Unless you’re whipping up batches of figgy pudding or gobbling down Fig Newtons, this Mediterranean diet staple can help you stay slim. (Related: The World’s Healthiest Diets) Unlike the way that the insoluble fiber found in fruit and vegetable skins gets flushed out of the body without being digested, the pulp inside figs contains plenty of soluble fiber. This compound binds to liquids in the stomach to form a gummy gel that makes you feel full.
Try it: Snack on whole or dried figs or mix them into homemade trail mix.
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. They’re grown in China where they have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to boost eye health, but they’re not exported fresh. You can find goji products in specialty supermarkets or order them online as a juice concentrate, powder, or dried fruit from sites such as gojiberries.us and richnature.com.
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.
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.
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in sour cherries make them the perfect pre- or post-workout food. When students in a University of Vermont study drank 12 ounces of tart cherry juice before and after strenuous exercise, they experienced a 4 percent reduction in muscle strength the next day compared with students who were given a placebo—those participants suffered a 22 percent loss in muscle strength.
Try it: Toss fresh or frozen tart cherries into smoothies, stir them into yogurt, or eat them on top of a bowl of cereal.
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. Although blackberries look identical to black raspberries, the larger, bitterer blackberry is the superior superfruit, as it has more antioxidants.
Try it: Eat blackberries raw and chew the seeds for added nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, suggests Gross. If you can’t find blackberries in the supermarket, opt for a premade smoothie, such as Bolthouse Farms’ Berry Boost, a blend of blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.