5 healthy super fruits
Nutritionists these days are urging people to eat more "super fruits," the healthy and delicious fruit varieties believed to provide your body extra doses of important nutrients.
While so-called super fruits aren't necessarily supercharged with more vitamins and minerals than other fruits, they definitely pack a powerful nutritional punch.
Here's a rundown of some fun and tasty options you may want to add to your diet.
Acai berries: Pronounced ah-sigh-EE, these low-sugar grape-like fruits remind some people of chocolate. Research suggests eating them can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, lower cholesterol levels, help heal exercise-induced muscle injuries and reduce blood sugar in overweight people. They're especially high in the antioxidant anthocyanin that's linked to brain health and cognitive function; they're rich in iron, calcium, fiber and vitamin A and they contain fatty acids that further skin elasticity and moisture retention. Drink acai juice or add the berries to smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, fruit bowls or homemade granola bars.
Blueberries: Studies show these juicy nuggets of antioxidant goodness can boost heart, bone and skin health; aid in blood pressure, diabetes management and cancer prevention and increase energy. One cup alone offers 24 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin C, and the sweet little treats are also high in iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K. Enjoy them straight from the carton or add them to waffles, pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, muffins or sweet breads.
Pomegranates: Split open the tough red rind of these amazing antioxidant fruits (looking for a rind that's heavy and firm) and scoop out the delectable seeds that can range from slightly to very sour. Savor them straight from the fruit, freeze them for later or add them to juices, salads, yogurt, oatmeal or desserts. Consumption can help prevent or treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, hyperglycemia and inflammation, reports the National Institutes of Health.
Jackfruit: Don't be fazed by the spiky green or yellow rind that makes this look more like a vegetable. The yummy inside is reminiscent of apples, pineapples, mangoes and bananas combined, and is subtle enough to be used in sweet or savory dishes. Jackfruit is packed with carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; studies show it can reduce the inflammation associated with obesity and diabetes. Vegetarians and vegans shred and season the fruit as a substitute for meat in dishes like tacos, curries, stews and soups; others enjoy it sliced into yogurt or oatmeal. The roasted or boiled seeds can be made into hummus or seasoned and eaten as snacks.
Dragon fruit: Low in calories but rich in valuable ingredients such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium, betalains, carotenoids and fiber, this pear-shaped fruit may help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis. Studies show its prebiotic qualities promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Seek a bright red rind that's slightly soft but not mushy, scoop out the sweet seed-speckled pulp and snack on it raw or add it to salads, smoothies or yogurt.
Other fruits categorized as super fruits include cranberries, kiwifruits, mangoes, figs, papayas, goji, mangosteens, and avocados.