We cannot place enough emphasis on the importance of eating right. The right foods in the right quantity and at the right time aid in the proper functioning, development, repair and maintenance of the body and mind so that you may enjoy the best of health. In the context of good-for-you foods, fruits are an important part of one’s daily diet. It is recommended that one consumes at least five portions of fruit a day to ensure that he or she gains the necessary nutrients that fruits can offer.
While all fruits carry an abundance of essential nutrients, super fruits are a class apart. By definition, a super fruit contains one or more nutrient components in condensed doses – these nutrients can be particularly helpful for various physiological reasons including boosting immune health. Besides promoting a healthy lifestyle, super fruits work to prevent illnesses and diseases. Here are some of the top super fruits for you and your family to benefit from.
1. Acai Berry
A superb source of anthocyanins, which acts as immune boosting antioxidants, acai berry is a small, blue-black-purple fruit. It is usually consumed fresh, as frozen pulp concentrate or as a powder. The fruit pulp has a low glycemic index while its skin contains polyphenols. It is also a rich source of vegetable fats such as omega fatty acids, oleic acid and palmitic acid. Moreover, it contains beta-sitosterol, known for beta-carotene, vitamins C and E and for reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
The Indian gooseberry or Amla is an excellent digestive aid that works as a bowel tonic and colon cleanser, aiding in reducing heat levels from the gastrointestinal tract. Amla is known for its high concentration of Vitamin C, which aids in boosting immune health, soothing pain caused due to inflammations, digestive and autoimmune disorders. Additionally, Amla contains a great source of ellagitannins and other antioxidant polyphenols such as flavonoids, gallic acid, kaempferol and ellagic acid.
Fresh figs have a high concentration of potassium, the mineral known to reduce blood pressure. Moreover, figs are the best-known fruit sources of calcium, thereby boosting bone health and repair.
Lychees are loaded with heart-healthy polyphenols, which also help in preventing degenerative diseases such as cancer, especially breast cancer.
Rich in Vitamin C, a cup of Guava can deliver nearly five times as much of the Vitamin as a medium-sized orange. Vitamin C is extremely beneficial in collagen production and skin health maintenance. Guavas are also known to contain antioxidants that help protect the body from foodborne pathogens.
Papaya is one of the richest sources of beta-cryptoxanthin, a compound known to protect against lung cancer. It is also rich in lycopene which can protect the body from various cancers, especially cancers of the stomach, endometrium and prostate. Papayas carry a high concentration of the enzyme papain, which aids in digestion and breaking down of amino acids.
Apples are a superb source of fibre and antioxidants. The skin of an apple contains the antioxidant, quercetin, which works as an antihistamine and possesses anti-inflammatory properties, thereby providing protection from various allergies and heart diseases.
Loaded with the antioxidant Resveratrol, grapes have a positive effect on heart health and heart functioning. The malic acid content in ripe grapes functions as a natural teeth cleanser.
Other easily procurable super fruits include oranges which are rich in Vitamin C, fibre, calcium and potassium, pomegranates which have the highest level of fruit antioxidants, strawberries which have a high concentration of Vitamin C, heart-healthy folic acid, and function as natural teeth whiteners, pumpkins which are packed with potassium and beta-carotenes for healthy heart and blood pressure control, and watermelon which contains lycopene and Vitamins A and C.