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Have You Had Your Superfruit Today?

February 4th, 2010

superfruit-varieties.jpgWe all know fruit is good for us, but research suggests that some fruits are better than others. Superfruits are those which have been shown in scientific tests to have exceptional properties, including high vitamin content, antioxidant richness and often medicinal or other nutritional and health-giving properties too. Some of the superfruits have been around for years. Many can be grown in your own garden, depending on the climate. Others are exotics that have been staples in the diets of indigenous peoples in far-flung places for generations.

Goji berries (wolfberry)

Native to China, Tibet, and Mongolia, the red wolfberry or goji fruit (genus Lycia) is a sensational health food newcomer. Truly spectacular claims have been made for it, though some (such as the claim that it prevents breast cancer) have been criticised by food advisory bodies. Goji berries are exceptionally rich in vitamin C (far more than the old favorite, oranges) and perhaps five times richer in antioxidants, the molecules that counteract free radicals and may slow aging. Goji berries are also excellent sources of beta carotene and riboflavin, as well as minerals and essential fatty acids.

In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries are used for purposes ranging from restoring masculine potency to improving complexion and longevity. The berries are available in various forms, including dried fruits and juice drinks (these are typically berry blends, not pure goji juice).

Pomegranates

A long-neglected fruit that has kindled great twenty-first century interest is the pomegranate (Punica granatum). The small flesh-encased seeds are known as arils. Trials of pomegranate juice suggest that it may have an effect on the processes that lead to heart disease. What is unquestionable is that pomegranates are high in vitamin C and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and are a good source of beta carotene and potassium. The juice may also help lower blood pressure. Its efficacy has been tested in relation to a variety of diseases, from prostate cancer to the common cold. Oil from pomegranate seeds is also being investigated for its active ingredients.

Blueberries

The blueberry (genus Vaccinium) is a fruit indigenous to North America and is not to be confused with similar fruits such as the European bilberry. The southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium darrowi) is one of the most common cultivated varieties. As well as the obligatory high antioxidant content that distinguishes superfruits from their more mundane relatives, blueberries are high in vitamins C, B6, and K. Raw blueberries are also excellent sources of the mineral manganese. Blueberries have been investigated for their cancer-preventing properties and it is believed that they (along with other berry fruits) may have some effect in treating the symptoms of the incurable disease, Alzheimer’s. They may also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Other Superfruits

Many fruits are being investigated by food scientists and many more will be added to the list of exceptional foodstuffs, leaving our staple fruits like apples, pears, oranges, and bananas in the shade when it comes to nutritional popularity. However, many ‘ordinary’ fruits, including strawberries and tomatoes, amongst others, share many properties with the superfruits. Common fruits that fit the superfruit definition include mangoes, grapes, and cranberries. Others, such as guarana, acai palm fruit, and the mangosteen are less well known.

Many more candidates are under investigation for their nutritional and medicinal value. Until the results emerge, a fruit salad that contains a range of fruits is bound to boost health. An excessive focus on any one may not be healthy, and some (such as pomegranates) have been shown to interact with certain drugs and medications. The rule should therefore be to eat lots of different kinds of fruit, since each may make its own special contribution to your well-being.

Somewhat related article: Where to Buy Acai Berry Juice


This article on superfruits was supplied to us by “Solo” from Constant Content.


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