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December isn't just for candy canes and eggnog. The winter month is also National Exotic Fruit Month, making it the perfect time to get creative with your diet. Lots of tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas and carambola taste great and come packed with vitamins and nutrients. Here are a few of the benefits of trying new produce and three recipes to get you started.
Health benefits of eating fruit
It's generally recommended that adults eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but Everyday Health noted that only 30 percent of seniors reach this goal. If you're not quite meeting this requirement for produce intake, you might want to fit a few exotic fruits into your diet. The vitamins, minerals and fiber in these foods may help reduce blood pressure, lower your risk of heart problems, soothe your immune system and satisfy your hunger. When you make fruit part of your daily diet, you're providing your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Use these three recipes to try new varieties of produce with your friends at the retirement community.
1. Papaya and banana smoothie
This delicious drink is perfect for breakfast, as it's packed with nutrients and not overly sweet.
First, peel the banana and cut it into slices. You'll also need to peel the papaya, then cut the fruit in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the prepared papaya into cubes and measure out one cup. Store any excess in an airtight container in the fridge. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour into a large glass and enjoy.
2. Fresh mango sorbet
This recipe calls for fresh mangoes, which you can usually find in the produce section of your supermarket. However, if you can't find the delicious fruit, you can substitute in frozen mango pieces.
In a small sauce pan, combine sugar and water. Warm over medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved, then remove from heat. Combine the sugar water, mango, lime juice and ice in a blender, and process for 30 seconds or until completely combined. Spread the mixture in an airtight container and place in the freezer for two or three hours. If the sorbet is too hard to scoop when you're ready to serve, place it in the fridge for 20 minutes to thaw.
3. Coconut island punch
The key ingredient in this delicious beverage is carambola, also known as star fruit. It's a great drink to serve at a holiday gathering, but be sure that none of your guests have kidney problems. The high levels of caramboxin in star fruit can be extremely dangerous for individuals with impaired kidney function. You can substitute fresh strawberries for the carambola if needed.
Place the carambola slices and blueberries in a large pitcher. Combine soda and sorbet in a large bowl and stir until the sorbet is almost completely melted. Pour the mixture into the pitcher, then cover and chill for 30 minutes before serving.