In a world where so many people are trying to find new ways to enhance their well-being, there are superheroes waiting in the produce aisle. They are ready to help people eat healthier while still being absolutely delicious. They are… super fruits! These are not fruits that have been bitten by a radioactive spider or have fallen into toxic waste to become super.. They are a select few fruits considered “super” due to their high levels of antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and anti-inflammatory properties. They are truly super in a real-world sense! You may even be consuming these fruits already, however, it is important to remember that no single fruit contains all the nutrients your body needs. Just like our favorite superheroes need a bit of help sometimes, so do super fruits to make sure you are getting a balanced diet.
Boosting Your Body’s Defenses
Every super fruit has different benefits for your health, but for the most part they all are typically high in antioxidants and filled with nutrients to help your immune system. Antioxidants are any compounds able to fight unstable molecules (called free radicals) that damage DNA and cells. Super fruits have many antioxidants or will encourage your body to produce more of them. Like with many fruits and vegetables, superfruits are also high in essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and have anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, this helps your body’s immune system by protecting your cells, aiding in digestion, and promoting cardiovascular health. However, every super fruit is different; each one brings something different to the fight. Here are just some examples:
While people debate whether blueberries are blue or purple, one thing that’s certain about these fruits is they are super healthy. Blueberries are actually high in carbs, partly due to their high fiber content. They are also full of antioxidants such as anthocyanins, quercetin, and myricetin; these aid in preventing heart disease, lower blood pressure, and preventing cancer, respectively. For more information on the health benefits of blueberries, click here.
Besides just eating blueberries fresh, what else can you do with them? Blueberries are a perfect sweet addition to any salad, especially when paired with a raspberry vinaigrette. Combined with some strawberries, blueberries make a fresh and sweet smoothie. This small fruit can also pack quite a punch when added to pancake or waffle batter. There is no end to how you can enjoy blueberries.
The state fruit of Georgia has many nutritional benefits to qualify it as a super fruit. Peaches are high in antioxidants—especially when fresh—and are high in potassium. They are also high in vitamin C, A, and K; these help with eyesight, cardiovascular health, production of collagen, and assist with normal blood clotting. Peaches prevent histamines from releasing in the blood, helping to reduce allergy symptoms. For more information on the superpowers of peaches, click here.
While eating fresh peaches may be the best way to absorb all their nutrients (and enjoy their full flavor), there are many other ways to eat them. Grilled peaches are a staple; the smokiness added to the freshness of the peaches is divine. Peach cobbler or pie are also classics. There is no end to classic dishes you can make with peaches—and there’s always ways to switch them up to.
3. Passion Fruit
When it comes to tropical fruits, passion fruit is one of the most super. Passion fruit has about 2 grams of fiber, a lot for a very small fruit. It also has a high amount of vitamin C and A. This super fruit also has anti-inflammatory effects, reducing the risk of chronic inflammation and a variety of conditions such as heart disease; this is thanks to the plant compound polyphenols abundant inside of it. Find out more about this tropical fruit’s nutritional powers here.
Whether you’re seeking a burst of tropical flavor or an exotic twist to your dishes, passion fruit can be a versatile ingredient. From a refreshing passion fruit sorbet, to tangy fruit salad, to a passion fruit curd, the options are endless. Passion fruit can also add a punch to marinades for grilled meats or fish. Whether you add this tropical fruit to a classic dessert or incorporate it into a savory dish, this versatile fruit is a great—and healthy addition—to any dish.
Avocados are not only rich in flavor but also rich in nutrients. This creamy fruit is chock-full of potassium and a variety of healthy fats. Potassium is a mineral Americans lack; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services consider it to be a “nutrient of public health concern.” Avocados also contain vitamin C, E, and B6 along with magnesium and folate. To learn more about the benefits behind this fruit, head here.
Avocados can be the star ingredient in any number of fantastic dishes. There’s the classics: guacamole and avocado toast. Avocados can also be added to a soup or put on burgers. This typically savory fruit can also be put in many desserts. In a real pinch, avocados can even be used as an egg substitute in baking! There are truly endless possibilities for culinary exploration and enjoyment when it comes to avocados.
Plums are sweet and juicy, but that’s not what makes them a super fruit. Plums have a high concentration of vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin A. Plums also have a high amount of fiber and sorbitol, a sugar alcohol with laxative properties; both of these assist the digestive system. For more information on the particular health benefits of plums, click here.
While plums are delicious on their own, there are also many creative ways to eat them. Try grilling them as you might grill peaches. Substitute apples for plums in your next crisp (or try them both in it!). Add them to a sauce for your next barbeque. Sweet or savory: the possibilities are endless.
Fruit-ifying Your Diet
When it comes to the nutritional benefits of super fruits, the form in which they are consumed can make a difference. Eating the fresh, whole fruit is the best way to benefit from all the nutrients of a super fruit; they retain the natural water content which provides hydration along with the wide array of essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Dried and frozen fruits might be the next best ways to receive the nutrients of super fruits. These fruits are frozen or dehydrated right near the point of harvest, making sure the nutrients are well preserved. Seasonal fruits are also available year-round in these forms, making those nutrients available whenever you desire. Additionally, they are a cost efficient and convenient option, especially since they have a longer shelf life. Dried fruits are typically more calorie-dense though due to the removal of water in the dehydration process. When choosing frozen fruits, you want to make sure you choose plain frozen fruits without added sugar. The same goes with fruit juice; fruit juice typically has a lot of sugar and is a poor source of fiber. While you shouldn’t avoid drinking 100% fruit juice completely, it shouldn’t be your primary source of fruit intake. As with anything, moderation is key with all fruit intake, no matter the form.
You may already have a few super fruits making their way into your diet. It is essential to remember that no single fruit can provide all the nutrients your body requires, as mentioned earlier. It’s important to embrace super fruits while also making sure you eat a variety of colors and around 2 cups of fruit per day in total to meet all your dietary needs. By consuming fruits of different colors, you ensure you’re getting a broader spectrum of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than a single fruit can offer. Just as superheroes sometimes need assistance from their allies, super fruits also benefit from a diverse team to provide you with a well-rounded and balanced diet.
While super fruits offer a wealth of benefits, it is important to approach their incorporation into your diet with caution if you have known allergies, sensitivities, or are taking medications. Some people may have allergies or sensitivities to specific fruits, such as berries, citrus fruits, or tropical fruits. Certain fruits may also interact with medications by reducing or enhancing their effects. For example, grapefruits can intervene with the metabolism of certain medications, particularly blood pressure-lowering drugs; thereby making side effects more likely. If you have concerns over new fruits entering your diet, it is always better to consult a health professional.
While super fruits are not “super” in the same way as superheroes, they still offer a bundle of nutrients to help your body function at its full potential. Embrace the subtle superpowers of super fruits!