We're halfway through the year, and New Year's resolutions have either been established as habits...or pretty much forgotten. If you've found it too hard to keep all your food-related resolutions, don't feel guilty. It's never too late to improve any diet. One of the most enjoyable ways to increase lifestyle quality is to eat more fruits. So, let's take a look at the edible trends for 2015 and how to improve your diet with fruit.
While we talk about the big movements in food, we'll naturally talk about fruit as a health enhancement. Fruit, and vegetables, eaten as part of an overall healthy diet are widely believed to protect us from heart disease, diabetes, and possibly some types of cancer. As well as being excellent sources of minerals and vitamins, fibre-rich fruits protect the digestive system. Antioxidants in fruits contain a myriad of great benefits to health. All of this comes in a delicious easy-to-carry package.
So, what’s the ‘next big thing’ in fruit?
With local and organic growers getting more attention from buyers, heirloom fruits are gaining in recognition for their true value. For example, there are over 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide, even though industrial farming has pared down the number available in the supermarket to five. That's 7,495 varieties of apples that were in danger of disappearing from the world only a few years ago. Over the centuries, these varieties developed in response to the demands of climate, needs (such as for cooking or dessert use), and local conditions. Hunt some down at your local farmer's market or natural foods store and you will discover some exquisite flavors. What is true for apples applies to many fruits.
In adding more fruit to your diet, don't disparage frozen fruit. Unless fresh fruit is truly fresh, i.e., picked within a few days, then frozen fruit is almost equal in nutritional quality to fresh. Buy good quality organic fruit, grown as locally as possible, when you can get it, and bypass ingesting residual pesticides. In a pinch, frozen fruits are definitely on the table.
Another trend in fruit is the realization that fruits need not look perfect to still be good to eat. Ugly fruit is in! An ugly apple, provided it is only misshapen and the skin is not broken or blemished by age spots, is still as full of nutritional quality as a perfectly beautiful one. Huge amounts of food end up wasted in Canada annually due to the marketing myth perpetrated on consumers that a piece of food need be flawless in order to be desirable.
With the knowledge that even fresh fruit can lose much of its nutritional value during transportation to markets, there is an increasing interest in growing your own fruit trees. Trees of all sorts add oxygen to the environment, and canning and freezing produce straight off the tree are fulfilling and cost-effective pursuits. If you don't have space for full-sized trees, miniature trees bear reasonable amounts of fruit. While you're at it, look into growing other sorts of fruits such as goji berries and grapes. Not all plants tolerate all growing zones, so make sure you’ve got the right conditions before you rush out to the garden store.
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