Fruit is a girl's best friend in the never-ending pursuit of beauty. Apart from being rich in vitamins for perfect skin, fruit is also highly nutritious yet low-fat - the perfect choice for weight control.
With many different types of fruit arriving at shops and stalls as the weather heats up, weight control experts suggest a wise choice of the type and size of portion - lest taking in too much sugar turn into the fat you don't want.
Eating less and exercising more is always the golden rule for weight control. Yet the pace of modern urban life has robbed many people of the time and opportunity for physical exercise, says Bruce Rosengarten, President Asia Pacific of Weight Watchers Company.
"Since you cannot always exercise away all you put in, you have to be careful about what you eat," says Rosengarten.
Generally, fruit with high water and fiber content are good choices for weight control, as they help make you feel full without taking in too many calories.
Adding fruit as a course can help reduce the desire for other foods that may contain much fat or too many calories.
Most fruit also offer rich vitamins and microelements that the body needs. However, fruit contain rich sugar as well, which we should be alert for.
Of course, sour types of fruit usually contain less sugar. But that doesn't mean we should cross out all the sweet ones from our diet list as taste is not the only factor that determines whether a type of fruit is a weight control "helper or destroyer."
Some fruit, though they taste sweet, can boost the body by getting rid of fat. For example, water melon and pineapple taste sweet, yet both help accelerate body metabolism, helping get rid of toxins - including fat.
But sweet lychee and longan are both "bad" fruit as they contain not only rich sugar, but, if too many are eaten, also hinder effective metabolism.
In addition, with pathogenic heat prevailing in the summer, "cold" fruit - like pear, water melon and kiwi - are recommended throughout the season.
People should avoid too much "warm/hot" fruit such as lychee, longan and durian, according to Dr Xia Xiang, vice president of Shanghai Dietary Therapy Institute.
Water melon - 25k per 100g
Water melon is a "cold" fruit that helps dispel pathogenic heat and promote urination. Tannin in water melon can help burn excessive fat in the body and rich fibers can also help move the bowels and get rid of toxins. Eating water melon often can also help expand blood vessels.
Pineapple - 41k per 100g
Pineapple is a "neutral" fruit that can benefit the stomach and improve digestion and help dissolve and dispel fat - good news for people with blood-fat problems. Pineapple can also help improve blood circulation by dissolving blood stagnation, as well as help relieve inflammations and edema.
Pear - 44k per 100g
Pear is a "cold" fruit that helps nourish the lungs and respiratory system. It provides rich nutrition yet is low in calories. A middle-sized pear contains about 5g of fiber, a quarter of the body's daily needs. Fiber, of course, can help reduce fat taken in and absorbed.
Pitaya (dragon fruit) - 51k per 100g
Dragon fruit is also a "cold" fruit recommended in summer. Apart from providing rich fiber yet being relatively low in calories, dragon fruit, with its rich unsaturated fatty acid and antioxidant, can also help move the bowels and delay aging. It also helps get rid of toxins.
Grapefruit - 35k per 100g
Grapefruit is also a "cold" fruit on the recommended list. Aurantiin in grapefruit can help suppress the appetite. It also contains organic compound nootkatone that helps accelerate fat burning. Eating grapefruit often can help improve the metabolism and help get rid of toxins.
Cooking with fruit
Apart from being a healthy raw option, fruit retains some health-benefiting properties when cooked.
In addition to reducing the appetite for more of other foods, adding fruit when cooking can help reduce the amount of salt used - good for those with high blood pressure.
Fruit rich in the enzyme protease - such as pineapple, papaya, mango, kiwi and apple - are especially recommended in cooking as they can help with digesting protein and fat.
For those with a weak digestive system, fruit can help them feel more comfortable when eating fish and meat.
While it is true that some nutrition in fruit is lost through heating, not all is. Vitamin C and B are easily destroyed under high temperatures, but vitamin A, protein, fiber and carbohydrates are unaffected.
Some fruit can be more health-benefiting when cooked. For example, cooked pear with rock sugar can help dispel pathogenic heat, nourish the lungs, dissolve phlegm and stop coughing.
Women in menstruation or yuezi (the month after giving birth) are advised to avoid eating cold things, including fruit. Making "fruit soup" or at least soaking fruit in hot water before eating is recommended.
Generally, you can make up for the loss of vitamin B and C through grain and vegetables.