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Health & Fitness

Get a boost with 10 summery 'superfruits'


Published:   |   Updated: July 16, 2013 at 05:15 PM

While the word "superfruit" is based more in marketing than science - no single exotic juice blend is a magic bullet for better health - some fruits have more disease-fighting compounds than others. Superfruits are typically those richer in vitamins, minerals, fiber and unique plant chemicals, and consuming a variety of them may lower your risk for cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Paul Gross, author of "Superfruits" and known as the "Berry Doctor," suggests these antioxidant-packed wonders and offers suggestions for how to incorporate them into your diet.

MANGO
Brimming with vitamins A and C, the tropical fruit's yellow-orange hue adds a healthy dose of beta-carotene, which promotes eye health and may help fend off cancer and heart disease.

Try it: Top a bowl of oatmeal with cubes of fresh mango and low-fat vanilla yogurt; steam slices of fresh mango in a stir-fry (the heat will soften the fruit's thick skin); or grab dried mango pieces for a sweet on-the-go snack.

SEABERRIES

Also known as seabuckthorn, these berries are packed with vitamins A, C, and E, a powerful trio that's a rare find in a single fruit and may help reduce your risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation-related conditions.

Try it: Seaberries have an acidic, lemon-like flavor that makes them unpleasant to eat raw. Your best bet is to blend seaberry juice or powder into a smoothie so that other ingredients mask the superfruit's bitter taste.

BLACKCURRANTS

Similar in taste and appearance to raisins, though a bit smaller and less sweet, blackcurrants contain 300 percent of your daily recommend vitamin C.

Try it: Reap the anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting benefits by whipping up a Superfruit Breakfast Pita: Combine half of a sliced banana, two diced and pitted dates, and 1 tablespoon dried blackcurrants in a bowl. Spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter inside a toasted wholegrain pita and stuff with the fruit mixture.

ACAI
Grown in the rainforests of Brazil and Panama, acai berries are like extra tart blueberries, but have a much higher concentration of antioxidants than the purple fruit.

Try it: Juice blends typically contain added sugars to mask the superfruit's unpleasant taste, so a better way to add acai to your diet is by whipping up a smoothie.

GUAVA
Like tomatoes, red guavas contain high concentrations of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene. The tropical fruit is also a great source of potassium and vitamin C.

Try it: Sprinkle halved guavas with chopped walnuts, brown sugar, grated orange peel, and allspice, and bake or grill them for a warm dessert.

GOJI BERRIES

Goji berries, or wolfberries, have one of the highest ORAC ratings, a method of measuring antioxidant activity, of any fruit, according to researchers at Tufts University.

Try it: Like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry, dried gojis can be eaten as-is, stirred into yogurt, sprinkled on cereal, or baked into goodies such as muffins and scones.

PAPAYA

This tropical fruit is high in vitamins A and C, and may aid digestion. Along with a hefty amount of fiber, papayas contain two compounds, chymopapain and papain, that help the body produce enzymes necessary for breaking down protein and harmful waste, according to researchers at Cornell University.

Try it: Toss pieces of fresh papaya into a smoothie or use them to add color and sweetness to a summer stir-fry.

TART CHERRIES

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in sour cherries make them the perfect pre- or post-workout food.

Try it: Toss fresh or frozen tart cherries into smoothies, stir them into yogurt, or eat them on top of a bowl of cereal.

BLACKBERRIES

When you see red, blue, or purple in the produce department, think polyphenols - compounds in fruit's skin that can lower cancer risk and help reduce chronic inflammation.

Try it: Eat blackberries raw and chew the seeds for added nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids.

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