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 also known as the “Berry Doctor,” suggests these antioxidant-packed wonders and offers suggestions for how to incorporate them into your diet.
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); add frozen mango to a smoothie; or grab dried mango pieces for a sweet on-the-go snack.
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. Look for seaberry products in specialty health food stores or online via retailers such as richnature.com.
Similar in taste and appearance to raisins, though a bit smaller and less sweet, blackcurrants contain 300 percent of your daily recommend vitamin C. They’re popular in Europe, where the dried variety is used to make hot cross buns and blackcurrant juice is added to Guinness beer to heighten the taste of the stout.
Try it: Reap the anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting benefits a healthier way by whipping up a Superfruit Breakfast Pita, suggests Gross. Combine half of a sliced banana, two diced and pitted dates, and 1 tbsp dried blackcurrants in a bowl. Spread 2 tbsp peanut butter inside a toasted wholegrain pita and stuff with the fruit mixture.
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. While fresh acai isn’t available in the United States, powders, juice concentrates, and packs of frozen pulp can be found nationwide.
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. Gross suggests an Acai Brazilian Blast: blend a half-cup low-fat or nonfat vanilla yogurt, a half-cup mango chunks, and a half-cup acai juice in a blender until smooth.
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. Guavas and guava juice are popular in Central American and Caribbean cuisine, so you can find them in Latin grocery stores or at specialty supermarkets.
Try it: Sprinkle halved guavas with chopped walnuts, brown sugar, grated orange peel, and allspice, and bake or grill them for a warm dessert.