • Strawberry fruits are aggregates made up of several small fruits, each with one seed called an achene. The flesh of the strawberry is actually an enlarged receptacle, non-reproductive material Technically its not a fruit, its a false fruit.
  • It is the only fruit in the world with seeds on the outside rather than the inside.
  • They are extensively used in food stuffs ice-creams, jams, jellies, squashes, syrups, confectioneries, bakeries, chocolates and even medicines for their extraordinarily rich flavor, taste and color.
  • It is a famous saying in India that a serving of any fruit a day will remove the rust from the joints.
  • The strawberry preserve tastes just awesome.

Sought by Birds - Finch, lavender etc

Availability - April to June

Health Benefits -
  • Antioxidants fight free radical and rid the blood of harmful toxins. Free radicals damage cells and cause most types of cancer. A daily intake of strawberries is seen to have remarkably brought down the growth of cancerous cells.
  • strawberries help slow the decline of age-related loss of cognitive and motor skills. The nutrients in strawberries nourish brain cells increasing brain health and function. It is a very common observation that old people tend to lose their memory and control over their activities, limbs etc. This is because of aging of their brain and the nervous system. The vitamin-C and the phytochemicals in them neutralize the effect of these oxidants and also rejuvenate the system. One more thing, strawberries are rich in iodine too, which is very helpful for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.
  • Strawberries can be used to remove tartar in two ways. You can eat them, which is what most people will do, or you can cut them in half and rub them across your teeth.The acid in strawberries is extremely effective at dissolving the tartar. Aside from removing the tartar on your teeth, the acids dramatically improve gum health.
  • Supplementing strawberries into your diet is recommended for rheumatism, gout, and catarhh. They are also recommended for health problems such as high blood pressure, constipation, and the flu.
  • Fight against vision defects such as drying up of eyes, degeneration of optical nerves, Macular degeneration.
  • High fiber, Folate, no fats and high anti oxidants such as vitamin-C and those phytochemicals (Flavonoids) together form an ideal cardiac health pack, as they effectively reduce cholesterol. Some of the members of the vitamin-B family present in strawberries also strengthen the cardiac muscles and help better functioning of the heart.
  • Folate is known to protect from birth-defects. Vitamin-C effectively prevents from infections and cold. The phytonutrients also have anti inflammatory properties.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Papaya - Fruit for Abortion

Scientific Synonym -

Also known as - Big Melon, Paw Paw

Native to - Originally from southern Mexico, Central America and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most countries with a tropical climate, such as Brazil, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Southeast Asia and Philippines

Rich Source of - vitamin A, C and E.
More unusual, but very valuable is its high arginine, papain and carpain contents. Papaya also contains fibrin, a rarity in the plant world.
  • Arginine is known to be good for male fertility
  • papain is a proteolytic enzyme
  • Carpain is an enzyme considered to be good for the heart
  • In humans, fibrin is an essential part of the blood clotting process

Tastes like - Sweet

Propagation - Papayas are generally grown from seed. Rooting of cuttings has been practiced in South Africa, especially to eliminate variability in certain clones so that their performance can be more accurately compared in evaluation studies

Interesting Facts -
  • Papaya plants come in three genders: male, female and bisexual
  • During the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming by having papain injected into his back
  • The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without the skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads and stews. It also has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies
  • Green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are both rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was utilized for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers
  • Papain is also popular (in countries where it grows) as a topical application in the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste
  • Women in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other parts of the world have long used green papaya as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion.Enslaved women in the West Indies are also noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery. Medical research in animals has confirmed the contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya, and also found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, possibly in adult male humans as well.Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small, ripe amounts. Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects of progesterone
  • The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper
  • In some parts of Asia the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach
  • Papaya is frequently used for hair conditioner but should be used in small proportions
  • The papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contains carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid (a drug that removes parasitic worms from the body) which can be dangerous in high doses
  • Excessive consumption of papaya, as of carrots, can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms which is otherwise harmless
  • The leaf also functions as a vermifuge and as a primitive soap substitute in laundering
  • Dried leaves have been smoked to relieve asthma or as a tobacco substitute

Availability - All Year

Health Benefits -
  • Papayas promote Lung Health
  • Protection from Macular Degeneration
  • Papayas and Green Tea against Prostate Cancer
  • Eating papayas may reduce common symptoms of acute inflammation, such as arthritis and asthma
  • Protection against digestive diseases
  • Papayas protect against heart disease
  • After a course of antibiotic therapy, papaya juice will rapidly return the intestinal bacteria count to normal

Mango - King of Fruits

Scientific Synonym -
Mangifera Indica

Also known as - Mango, Mangot, Manga, Mangou The name 'mango' is derived from the Tamil word 'mangkay' or 'man-gay'. When the Portuguese traders settled in Western India they adopted the name as 'manga

Native to -
Indian subcontinent
It reached East Asia , East Africa and subsequently introduced to Brazil, West Indies and Mexico. Other regions where mango is cultivated include North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, south, west and central Africa, Australia, China, Pakistan and Southeast Asia.

Rich Source of - Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper and Vitamin A Mangoes also contain several important phytochemicals including: Cryptoxanthin, Lutein, Gallic Acid and Anacardic acid. Vitamin C promotes healthy immune function and collagen formation. Vitamin A is important for vision and bone growth.

Tastes like -
sweet, aromatic, smooth and luxurious flavor

Propagation -
Seedlings are a gamble.
To grow mangoes from seed, remove the husk and plant the seed (before it dries out) with the hump at soil level. The seeds normally germinate in two to four weeks, and do best with bottom heat. Bats plant mango trees, the ones that can carry a mango fruit away from the parent tree and drop the seed, are the most effective mango tree planters.

Interesting Facts!!!
  • It is also the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines
  • Over a 1000 varieties of Mangos exist
  • Mangos scored 93 out of 100 on the recently introduced NuVal scoring system for overall nutritional quality
  • The Mango which is known to be the “king of the mangoes” is the Alphonso Mango due to its rich flavour
  • Its leaves are ritually used as floral decorations at weddings and religious ceremonies
  • If you are too thin and want to gain weight, a ripe mango consumed with milk in the form of a mango shake will help
  • Mango wood is also used to make rafters, window frames, agricultural implements, boxes, plywood and charcoal
  • Mango wood is used to make boats and dugout canoes. It is used to make elegant furniture, carved and turned bowls, vases, jewelry, drums, ukuleles, and toys
  • Mango leaves are used for mulch and to feed cattle. The kernel from the mango seed is eaten as famine food, when people are short on food. Oil can be pressed from the kernel and used to make soap
  • The leaves are used for mulch. The tree itself is a useful windbreak
  • The tree is a sacred tree to Hindus because Prajapati, the Lord of Creatures, was changed into a mango tree
  • Burning of mango wood, leaves and debris is not advised - toxic fumes can cause serious irritation to eyes and lungs
  • Mango leaves are considered toxic and can kill cattle or other grazing livestock
Sought by - Parrots, squrilles, Monkeys, Bats

Availability - May to September

Health Benefits -
  • Mangos contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals
  • Mangoes contain beta-carotene which may help slow the aging process
  • Improves lung function
  • One of the benefits of mangoes comes from the presence of gallic acid. Since it is binding to the bowels, gallic acid works as a wonderful disinfectant for the body
  • Mangoes are also wonderful blood cleansers
  • It is also supposed to reduce excessive heat in the body and prevent body odors
  • If you feel low in energy and are constantly tired, mangoes can be very beneficial
  • Since it is rich in vitamin content, it provides the body with strength and stamina
  • According to Ayurveda, mangoes improve appetite and build your resistance against diseases
  • Mangoes also improve digestion and cure constipation
  • If you want a radiant glow to your skin, don’t forget to take mangoes with milk and honey on a regular basis
  • This will not only leave you with a blemish-free skin, but also improve your concentration
  • The high phenol content in mangoes makes them a powerful anti-cancer fighting agent


Content in this website are consolidated from various internet sources & books for the benefit of the readers.