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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fruit Salads from the Supermarket: The Truth

A salad with different fruits is healthy. It provides you fast vitamins and fibre, has only few calories and no fat. It seems to be the perfect snack for in between, good to go and also healthy. So it’s not surprisingly that many supermarkets offer this fruit cocktail in a plastic cup. But how fresh and healthy are the fruits? Here are the answers:

In the last few years, the fruit cocktail “to go” started to spread everywhere. Nowadays you can buy this healthy snack almost everywhere. No wonder, most people don’t have time to cook a proper lunch or it is difficult not to spoil a fruit basket in a single household. So fruit salad is the solution. It is easy to take to the office and since it is already prepared, ready for consumption. 

Are they healthy?

Only fresh fruits contain vitamins and minerals. Once the fruit is cut, it starts to perish. That’s why it is important that they are kept cold from the time of manufacture to sale. The fresher the product, the healthier it is but it should be consumed for sure within three days. The problem is exactly that point – you don’t know when the cocktail was prepared. And different tests showed that fruit cocktails examined by different health parameters such as total number of bacteria, yeast, fungus and salmonella aren’t fresh anymore. Some are even harmful for your health because of being no longer suitable for consumption. In addition, most fruits don’t contain a lot of vitamins anymore when consumed by the customer. Therefore, it is important to know the difference between fresh and old fruit cocktails. Here is some information so that you are prepared when you want to buy one of these plastic cups the next time. 
Which fruits?
Since most vitamins are in the shell, fruits like apples or pears shouldn’t be peeled. Acidic fruits like citrus fruits can get stored longer than others. And orange shouldn’t be missed out because of its high vitamin C content. Fruit cocktails usually don’t contain bananas because they turn brown and mushy very quickly.Pineapples with their sweet taste are often used to give the cocktail an exotic kick.But there is no limit. You can find cocktails with bananas, strawberries, pineapples, grapes, melons, figs, oranges, blueberries and so on. Since it is a lot of work to prepare different fruit salads in a sufficient amount for a supermarket, most of the big chains have suppliers who cut and pack the fruits for them which can be a problem regarding to the freshness. 
How harmful are the plastic cups?

Using transparent plastic cups is actually not the optimal storage for fruits since the vitamins are sensitive to light. But it is important for marketing reasons to make the content to the buyer visible – especially for products that suggest freshness. But even though there are better methods for storage, the plastic is not harmful for your health, but definitely for the environment. Think about the amount of waste just because of these plastic cups. 
How can I tell if a fruit salad is bad?

If the cup contains a lot of water, the fruits stand for some time. Because the older the fruit, the more water. The colour can be also an indicator about the freshness, then the darker the colour the older it is. Also when the fruits stain, you know that they are too old. Furthermore, the fruits should look bright and crispy. And it is important to buy it only from the refrigerator – then cut fruits have nothing to do on a shelf. If the plastic cup is not cold then it doesn’t contain fresh fruits anymore. So hands off! Don’t think now you shouldn’t buy the healthy snack anymore the next time you pass the fruit section in the supermarket. Just take some more time to assess the condition of the fruits to make sure that the fruit salad really provides you the vitamins and minerals which you expect to get. But if you would like to play it safe, prepare your own salad. Then you will get for sure all the health benefits of this fruit cocktail

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