During summer school authorities announce vacation, so children and teenagers get more time to play. Moreover the greatest pleasure of this season is the availability of varieties of fruits.Summer season comes with lots of fruits luscious in its taste such as jackfruit, watermelon, mango, litchi, rose apple, berry, sharon fruit, longan, water chestnut, melon etc.
It’s believed that the fruits that grow in a particular time have the nutritious elements needed in that period. In summer excessive heat drains out minerals from our body which are amply compensated by these fruits and many others. Although summer torments the citizens of Bangladesh with excessive heat and sweat, it also presents us with many mouth-watering fruits.
The love for mango is all over the region. The best mango in Bangladesh comes from Chapainawabganj.
The well-known items are Himsagar, Lengra and Fazli. Himsagar and Lengra are early arrivals. Fazli, the largest in size, is much awaited and late arrival continues through the month of Ashar and even Shrabon. The other varieties are Gopalbhog, Mohonbogh, Chausa, Farooquibhog, Neelambori, Sundari, Amrapali, Mollika, Tommy Atkins etc. Once they ripen, store them in the refrigerator for up to three days. Mangoes are rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, and Vitamin C. Antioxidants have been shown to play an important role in the prevention of cancer and heart disease. They also contain bioflavonoids, the compounds that help plants capture energy from the sun, and when eaten they aid our immune system. Mangoes also supply potassium and fibre and are low in calories. The insoluble fibre, abundant in mangoes, aids the elimination of waste from the colon and prevents constipation. Mangoes support all the seven body tissues and provide a very satisfying snack or dessert. A milk-mango shake cools the physiology and helps weight gain.
Jackfruit (kathal) is Bangladesh’s very own fruit. It is grown in the high land of Dhaka, Mymensingh, Comilla, Sylhet and Chittagong. Jackfruit stones are put into curries to make it a delicacy. The leftovers are also useful as cattle feed. This national fruit of Bangladesh is full of vitamin A and C. Jackfruit seeds are extremely high in Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B2. The seeds also have very high starch content, but are quite low in the presence of iron and calcium.
Litchi (lichu) stands second only to mango among the tree fruits grown in the country. The best taste’s litchi comes from Dinajpur and Rajshahi. The edible portion of litchi contains mainly carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins (B & C), calcium, and iron. Litchi is usually eaten fresh. But it makes an excellent drink as well.
Bel is another popular fruits of the season. Bel fruits are eaten in many parts of the world but medicinal values are more than its taste. Flesh is eaten raw or processed into drinks or flavouring which is very helpful for our body. Fruit pulps are sometimes used as a detergent and adhesive. Ripe pulps are used as digestive aid and a laxative. Unripe pulps are used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery.
Watermelon is the fruit that gives us freshness in the warm summer days. It contains 92% water. Watermelon is an ideal health food because it doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol, and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C.
Papaya, another popular fruit of this season, contains papain that helps digestion and is good at tenderizing meat. Papaya is good for balanced nutrition and it contains carbohydrates, Vitamin A, C, Calcium, Iron and fiber that is good for the digestive system and the heart. Papaya also contains other vitamins and minerals like: Niacin, Foliate, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, lipids and amino acids.
Pineapple is the second most popular tropical fruit. There are four types of pineapples mainly found in the marketplace, such as Gold, smooth Cayenne, Red Spanish and Sugar Loaf. They are sold fresh and canned and all have a sweet flavour. The Gold variety features an extra sweet flavour, golden colour, and higher vitamin C content and can be eaten raw or used in cooking. Pineapple has minimal fat and sodium with no-cholesterol. The fruit is delicious, healthy and nutritious. It can also be used for making juice.
The Guava tree is an evergreen tree. Guava fruit can be round, or pear-shaped. The skin is green, usually ripening to yellow. Some varieties have thin skin and many seeds inside; others will have thick skin and a few seeds. Inside, the fruit can be white, yellow, pink or red. It can be eaten fresh.
Jaam is another common fruit. In our country, Black Berry (Kalo Jaam) is seen to be produced and sold in market. The season of the fruit is May to June. The soft fruit is popular for use in desserts, jams, seedless jellies etc. The blackberry naturally produces chemicals that can regulate certain beneficial metabolic processes in mammals. The astringent blackberry root is sometimes used in herbal medicine as a treatment for diarrhoea and dysentery.
Well, fruits are good source of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate (folic acid). The nutrients in fruit are vital for health and maintenance of your body. The potassium in fruit can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Potassium may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss as you age. Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in the first trimester of pregnancy need adequate folate. Eating a diet rich in fruit may reduce risk for stroke, other cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes. A fruit containing eating pattern is part of an overall healthy diet and may protect against certain cancers. Fruit helps maintain optimum health due to the health promoting phytochemicals it contains – many of which are still being identified. One to 2-1/2 cups of fruit are recommended each day, depending on how many calories you need.
During summer season fruits are sold everywhere in the city areas. Sometimes we see that fruits are available in the market even before the season. People buy fruits to take the fresh flavour. But are the fruits eaten by the people fresh and healthy? Sometimes concerned authorities take some steps but ultimately the situation does not change. In order to change the situation the government should encourage the businessmen to establish cold storages with a view to preserving fruits so that mass people can satisfy their taste buds with delicious seasonal fruits.