Kourei Yoshibe, a Japanese national living in Tokyo, gives us a worm’s eye view of the fruit scenario in Madurai. He even confesses to having become a regular fruit eater only after coming to Madurai. The spin off is seen in his reduced susceptibility to the common cold that bothered him in Tokyo because of his zero-fruit diet!
Wherever I go in Madurai, I can see several shops selling many varieties of fruit. I often see Indians eating bananas. I wonder if it is lunchtime. I am curious because in Japan, I seldom see Japanese eating fruit for lunch. I think that eating fruit has permeated their lifestyle. Here is an overview of commonly available fruits in Madurai and my experience tasting them.
Taste: The taste is sweet and sourer than any other fruit, except lemons.
Health Benefits: Oranges are a perfect antidote for heat, fatigue or the common cold by making your immune system stronger. It also helps prevents high blood pressure, cancer, arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction and stroke.
Varieties: Mandarin, Sweet orange, Acid Lime, Nagpur, Australian orange, and Kodai orange
Cost: Rs. 70 -90 per kilogram.
Origin: Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Australia
Taste: The taste is sweeter than any other fruit - a little bitter, softer than any other fruit and very juicy.
Health Benefits: It makes your skin look beautiful and is effective as a laxative, prevents cancer, high blood pressure, myocardial infarction, arteriosclerosis, and stroke.
Varieties: Alfonsa, Sapattai, Kasa, Balamani, Kalapaani, Kadhar
Cost: Rs. 25-80 per kilogram.
Origin: Salem, Natham, and Rajapalayam
Taste: The more it ripens, the sweeter it tastes, but it has no juice.
Health Benefits: It is effective as a laxative, and as it is rich in sugar content, it gives you instant energy. After playing sports, it helps you to recover from fatigue. It also prevents high blood pressure, cancer, arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction and stroke.
Varieties: Rasthali, Natupazham, Malaipazham,
Karpuravalli, Povanpazhlam, Patcha valaipazhlam,
Cost: Rs.1.50 to Rs.10 per fruit.
Taste: It is juicier than any other fruit. When chewing it, the juice spreads on your tongue!
Health Benefits: Grape makes you feel refreshed if you are suffering from heat fatigue. And it helps in curing eye problems. Furthermore, it prevents high blood pressure, cancer, arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction and stroke.
Varieties: Panneer, Thilkus, Sona (seedless), Muscat Thatchai (black).
Cost: Rs. 30 to 50 per kilogram.
Origin: Bijapur - Maharashtra, USA, Theni – Tamil Nadu.
Taste: I feel funny when I eat watermelon. When chewing the juicy fruit, it sounds ‘saku saku’ in your mouth and I am sure you too will feel as if you are drinking water!
Health Benefits: It has a diuretic effect and prevents high blood pressure, cancer, arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction and stroke.
Varieties: Bangalore watermelon.
Cost: Rs. 25 to 40 per fruit.
Origin: Tindivanam, Tamil Nadu, and Bangalore.
Taste: It is sweet, a little sour and juicy.
Health Benefits: Apple is highly recommended by doctors for its ability to prevent various illnesses including high blood pressure, cancer, arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction and stroke, allergic reactions, and its role as a digestion booster.
Varieties: Green apple, Ice apple, Red apple, Royal apple, Royal Kala, and Washington apple.
Cost: Rs.140 to Rs.160 per kilogram.
Origin: Washington and Kashmir.
Taste: It is a little sweet and when you chew it feels like apple.
Health Benefits: Juice of raw guavas or decoction of guava leaves is very helpful in relieving cough and cold by loosening cough, reducing mucus, disinfecting the respiratory tract, throat and lungs and inhibiting microbial activity due to its astringent properties. It is a very good antioxidant and helps in maintaining the skin and gives a young and healthy appearance.
Cost: Rs.5 to Rs.10 per fruit.
Origin: Dindigul, Oddanchatram and Natham.
Taste: It is fresh, sour and sweet.
Health Benefits: It prevents high blood pressure, cancer, arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, common cold and makes your skin beautiful . It also has a diuretic effect.
Varieties: Ruan Zao
Cost: Rs.35 to 40 per fruit.
Origin: New Zealand.
Fruits can help keep us healthy, especially in our busy modern lives where consuming junk food is all too easy and convenient. In Tokyo, where I live, my diet never included fruits and as a result, I was highly susceptible to the common cold. But after coming to Madurai, my frequent intake of fruits has indeed made my immune system stronger. I now love eating fruits and can feel the health benefits.