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Oh Fruit Me!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas (that’s great too) but once February rolls around our tropical isles begin to burst with the flavour of fruit. We may have neither winter nor summer nor autumn nor spring but we do have mango season, pear season, and guinep season.

The Caribbean is richly blessed with numerous fruits some of which are indigenous, some of which were brought to us, but almost all of which are tasty and nutritious to boot. As the temperatures rise and many of us begin to think about preparing for our carnival, crop-over or summer bodies, fruit are a delicious path toward that slimmer waistline or those Michelle Obama arms. Of course fruits are great, whether or not you’re trying to lose weight.

But, if you need the health benefits, recent studies have also unveiled the positive impact of fruitifying your diet due to the high levels of anti-oxidants, and generally low calorie and low cholesterol levels of fruits. Fruits have been linked to reducing risks of chronic diseases including stroke and cancer.

Studies emerging from the University of the West Indies (Mona) have been exploring the health benefits Jamaican fruits, particularly our berries. The research is being spearheaded by Ms. Camille Bowen-Forbes and has unveiled that the our local berries exhibit superior anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties when compared to our local counterparts.

Of course, berries are among Jamaica’s best kept secrets as most of the island is unaware of their existence. Chris Blackwell’s chic getaway Strawberry Hill is aptly named, reflecting the presence of strawberries in them there hills, along with black berries, raspberries and cheese berries. So, a foray into the hills of St. Andrew might bring you not just a breath of fresh air but also some great berries.

Sheree Dowdie, owner and operator of Live! Juice Bar explains that one of the best things about fruits is their convenience. “My go to thing about fruits is that its quick,” she said. “It’s a convenient way to get a whole heap of nutrients.”

Dowdie explains that we have a history  of consuming natural juices and fresh fruit and its the science and food fads which are just catching up with us. “We’re a fruit juice people,” she says. “I think we’re coming from a place where we ate what we had.”

And what we have are fruits a plenty.