If you’re sick of all the superfoods you already know about, like blueberries, cinnamon, and chia seeds, we’ve got the five superfoods that you’ve never heard of, but need to start eating right now to prevent illness and disease. These best superfoods are ones that will give you body-strengthening vitamins, heart-healthy nutrients, and everything you need to stay healthy for a long time!
Cherimoya is an exotic fruit native to South America. Cherimoya is round or heart-shaped and pale green, and is known as a delicious antioxidant fruit. The entire fruit—skin, flesh, and juice—is extremely high in antioxidants, with the juice having the most antioxidant activity, according to a study published in Food Research International. In the study, cell lines incubated with colon cancer or lymphoma were able to absorb antioxidants from the cherimoya fruit, making this a key contender to fight off diseases like cancer. Cherimoya is also a great source of fiber and protein: one medium-sized cherimoya has seven grams of dietary fiber, approximately five grams of protein, and 60% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
There are many different ways to prepare cherimoya. Eat it on its own, mashed up with cream and nutmeg; or use it as a base for a sorbet. Cherimoya is ready to be eaten once it is soft, but don’t let it get too squishy to the touch.
The baobab is a massive tree in 31 African countries—although it’s been introduced in even more countries—yet we can eat its edible black seeds, white flowers, and leaves. Its black seeds can substitute for coffee when cooked, and its fruit is considered a superfruit and might prevent illnesses because of its antioxidant capabilities: it has 10 times more antioxidants than acai, is a prebiotic, and is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.
The baobab is often called the “tree of life,” because not only does the towering, giant-like tree provide a cover of shade in humid weather, its fruits and leaves provide nutrients and vitamins that you can’t really get anywhere else in the same quantity. It’s a complete plant protein, which means all essential nine amino acids that your body needs are located in baobab.
3. Greek Coffee from Arabica Beans
The residents of Icaria, a tiny Greek island, have one of the highest longevity rates in the world—and researchers are boiling it down to the coffee they drink. Their particular coffee is made from Arabica beans, which are filled with cafestol and kahweol, two molecules rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Unlike most American coffee, Greek coffee doesn’t give much of a caffeine boost; it’s actually much subtler and sweeter, and their coffee tastes more like a hot-chocolate/coffee mix. According to the study, Greek coffee benefits vascular function and endothelial function, which can help explain the Icarians high rates of longevity. If it can make us live longer, it’s a superfood to us.
Find Greek coffee in your exotic food store, or the international section of your local grocery store. Mix a teaspoon of coffee with water and sugar (optional) and cook over low heat—unlike American coffee, you don’t actually want it to boil on high. When it’s ready, you’ll see a creamy layer of broth on the top of the pot.
4. Sea Buckthorn
These tiny orange acidic berries grow in clumps on a long stem and have a high concentration of the latest healthy fat, omega-7s (the latest research shows that omega-7s can help with glucose and lipid metabolism). Sea buckthorn has 15 times more vitamin C than oranges, and is also filled with vitamin E and amino acids. You might have seen sea buckthorn used in traditional Chinese medicine or in beauty products—it’s often used in skin products to keep skin looking fresh. We’re definitely a fan of this new superfood: would you try this fruit?
It looks like a cauliflower, but this superfood is actually more of a mix of cauliflower and broccoli, which looks so appealing to the eye! Filled with high concentrations of vitamins C and K and tons of antioxidants, this is one superfood that you should add to your salads or stir-fry. The best part: for some reason, the spirals on each head of the romanesco amount to a Fibonacci number!
Elias, N., “A New Greek Superfood,” Prevention web site; http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/greek-coffee-offer-heart-health-benefits, last accessed June 27, 2013.
Oaklander, M., “14 Weird Foods You Should Try,” Prevention web site, http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/weird-healthy-foods, last accessed June 27, 2013.