Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Fruit Salad...Afternoon Delight!

Sweet Mango
Luscious Strawberries
Ruby Red Cherries
Oh My!

Summer is full of beautiful fruits and learning to combine them with the right ingredients can make a boring fruit salad turn into something extraordinary.   Combining different flavor profiles of fruit and elevating the flavors by adding fresh herbs and seasonings make this fruit salad healthy and nutrient rich.  No sugar needed.  Just pure food.


Sweet Mango
The fragrance, the taste and the health promoting qualities of the mango make it a super food also known as "The King of Fruits".  Mango fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin-A and flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Together; these compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Mango is a very rich source of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Also a very good source of vitamin-B6, vitamin-C and vitamin-E. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen free radicals. Vitamin B-6 is required for GABA hormone production in the brain. It also controls homocystiene levels in the blood, which may otherwise be harmful to blood vessels resulting in CAD and stroke.
Strawberries are rich in Vitamins B and C and are low in calories and fats but rich source of many health promoting phyto-nutrients, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.  They contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, fluorine, copper, iron and iodine.  Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.  Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.  Iron is required for red blood cell formation. 
Cherry fruit is packed with full of health-benefiting nutrients and unique antioxidants.  Cherry fruits are very rich in stable anti-oxidant melatonin. Melatonin can cross the blood-brain barrier easily and produces soothing effects on the brain neurons, calming down nervous system irritability, which helps relieve neurosis, insomnia and headache conditions.  Anti-inflammatory property of cherries has been found effective in reducing heart disease risk factors by scavenging action against free radicals. 
Since ancient times the walnut was a symbol of intellectuality since their kernels have convoluted surface inside the shell resembling as that of brain!  Walnuts are rich source of energy and contain many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Eating just as much as 25 g each day provides about 90% of recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Research studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids by their virtue of anti-inflammatory action helps to lower the risk of blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and breast, colon and prostate cancers.  They are also excellent source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen free radicals. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.  Regular intake of walnuts in the diet help to lower total as well as LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that a diet that is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile. 
 Cilantro contains many notable plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health-Cilantro is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K. Vitamin-K has potential role in bone mass building by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.promoting properties.   
Here's the Recipe:
Afternoon Delight - Summer Salad
1 Mango, Diced
4 Strawberries, Sliced
6 Cherries, Pitted & Sliced
1/4 Cup Walnut Pieces
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, Chopped
Sprinkle of Mexican Fruit Seasoning Mix

Mix all the fruit together, add the chopped walnuts and cilantro, mix together gently, then sprinkle with Mexican Fruit Seasoning Mix. 

Mexican Fruit Seasoning Mix
(Grace the isles of an ethnic store and in the produce section you will see bottles of chili spice used throughout Mexico to sprinkle on fresh cut mango or a fruit salad.  This recipe incorporates the health benefits of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and natural ingredients that makes this seasoning mix worth reaching for instead of extra preservatives that are not necessary.)

Yields 5 oz Jar
2/3 Cup    Chili Powder
2 Tbsp      Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
1 tsp        Lemon Zest, Dried & Ground
¼ tsp       White Pepper

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight jar in a cool dark place.  This will keep for months.
So the next time you reach for that vanilla ice cream on a hot summer day, ask yourself...Does it pack the punch of nutrients as a sweet summer salad?
Uh...I don't think so...Stormy

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