Super Fruits

Super Fruits!  Absolutely amazing, nutritious and mostly delicious! The all time top superfruit and one of the top superfoods world-wide, is the powerful antioxidant fruit Acai Berry. It's an incredible, power packed berry from the Amazon.  Cultivated in a completely natural environment it can boast never having so much as seen or heard of pesticides or herbicides, making it one of the purest forms of a naturally grown organic super fruits on the planet.

The reason it is so powerful is because of its pristine growing environment, making the berry naturally strong and disease resistant, hence it is pure berry with naturally derived strength and nutrition. The other reason it is considered so powerful is because of the fruit pulp's high antioxidant qualities. It is this particular feature that has given Acai Berry the title of top superfood. It is believed to have the most effective natural organic antioxidant properties of any fruit or wholefood source in the world. And it has been scientifically proven to have real measurable results when consumed.

It is proven to offer more antioxidant properties than Mangosteen and Pomegranate, although that does not discount these fruits as worthy of consuming in the absence of a quality Acai powder. Fortunately quality certified organic Acai is readily available in Australia and offers more antioxidant properties than the previously popular fruits.

Acai Berry has unfortunately been linked to numerous scams worldwide, giving it an unfavourable reputation with some who have been duped with fake, diluted tableted forms of Acai combinations. The only form recommended for consumption is the 100% pure Acai Berry Certified Organic Freeze Dried Powder, and it is important if you are considering purchasing it to find a company that supports sustainable harvesting of Acai in the Amazon. Next in line, also originating from the Amazon is Acerola Cherry. The Acerola Cherry is particularly high in Vitamin C, considered to be one of the highest natural sources of organic Vitamin C in the world, along with Camu Camu. The acerola cherry's claim to fame is that its cherry-sized fruits have one of the highest natural concentrations of vitamin C with 1,600mg of vitamin C per 100g where as oranges only have about 50mg of vitamin C per 100g.

Camu Camu fruit contains powerful phytochemicals with health benefits, including the amino acids serine, valine, and leucine, and some believe it offers the highest level of Vitamin C than any other known plant. The dehydrated camu camu fruit powder contains 8 - 9% Vitamin C, which is 30 to 60 times more Vitamin C than an orange and 3 times more than acerola.

Camu Camu is traditionally made into a juice by people of the rainforest to support the immune system, ward off viral infections, and help maintain optimal health, especially under conditions of stress and anxiety, which tend to deplete the immune system. Camu-camu helps to promote healthy gums, eyes, and skin and supports the functions of the liver (detoxing), brain (nervous system) and heart (circulatory system). It is also believed to be a product that when ingested promotes strengthened hair, adding to its shine and vitality.

Now for the Goji Berry, also known as Chinese Wolfberry or Gou Qi Zi, it is widely recognised and very popular as a dried fruit, and makes a perfect addition to a snack or trail mix with nuts, seeds and other dried fruits. Available in certified organic quality, Goji Berries are high in protein (containing 21 amino acids makes it a complete protein), antioxidants (more than 10 times that of blueberries) and superfruit energy, it is also versatile enough to soak (rehydrate) and include in baking such as cakes and muffins, porridge, or smoothies. Tastes a bit like cherries, and offering great benefits in superfruit fuel and nutrition, it is something that is easy to include in our diets on a regular basis.

The fifth selected Superfruit is the delicious and versatile Avocado. It is officially considered a fruit and is rich in naturally balanced Omega's 3, 6 & 9. Although people are sometimes wary of avocados because of their high fat content, most of the fat is monounsaturated. Avocados are an excellent source of vitamin E, which helps keep the heart healthy by preventing the oxidation of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. Also, one small avocado provides over half the RDA of vitamin B6 essential for a healthy nervous system.

There is no finer superfruit from a nourishing, filling, healthy fats perspective. Along with an apple a day, an avocado a day will also keep the Dr away. It's a brain food, protects the liver, lowers cholesterol, and is rich in Vitamin C and helpful in losing weight. The best avocado information is available at http://www.avocado.org.au/

Sixth superfruit on today’s list is Papaya or commonly known as Pawpaw. The Papaya or Pawpaw is a very healthy fruit but most people do not like eating it because it has a rather unique taste and it is not particularly sweet. It is only recently widely available in most countries. The Pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, in the genus Carica. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, and was originally cultivated in Mexico. This fruit is a large edible berry, with numerous seeds; it is green when unripe, maturing to yellow or brown. It has a flavour somewhat similar to both banana and mango, varying significantly depending on cultivation place or methods, and offers more protein than most fruits making it popular with those on weight control diets or those with high activity levels.

The power superfruit Pawpaw is a universal health tonic or remedy, with a large spectrum of anti-inflammatory effects for many health disorders and diseases. The juice has been seen to have a reducing effect on liver cancer cells cultured in the laboratory, probably due to its component of lycopene. Lycopene is a naturally available phytonutrient offering many health benefits including antioxidants. Paw Paw also eases the stomach and acts as a digestive aid. It contains the enzyme papain which helps digest proteins easily. It is therefore useful for weak digestion or dyspepsia (indigestion). Paw Paw is rich in vitamin A and C.

Our seventh superfruit is the Lychee. The Lychee, or properly Litchi chinensis, is a tropical plant that is native to parts of India, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Lychee is actually a member of the soapberry family. The fruits from the lychee tree are rather unusual looking. They somewhat resemble a bumpy leather strawberry. When this leather jacket is removed, however, the delicious flesh of the lychee fruit is uncovered. Lychee fruit is sweet, with a taste somewhat like the combination of a pear and a grape. The flesh is delicate, and the fruits have a sweet, slightly musky aroma. Lychee is usually eaten fresh, but it can also be preserved by canning. It’s often made into jams, jellies, sauces, purees, and preserves. In some regions, lychee is a favourite addition to salads and desserts.

The Chinese often seem to appreciate the inherent benefits in natural foods long before the Western World catches on. Such is the case with the lychee. They’ve been using lychee fruit for hundreds of years! They have long used the lychee fruits as a pain reliever, especially as a remedy for sore throats. They also ate the fruits to relieve the symptoms of colds and as a digestive aid. Asians believe the lychee fruit enhances overall good health and increases longevity.

There’s no disputing that lychee is a healthy food. It’s packed with vitamin C. Lychee also has flavanoids with powerful antioxidant potential, which might help ward off a host of ailments. The flavonoids in lychee fruit were found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The lychee pulp in the study seemed especially effective against human breast cancer. Ideally purchase the fresh fruits, remove the outer skin and eat the delicious pulp, but avoid the seed. Store your lychee fruits in the fridge. Even if the fruits turn brown after a day or two under refrigeration, the pulp itself will be good to eat.

Which brings us to the eighth superfuit. Rather than an individual fruit we are looking at the group of Berries. Every coloured berry has some nutritional benefit, often stemming directly from the colourful phytochemicals within. Having already mentioning the Acai berry we have therefore topped the Berry list previously with antioxidant benefits, and no other berry can compete on that front. Having said that however, there are numerous very popular berries that offer polyphenols, and bioflavonoids, not in as concentrated levels but when consumed by the handful on a regular basis they certainly offer popular fresh fruit nutritional benefits in our diet. Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, GoldenBerries (usually dried), Blackcurrants, and even Grapes (Red or Black best choice) are a fantastic choice of fruit for a regular daily munch. Of course these are seasonal and will vary throughout the year, hence their mentioning purely for an awareness factor – don't ignore them as a choice of fruit for consumption if you are looking for a nutritional hit.

Another great choice is the popular Kiwi Fruit. This furry little fruit has twice the vitamin C of an orange and as much potassium as a banana, but it’s the lutein level that sets it apart. Lutein is an antioxidant that appears to protect against macular degeneration, the leading cause of impaired vision in the over-50s.

And last but by no means least we come to Superfruit #10 in our list; the Tomato. The richest source of the super-nutrient lycopene, which is known to protect against breast and prostate cancers, the tomato generously offers this chemical which is essential for avoiding vision loss in old age. Researchers tracked nearly 40,000 middle-aged and older women over five years and found that as lycopene levels in their blood went up, their risk of heart disease and stroke dropped.

Low lycopene levels have been linked with several cancers including bowel and prostate and Scottish researchers have also found that the yellow jelly around tomato seeds helps make blood less prone to clotting. Tomatoes contain other protective phytochemicals and scientists think it's the combination of these that provides the best protection for general health. Eaten raw, canned, puréed or even as juice, all forms of tomato are rich in potent lycopene.

The best way to eat tomatoes is to cook them up in a sauce or purée, ideally with a little olive oil. Heating and processing increase the lycopene content, and there's evidence to show that adding a small quantity of oil may help your body absorb even more of it. Eat it with some avocado perhaps for maximum absorption of nutritional properties.

Officially not a fruit, but rather a vegetable Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) looks very much like a turnip or radish, and is otherwise known as a form of Ginseng. Maca contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, all the essential amino acids and it contains nearly 60 phytochemicals. The extraordinary health benefits of Maca are due to the way it promotes optimal functioning of the hypothalamus and pituitary master glands. Maca contains unique alkaloids that stimulate the master glands, which in turn improves the overall functioning of the endocrine system.

Traditionally, Maca has been used for over 1000 years, and is recommended for

  • Treating menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and depression, as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy [HRT] 
  • Stimulating and regulating the endocrine system 
  • Regulating and normalizing menstrual cycles 
  • Stimulating fertility in both men and women 
  • Supporting the immune system 
  • Increasing energy, stamina and endurance, reducing chronic fatigue 
  • Enhancing libido, treating impotence 
  • Revitalizing seniors, mentally and physically 

Maca is non-toxic, has no dangerous side effects and no withdrawal symptoms, so you can eat as much as you like, and the more you eat the more energy and overall vigour you will experience. Maca is essentially an adaptogen and therefore adapts to your body’s metabolism and particular needs to achieve an overall sense of wellbeing and optimal functioning.

Due to this overall affect of maca on the hormonal system, it is mood balancing and with a high level of protein it also acts as an effective whole food muscle building agent. It is popular with both men and women of varying ages and is equally effective across the range for each of their individual needs and nourishment.

Maca is widely available in Australia, and in varying qualities. It is easily and affordably available in certified organic quality and there is every reason to ensure you only buy this level of quality for consumption in smoothies, over cereals, or simply off the spoon on a daily basis.

Thank you to Carole from Energy Superfoods for this week’s skinny on super fruits! Please visit Carole at http://energysuperfoods.com for more information and check out Carole's gluten free, dairy free chocolate mousse recipe, which is available on her website.

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