Often called super foods, there are five fruits that can make a huge nutritional impact on a person’s diet. They not only provide essential vitamins and minerals, but can also provide disease fighting properties to insure good health or to help cure current health problems. Consider including these five in your future meals.
Pomegranates are nutritionally dense fruits native to the Middle East and India and are now widely grown in California and Arizona. The health benefits of pomegranates are well documented. According to the University of Florida, the fruit has been used to treat ailments for more than 2,000 years.
Pomegranates contain a large amount of polyphenols, including flavonoids and tannins, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants decrease oxidation, reduce inflammation and protect cells from free radical damage, which can help prevent cancer.
These sweet fruits are also a good source of folate, potassium, vitamin K, E, B6 and pantothenic acid. The seeds provide fiber and around 40% of the daily requirement for vitamin C. It is also a well-known aphrodisiac, according to PBS.
Also known as West Indian cherry, Barbados cherry, Antilles cherry, Puerto Rican cherry, cerisier, cereso, cereza and semeruco, the acerola cherry is native to the West Indies. It has been used to treat many different ailments including dysentery, diarrhea, liver disorders and fever.
The acerola cherry’s most important quality is the amount of vitamin C it provides. A serving of acerola cherry provides 1,000 to 4,500 mg of vitamin C, according to Drug.com, which is much more than the content of an orange.
It also contains vitamin A, thiamine, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, niacin, iron, bioflavonoids, phosphorus, malic acid, pantothenic acid, calcium, protein, fiber, fatty acids, lipids, zinc and other minerals.
Cranberries were a staple in American Indian diets and were also used as medicines for treating ailments such as fever, stomach cramps and constipation, according to National Geographic.
Cranberries have been called the “World’s Healthiest Food” and for good reason. The study Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health has this to say about cranberries:
The profile of cranberry bioactives is distinct from that of other berry fruit, being rich in A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs) in contrast to the B-type PACs present in most other fruit.
These attributes may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by influencing the lipoprotein profile. Cranberries may decrease the recurrence of urinary tract infections and even cure urinary tract infections already present in patients. In addition, the Dairy Counsel of California reports that cranberries contain flavonoids and phenolic acids that act as antioxidants to fight cancer and prevent cell damage.
Native Americans also used blueberries as medicine and today they can be just as useful for good health. The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council says that one serving of blueberries can provide 25% of a person’s daily allowance of vitamin C. They also contain manganese and fiber. Both of these can keep cholesterol levels in check.
Blueberries are blue due to phytochemicals called anthocyanins. According to the Department of Food Science and Technology at Ohio State University, anthocyanins may have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic qualities and may aid in cardiovascular disease prevention, obesity control and diabetes alleviation.
Raspberries are called bramble fruit because they grow on tangles of thorned vines. Like blueberries, raspberries are packed with anthocyanins and, like acerola cherries, they are packed with vitamin C. Raspberries can provide 54% of a person’s daily allowance of vitamin C in just one serving. They also provide vitamin A, iron, calcium, fiber and folate. Folate is particuarrly important to pregnant women. Eating foods with folate can help prevent neural tube defects in fetuses.
According to Ohio State University, black raspberries may also be the key to curing colon cancer. They found that rats injected with a cancer-causing agent had 80 percent fewer malignant tumors when they were fed a berry-rich diet.
Looking to add more of the healthiest fruits to your diet? Look at our Berry Skinny Greens for these fruits, vegetables, digestive enzymes and more!