Recent trends around the world show strong positive changes in the overall health status of populations, indicating that every one of us is paying close attention to our daily diet. In fact, there are many good-selling healthy recipes of breakfast or snacks, salads, smoothies or desserts that evolve around the ‘greens’ or fruits.
In recent years, many people around us are talking about superfoods and even superfruits that promote longer living and stronger immune system. So what are superfruits? Which are the superfruits that which we should be consuming in order to promote a healthy lifestyle?
What Is A Superfruit?
In reality, nutritionists do not use the term superfruit. Rather, these terms came to international prominence via a route that bypassed the research laboratory or government regulatory agency. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with the term superfruit since as consumers, we are often persuaded to purchase products based on a well-conceived marketing program.
But again, the nature world gives us fruits in abundance that science can define as superior to others in delivering both nutrient and non-nutrient compounds. If you browse through your nearby supermarket or food store, you can easily see fruits such as pomegranate, mango, mangosteen, papaya, oranges, apples, water-melons that are either available in fruits form or in the form of juices or beverages.
In fact, there is no single superfruit that can provide all the nutrients which our bodies need. We need to consume a variety of them in order to gain the dietary benefits. As such, superfruits are those who provide an optimal mix of natural fruit compounds, that is nutrients and phytochemicals which should be included in everyone’s diet.
5 Factors To Identify Superfruits
- Nutrient diversity and density
- Phytochemical diversity and density
- Basic research intensity
- Clinical research progress
- Popularity based on sensory appeal and market demand
As such, be it for meals or snacks, the goal of eating superfruits is to achieve the maximum nutrient density density per serving which are essential for longer living and stronger immune system. In fact, these superfruits contain high amounts of:
- Dietary prebiotic fiber (macronutrient)
- Vitamin C (micronutrient)
- Carotenoids (orange-yellow pigments which some of these are converted into vitamin A following digestion (This is a group of phytochemicals)
- Polyphenols (Also a group of phytochemicals which possess red-tan, blue, purple or black pigments)
Expressed in gram (g) quantities for daily intake, these are relatively high-content food components that provide calories for energy, growth, cell activities throughout the body, or storage as fat. These can be viewed as the true energy components of foods that we eat, furnishing calories for our daily activities. According to nutritional guidelines, daily macronutrient intake for an adult should include 130g of carbohydrates, 50g of protein, 40g of fat and 30g of fiber.
Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats
All plant foods and superfruits contain carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Carbohydrates are the most abundant major class of matter in plants. Plants use carbohydrates mainly for energy to support photosynthesis, growth and the generation of structural components.
Proteins are made of amino acids arranged in chains joined by bonds that distinguished them as peptides. Proteins are essential parts of all plants and animals, participating in every process of cell structure and function.
Proteins are necessary in our diet because the body cannot synthesize all the amino acids required for proteins to build cells, so we must obtain essential amino acids from proteins in our foods.
Fats is important for many forms of life, serving both structural and metabolic functions, making it an important part of your diet as well. Some good examples of fats in edible plants, especially their seeds are mono and polyunsaturated oils, also known as “heart-healthy oils” from peanuts, soybeans, sunflowers, sesame seeds, olives and canola.
Fiber is necessary for our diet as it provides nourishment to human cells lining the lower intestine, thereby reducing synthesis and absorption of cholesterol. Besides, it stimulates our body’s immune defenses and increase acidity of the lower digestive tract, which may inhibit formation of cancerous polyps. In addition, it helps in insulin secretion and glucose absorption, which may possibly benefiting people with diabetes. In fact, the broader significance of prebiotic soluble fibers from superfruits, whole grains and many vegetables is well recognized in science.
Micronutrients refer to the variety of vitamins, minerals, omega fats and plant sterols known from scientific studies that have substantial health values. They are essential to our diet but only in amounts measured by the milligram (one thousandth of a gram, mg) or microgram (one millionth of a gram, mcg).
They are defined as essential mainly because they can be only obtained from food, and if they are absent from our diet over long periods, we can develop a mild illness that can worsen if the nutrient absence persists.
Superfruits are especially rich in essential micronutrients that work for us day to day in supporting our health. Specific micronutrients that are found abundance in superfruits include
Antioxidant Vitamins A, C and E (“ACE” vitamins)
Deficiency in vitamin A in your diet can lead to impaired night and sunlight vision, delayed wound healing, skin diseases such as eczema, abnormal skeletal development in children, increase risk of infection. Fruits or other foods do not actually contain vitamin A as only a group of the orange-yellow pigments called carotenoids such as betacarotene and beta-cryptoxanthin are converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A carotenoids are especially important for healthy eyes and skin as well as immune protection against infections.
As a water soluble anti-oxidant, this is the body’s universal protector and is located everywhere in the body, be it outside or inside the cells. Besides, cell elements and other vitamins associated with fat such as vitamins A and E, are particularly dependant on vitamin C for protection against oxygen free radicals that may damage DNA and cell structure.
In fact, its main purpose is to preserve iron for the hundreds of enzymes that depend on this essential mineral for their roles in metabolism. Even in small amounts, vitamin C has powerful anti-oxidant functions in body cells. It helps to protect proteins, DNA, fats, carbohydrates and other vitamins from reactive oxygen radicals that are produced continuously by both normal metabolism and exposure to smoke, ultra-violet irradiation and environmental pollutants.
The dietary reference intake for vitamin C in adults is recommended at 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. However, there are other research that indicates that 2 to 4 times would be desirable and attainable by using supplements or eating superfruits.
The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University recommended 400mg particularly for those elderly who defences against disease is weaken with aging. Over the past century, there are more than 40000 medical research on vitamin C listed by the National Library of Medicine which reveals that vitamin C could possibly viewed as an anti-disease agent against:
- Progressive blindness in elderly people
- Cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and hypertension
- Onset mechanisms for cancers
- Chronic inflammation as in osteoarthritis
- Neurodegnerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
Many of you may not know that vitamin E is actually a family of 8 antioxidants, with the most significant nutritional value is the d-alpha-tocopherol. Vitamin E may be the body’s strongest antioxidant for protecting cell membranes and therefore is an essential guardian of sensitive cell functions.
Sometimes, it is known as the cell’s “lightning rod” for its ability to neutralize reactive oxygen species. Other functions of vitamin E include facilitation of normal cell-to-cell communication and protective roles against nerve pain or dry injured skin. Since vitamin E is crucial for health, the recommended dietary reference intake (DRI) for both adult men and women is 15mg/ 22.5 IU per day.
Many convincing research findings had actually show clinical effectiveness against:
- A variety of cardiovascular diseases, especially atherosclerosis
- Various cancers
- Chronic joint inflammation or arthritis
- Lung diseases such as asthma or those associated with smoking
- Impaired bone growth, healing and osteoporosis
- Neurological disorders such as impaired memory, balance or coordination
- Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease
- All disorders of oxidative stress such as premature aging, bacterial infections and gastric ulcers.
There are 8 different B vitamins which are involved in biochemical energy reactions at the cell level. Most superfruits contain high amount of B vitamins including:
- B1 (known as thiamine)
- B2 (known as riboflavin)
- B3 (known as niacin)
- B5 (known as pantothenic acid)
- B6 (known as pyridoxine)
- B7 (known as biotin)
- B9 (known as folic acid or folate)
- B12 (known as cyanocobalamin)
The essential dietary minerals are imperative for good health and are easily obtained by eating superfruits and vegetables. Calcium and phosphorus being essential to bone health, they also have diverse roles in human physiology such as in the functioning of muscle cells, receptors for neural transmission and energy processes in cells.
Varied roles in human cell functions involve 14 other dietary minerals necessary for health. Most of these are in good to high levels in superfruits with the examples as below:
- Chloride for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and cellular pumps
- Cobalt as a cofactor for vitamin B12
- Copper as a cofactor for numerous enzymes, including those essential for cellular respiration and metabolism
- Iodine for the synthesis of the hormone thyroxine
- Iron for many enzymes and proteins, notably haemoglobin, which is the blood carrier of oxygen
- Magnesium for energy-regulating enzymes
- Manganese a cofactor in antioxidant enzyme functions
- Molybdenum a cofactor for numerous enzymes
- Nickel, a urease enzyme cofactor
- Potassium a systemic electrolyte and ion channel regulator with sodium
- Selenium, a cofactor essential to activity of antioxidant enzymes
- Sodium, a systemic electrolyte and ion channel regulator with potassium
- Sulfur, a cofactor for amino acid metabolism
- Zinc which is involved extensively in enzyme functions
Each of these minerals is designed as essential which can be interpreted both as the essential way in which they are involved in minute functions of human cells and as essential that we obtain them through foods, since our bodies do not synthesis minerals. The top 20 superfruits which we will discuss later provide excellent content of these minerals.
This is a group of plant chemicals called steroid alcohols (sterols), indicating that they have chemical structures like steroids that dissolve in lipid layers as easily as alcohol does. Since dietary phytosterols lower blood cholesterol levels, they have been designated by the FDA as valuable nutritional components.
There is a study conducted in year 2004 at the University of California stating that only 2 grams of phytosterol intake per day from drinking fortified orange juice can reduce blood low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by 12% over a period of 2 months.
Omega-3 fats which consists of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are now generally accepted as an essential nutrient category.
These are essential for growth, maintenance of cell structure, particularly in the nervous system, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders such as atherosclerosis, thrombosis and coronary artery disease. A meal combination consisting of salmon with nuts, seeds or superfruits is recommended to assure a good intake of omega fats.
After understanding what are the nutrients or minerals have in common which can be found in superfruits. We shall now reveal the list of top 20 superfruits which you may be surprised. In fact, majority of these superfruits are commonly seen and even consumed in our daily life.
20 Superfruits That Boost Your Body Immunity
- Mango (Mangifera indica)
Mango is particularly high in prebiotic dietary fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids and polyphenols. It also contained a wide range of good levels of essential nutrient for dietary reference intake (DRI). These nutrients are dietary antioxidants vitamin A (from carotenoids) and vitamin C, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), other B vitamins, essential minerals, amino acids and omega fats.
In fact, mango provide the most comprehensive nutrition, taste popularity and versatile usage in cooking among all superfruits or across many world regions. The mango’s edible peel and pulp contain both types of pigments, carotenoids and polyphenols. As many as 25 different carotenoids have been isolated from mango pulp, the densest content of which was beta-carotene (a provitamin A compound), accounting for the yellow-orange flesh of most mango species.
As health promoting prebiotic fiber, polysaccharides (long-chain sugar molecules natural to plants) are also a major mango constituent of value in our diet. The peel and pulp include carotenoids (provitamin A beta-carotene, lutein and alpha-carotene as possible antioxidants) and polphenols, lupeol and an unique phytochemical known as mangiferin, a form of mango extract which may have anti-disease properties. Another mango extract, known as mango lupeol is shown to have biological effects against inflammation and arthritis.
Even though mango skin offers extra nutritional benefit of dietary fiber, carotenoids and polyphenols, not everyone will enjoys its more fibrous texture. However, if you were to steam or stir-fry it, the skin will soften and become less chewy. With mango’s rich flavor, it is therefore commonly found in fruit dishes or smoothies.
A bowl of oatmeal with fresh mango pieces and vanilla yogurt can provide a nutrient-rich boost to start your day. In recent years, dried mango slices are also getting increasingly popular as snacks on the go.
- Figs (Ficus carica)
Figs are among the most exploited tree fruits due to their wide distribution across the world’s tropics. They are often viewed as a healthy staple of diets in every corner of the world, but their usage is not restricted in the form of food only. There are countless folk medicine remedies in the form of poultices being used to treat various minor skin and internal disorders in South Africa, middle eastern and asian countries.
Figs are a convenient single-food source that are broad in nutrient content, having exceptional amounts of insoluble and prebiotic dietary fiber, essential dietary minerals and an unsaturated omega-6 fat as well as linoleic acid. Essential vitamin A (from carotenoids), B and K are also present in high density. These vitamins have an array of uses in the body from antioxidant and metabolic roles to participation in blood coagulation and vascular function, that together support cardiovascular health.
Figs also provide a source of caloric energy from carbohydrates and a boost of micronutrients, including an unsaturated omega-3 fat, alphalinolenic acid, in their numerous chewable seeds. As for phytochemicals, figs are complex containing numerous carotenoids, especially the provitamin A bet-carotene and a variety of polyphenols.
Figs skin contained more fiber, phytochemicals and antioxidant activity than pulp, with antioxidant capacity proportional to the content of anthocyanins. Generally, darker figs have a greater content of polyphenols than lighter-coloured varieties.
Opting for the darkest and softer figs such as black mission figs assures optimal nutrition combined with eating pleasure and potential phytochemical richness. The tiny seeds upon crunching or chewing release their extra nutrient value in the form of vitamin E, minerals and polyunsaturated omega fats.
Figs offer a nutritious and convenient superfruit in their dried form which is ideal for snacking. By eating four figs is equivalent to one fruit serving providing healthy source of calories to meet the day’s energy needs as well as the potential benefits of phytochemical diversity.
- Orange (Citrus sinensis)
The delicious pulp of a raw orange consists of high levels of vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and C, prebiotic and insoluble fiber, carotenoid and polyphenol pigments. Besides, they are also rich in calcium, several B vitamins, potassium, iron and other essential nutrients that support general health.
The edible peel which can be used for garnish, condiments, marmalades and desserts contain an abundance of vitamins A and C, prebiotic fiber, carotenoids and polyphenols as well. Eating orange provides the beneficial effects of dietary fiber and vitamin C which may lower the risk of major diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disorders.
- Strawberry (Fragaria vesca, Fragaria ananassa)
When come to strawberries, everyone seems to love them due to their taste, colour, fragrance or even appealing appearance. Little do we know that they provide outstanding source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. Besides, they are notable especially for high levels of the dietary mineral manganese as well as good contents of other micronutrients.
Strawberries are also rich in diverse polyphenols and contain 2 compounds strongly related to health benefits, phytosterols (cholesterol-lowering effects) and resveratrol (possible anti-aging and anti-diabetic effects). Besides, it also provide significant content of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
Bursting with one of the most popular fruit tastes, strawberries are favored around the world. Strawberry is so common in our daily lives that many consumable products evolve around them such as jam, syrup, gum, milk shake, ice-cream, smoothie and many more. The dense red pigmentation indicates the presence of additional polyphenols and correlates with the fruit’s highest vitamin C and sugar contents, making strawberries especially good just for eating fresh. Just five strawberries is equivalent to one fruit serving.
- Goji (Wolfberry, Lycium barbarum)
Goji can be considered as the nature’s special food gift as some of its nutrients actually exceed 100% daily value from a 100g serving. Among nutrients in which it is rich in are vitamins A (from beta-carotene) and C, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and five dietary minerals including copper, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc. All of these nutrients are involved in a host of enzyme functions that maintain health.
In fact, goji can influence most biological processes, all of which depend on enzymes, which in turn rely on mineral cofactors. Another significant nutrient in goji is its rich content of polysaccharides, which are high in macronutrient value as prebiotic fiber, providing a host of potential health benefits, such as the capability of lowering blood cholesterol and reducing cancer risk.
Dried goji berries are the most common form which we can see and they are popular for having consistency of low-moisture raisins. Quite often, they are used more often as ingredients in nutrition bars and cereals. Just 30 dried goji berries equal one fruit serving.
It is also available as an orange-red, sweet, rich juice with fruity, tomato-like flavours, making it a novel ingredient and colour for blending with more ordinary juices.
- Red Grape (Vitis vinifera)
Grapes are one of the more popular fresh and processed superfruits. As compare with white or green grapes, the skin of red grape had additional phytochemical pigments, mostly anthocyanins that are better health agents. Red grapes have excellent contents of vitamins K and A (from carotenoids contained mainly in their seeds).
By chewing grapes with seeds, it gives you extra vitamin A, vitamin E, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and seed polyphenols called proanthocyanidins. These compounds may have numerous roles in maintenance of general health of the blood, skin and brain.
The Kame project done a research study of nearly 2000 elderly Japanese Americans in Washington state, with results revealing that purple grape juice or red grape wine improved cognitive abilities as well as reducing the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
With the popularity of the grapes flavours, it is not that difficult to come across consumable products across the world. No matter where you stay, you can easily see snacks, drinks, garnishes, jam, juices, wine and many more other products. For those who are not into grapes, perhaps it is the time to explore the wonderful variety of red grape product, that can add enjoyment as well as potential health benefits to your diet.
- Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
Cranberries and blueberries are close relatives with similar physical characteristics and nutrient profiles. They are generally cultivated across the northern hemisphere. Other than its popularity as a red “juice cocktail” with a tangy taste and clean finish, they are also a traditional sauce or side dish for winter holiday dinners, or in the form of dried, sweetened fruit.
Cranberries contain most essential nutrients, including dietary fiber (mainly from its skin), vitamin C and manganese. Besides, they have also significant polyphenolic content that may have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial or antioxidant effects.
Cranberries require sweetening if used in fresh or frozen form, giving tangy and slight sourness that many people would enjoy in sauces, jams and syrups. Commonly, they are available in the form of juice which can blend readily with other fruit juices or sauces. One fruit serving equals an 8-ounce glass of juice cocktail or about 25 dried berries.
- Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa)
For kiwi, it is advisable to eat with the black seeds as it adds to the nutrition and enjoyable textures. Kiwi fruit has excellent levels of vitamin C, fiber content, potassium, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as vitamin E (from the black seeds). The skin may be fuzzy and dislike by most consumers, but it actually has excellent source of dietary fiber and pigments.
Kiwi has a unique and citrus taste sensation to the mouth as well as its seed crunchiness. Sometimes in grocery or food stores, we can find kiwi juice or freeze-dried slices that extend the shelf’s life and portability.
- Papaya (Carica Papaya)
Papaya is a widely used tropical fruit that is favoured for its fresh juice as well as an ingredient in jellies, preserves and cooked meals. Their young leaves, shoots, skin and seeds are popular used in cooking as well. Papaya seeds in particular have great medicinal properties that are exploited in traditional practices to treat infections from bacteria, amoebas, parasites and fungi. Besides, their ground dried seeds are an interesting condiment alternative to pepper.
Papaya fruits had a protein-digesting enzyme called papain which is used in numerous industrial applications, including meat tenderizers, chewing gum, candies and beer clarification. On top of that, it is also used as a potential therapeutic in medicine, where it is being tested for treating skin conditions. For cosmetic uses, it is also an ingredient in shampoos and skin creams.
In South America, due to its papain content, papaya is used as a home remedy for jellyfish, bee or wasp stings, mosquito or snake bites. It is believed that it has the ability to break down protein toxins in the venom. Besides, it is also an ingredient in some first aid creams and may be used as an enzymatic agent for treating infected skin wounds.
Papaya fruit has good levels of prebiotic fiber, potassium, B vitamins and essential vitamins other than its rich source of vitamins A. Though their seeds are usually not eaten, but it is in fact an excellent source of micronutrients and omega fatty acids. The seeds are also loaded with phytochemicals, particularly isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, which are valued in vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower (brassica sources).
Papaya is popular as either in the form of juice or smoothies, blended with other fruits. Besides that, papaya can be cut into chunks which serve as a side dish for breakfast or even be added to meals, after stir-fry or lightly microwaved.
- Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium, vaccinium corybosum)
Blueberry had almost all essential nutrients, similar to its close cousin, the cranberry. Three nutrients with excellent DV percentages are dietary fiber (mainly from the berry skin), vitamin C and the essential mineral manganese. The main attraction of blueberries may be the skin’s unique profile of blue-pigmented anthocyanins and resveratrol.
With its widely popular colour and taste for numerous culinary preparations from cereals to salads to desserts, they are a commonly favored fruit. An excellent snack fresh by themselves, they are truly wonderful in pies, jams, smoothies and syrups.
Otherwise, blueberries in oatmeal, cold breakfast cereal and salads, or as garnish for vegetable stir-fries and meat dishes. Lastly, you can just popped blueberries into your mouth as an on-the-go snack regularly. A quarter cup of blueberries is equivalent to one fruit serving.
- Sour or Sweet Cherry (Prunus cerasus for sour, Prunus avium for sweet)
Cherries are one of the most popular fruits as demonstrated by the endless stream of consumer products containing the cherry taste. Sweet cherries have more sugar content and a lower density of phenolic acids than sour cherries.
Sour cherries have more sour taste profile than sweet cherries due to the higher content of polyphenols, including the color-rich pigment anthocyanins in their skins, as well as lower sugar content in the pulp and juice of sour cherries. On top of that, they are also promising agents for reducing the risk if inflammation, pain, high blood lipid levels, cancer and metabolic symptoms, due to its high anthocyanin content.
Another benefit of eating cherries is the vitamin C boost and diverse nutrients that it provides to our body. The fact is we can have it almost every day due to its pleasure taste, acting as a garnish for our favourite cocktails or juices, or perhaps a side dish with salads and many more combinations. Six cherries is equivalent to one fruit serving.
- Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
Though red raspberry is delicate in both structure and taste, it is a storehouse of nutrients packed in a unique, tasty, exotic form that distinguishes it among superfruits as a beautiful garnish for desserts and snacks.
As for black raspberries, they are not considered as one of the superfruits because they contain higher phenolic acid contents. They are either sour or bitter in taste and therefore not popular for fresh eating as compare to the red species. Besides, there is also a limited supply of black raspberries in North American since this species had not been well crossbred to increase its resistance to plant diseases.
Red raspberries are one of the plant world’s richest sources of vitamins C and K, the essential mineral manganese, and dietary fiber. Contents of vitamin A (from seed carotenoids), B vitamins, iron, calcium and potassium are also at good levels. On top of that, oil extracted from red raspberry seeds is popular as a skin moisturizer high in vitamins C and E, alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid), and linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acids), with potent sun-blocking and healing properties.
Nutritious red raspberries are ideal both as an addition to many types of recipes and as a healthy fresh snack by the handful. In fact, quick-frozen and canned raspberries retain most of the nutrient qualities of fresh fruit. Their leaves are also valuable as they contain many of the fruit’s nutrients as well. Raspberry leaves are popular in tea blends, providing a complementary delicate flavour and source of tannins that add tartness and possible antioxidant value to the beverage. Just 10 raspberries is equivalent to one fruit serving.
- Seaberry (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Seaberry are high in prebiotic fiber, antioxidant A, C and E vitamins, dietary minerals, phytosetrols, omega-3 and omega-6 fats from the pulp and edible seeds. Besides, they are also high in carotenoids (beta-carotene), polyphenols including quercetin, kaempferol, rutin, isorhamnetin and myricetin.
Even though it does not have “flavorable” taste, its unique lemon-like taste is appreciated by millions in Europe and Asia. Seaberry also has extensive nutritional profile and potential health value in consumer products. It is common and popular as a juice, wine, cordial, tea, jam or used as a flavor for food and drinks.
- Guava, Green And Red (Psidium Guajava and Psidium littorale)
Guavas are often ranked among the most valued superfruits, being rich in vitamin C and prebiotic fiber as well as vitamins A, E and K, omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (mainly in the seeds, which must be blended or chewed to allow for ingestion of the omega fats). One serving of green guava offers exceptional vitamin C content, about 200mg which is twice the daily value, more than the strawberry guava.
Both green and red guava have good levels of several dietary minerals and a favorably, low-calorie nutrient profile. Besides, they are also dense in content of pectin, a valued prebiotic fiber. Red species of guava have high carotenoid content, particularly beta-cryptoxanthin, which converts to vitamin A in the body, and lycopene, a candidate antioxidant.
Known better in traditional medical practices than in conventional research, guava has been associated particularly with broad antimicrobial and antiviral properties and is still under study in the laboratory to confirm these therapeutic effects.
Due to its dense polysaccharide content, boiled guava yields gels useful for making candies, preserves, jellies, jams, marmalades, juices and frescas, a refreshing blend of fruit juice with carbonated soda. It is particularly popular in Mexico, the Middle East and South Africa. Now you can also seen them in Canadian and American grocery stores, being popular as a high-nutrient dessert due to its sweet citrus-like frangrance.
- Blackberry (Rubus ursinus)
Blackberry is a member of the Rubus family of berries, which also includes red and black raspberries. The nutrients content stand out as particularly dense enriched vitamin C, dietary fiber, manganese and vitamin K. Not only that, they are also considered enriched in antioxidants, particularly for their significant amounts of polyphenols, ellagitannins, cyanidins and other anthocyanins.
A study published in 2006 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by scientists at the University of Oslo, Norway, showed blackberry at the very top of more than 1000 antioxidant foods consumed in the United States.
Generally, blackberries are eaten raw or otherwise consume in the form of wine. However, the presence of seeds discouraged many people to bite them raw. It is advisable to eat the seeds to ensure optimal extraction of the nutrients. During late summer in many parts of the world, the public can easily have free access to the wild-growing blackberries that offer promising anthocyanins and nutrients. Just eight fresh blackberries is equivalent to one fruit serving.
- Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum)
Blackcurrant have extraordinary high vitamin C content and good levels of dietary fiber, potassium, phosphoru, iron, vitamin B2 and a broad range of other essential nutrients. It is the main ingredient in Ribena which is a worldwide and well-known drinking juice. The seeds are also rich in many nutrient and they have good value in nutraceuticals and cosmetics.
Blackcurrant juice is popular as part of blends with grape, cranberry or pomegranate juice as well as jams and syrups. Dried blackcurrants are comparable in taste to Thompson raisins thought they are less sweeter and smaller in size. One serving is equivalent to about 60 dried blackcurrants or a 4-ounce glass of juice.
- Date (Phoenix dactylifera)
Date in their dried form are often used for garnishes and snacks, making them an appetizing , high-nutrient and high-calorie superfruit. They come in a variety of cultivars, moisture, sugar content and colours from tans to dark browns to near red or orange-brown. They are popular for use in pastries, baked goods, smoothies, sandwich spreads, party snacks, salads and appetizers.
Dates pulp are low in fat and protein but rich in sugars, mainly fructose and glucose, making it a potential source of caloric energy. It contains excellent amounts of amino acids for protein, dietary minerals such as selenium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, several B vitamins, vitamin C, omega fatty acids, phytosterols as well as both insoluble and prebiotic fiber.
Both carotenoids and polyphenols have been identified in dates which is a rare combination of compounds that may contribute antioxidant and other properties that might lower risk of bodily diseases. The date fruit consists of 70% carbohydrates making it one of the most calorie-rich and high-nutrient fruit available.
Though dates are plain and simple fruits, the sweetness and pleasant chewiness offers an enjoyable eating experience for many consumers. It can be better in taste by a topping of vanilla yogurt or as a snack with mixed nuts or fresh fruits. Just four dates is equivalent to one fruit serving.
- Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
Pomegranate aril juice has only traces of nutrients, along with vitamin C and potassium at moderate levels but nothing else of much nutritional content. However, the seeds are where you can find the nutrients. If chewed, the seeds provide high levels of micronutrients, phytosterols, omega fatty acids and fiber.
In fact, pomegranate juice is the significant bioactivity shown in various laboratory studies and in eary-stage human trials. This implied that pomegranate polyphenols, likely the ellagitaannin molecules called punicalagins, are primed to be the center of research interest for anti-disease activity.
Several test-tube or animal studies of pomegranate juice or its ellagitannin extracts have shown significant activity in the following areas of disease investigations:
- Prostate gland cancer
- Growth of blood vessels in tumors
- Ultra-violet light-induced oxygen radicals in skin cells
- Several strains of bacteria
- A malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum
- Antibacterial effects against dental plaque
- Reduce high blood pressure
Many consumers would agreed with me that once the arils are out of the fruit and in our mouth, they are quite enjoyable. Besides, they are also versatile and exotic for garnishing. In addition, pomegranate seed arils add sparkle to appetizers, beverage garnishes, salads, main dish vegetables and desserts as well.
In the consumer market, many manufacturers had prepared the aril juice in the convenience of bottles and at much higher price, comparing to grape, orange or tomato juice which offer superior nutritional value. Not only that, pomegranate juice is often included in a blend with concord grape, blueberry or cranberry juice. About 8 ounces of 100% pomegranate juice is equivalent to one fruit serving.
- Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart)
This is a dark blue-berry fruit that grows in dense clusters at the apex of acai palm trees in equatorial rainforests of Brazil and Panama. Since late 1990s, it has become popular as a powder additive for smoothies. In the later years, it is sweetened and blended with other fruit juices gaining recognition as a juice.
Consider expensive for most consumers at $27 per pound, it is widely popular for manufacturing uses in smoothies, cereals, chocolate and as a flavour-colour additive for beverages. Processing factories in the America retain the pasteurized berry pulp as a frozen puree which is useful in manufacturing ice-cream, jam and yogurt products. Acai juice and oils are also extracted from the puree raw material for manufacturing needs.
Acai is particularly significant in protein, dietary fiber (highest among all plant foods), vitamin E, beta-sitosterol and a phytosterol with cholesterol-lowering properties. It is a good source of calorie probably due to its exceptional fat levels.
Acai in its powder or juice form, it is low in natural sugars and unpleasant for taste, which is most likely due to its dense phenolic acids and minimal sugars. Once it is commercially blended or sweetened, acai juices has gained popularity due to its rich or blue-berry appearance and taste.
- Dried Plum
Dried plum is a superfruit that deserve more respect than they get. Their convenience for snacks or meal garnished, combined with their richness in vitamins A (from carotenoids), B, K and prebiotic fiber brings them into the league of superfruits.
Generally, plums are pitted and dried to make prunes which are eaten as a single-fruit snack. Prune juice and puree are also versatile as consumer and industrial products. In fact, they are often used in cooking for both sweet and savory dishes as well as yogurt. Stewed or in a hot compote, prunes are favoured as a dessert. They have a wide variety of uses in traditional meals, snacks and side dishes.
Dried plums or prunes are super dues to its excellent micro-nutrient diversity other than its soft texture, chewing and rich taste. It is rich in both prebiotic (soluble viscous) and insoluble dietary fiber (including lignans), protein, vitamins and several essential minerals. In general, prunes are notable for having a low glycemic load and so are recommended for suppressing appetite. Several research studies on prunes or their polyphenol extracts has documented the ability to inhibit inflammatory mechanisms and cancer cell proliferation.
Prunes make a delicious, nutrient and carbohydrate-enriched snack. With only slight glycemic effect, they are good source of calories to sustain energy. The prune is more preferred rather than the fresh plum because it offers easier portability and freedom from having to deal with the juiciness typical of fresh plums. If you have not try prunes before, considered getting it as a snack or incorporating it as a side dish for your meal. Just 4 dried plums is equivalent to one serving.
Well, as you can see from the above 20 superfruits with their substantial health benefits, essential vitamins or minerals, does it give you the impulse to get them all during your next grocery trip? Actually, the purpose of compounding the above information is not to advise you in choosing only these 20 superfruit to supercharge your immune system.
These are labelled as ‘superfruits’ due to their combination of nutrients, vitamins or essential minerals which are much more substantial as compare with many other fruits. Many certified food nutritionists actually acknowledge the fact that we should opt for different varieties or greens in our regular diet in order to promote healthy and strong bodily immune system.