If you want to obtain your vitamin C and other important flavanoids, antioxidants, and phytonutrients from something besides the tried and true fruits like apples and oranges, there are 5 tropical fruits that will enliven your taste buds while boosting your immunity and keeping you healthy. Put some zing in your fruit choices with these exotic tropicals that defiantly qualify as super foods with their strange shapes, odd flesh, and powerful health-boosting properties.
1. Star Fruit (Carambola)
Found in Hawaii, and Southeast Asia, and sometimes in European and American markets as of late, the star fruit is also called Carambola, and although it is indigenous to Asia Pacific spots, horticulturalist agree it could sustain itself anywhere a tropical climate pervades. This fruit is packed with vitamin C, has low sugar, acid and sodium, and is also full of additional antioxidants (phenolics). It is hard to describe the taste of this star shaped fruit without actually experiencing it, but some people describe it as a mix of pineapple and lemon, plums, apples and grapes. This fruit is naturally cholesterol free and its high antioxidant levesl can help with everything from heart health to reducing cancer risk.
2. Durian (Smelly Fruit)
Although only 30% of these types of exotic fruit are edible, they are actually used quite extensively in Asian dishes. Called Durian, this bumpy fruit with a pineapple-on-steroids-like-casing is called the ‘king of fruits’ and can grow as large as 30 centimeters wide. The fruit gets its name from the Indonesian and Malaysian languages in which ‘duri’ means thorn. Although covered in thorns, the flesh of the Durian fruit full of trace minerals that are essential to many of the body’s processes. It has 10 times the amount of iron and phosphorous as a banana, vitamins B1, B2 and C, as well as potassium, protein, thiamin, carotene, and calcium.
3. Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)
Also called Pitaya, the dragon fruit looks like it came straight out of a Children’s Book on the Middle Earth. The reddish pink flesh is bumpy with scales like a dragon and the pith of the fruit, the insides, are kiwi looking. This fruit is actually from the cactus family and is full of vitamins C and E, and the fiber of the fruit can help keep your bowels healthy.
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4. Yangmei (Chinese Strawberries)
Offering a sweet and sour taste, these beautiful little berries grow on ornamental trees in parks and homes alike all over China. Chinese Strawberries are full of the super-antioxidant, Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs). OPCs are considered one of the most powerful class of free-radical-scavenging antioxidants believed to support every metabolic system in the body. These berries are also full of vitamin C, carotene, thiamine, and riboflavin.
Another odd looker is Rambutan. This fruit is reddish orange in color and grows all over Malaysia. In Nicaragua and Panama, the fruit is named Mamon Chino. Rambutan is covered with curly thorn-like appendages reminiscent of a Raggedy Ann doll having a manic kid of day. The flesh of the fruit is delicate, with a pink or translucent hue and tastes sweet and crunchy. The fruit is full of vitamin C as well as potassium, iron, beta carotene or vitamin A, traces of calcium, magnesium zinc, sodium, niacin, fiber, and even protein. Rambutan also contains anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory flavanoids.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.