Exotic and extraordinary, superfruits are filling the shelves and the news. They’re “super” because they’re packed with antioxidants and nutrients beyond their common fruit and veggie relatives. Listen to learn about the benefits of some you’ve heard of already, and several that are new to scene.Dr. Rob Wildman is a registered and licensed dietitian with a PhD in Human Nutrition, and has dedicated his life to helping people learn how to eat and to live their lives longer and healthier. We’re hearing about “superfoods” everywhere these days. What exactly is a Superfood or Superfruit?
Superfruits are like regular fruits or vegetables but they have extraordinary nutrition benefits.
They may have higher levels of unique types of nutrients that may be found in other fruits or vegetables, or they may contain very unusual nutrients that are only found in that particular fruit. For example,
- Acai has phytosterols which are important in promoting healthy circulation. It also has a very good antioxidant profile.
- Acerola has 9 times the vitamin C as a typical orange.
The properties stem from where the fruits are grown. The environment they’re grown in and the stresses of nature in that environment may cause them to produce higher levels of certain nutrients that help protect them and promote their own longevity.
- It’s thought that if people then consume the fruit, we’ll reap those benefits as well.
Why do you think they are so popular these days? Are Americans really in need of things beyond common fruits and vegetables?
Superfruits are popular for a number of reasons:
People want to get more from the foods that they eat. They want to connect the foods that they eat to their desires to live longer and with greater health and wellness.
People are looking for better nutritional opportunities throughout the course of the day.
- The expert calls it “Nutritional economics” (i.e. getting more nutrition out of every calorie that we consume.)
- In the US we have a weight problem: At least 40% of adult population is watching how many calories they consume.
- People are making more choices about foods that they eat based on nutrition per calorie.
Can you tell us about the most popular (or new to the scene) superfruits, and what makes them beneficial for our health? Acai is the most popular of the superfruits:
It has a long history and comes from Brazil.
Known as the “beauty berry, “ it has strong antioxidants profile which promotes healthy cells and healthy skin.
These antioxidants help protect the body from harsh exposure to sunlight and other toxins or pollutants that can damage our skin.
Goji is also very popular:
Goji has unique polysaccharides not found in other fruits which have health-supporting properties.
Goji is rich in carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin to support eye health.
Mangosteen is another very popular superfruit:
It is high in antioxidants and it has unique molecules called xanthones which seem to support healthy inflammation processes.
Maqui is becoming more popular because of its really high antioxidant strength.
It is rich in polyphenolics, antioxidant molecules that the maqui berry makes.
It has a deep purple color and nice flavor.
If you are making more attempts to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, targeting superfruits can help to maximize the nutrition benefit.
Be an informed and savvy consumer. Make better purchase decisions. Make sure that what you’re getting isn’t mostly marketing, but that you’re getting what you want.
For example, read labels. Turn the package around and look for actual levels of real superfruit that you would find in 1 oz, 4 oz, or 8 oz servings.