Summary

These tropical fruits look, smell, and taste like summer. From mangoes to dragon fruit, they're packed with flavor, vitamins, and nutritional benefits.

We are drawn to sweet foods for a reason and tropical varieties are no exception. For millennia, fresh fruit was the only source of natural sweetness, with the exception of wild honey, and it came with many health benefits. Fruits are high in fiber and contain hundreds of beneficial nutrients that support our body’s functioning. Unfortunately, today that natural affinity for sweets can draw us to the wrong sources. Don’t be fooled by newer plant-based processed foods you’ll see accompany the classics in the supermarket aisle — candy is still candy. So next time you feel a craving for something sweet, remember what your ancestors would have done. Choose a delicious fresh fruit! Eating fresh fruit will satisfy your sweet tooth without the increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease that results from eating processed, refined sugars.

For those who worry that incorporating fruit in their diet will lead to diabetes and weight gain, don’t fear the fruit! Yes, fresh fruit contains high levels of fructose, which is typically associated with unhealthy, processed foods like high-fructose corn syrup and other refined, free sugars. However, eating fructose in the form of a whole fruit, with its plentiful fiber, water, and bounty of nutrients, has a very different effect on the body than from consuming isolated forms of fructose in sodas, candy, and other processed foods - all devoid of fiber and nutrients. In fact, fruits have been shown to prevent the negative effects of other high-glycemic foods on our blood sugar levels. Here at Thistle, we champion whole plant foods and love to incorporate fruit into our meals for their sweetness, unique flavors, and vibrant colors. Kick off the coming warm seasons with us by celebrating our favorite tropical fruits!

Açaí Berry

Açaí berries are native to Central and South America and grow best in warm tropical or subtropical climates. They are rarely available as whole berries due to a short shelf life and are often prepared into a pulp as soon as they are harvested. This is why we use açaí berries in the form of a purée, dried powder or pressed juice, for a fortuitous and easy addition to smoothies and even we even include it in our salad dressings. This dark purple fruit certainly packs a lot of nutrition and is known as a “superfood” because of its antioxidant qualities. Açaí berries are good sources of vitamin A and calcium, as well as many trace minerals and plant compounds, including anthocyanins. Anthocyanins, which give açaí berries their deep purple color, act as antioxidants in the body which offer anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity and also may prevent diabetes.

Dragon Fruit

Also known as pitaya, dragon fruit is a brightly colored oblong fruit with succulent, overlapping scales. The flesh of the purple variety is bright magenta due to an antioxidant compound called betacyanin, which helps our bodies neutralize toxins by making them sufficiently water-soluble for efficient passage in urine. Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium and phosphorus, as well as other minerals and B vitamins. This vibrant fruit is native to Central and South America, but is now cultivated extensively throughout Southeast Asia. Dragon fruit is often eaten raw, scooped with a spoon directly from the rind. We love to include this fruit in our smoothies and as a sugar-free jam thickened with the help of chia seeds to compliment our breakfasts and desserts.

Guava

The guava fruit, of which there are 100s of different varieties, is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Mexico, Central and South Americas and the Caribbean. Its culinary uses are nearly unlimited — both sweet and savory, fresh, cooked, hot and cold. The versatility of this fruit comes from its delicious flavor profile. Guava’s flavor is unique and delicious, comparable to a combination of strawberry and pear with floral undertones. Guava fruits are a sweet source of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. The high levels of potassium and soluble fiber in guavas contribute to reducing blood pressure. This fruit is most commonly available in either a paste or the form of juice which is typically stripped of its bountiful fiber, so be sure to pair it with other fiber-rich plants as we do with our salads.

Mango

Ripe mangoes are one of our favorite treats during the warmer months and you’ll be able to smell a ripe mango at arm’s length. I loved eating mangoes as a kid thanks to my neighbor who showed me how to eat one without making a sticky mess. Once the mango is completely soft and supple, start to squeeze and roll the mango until it feels like the flesh inside is broken down, bite the tip off making a small hole at the top and start sucking out the delectable fruit juice and pulp. Mangoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. They also contain the natural digestive enzyme, amylase, that assists in breaking down proteins. We use mango in salsas, smoothies, salad dressings, and even protein bars!

Passion Fruit

The passion fruit is native from the high plains and forests of the western Amazon in Brazil and is also found through Paraguay into northern Argentina. This tropical fruit is a good source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that are necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. These antioxidants can help reduce inflammation within the body and boost the immune system. Beyond the fruit, passion fruit flowers have been used for centuries as a medicinal supplement for calming, sleep inducing, and muscle spasm relieving effects. Similar to dragon fruit, when passion fruit is fresh, it can be scooped with a spoon directly from the rind. We love to incorporate this fruit in our recipes for its tropical and floral, sweet-tart flavor.

Pineapple

Despite being a symbol of Hawaii, pineapples originally came from South America, between Brazil and Paraguay, and didn’t reach the islands until after spreading around the continent up to Mexico and the West Indies by European colonizers. Sailors during this time prized pineapple to help prevent scurvy — this is most likely from its high vitamin C content. This popular fruit is not only widely available now but it’s also packed with nutrients, antioxidants and other helpful compounds. An interesting compound found in pineapple is an enzyme called bromelain which is thought to be an effective anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, and digestive aid. We use pineapple in many forms: salsas, smoothie, puddings, sauces, dressings, and even roasted in our savory salads and other meals.

When adding fruit to your diet, you certainly don’t have to find the most exotic varieties, but you also don’t have to stick with the same old, same old. Treat yourself! Have fun exploring the many varieties of the vast number of fruits available to us from around the globe. How lovely it can be to stroll through your farmers’ market on a weekend or your local market during the week and pick up ripe fruits that you can blend into smoothies, chew when dried, incorporate into your favorite dishes, or best of all, bite right into. The opportunities are ripe for the picking and we’re here to help.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Mar 31, 2021
 in 
Nutrition
 category.
Summary

These tropical fruits look, smell, and taste like summer. From mangoes to dragon fruit, they're packed with flavor, vitamins, and nutritional benefits.

We are drawn to sweet foods for a reason and tropical varieties are no exception. For millennia, fresh fruit was the only source of natural sweetness, with the exception of wild honey, and it came with many health benefits. Fruits are high in fiber and contain hundreds of beneficial nutrients that support our body’s functioning. Unfortunately, today that natural affinity for sweets can draw us to the wrong sources. Don’t be fooled by newer plant-based processed foods you’ll see accompany the classics in the supermarket aisle — candy is still candy. So next time you feel a craving for something sweet, remember what your ancestors would have done. Choose a delicious fresh fruit! Eating fresh fruit will satisfy your sweet tooth without the increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease that results from eating processed, refined sugars.

For those who worry that incorporating fruit in their diet will lead to diabetes and weight gain, don’t fear the fruit! Yes, fresh fruit contains high levels of fructose, which is typically associated with unhealthy, processed foods like high-fructose corn syrup and other refined, free sugars. However, eating fructose in the form of a whole fruit, with its plentiful fiber, water, and bounty of nutrients, has a very different effect on the body than from consuming isolated forms of fructose in sodas, candy, and other processed foods - all devoid of fiber and nutrients. In fact, fruits have been shown to prevent the negative effects of other high-glycemic foods on our blood sugar levels. Here at Thistle, we champion whole plant foods and love to incorporate fruit into our meals for their sweetness, unique flavors, and vibrant colors. Kick off the coming warm seasons with us by celebrating our favorite tropical fruits!

Açaí Berry

Açaí berries are native to Central and South America and grow best in warm tropical or subtropical climates. They are rarely available as whole berries due to a short shelf life and are often prepared into a pulp as soon as they are harvested. This is why we use açaí berries in the form of a purée, dried powder or pressed juice, for a fortuitous and easy addition to smoothies and even we even include it in our salad dressings. This dark purple fruit certainly packs a lot of nutrition and is known as a “superfood” because of its antioxidant qualities. Açaí berries are good sources of vitamin A and calcium, as well as many trace minerals and plant compounds, including anthocyanins. Anthocyanins, which give açaí berries their deep purple color, act as antioxidants in the body which offer anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity and also may prevent diabetes.

Dragon Fruit

Also known as pitaya, dragon fruit is a brightly colored oblong fruit with succulent, overlapping scales. The flesh of the purple variety is bright magenta due to an antioxidant compound called betacyanin, which helps our bodies neutralize toxins by making them sufficiently water-soluble for efficient passage in urine. Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium and phosphorus, as well as other minerals and B vitamins. This vibrant fruit is native to Central and South America, but is now cultivated extensively throughout Southeast Asia. Dragon fruit is often eaten raw, scooped with a spoon directly from the rind. We love to include this fruit in our smoothies and as a sugar-free jam thickened with the help of chia seeds to compliment our breakfasts and desserts.

Guava

The guava fruit, of which there are 100s of different varieties, is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Mexico, Central and South Americas and the Caribbean. Its culinary uses are nearly unlimited — both sweet and savory, fresh, cooked, hot and cold. The versatility of this fruit comes from its delicious flavor profile. Guava’s flavor is unique and delicious, comparable to a combination of strawberry and pear with floral undertones. Guava fruits are a sweet source of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. The high levels of potassium and soluble fiber in guavas contribute to reducing blood pressure. This fruit is most commonly available in either a paste or the form of juice which is typically stripped of its bountiful fiber, so be sure to pair it with other fiber-rich plants as we do with our salads.

Mango

Ripe mangoes are one of our favorite treats during the warmer months and you’ll be able to smell a ripe mango at arm’s length. I loved eating mangoes as a kid thanks to my neighbor who showed me how to eat one without making a sticky mess. Once the mango is completely soft and supple, start to squeeze and roll the mango until it feels like the flesh inside is broken down, bite the tip off making a small hole at the top and start sucking out the delectable fruit juice and pulp. Mangoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. They also contain the natural digestive enzyme, amylase, that assists in breaking down proteins. We use mango in salsas, smoothies, salad dressings, and even protein bars!

Passion Fruit

The passion fruit is native from the high plains and forests of the western Amazon in Brazil and is also found through Paraguay into northern Argentina. This tropical fruit is a good source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that are necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. These antioxidants can help reduce inflammation within the body and boost the immune system. Beyond the fruit, passion fruit flowers have been used for centuries as a medicinal supplement for calming, sleep inducing, and muscle spasm relieving effects. Similar to dragon fruit, when passion fruit is fresh, it can be scooped with a spoon directly from the rind. We love to incorporate this fruit in our recipes for its tropical and floral, sweet-tart flavor.

Pineapple

Despite being a symbol of Hawaii, pineapples originally came from South America, between Brazil and Paraguay, and didn’t reach the islands until after spreading around the continent up to Mexico and the West Indies by European colonizers. Sailors during this time prized pineapple to help prevent scurvy — this is most likely from its high vitamin C content. This popular fruit is not only widely available now but it’s also packed with nutrients, antioxidants and other helpful compounds. An interesting compound found in pineapple is an enzyme called bromelain which is thought to be an effective anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, and digestive aid. We use pineapple in many forms: salsas, smoothie, puddings, sauces, dressings, and even roasted in our savory salads and other meals.

When adding fruit to your diet, you certainly don’t have to find the most exotic varieties, but you also don’t have to stick with the same old, same old. Treat yourself! Have fun exploring the many varieties of the vast number of fruits available to us from around the globe. How lovely it can be to stroll through your farmers’ market on a weekend or your local market during the week and pick up ripe fruits that you can blend into smoothies, chew when dried, incorporate into your favorite dishes, or best of all, bite right into. The opportunities are ripe for the picking and we’re here to help.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Mar 31, 2021
 in 
Nutrition
 category.