Exotic Superfruits

Superfruit“Superfruits” by nutrition scientists are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients that can help you live longer, look better, and even prevent disease. They are best consumed whole instead of processed. Experts say that you should consume 5-9 servings of fruits or vegetables daily with most of them being Superfruits, which can be both common & “exotic”. This segment will highlight the later type.

Açaí Berries have very high antioxidant levels that clobber other Superfruits, such as blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries, however, because this tiny berry hails from Brazil, it’s not easy to find fresh. Powdered açaí berry is an easy way to get super fruits into your diet, but it also helps mask the tart, sometimes bitter taste. Acai Berry has been used for thousands of years by the natives of the Brazilian rain forests. They believe that acai has healing powers. Modern science has uncovered a vast storehouse of nutrients in the acai berry, including a high concentration of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E, along with Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), iron, potassium, phosphorus and calcium.

The blackcurrant marks the number one spot as a super fruit due to its richness in phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals. It has high levels of Fiber, Vitamins C, B2, E, K, Calcium, Iron and Selenium. It also contains anthocyanins, which are very potent antioxidants that may help prevent arthritis and reduce inflammation. Blackcurrants also may have an impact in preventing heart disease, cancer, Alzheimers, visual function and diabetes.

Dragon fruit has a vibrant color with a mild taste. Researchers have analyzed the seeds and found there to be a bounty of essential fatty acids, which we need but can’t be made by our body. In fact, 50% of the seeds were made up of an essential fatty acid, oleic acid, which helps lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. This Superfruit is grown mainly in Asia but can be found in your local markets.

Goji Berry also known as wolfberry, or Lycium, is a small raisin size red fruit that grows on a vine. Goji berries have been prized for their nutritional and healing value in traditional Asian medicine for countless generations. Science has isolated at least four unique polysaccharides, which are phytonutrient compounds that “amplify signals” between cells, and improve immune defense.

The lychee, or litchus, fruit grows on evergreen trees native to China and the Asian region and red or pink oval fruit, the lychee has a rough exterior rind but a sweet, juicy inner pulp. Lychee is loaded with several vitamins necessary for good health, with the predominant vitamin being vitamin C. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 1-cup serving of lychee contains 136 mg of vitamin C, which is 226% of the recommended daily intake. Compare that to an orange which holds 95.8 mg of vitamin C per cup, or 160% of the recommended intake. Other vitamins in lychee fruit, although in drastically smaller amounts, include the B family and traces of vitamins E and K.

Maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) is an intensely purple berry that grows wild throughout parts of southern Chile. Maqui berries are very rich in anthocyanins, which are purple pigments with very high antioxidant activity. Specifically, maqui berries contain high levels of anthocyanins called delphinidins, which is also found in violas, delphiniums, and Concord grapes, but in the maqui berry, these compounds are found in unusually high amounts. The delphinidins demonstrate potent anti-inflammatory activity, so they help to reduce the risk of a variety of degenerative diseases that involve inflammation. These pigments also inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. The antioxidant compounds in maqui berry also help to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the blood. Oxidation of cholesterol is a factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke and hardening of the arteries.

Mangosteen is the apple-size fruit of a tall tropical tree. In Asia, it is called “queen of the fruit” due to its delicious flavor and traditional medicinal use. It contains a wide range of antioxidants such as a polyhydroxy-xanthone derivative called mangostin.

Muscadine Grape (Vitis rotundifolia) is native to the southeastern United States and is found in the wild from Delaware to the Gulf of Mexico. These have a high percentage of antioxidant compounds, such as resveratrol and anthocyanidins, with the ability to act as powerful free radical scavengers. Since Muscadine grapes grow wild, they are not sprayed with pesticides as are domestic grape varieties.

The Noni is as widely known for its medicinal properties as it is for its rotten aroma. The fruit, seeds, flowers, roots, and bark are all used in one way or another for health purposes. Tonics made from various parts of the Noni bush are used to treat eye, skin, gum, throat, skin, and stomach problems. Traditional healers use Noni extracts for treating arthritis, menstruation, dysentery, lumbago, asthma, intestinal worms, food poisoning, nausea, and urinary, bowel, and respiratory problems. Noni also comes in a juice form also and can be a source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The antioxidants may help to prevent certain diseases and help slow age-related changes in the body.

Red Coffee Berry is the bright red fruit that grows on coffee plants, which contains the coffee bean. It has traditionally been discarded, while the bean is processed into coffee. However, the red fruit is high in beneficial antioxidants and other nutritional substances, which gives it one of the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) values found in nature.

Soursop (also called Graviola) tastes like a strawberry and pineapple with sour citrus taste. But, its contrasting creamy flavor is similar to a coconut or banana. The fruit offers vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2. It has been said that the Sour Sop or the fruit from the graviola tree is a miraculous natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo, however, there is no concrete medical evidence to currently support this.

Murici has been traditionally used for treating respiratory diseases and as a laxative.

Sea buckthorn berries have over 190 biochemicals and are said to be the only plant source of all omega fatty acids (3, 6, 7 and 9).

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