Food & Wine

10 superfruits for health and beauty

Updated: 22 Oct 2011
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Superfruits have sparked a worldwide following, bolstered by claims promoting benefits such as anti-ageing, detoxification, energy enhancement and immunity boosts.

As common fruits such as apples and oranges are less likely to excite consumers, superfruits are more likely to be exotic or relatively new to consumers. These include noni, pomegranate and seabuckthorn.

However, there is no definitive list of superfruits and new fruits are regularly put forward, usually backed by persuasive advertising.

Dietitians and nutritionists tend to reject the term superfruits as there is no scientific criteria that would allow consumers to objectively assess the potential health benefits of fruits in the category.

Ms Anna Jacob, nutritionist and dietitian at NutriVentures, said: 'The term superfruits has been coined to bring attention to a few fruits that are being intensely researched for their nutritional benefits.'

Ms Jacob said that fresh fruits in general are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Most fruits are also naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in sodium.

But there is something else health-conscious individuals around the world are after: antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals, cell-damaging chemicals that are produced during normal human functions such as digestion and breathing.

However, people must remember that superfruits are not the only good source of antioxidants.

Ms Lim Su Lin, chief dietitian at the National University Hospital, said: 'Many other foods also contain antioxidants such as soya, red wine, tea, nuts, seeds, fish, shellfish, eggs, red meat and garlic.

'I would strongly encourage people to eat a variety of fruits in their diet and not just concentrate on one or two fruits. This is because we can obtain different nutrients from different fruits. Some useful nutrients may not even have been discovered by scientists yet.'

Here is a list of 10 "superfruits".



1. Pomegranate

Also known as: Granada

What it is: Has around 600 seeds that can range from white to deep red

Where it grows: Native to the Mediterranean Middle East

Supposed benefits: Some studies suggest that the juice may contain almost three times the total antioxidants in green tea and red wine.



2. Kiwi

Also known as: Chinese gooseberry

What it is: Flesh can be bright green or golden.

Where it grows: Can be grown in most temperate climates with adequate summer heat

Supposed benefits: A single kiwi is said to supply more than the normal daily adult requirement of vitamin C.



3. Mangosteen

Also known as: Manggis

What it is: Has sweet-sour white flesh

Where it grows: Primarily in countries with a hot, humid climate such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia

Supposed benefits: Its rind contains xanthones, which are said to neutralise free radicals.



4. Goji (pronounced goh-gee)

Also known as: Wolfberry

What it is: Red berries that are usually found dried

Where it grows: China, Mongolia and the Himalayas in Tibet

Supposed benefits: It contains carotenoids that act as antioxidants to protect the retina of the eye.



5. Cranberry

Also known as: Mossberry, fenberry

What it is: Berries, 6 to 18mm in size, turn deep red when ripe.

Where it grows: A major commercial crop in the United States and Canada

Supposed benefits: It is used to prevent or treat urinary tract infections.



6. Noni

Also known as: Cheese fruit, ach, mengkudu

What it is: Oval-shaped and prickly

Where it grows: Native to South-east Asia but now grows in India and the Pacific islands

Supposed benefits: The juice is said to be able to help reduce high blood pressure and relieve arthritic pain as it contains a high level of antioxidants.



7. Avocado

Also known as: Palta, abacate

What it is: Egg shaped, green-brown on the outside and green-yellow on the inside

Where it grows: Long history of being cultivated in Central and South America

Supposed benefits: It contains healthy monounsaturated fat, which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.



8. Seabuckthorn

Also known as: Sandthorn, seaberry

What it is: Soft and juicy orange berries, 6 to 9mm in diameter

Where is grows: Native to Europe and Asia

Supposed benefits: It is said to boost the immune system as it is rich in vitamin C.



9. Blueberry

Also known as: Bleuet

What it is: Indigo berries, 5 to 16mm in diameter

Where it grows: Native to North America but also grown in Australia, New Zealand and South American countries

Supposed benefits: It is said to be an anti-ageing superstar that is loaded with antioxidants to improve vision and brain function.



10. Acai (pronounced as-sa-E)

Also known as: Cabbage palm berry

What it is: A dark-blue berry that is similar in size to a grape

Where it grows: South American rainforests

Supposed benefits: Claims to have twice the antioxidants found in blueberries, as well as omega fatty acids, protein and fibre


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Comments Area ( Total Comments: 1 )
alexynne Commented on 26 Oct 2011
It's my first time to come across the fruit called Noni. I've never heard about it nor seen it. Thanks for the info though, I like blueberries much!

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