Living in Hua Hin, we are spoiled for choice of fresh and “exotic” fruits. Whether purchased in a grocery store or an open market, incorporating fruit into our daily diet is a great way to live a long and healthy life.
Dragon Fruit (pitaya)
Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants, and contains vitamin C (10% of the daily value), polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, several B vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism, as well as carotene and protein. Also present is calcium, which is needed for strong bones and teeth. Dragon fruits have zero complex carbohydrates, are easily broken down by the body, and an oil in the seed operates as a mild laxative. Eating dragon fruit helps rid the body of toxic heavy metals, improves eyesight, and (in the case of the red variety), can lower the risk of prostate cancer.
Bananas (kluay num wah)
Bananas are a super fruit, acting as free radical-gobbling antioxidants, and are high in vitamin C. A single banana contains 467 mg of potassium, which is important for controlling the heart rate and blood pressure. With 28% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin B6, which helps prevent anaemia and coronary artery disease, bananas also have an abundance of fibre. A single banana supplies an adequate amount of copper to keep up the production of red blood cells, and has magnesium to strengthen bones and protect the heart.
Lychees are rich in dietary fibre and antioxidants with the ability to fight flu viruses, improve blood flow, and protect the skin from UV rays. Loaded with vitamin C, lychees provide 119% of the recommended daily value in one serving. This further protects against colds and other infections, helps the body develop resistance, and fights inflammation. Although rare, there are reports of allergies associated with eating lychee. Also high in fructose, they should be eaten in moderation.
Guavas are packed with fibre, making it a great “regulator”. While helping to protect the colon by reducing the risk of cancer-causing toxins and chemical build up, the fibre actually binds to the toxins and helps move them out of the body. Guavas contain also Vitamin A, folate (great for pregnant women to help prevent neural tube defects), betacarotene (a known cancer inhibitor), lycopene, potassium, and antioxidants lutein and cryptoxanthin.
Star Fruit (ma-phuang)
The average star fruit contains 30 calories (fewer than any other tropical fruit per serving), has a high fibre content, prevents the absorption of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and protects the colon from toxic substances by binding to cancer-causing chemicals that happen to be passing through.