Blog Directory - Blogged foodliterate: Superfruits

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


It seems everywhere I turn these days, I'm confronted by the superfruits; even the fruits I grew up with are getting the superfruit makeover. There is no actual definition for a superfruit, but it is generally accepted that they possess some perceived health benefit like antioxidants, phytochemicals, nutrient density or have disease prevention benefits. So far, none have enough research behind them for regulatory approval of a health claim statement - but that is likely to change soon.

Believe me, my intent is not to smear the superfruits, but I'll be honest, that word is really a marketing term. There is a growing list of fruits starting to bear the designation of superfruit including many you are very familiar with so lets start with these.

Blueberries: Yep these perennial favorites are now a superfruit. Blueberries are great sources of antioxidants (which help protect you against free radicals), fiber, vitamins C & E, anthocyanins (the pigment that gives blueberries their color also has properties being researched in connection with their prevention of cancer, aging, and inflammation), and phenolics (another free radical scavenger). Some of the other benefits associated with blueberries are increased mental capacity, memory, and coordination.

Cherries: These sweet treats are great sources of anthocyanins, beta carotene (pro-vitamin A), vitamins C & E, potassium, magnesium, folate (especially important for pregnant women), iron, fiber and melatonin (important for maintaining circadian rhythms and antioxidant protection of DNA). Cherries are full of phytonutrients with really big names like quercetin (anti-inflammatory properties), chlorogenic acid (anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties), and kaempferol (reduces risk of heart disease). Even the American Heart Association has thrown their name behind the cherry and its benefits for heart health. There has been some recent research with cherries and their ability to block COX1 and COX2 enzymes thereby providing relief for arthritis suffers.

Cranberries: Our thanksgiving favorites, cranberries are also superfruits. Cranberries possess anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, actually it's kind of a virus & bacteria blocking property. The combination of tannins, proanthocyanidins, and hippuric acid work to prevent the adherence of viruses and bacteria to cells allowing them to be flushed away. This is great for prevention of gum disease, ulcers, and urinary tract infections. Cranberries are also high in fiber, manganese, vitamin K (blood clotting), and vitamin C.

Watermelon: No, I'm not kidding, watermelon has a unique distinction in that it is one of the few fruits to contain a significant amount of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid and has been shown in studies to prevent a number of cancers, especially prostate cancer. Watermelon is also high in vitamins A (eyesight), B6 (helps your neurotransmitters), and C (antioxidant), potassium, calcium, iron and fiber.

So, now you can feel especially brilliant for eating all of these great superfruits. I am going to guess that you were thinking I'd talk more about some of the newer, more exotic superfruits and I will - but that will be the next post. Until then - stay super!


Anonymous said...

Would the acai berry fall into the Superfruit catagory?

Anonymous said...

Indeed it is and I will give you all the interesting details in my next post!