Bitter Melon

Bitter melon is a tropical fruit-vegetable that is widely used in Asian cuisine. It has a unique exterior and has a crunchy texture similar to a cucumber or bell pepper but with a bitter taste. It is readily used in soups, stir-fries, and teas. Not only is it a unique ingredient but it also has some amazing health benefits. Check out the list below to learn more!

  • Drinking bitter melon juice can help alleviate liver problems as it stimulates the liver to secrete bile acids.
  • Bitter melon juice has both anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties.
  • Bitter melon is a great source of dietary fiber and can help relieve indigestion and constipation.
  • It is a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C which are important for skin health and immunity, respectively.

    Credit: Naturally Dimpi
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Best Fruits for Your Body

Summer is a season filled with plenty of ripe and delicious fruit. With so many to choose from you might be wondering, “What fruit is best?”

Although most fruits contain many nutrients, some are better than others. For example, apple have more than thirty minerals, trace elements, vitamins and secondary plant substances. However, berries also contain a lot of valuable nutrients. Tropical fruits score points with their enzymes, which have a positively influence on the metabolism. Bananas, figs, or dates are sometimes referred to as “thickeners”. Compared to other fruits, their glucose content is significantly higher, and their effect on blood sugar levels and insulin secretion is correspondingly higher.
While on Metabolic Balance make sure that different varieties of fruit are not mixed together as the sum of the sugar content can be too much. So enjoy fruit better individually!

Antioxidants

Many people have probably heard of antioxidants but few are familiar with what they are and how they work.

Antioxidants are compounds prevalent in fruits and vegetables that inhibit oxidation because they can fight free radicals present in the body. These free radicals in the body are produced as a by-product of normal metabolic processes or from exposure to harmful factors such as ozone, X-rays, air pollutants, and chemicals. High levels of free radicals in the body have been associated with cancer, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Thus antioxidants play an important role in the body by helping to regulate free radical levels.

Although the body can produce its own antioxidants it is also important to get them through your diet. Many fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of vital antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and epigallacatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Foods especially high in antioxidants include green tea, berries, dark leafy greens, and beans.

For more information and a list of foods high in antioxidants, check out the links below.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/antioxidants/sls-20076428

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325873#spinach

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841576/

Photo: Unplash

Fiber

Today we want to talk a little bit more about fiber, a plant-based nutrient, that many Americans are deficient in. Commonly found in legumes, fruits, and vegetables, fiber has many health benefits! A diet high in fiber:

  • Supports a healthy gut. Fiber is used by the microbes in the gut as energy and allows them to support a healthy microbial community in the gut.
  • Helps with weight loss. Foods high in fiber tend to keep you full for longer than low-fiber foods.
  • Controls blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can help slow the absorption of glucose and a high fiber diet has been associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Regulates bowel movements. Dietary fiber helps to keep you regular and consistent.

For more information check out this infographic and article below.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/science/food-fiber-microbiome-inflammation.html#:~:text=Once%20bacteria%20are%20done%20harvesting,They%20also%20send%20messages.

Magnificent Mango

Mango is a delicious summer time fruit that contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals including vitamin A and C, copper, and potassium. It not only has a beautiful, vibrant yellow-orange color but is also rich in carotenoids which have antioxidant qualities. Mangoes may improve digestive health, heart health, and clear the skin.

Known as India’s national fruit, this fruit has a long history in this country. In ancient India, the mango tree was associated with the god of love, Manmatha. With the rise of Buddhism, mangoes became a symbol of faith and prosperity. Today, India cultivates over 100 different types of mangoes of various shapes, sizes, and colors.

Delicious on their own, in smoothies, in a sorbet, or even in savory dishes such as chutney or salsas, this fruit is perfect for summer!

Strawberry Season

From a botanical point of view, this is not actually a berry, because it has its seeds on the outside of the fruit rather than the inside. Strawberries are full of vitamins: They contain many B vitamins, folic acid, zinc, copper and even more vitamin C than oranges or lemons.

To mark the beginning of the strawberry season we put together a few tips!

◎ Strawberries should not be rinsed with a strong water jet, but rather be soaked in cold water for a few minutes.

◎ Drain the washed strawberries well or pat dry carefully.

◎ Always remove stems and leaves after washing, otherwise the aroma will be watered down.

◎ Strawberries taste best at room temperature, so make sure to take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before eating.

◎ Freeze some strawberries and then puree them with a mixer to make a fruity ice cream, the best refreshment in summer! Those who like to experiment can also add a few leaves of basil, which gives a very special, fresh kick.

Recipe Inspiration

At Metabolic Balance we like to integrate a serving of fruit into hearty dishes. One of our favorite ways to do this is by incorporating fruit into mixed salads. Today’s recipe inspiration is lettuce with boiled lentils, pickled beetroot and some pears. You can vary this salad with the ingredients that fit your plan. One variation would be to use mango instead of pear and avocado instead of beetroot. As we approach the summer months even consider adding seasonal fruits such as peaches or berries!

Eat the Rainbow

Food just like life is vibrant and colorful! From fresh bright green peas to earthy jicama, foods comes in all colors. For a healthy diet it is important to try to eat a variety of foods and challenging yourself to eat fruits, vegetables, and ingredients of different colors can do just that! This automatically ensures that you eat a valuable mix of fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats. Also try experimenting with new spices which can help round off a “healthy diet”. This way you supply our body with all the important vitamins, secondary plant substances, mineral nutrients, micro- and macronutrients it needs to thrive.

If you are looking to incorporate new foods check out this helpful guide from the American Heart Association: https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@fc/documents/downloadable/ucm_466712.pdf

Kiwis

We love kiwis!
These wonderful fruits are also called Chinese gooseberries or monkey peaches and are originally from China. However, they are now cultivated worldwide and are available all year round. They contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges and lemons and therefore prevent the vitamin C deficiency disease scurvy. Just one kiwi is enough to cover the entire daily requirement of vitamin C. They also have a diuretic and laxative effect. The tropical fruit contains minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron as well as dietary fiber. In addition, kiwis are rich in carotenoids and magnesium. But most importantly, they taste simply delicious. You can eat them on their own, put them in your yogurt, or add them to a smoothie!

Yogurt with Pureed Fruit

Need a simple breakfast idea? Well look no further! Check out this easy and delicious recipe that can be ready in no time.

Take some yogurt (whichever form of dairy is on your plan) and add some pureed fruit. Fruits such as berries, mango, or bananas work very well! If would like a little texture, set aside a small portion of the fruit that will not be pureed and add to the yogurt as is. For added flavor you can also add vanilla, cinnamon or some lemon zest. From phase 3 on, a few chia seeds may also be added.