Having a fair variety of fruits in a healthy diet is necessary. However, depending on where you are, the options can be limited by the season. Fortunately, the market for new fruits is constantly growing, and more exotic varieties are becoming available around the world. Learn how to make the most of their nutritional properties and tasty flavor.
1. Lucuma (Pouteria lucuma)
Cultivated for centuries in the Andean valleys of Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, the lucuma has a particularly dry flesh - like a creamy paste - and a unique flavor of maple and sweet potato. It is a very nutritious, low-glycemic fruit that contains high levels of beta-carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), and calcium, and it's also a great source of plant-based protein for vegans. Lucuma is typically consumed in smoothies and desserts. However, lucuma is high in calories, so it needs to be consumed in moderation, especially in its powdered form.
2. Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa)
Originally from northern China, the green and fleshy kiwifruit's interior is not very sugary and has a delicious flavor. It also offers a high dietary fiber content and is packed with large doses of vitamin C, outshining other typical fruits like lemons, oranges, and peppers. Additionally, it is a great source of potassium, vitamin E, copper, and iron. High in nutrients and low in calories, kiwi is the perfect addition to a weight loss diet, and it can be peeled and consumed raw in smoothies, salads, or as a topping on tarts.
3. Carambola (Averrhoa carambola)
Originally from Southeast Asia, carambola is full of powerful nutrients, like vitamin C, potassium, copper, vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which is responsible for destroying free radicals in the body and hindering cell oxidation. This makes it an excellent anti-aging and weight loss diet food. Delicate and tasty, carambola can be eaten raw and unpeeled in salads and juices.
4. Goldenberry (Physalis peruviana)
Goldenberry has great nutritional value. It contains tannins, polyphenols, and carotenoids, as well as vitamins A, B2 (riboflavin), and C (ascorbic acid). It is also a rich source of calcium, iron, and protein. Its antioxidant properties can neutralize free radicals, and its melatonin content has been shown to lower stress levels. Eating raw goldenberries is very popular throughout the world because they have a pleasant and refreshing flavor. However, goldenberries are often cooked as part of a bigger meal – in desserts, pies, and jams, for example.
5. Graviola (Annona muricata)
Originally from South and Central America, graviola has immense nutritional value. Although it has a high carbohydrate content and no protein, graviola contains large amounts of vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B9 (folate), and C (ascorbic acid). It is also rich in magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, dietary fiber, and calcium. Graviola is often eaten raw or incorporated into smoothies, ice cream, cheesecakes, and other desserts.
As you can see, there's no need to travel to exotic destinations to have access to these fruits. You are likely to find some of them at local markets or online as supplements. They can be mixed with other fruits in salads and smoothies to take full advantage of their many nutritional benefits.
- Fruits of Warm Climates, Carambola; Lucmo
- International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Phytochemical and pharmacological properties of Annona muricata: a review, 2012
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Oil goldenberry (Physalis peruviana L.), 2003
- Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Actinidia deliciosa (kiwi fruit)