MANY of us reach for the fruit bowl over the festive season in a desperate bid to make up for all that booze and rich food.
But an apple a day does more than keep the doctor away – it helps you slim because it makes you feel fuller for longer than other snacks.
And it is not the only fruit with hidden benefits beyond being tasty and low in calories.
Grant Rollings serves up an A-Z of fruits and the zest they can bring into your life…
APPLES: Do not slice off the skin because that is where you’ll find the pectin — a soluble fibre which regulates bacteria in the gut. This, in turn, helps to control weight gain.
BLUEBERRIES: These keep your memory sharp thanks to the presence of anthocyanin anti- oxidants, which also fight cardiovascular disease.
CHERRIES: Sticking a cherry on top is a treat that is also good for you. It is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients, fibre and phytochemicals which protect your cells.
DATES: Full of nutrients, the humble date will help to satisfy your appetite for food while boosting your desire for sex. Just don’t scoff too many, as they are not calorie-free.
ELDERBERRIES: A great food for this time of year, as they are said to reduce cold and flu symptoms. This is thanks to their antioxidant count, which boosts your immune system.
FIGS: You should give a fig about this fruit because it is highly alkaline and rich in potassium, which helps manage blood pressure.
GRAPEFRUIT: The breakfast favourite has been shown to reduce levels of the insulin hormone and also cut the risk of diabetes.
HONEYDEW MELON: A big hit in dessert dishes, this can also reduce the severity of fractures. It is loaded with vitamins B and K, as well as magnesium, which are all good for bones.
IMBE: Also known as an African mango- steen, this orange-coloured fruit is generally ornamental but can also be eaten and is a source of vitamin C.
JACKFRUIT: Popular with vegans, this fig-type fruit can grow up to a metre long and it is cholesterol-free and low in calories but high in fibre.
KIWIS: The tangy treats are stacked with vitamins — including K, which, as well as being good for the bones, helps wounds heal. Kiwi is high on carbs, too, but low on calories.
LEMONS: Popping a slice of lemon in your drink of water is said to help weight loss, as it speeds up your metabolism.
MANGO: These tropical favourites have been shown to reduce constipation and inflammation in the gut.
NECTARINES: As with peaches, they contain beta-carotene and lutein pigments, as well as vitamin C, which all help to strengthen the immune system.
ORANGES: Scientists believe that an orange a day can help keep the optician away, thanks to their flavonoid content. One study suggested there could be a 60-per-cent reduction in the risk of your eyesight deteriorating.
PEACHES: These are packed with vitamin C to keep the skin healthy and support fertility.
QUINCE: Folklore has long trumpeted the medicinal prop- erties of this fat-free fruit. It is said to calm bowel conditions and ease nausea in pregnancy.
RASPBERRIES: A generous covering over your cereal could reduce the risk of arthritis, cancer and diabetes.
STRAWBERRIES: Served at some weddings because they are said to be an aphrodisiac, strawberries have also long been associated with good digestion and healthy skin.
TANGERINES: Their zest can prevent some types of cancer and the fruit itself helps to keep the art- eries clear, scientists have found.
UGLI FRUIT: So called because their skin is rough and wrinkled, this Jamaican fruit is a natural hybrid of the grapefruit and tangerine. Fat-free and full of vitamin C.
VANILLA BEAN: This much-sought-after food is, in fact, a fruit and is plucked from the orchid plant. If you get the real thing, it is good for your heart as well as your tastebuds.
WOLF–BERRY: Also known as the goji berry, it contains iron as well as vitamins A and C and is said to be calming.
XIGUA: Another name for a Chinese water-melon, which is not only one of the lowest-calorie foods there is but it fires up your sex life and has the amino acid arginine, which helps keep your blood vessels healthy.
YELLOW PASSION FRUIT: Rich in amino acids, which is said to help your body to build protein, these seed-filled fruits are sweet and packed with nutrients.
ZUCCHINI: Although this cucumber lookalike, also known as a courgette, will be found in the vegetable aisle in your local supermarket, it is in fact a fruit — and one that not only reduces blood-sugar levels but also contains zero fat.
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