Fruits and vegetables are some of the best foods that you can put in your body. Coming in all different shapes, sizes and colours, fruits and veggies are jam packed with vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and minerals that can help keep your body healthy.
We were delighted to see, walking into the meal hall at the resort, that it had a fruit bar. Lush juicy fruit, being chopped up and served on the spot by the hired chef, was enough to make anyones mouth water. I didn’t think twice about indulging in a plate full of fruity goodness. My favourite by far was the mango. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, I made sure to have a plate full of this vibrant fruit. They even offered freshly squeezed mango juice with breakfast and lunch (and how could I refuse). It only took about a day for me to feel the repercussions of my mango binge.
For the next two days I was a frequent visitor to the washroom, my bowels expelling only liquid. By chance, while I was coming out of my hourly visits to the restrooms one of the locals told us how to counteract the effects of mango by eating lots of papaya. I didn’t like papaya as much as I liked mango but I was sore and tired of having the runs so I ate it without complaint. Sure enough by the next day I was in the clear. The papaya had done its job and returned my washroom visits to normal. It was a messy lesson to learn and I will never again take my bowels for granted, but it got me wondering; what was in these two fruits, that made my body process them so differently.
Juices, chutneys, salads and sauces there is an infinite list of uses for mangos in cooking. Used in cuisines all over the world, mango’s are considered the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines. The mango is a type of stone fruit grown where the tree can grow up to 35-40 meters tall. Cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions, mango’s have an inner hairy pit and an outer edible peel. Taking from 3 to as long as 6 months to ripen mango colour variation depends on the species and can range from yellow to green.
Top 3 Health Benefits of Mango’s:
1. Lots of Iron: Mango’s are a fruit rich in iron. For people who suffer from anemia or have low iron, one mango per day can help increase red blood cell counts in the body. Pregnant women need to have their iron maintained at a certain concentration and will often consume prescribed iron supplements. Why take supplements when you can enjoy a rich, juicy mango to keep your iron in check.
2. Brain Boost: Keeping your cranium sharp has never been so easy. Mango is a fruit that contain glutamine acid which is known to help with memory and concentration. Say goodbye to forgetfulness, eating mango’s as part of your diet will help keep your neurons firing.
3. Immune Support: Fruit in general are key in keeping your immune system highly effective. Containing more than 20 different vitamins and minerals, mango’s are important in helping the body heal from infections and diseases. While all vitamins are important, the two main vitamins in mango’s that keep your immune system healthy and strong are vitamin A and vitamin C.
On top of these 3 great health benefits, I got a first hand experience of how the fibers in mango help with digestion and elimination during my stay in Cuba. A great food item to add to your diet, mango’s not only taste wonderful but they are good for the body, mind and soul.
Papaya is a 20 inch long pear shaped fruit native to Central America and Mexico. Two kinds of papaya are commonly grown; red papaya and yellow papaya. The difference between the two is in the flesh of this fruit that can be red-orange in colour or yellow. Having a very particular flavour that is not for everyone, papaya is deliciously sweet fruit with a musky and bitter undertone. Used in curies, salads and stews, the papaya fruit have black gelatinous seeds on the inner core that can be eaten and have a sharp spicy taste.
Top 3 Health Benefits of Papaya:
1. Protects your Heart: Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the world. Being rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, papaya is great at keeping your blood vessel walls plaque free. By acting as an oxidizing agent, these vitamins, prevent cholesterol from sticking to blood vessel walls causing the buildups that eventually leads to heart attacks and strokes.
2. Immune Support: Fruits in general are key in keeping your immune system highly effective. Like its cousin the mango, papaya is a fruit with an ample supply of vitamins and minerals, vitamin A and vitamin C being the most prominent. Essential to immune support these vitamins assist in fighting off sickness and infection in the body.
3. Helps Inflammation: Inflammation touches everyone at some point in their lives be it through a broken or sprained joint, pregnancy, arthritis or simply overuse of a muscle. Bountiful in enzymes, antioxidants and vitamin C, papaya can help sooth excess swelling and dull the effects of inflamed joints. Eating this fruits is a great way for your body to reap the benefits of it’s anti inflammatory effects.
A trickier fruit to incorporate into your diet due to its particular flavour, the once exotic and rare papaya fruit has now become readily available at most times of the year. Arguably one of the healthiest fruits to consume, the plethora of health benefits for papaya extends way beyond the three mentioned above, my favourite being that it helps counteract the mango runs.
While traveling to Cuba, Joey and I were introduced to mango and papaya fruits for the very first time. After educating myself on all the great health benefits surrounding these two fruits, it left me wondering, for something that tastes so delicious and is so healthy, why aren’t more people consuming mango’s and papaya’s?
Of all the foods that we could be eating, fruits and veggies are by far the most important. Depending on your age, the Canadian food guide recommends eating around 8 servings of of greens per day. If you’re having a hard time finding a fruit that you enjoy eating consider getting a mango or papaya on your next trip to the grocery store.
As active athletes, Joey and I make it a practice to cover at least 50% of our plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. A general rule of thumb we follow when considering fruits and veggies is; the more colourful your plate the better. So why not add a splash of colour in your life!
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