A study on Indian fruits, including Himalayan apples and pomegranates, bananas from the south, grapes from Maharashtra, found the guava, exotic in Europe but a poor man’s fruit in India, to be the ultimate superfood with the highest concentration of antioxidants which protects against cell damage which ages skin and can cause cancer. Next after the guava, was the Indian plum, grown in orchards established by British planters in the Himalayan foothills, the custard apple and India’s beloved mangoes, which make its scorching summers more bearable in June and July. The scientists from India’s National Institute in Hyderabad found antioxidant concentrations of just under 500 milligrams per 100 grams in guavas, 330mg in plums and 135mg in pomegranates. Apples have a quarter of the antioxidants in guavas, while bananas “the fruit of athletes” have just a tiny fraction with 30 mg per 100 grams. Water melons and pineapples a staple for low carbers offer the least protection for the body’s fight against free radicals which can cause cell damage. Mangoes, despite a high fructose content, have 170 mg of antioxidants, more than three times that of papaya, which is regarded as healthy for its enzymes which ease stomach upsets. Grapes, the study found, are three times more beneficial to the body than oranges. Dr Sreeramulu, an endocrinologist, said the study, which was published in the Food Research International journal, will help consumers choose fruits which maximise their body’s intake of antioxidants. He said modern lifestyles encouraged the production of free radicals in the body which damage cell membranes and eventually kill the cells themselves. “Today’s lifestyle has increased exposure to synthetic foods, environmental pollution, and stress which cause generation of free radicals. Antioxidants help combat these free radicals which prevents the cellular damage which is responsible for causing cancers, ageing, and cardiovascular and degenerative diseases. ‘So far, there is no study to suggest that antioxidants can help cure these but can definitely help or cut down the risk of cancers as they scavenge the free radicals responsible for the diseases,” said Dr Sreeramulu. He said his team were surprised but delighted to discover one of India’s cheapest fruits offered the greatest health benefits. “Guava is a rich source of antioxidants, a rich source of fibre. It’s a poor mans fruit because they’re quite cheap. A guava a day keeps a doctor away,” he added.
Source : Telegraph