Whether you’re aware of it or not, you must have tried at least one or two tropical fruits and vegetables at home or at family gatherings. But are you unsure of their health benefits and how you can prepare tropical fruit dishes?
Fret not, because this blog will give you a tropical fruits list, including the most famous ones, their benefits, and how you can easily incorporate them into your diet.
WHAT ARE TROPICAL FRUITS?
Tropical fruits and vegetables grow in hot and humid areas of Asia, Africa, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Oceania. They are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Examples of tropical fruits include papaya, mango, banana, guava, and pineapple.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend these fruits for a well-balanced diet. They can also help prevent diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and even some types of cancer.
TOP 8 TROPICAL FRUITS AND THEIR BENEFITS
Some of the most famous tropical fruits include mango, papaya, pineapple, mangosteen, and guava. Refer to the list of tropical fruits below to appreciate these fruits more.
Mangoes are high in vitamins A and C. They contain cancer-fighting antioxidants. You can eat them fresh or create different desserts out of them.
In Singapore and Hong Kong, mango puddings and jellies are popular. Meanwhile, you can enjoy ripe fruit with sticky rice and coconut milk in Thailand. In Jamaica, the fruits’ leaves are brewed into a tea to help with coughs and asthma.
In Asia, papayas are usually eaten after a meal as it helps facilitate digestion. It is also rich in antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids, which possess powerful antioxidant functions.
This juicy fruit is packed with vitamin C. It contains a protein-digesting enzyme known as bromelain, helping ease digestion. While you can eat it fresh, you can also enjoy it with different types of salad.
Mangosteen grows in Southeast Asia, like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and tropical South American countries, like Puerto Rico and Colombia. As it is high in fiber, you can eat it to aid digestive problems. This tropical fruit is also a good source of antioxidants.
Guava is native to tropical America. The fruit is an excellent source of essential nutrients like iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. You can eat it fresh, add it to salads, or consume it as jams, jellies, or juices.
Bananas are full of potassium and vitamins A, B, and C. This famous tropical fruit also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps regulate feelings of wellness and happiness. Tropical bananas, particularly the small ones, are sweet.
Starfruit or carambola possesses one of the lowest-calorie content among all tropical fruits. It is abundant in vitamin C, vitamin B-complex, and fiber. It also contains potassium, zinc, and iron.
You can eat it fresh or drink it as juice. In traditional Chinese medicine, this tropical fruit is used to treat coughs and sore throats.
We can probably all agree that the dragonfruit or pitaya is the absolute superstar when it comes to the looks. Because of its high fiber content and additional nutrients such as Vitamin C and Magnesium, it is also one of the healthiest tropical fruits.
TOP 3 TROPICAL FRUIT DISHES OR DRINKS
The possibilities of preparing tropical fruit dishes, desserts, and drinks seem endless. Here are three of them to help get you started:
1. CASHEW MANGO GRILLED CHICKEN
For this family-friendly dish, you only need to prepare the following ingredients:
- 1/4 cup of chopped mango chutney
- 1/4 cup of cashew butter
- 1/3 cup of chopped, lightly salted cashews
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 large mango (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
Once ready, mix the main ingredients. Then, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper flakes. Place on an oiled grill rack with medium heat. Grill chicken, covered, until a thermometer reads 170 degrees, 6-8 minutes per side, brushing with chutney mixture during the last 5 minutes. Serve with mango and top with cashews.
2. HONEY-ROASTED PINEAPPLE
You only need 2 ripe golden pineapples, 1 cup of fresh orange juice, and 1/2 cup of honey for this dessert. Simply take these steps:
- Peel the pineapple, quarter lengthwise, and take out the core. After cutting each pineapple quarter into three long, thin wedges, transfer them to a large bowl. Combine the orange juice with 1/4 cup of the honey and heat for about 15 seconds or until warm. Then, pour the juice over the pineapple and let stand for half an hour while stirring occasionally.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and then line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. You can then drain the pineapple wedges and put them in one layer on the baking sheets. Set aside the juices for another purpose.
- For 10 minutes or until tender, roast the pineapple wedges. Halfway through, shift the pans from top to bottom or front to back. Put the pineapple wedges on a platter and drizzle with the other 1/4 cup of honey. Serve warm.
3. TROPICAL SMOOTHIE
For this smoothie, you only need the following ingredients:
- 1/4 pineapple
- 1/2 large mango
- 1/2 cup peach nectar
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup ice cubes
Make sure to use nectar and not juice to get the right thickness in this smoothie. You can also use passionfruit or apricot as an alternative to peach.
All you need to do is slice the banana and put it in a blender together with the other ingredients: pineapple, mango, peach nectar, and ice. Then, puree until you get a smooth texture.
CHOOSING TROPICAL FRUITS FOR A HEALTHIER YOU
Eating tropical fruits and vegetables is more beneficial than we think. With all the vitamins and minerals that tropical fruits like mango, banana, and pineapple offer, you shouldn’t hesitate to add them to your diet.
MORE TROPICAL FRUITS INSPIRED RECIPES
Use the list and recipes of the tropical fruits above, or check out my other recipes to learn more ways to achieve your health goals!