If you’re only picking up the usual apples, bananas and oranges in your weekly grocery shop, chances are that you’re missing out on the array of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that different fruits provide.
By broadening your horizons you can measurably begin to improve your health. In fact, a study from Colorado State University proved this by asking a group of women to eat from eight to ten servings of produce daily for two months. Half of the group was allowed to choose from eighteen different varieties of produce whereas the other half ate the same five fruits and vegetables for the eight weeks. Within two weeks, blood tests demonstrated that the group who had access to more variety of fruits had reduced their rate of DNA oxidation, which suggests their bodies had become more resilient against disease, unlike the group with less variety of products with no significant change in their DNA oxidation levels (1).
‘Superfruits’ are fruits which nutrition scientists deem ‘super’ as they are rich in antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which can help you live longer, look and feel better and even prevent some diseases. We have created a list of the following five ‘superfruits’ that you can add to your plate this winter and enjoy the health benefits of.
Sweet, nutritious and low in calories. Blueberries are amongst the most nutrient-dense berries available, they are high in fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K (2). These berries are known to contain very high levels of antioxidants (3), the main antioxidant compound of blueberries are thought to be responsible for many of its renowned health benefits (4).
These Brazilian berries are native to the Amazon region, where they are considered a staple food. The dark purple acai berries are also known to be incredibly rich in antioxidants – three times the amount that is found in blueberries (5). Acai Berries may even help to lower blood cholesterol levels (6) and appears to have an anti-cancer effect (7, 8).
With potent anti-inflammatory properties (9), the potential to help fight prostate cancer (10), breast cancer (11) and in lowering blood pressure (12), there is no reason not to include this deliciously juicy fruit in your diet
Known for their sweet and flowery flavour, many prefer to eat them fresh or drink their fresh juice. Lychees are rich in antioxidants (13) and contain several nutrients and antioxidants which are beneficial for overall health and wellbeing.
These berries have been associated with a reduced risk of multiple chronic diseases. Studies have found a link between berries and improved cardiovascular health (14, 15). Research has also suggested that strawberries can inhibit the formation of tumours in human liver cancer cells (16).
Regardless of which super fruits you choose to indulge in, they are best consumed whole as they are and not processed, to avoid any additional sugars and artificial colours and flavourings. If you wish, you can always add a little variety to your fruits and berries by mixing them into yoghurts or slicing them into smaller pieces as part of a colourful mixed fruit salad. Otherwise, you can make yourself a smoothie for on the go, or blend the fruits of your choice with some water to make yourself a tropical juice to compliment your meal – this works especially well with younger fussy eaters who need some encouragement to eat their fruits!
To learn more about which superfruits you should be eating this autumn and winter, see our nutrition diplomas.
Thompson, H.J., Heimendinger, J., Diker, A., O’Neill, C., Haegele, A., Meinecke, B., Wolfe, P., Sedlacek, S., Zhu, Z. and Jiang, W., 2006. Dietary botanical diversity affects the reduction of oxidative biomarkers in women due to high vegetable and fruit intake. The Journal of nutrition, 136(8), pp.2207-2212.
Wolfe, K.L., Kang, X., He, X., Dong, M., Zhang, Q. and Liu, R.H., 2008. Cellular antioxidant activity of common fruits. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 56(18), pp.8418-8426.
Rodriguez-Mateos, A., Cifuentes-Gomez, T., Tabatabaee, S., Lecras, C. and Spencer, J.P., 2012. Procyanidin, anthocyanin, and chlorogenic acid contents of highbush and lowbush blueberries. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 60(23), pp.5772-5778.
Udani, J.K., Singh, B.B., Singh, V.J. and Barrett, M.L., 2011. Effects of Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: a pilot study. Nutrition journal, 10(1), p.45.
Dias, M.M.D.S., Noratto, G., Martino, H.S.D., Arbizu, S., Peluzio, M.D.C.G., Talcott, S., Ramos, A.M. and Mertens-Talcott, S.U., 2014. Pro-apoptotic activities of polyphenolics from açai (Euterpe oleracea Martius) in human SW-480 colon cancer cells. Nutrition and cancer, 66(8), pp.1394-1405.
Spada, P.D., de Souza, G.G.N., Bortolini, G.V., Henriques, J.A. and Salvador, M., 2008. Antioxidant, mutagenic, and antimutagenic activity of frozen fruits. Journal of Medicinal Food, 11(1), pp.144-151.
Sohrab, G., Nasrollahzadeh, J., Zand, H., Amiri, Z., Tohidi, M. and Kimiagar, M., 2014. Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 19(3), p.215.
Sineh Sepehr, K., Baradaran, B., Mazandarani, M., Khori, V. and Shahneh, F.Z., 2012. Studies on the cytotoxic activities of Punica granatum L. var. spinosa (apple punice) extract on prostate cell line by induction of apoptosis. ISRN pharmaceutics, 2012.
Shirode, A.B., Kovvuru, P., Chittur, S.V., Henning, S.M., Heber, D. and Reliene, R., 2014. Antiproliferative effects of pomegranate extract in MCF‐7 breast cancer cells are associated with reduced DNA repair gene expression and induction of double strand breaks. Molecular carcinogenesis, 53(6), pp.458-470.
Asgary, S., Sahebkar, A., Afshani, M.R., Keshvari, M., Haghjooyjavanmard, S. and Rafieian‐Kopaei, M., 2014. Clinical evaluation of blood pressure lowering, endothelial function improving, hypolipidemic and anti‐inflammatory effects of pomegranate juice in hypertensive subjects. Phytotherapy Research, 28(2), pp.193-199.
Brat, P., Georgé, S., Bellamy, A., Du Chaffaut, L., Scalbert, A., Mennen, L., Arnault, N. and Amiot, M.J., 2006. Daily polyphenol intake in France from fruit and vegetables. The Journal of nutrition, 136(9), pp.2368-2373.
Basu, A., Rhone, M. and Lyons, T.J., 2010. Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutrition reviews, 68(3), pp.168-177.
Rissanen, T.H., Voutilainen, S., Virtanen, J.K., Venho, B., Vanharanta, M., Mursu, J. and Salonen, J.T., 2003. Low intake of fruits, berries and vegetables is associated with excess mortality in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study. The Journal of nutrition, 133(1), pp.199-204.
Meyers, K.J., Watkins, C.B., Pritts, M.P. and Liu, R.H., 2003. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of strawberries. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(23), pp.6887-6892.