Fruits You Can Grow… Indoors?

They say that fruit is nature’s candy—so let’s get more of that candy in our lives.  One way to do so is to grow your own fruit. If you have daydreamed about growing your own fruit before but then remembered you are lacking the yard with acres of space for trees, don’t you worry. For those living in apartments or without much of a backyard, growing fruit indoors is surprisingly doable. With these plant suggestions, you’ll be happily snacking on your own homegrown fruit in no time (plus growing time)!

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Calamondin Orange Tree

Picture combining a kumquat and an orange and you will end up with the calamondin orange. One perk of this fruit is that it is self-fertile and after its first two years, it will be in bloom almost year round.  You'll know that these fruits are ready when they are firm and yellow or yellow-orange. You want to use these little guys soon after you pick them from your tree. These fruits are used in similar ways as limes or lemons and can be used to make a yummy marmalade.

Strawberry Plants

Ahh, strawberries are many people's favorite fruit. Thankfully strawberries are one of the easiest plants to grow indoors! Be deliberate in choosing the ever-bearing strawberry variety if you want more than one harvest a year, which of course you do! Make sure you keep these plants by your windows and after you plant them, water them daily when they are still growing and then switch to watering them only when the top inch of the soil is dry after.

Figs Trees

Fig trees are great for two reasons: one, they self-pollinate and two, you get to choose the size your fig tree grows to. You decide the fig tree size based on how you prune your tree and what size pot you choose. With this plant, you’ll want to fertilize your tree monthly and if you want to have fruits in your first year, make sure to buy a tree that is at least two years old! With these details, go and plant your own fig tree. Soon you’ll be making your own fig bars and some fancy salads.

Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree

One of the great things about lemon trees is that you get to enjoy them twice. You’ll enjoy the smell of lemon wafting throughout your apartment and you’ll also get to enjoy their flavor as you start cooking with your new citrus plant. Because normally lemon trees grow in sunny, more humid environments, make sure to keep your lemon tree by a window and to spray its leaves with a water in a spray bottle. These tart fruits are hardy once they are grown so you don’t need to be in a rush to pick them as soon as they are ripe.

Now you can fulfill your daydreams about picking a fresh fruit and casually eating it in the comfort of your own home. Enjoy an extra piece of fruit for me!

 

References:

http://www.marthastewart.com/264339/indoor-fruit-plants

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/patiocitrus/Calamondin.html

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/strawberry/strawberry-plants-indoors.htm

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-fig-trees-indoors-49098.html

http://www.almanac.com/plant/figs

Protein: Much More than a Smoothie Mix-In

When most of us think of protein, we immediately think of muscle building and whey powder. Though most Americans meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), it’s important to make sure you get a healthy balance of plant and animal proteins. This balance helps the well-known macronutrient play a major role in many essential body functions. Here are three reasons to make sure you’re keeping up your protein intake!

Uncommonly Known Functions of Protein in the Body
1. Nerve Impulse

During digestion, proteins are broken down into their building blocks--amino acids. These amino acids are crucial in the construction of neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals that send messages between nerve cells. Though neurotransmitters play a role in almost every action that occurs within the body, two of the most commonly mentioned neurotransmitters are epinephrine and norepinephrine, both of which help regulate sleep cycles.

2. Connective Tissues

Protein is most abundant in the body in the form of collagen, the primary component of connective tissue responsible for flexible movements and maintaining the shape and elasticity of our skin. Without collagen, we might literally melt into the ground like a cartoon due to lack of support for our organs and other body tissues.

3. Electrolyte and Fluid Balance

Though there are several components that affect electrolyte and fluid balance, protein is one that is often not considered. In order to maintain a proper fluid to electrolyte balance, protein draws fluid and keeps it flowing within our bodies’ cells and bloodstream. Without adequate protein intake, there is not enough of a drawing force to keep fluids moving and in balance throughout the body.

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Sugar and Cancer: Best Friends?

Does sugar feed cancer cells, causing cancer cells to grow and spread faster? This is common question everybody has. While researchers continue to investigate the relationship between sugar and cancer, the statement still remains under speculation. Sugar feeds all cells in the body, which include cancer cells, however, it doesn’t mean that sugar leads to cancer, likewise, doesn’t mean that being deprived from sugar slows the growth of cancer (1). The truth is consuming large amounts of sugar can harm your body and put you at higher risk for certain cancers and other health conditions.

Sugar is necessary in your diet. Without sugar, your body’s vital organs would cease to function properly (2). Too much daily sugar, however, can cause unhealthy weight gain, which leads to an increased risk for cancer and other serious health conditions. It is also important to be cautious of hidden sugars, added sugars, and artificial sweeteners.

One of the main reasons why sugar has a bad reputation is due to the lack of its nutritional value. Sugar does have a place in your diet. According to the American Heart Association, men should have no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day, and women should have no more than 6 teaspoons per day (3). However, an average American consumes double the amount of the recommended serving per day, which can have a great impact on your health.

Naturally occurring sugars found in food such as fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, breads, and lactose, come from sources that benefit your diet. Added sugars coming from processed food are shown to harm your health (4).

Sugar can fit into a balanced diet by sticking to the daily recommended amount of sugar, and when eaten in small amounts. Enjoy foods and drinks with added sugar in moderation. Try receiving sugar from natural sources as best as you can. Doing so will provide your body with more vitamins and nutrients needed to help fight off diseases like cancer!

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/cancer-causes/art-20044714?pg=2

  2. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/may-2015/FOH-cancer-love-sugar.html

  3. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.V4Zv_5MrJME

  4. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/importance-sugar-human-body-4424.html