Big 5 ‘Fruits’ for thought

June 7, 2015

How we obsess over the fresh, juicy brilliance of summer fruits, proudly claiming that Pakistan has some of the best world's varieties

Big 5 ‘Fruits’ for thought

How we obsess over the fresh, juicy brilliance of summer fruits, proudly claiming that Pakistan has some of the best, naturally fragrant and natural of the world’s varieties. Here’s the lowdown of summer’s greatest, given with their nutritional breakdown.


Slicing out a big, juicy wedge of watermelon or enjoying it as juice, in all its vibrant red glory, has to be one of the strongest associations of summer. But it’s not just the appearance that’ll bring you coolness: the watermelon is a very good way to stay hydrated since it is almost 92% total water content. It is also a great source of vitamin C, providing 25% of your requirement in a single cup. The additional vitamins and minerals in this fruit include vitamin A, vitamin B6 and B1, as well as potassium and magnesium. One nutrient that especially stands out in watermelon is lycopene, which provides cancer-fighting benefits. In a nutshell, eating watermelon could help your heart.

Vital statistics in 1 cup (154 g): 46 calories, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein, 12 g carbs, 21% vitamin C, 18% Vitamin A.


Apples may be regarded as the universal superfood, but pears - the usually sidelined fruit - actually come packed with more nutrients. A single pear has more fiber than an apple, comparable vitamin C, and only a few more calories and carbs. When picking pears, you want a pleasant fragrance and some softness at the stem end.


Vital statistics of 1 medium-sized fruit (178 g): 103 calories, 6 g fiber, 1 g protein, 28 g carbs, 12% vitamin C, 10% vitamin K.


It’s officially mango season in Pakistan and if there’s one Pakistani export that impresses the culinary world, it’s the Pakistani mango. Available in more than 220 different varieties, you’d be surprised to know that the mango isn’t just the pocket of sugary calories that it is notorious as. Packed with vitamins A and C, mangoes add a healthy dose of beta-carotene, which may help prevent cancer and promote healthy skin. It’s also a natural appetite stimulant so is hugely beneficial to young children with eating disorders and malnutrition. Ironically, while the mango itself is considered inadvisable for diabetics, the leaves of the mango tree are considered a cure for the condition.


Vital statistics of 1 cup, sliced (165 g): 107 calories, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein, 28 g carbs, 76% vitamin C, 25% vitamin A, 11% vitamin B6.


A hugely underestimated fruit (unless you’re in the tropics), papayas are generally neglected in Pakistan and preferred by the older generation. But they are a fabulous source of nutrients. A full day’s worth of vitamin C, one medium-size papaya can help kick a cold right out of your system. The beta-carotene and vitamins C and E in papayas also reduce inflammation throughout the body, lessening the effects of asthma. Papayas are also a natural source of papain--an enzyme so efficient at breaking down protein that it’s used commercially to tenderize meat. Add it to your diet now!


Vital statistics of 1 cup, cubed (140 g: 55 calories, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein, 14 g carbs, 144% vitamin C, 31% vitamin A, 13% folate.


Guavas and summer come hand in hand in Pakistan, significantly so in the month of Ramzan when the fruit is chopped into fruit salad or chaat. But it’s not just the flavor that has us committed. Guava has a higher concentration of lycopene--an antioxidant that fights prostate cancer--than any other fruit or vegetable, including tomatoes and watermelon. In addition, 1 cup of the stuff provides 688 milligrams of potassium, which is 63 percent more than you’ll find in a medium banana. And guava may be the ultimate high fiber food: there’s almost 9 grams of fiber in every cup. Down the entire fruit, from the rind to the seeds. It’s all edible--and nutritious.


Vital statistics of 1 cup (165 g): 112 calories, 9 g fiber, 4 g protein, 2 g fat, 24 g carbs, 628% vitamin C, 20% folate, 20% potassium

Big 5 ‘Fruits’ for thought