The world’s population simply does not consume enough fruit, especially exotic fruits. Sure, people grab an apple or banana here and there, but when it comes to eating fruits with odd names or shapes, people tend to shy away. Some are afraid they won’t like the flavor while others may be afraid of the natural sugars found in fruits. So many people are worried about weight gain from sugars found in fruits that they seem to overlook the healthy benefits that fruits bring with them. To better understand why you should try new fruits, here are ten exotic fruits and some of the amazing health benefits they can offer.
Asai is grown in the Amazon, and many years ago, a group of hikers took some with them and suddenly, it was found in many areas of the world. The asai fruit grows on a tree similar to a palm tree, and it is small and purple, similar to small grapes. The asai has a super level of antioxidants, and it is thought to help prevent signs of aging by keeping the skin firm and blood flowing smoothly. It is rich in protein and has Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids. If you are worried about sugars, the acai has very low sugar content although the fruit tastes very sweet and it is great for people with diabetes.
- Purple Mangosteen
Found in Southeast Asia, the purple mangosteen is fruit that grows on a tropical evergreen tree and is packed with antioxidants. This fruit has a sweet flavor and helps with inflammation, cardiovascular problems and even helps to boost the immune system. It is also thought to support mental health by helping to prevent depression and anxiety. This is an exotic fruit well worth trying and best of all, it is also low in sugars which make it great for those with diabetes. In the U.S., you can find them in large cities and in Chinatown and in many areas that sell Asian groceries. If you have a local Trader Joes, you may be in luck because they sell them in many locations nationwide.
Many people call Caramboia ‘Star Fruit” because it is shaped like a star. It comes from Southeast Asia and is a very low-calorie fruit that is known to help with skin elasticity and improving eyesight. It is also packed with vitamin C and can help boost the immune system and keep colds away during the winter.
You may have heard someone mention chico or chickoo fruit at some point and if so, this is what they were talking about. Sapodilla is high in antioxidants and is packed with vitamins A and C which make it a great exotic fruit to eat when you want to keep your immune system in top shape and your blood flowing smoothly through your veins. You can find Sapodilla in South Florida in Miami and the Florida Keys as well as Mexico and Central America.
Jackfruit is a rather odd fruit, and it is often used as a vegetarian substitute for chicken and other meats. The fruit has a prickly outer shell which helps prevent animals in the wild from eating it. It is a great source of phytonutrients and has cancer-fighting agents in it which combined with minerals and vitamins make it a great healthy fruit to ingest. Depending on how ripe it is when you eat it, you will get a blend of flavor ranging from bold (green and unripe) to extremely sweet (orange and ripe), and it can be used in various Asian recipes or eaten all by itself.
Durian is a very odd fruit, and it is one that many people shy away from because of a couple things. First, this fruit is as large as a football which makes it difficult to handle. Second, it has a very pungent smell and the smell alone will keep many people away. Last, it is covered with spikes. This is a fruit that gives off a vibe that it should be avoided at all costs. Fortunately, someone many years ago braved the oddity that it was and they opened it up and tasted what was inside. This fruit gives definition to the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” The inside is scrumptiously sweet and even low on sugar which makes it great for those with diabetes as well as anyone who doesn’t want to gain weight from natural sugars.
From Brazil, the Jabuticaba is grown close to the branches and trunk of the tree, and it resembles grapes. It is very sweet and is often used to make jellies and Jabuticaba jam. It is great as an anti-inflammatory and contains vitamin C which makes it a good exotic fruit to help keep the immune system up and running. It is packed with phytonutrients and might be able to fight cancer and other illnesses. You can find this exotic fruit in specialty grocers as well as online natural food resources or, of course, in Brazil if you happen to be vacationing there.
- Star Apple
Another fruit shaped like a star and this one is full of calcium and vitamins A and C. It also has antioxidants and is an all-around good fruit for fighting colds by keeping the immune system boosted. It is also a great anti-inflammatory and has been known to be used for joint pain and other medical remedies.
- Snake Fruit
Don’t let the name fool you, the snake fruit may have a rough exterior somewhat like snakeskin, but it is a tasty treat indeed. This fruit tastes somewhat like pineapple and is crunchy and sweet with a bit of a twang. Snake fruit is believed to help improve eyesight and is full of antioxidants. It is also thought to help the nervous system and to boost brainpower which can lead to the prevention of illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease.
Kiwano is also known as the African horned cucumber, and it is grown in many areas of the world including Australia, New Zealand and of course, South Africa. Kiwano is a low-calorie fruit that is packed with water and nutrients. It is also full of antioxidants and has been linked to slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and early onset dementia. Kiwano is sweet yet low in sugars which make it a great exotic fruit for those with diabetes.
There is nothing wrong with having an apple or juicing them every day, but taking the time to explore new fruits, especially the exotic fruits grown around the world, can really make a difference in your diet and overall health as well as your taste buds. If you are trying to change your diet or are considering a healthier lifestyle, exotic fruits are well worth incorporating into your meal plan and thankfully, now you know some of the health benefits that you can look forward to having when you try them.