Tropical fruit: more than a treat

Gerald W. Deas M.D., MPH | 7/26/2018, 2:28 p.m.
All right, you have some dollars in your hand to spend for a tasty treat. A burger with relish, onions ...

All right, you have some dollars in your hand to spend for a tasty treat. A burger with relish, onions and ketchup would taste great, particularly with its special sauce. How about a frank? In fact, a foot-long one with mustard, raw onions, sauerkraut and a hint of hot sauce? Those two treats, I admit would take your taste buds and you into heaven and hell, respectively, because of their saturated fats, which will clog up your arteries. They can ultimately lead to heart attacks or strokes if not consumed in moderation.

On the other hand, you pass a fruit stand or cart on the street offering up mangos, papayas and guavas. Summer is the season for these wonderful fruits. They are known as summer fruits and contain more nutrients then you can imagine. These nutrients are capable of preventing the buildup of cholesterol plaques in arteries and will ensure cardiac and stroke prevention.

Mangos are loaded with a combination of vitamin C and beta carotene, which are excellent antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent the buildup of plaque in blood vessels, as well as assisting in keeping vital organs healthy. This wonderful fruit also contains an ample amount of fiber, which is capable of lowering cholesterol and ridding the body of other toxic materials that cause cancer of the colon.

Now for papayas. This wonderful, luscious, yellow-orange fruit is also rich in beta carotene. In fact, this fruit leads all other fruits in that nutrient. Papaya also helps the stomach digest protein more efficiently. It has been shown to heal even stomach ulcers. The juice of papaya has been used for years to settle upset stomachs.

Guavas are something else. They are not only a tasty treat but also contain a high concentration of a nutrient called lycopene, which has been shown to be very effective in reducing the incidence of prostate cancer. Guava contains a high concentration of fiber, which again, leads to a healthy colon.

It is extremely important when buying tropical fruits that they should pass a sniff test. If the smell is weak, the fruit might not be sweet and is disappointing to taste. They should be stored in a cool place to ripen, but not refrigerated. Cold kills the flavor. These fruits should not be combined with gelatin because the enzymes in the fruit will break down the protein and the gelatin will not set.

So get on your island attire and your straw hat and start dancing to the tune of these wonderful tropical fruits, and I am sure your mambo will improve.