14 January 2010

Invasion of the Super-Fruits!

Who or what are the 12 superfruits?
  1. Açaí from South America
  2. Blueberry from North America and Northern Europe
  3. Cranberry from North America and Northern Europe
  4. Durian (King of Fruits) from Southeast Asia
  5. Goji (Wolfberry) from China
  6. Guarana from South America
  7. Mango from India, Southeast Asia and Oceania
  8. Mulberry from Asia
  9. Pomegranate from Greece, Saudi Arabia and California
  10. Purple Mangosteen (Queen of Fruits) from Southeast Asia and Oceania
  11. Red Grape from Central Asia, Europe and California
  12. Seaberry (Sea-Buckthorn) from Asia and Europe
Apples, Oranges, Tomatoes, Strawberries, Black Cherries, Red Raspberries, and Blackberries achieve many of the criteria to be superfruits.

Many juices lately have been marketed including one or more of the above super-fruits and Resveratrol (Reservatrol comes from super-fruits such as grapes and mulberries), but what are the advantages of the Super-Fruits?
  1. Acai provides increased energy levels, improved sexual performance, improved digestion, detoxification, high fiber content, improved skin appearance, improved heart health, improved sleep, and reduction of cholesterol levels.
  2. Blueberries inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation in vitro and may alleviate the cognitive decline occurring in Alzheimer's disease and other conditions of aging. They can block replication of the hepatitis C virus and might help to delay disease spread in infected individuals.Feeding blueberries to animals lowers brain damage in experimental stroke and may help prevent urinary tract infections. Other animal studies found that blueberry consumption lowered cholesterol and total blood lipid levels, possibly affecting symptoms of heart disease.Additional research showed that blueberry consumption in rats altered glycosaminoglycans which are vascular cell components affecting control of blood pressure.
  3. Cranberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, phytochemicals with possible benefits to the cardiovascular system and immune system, and as anti-cancer agents. Cranberry juice is able to inhibit and even reverse the formation of plaque by Streptococcus mutans pathogens that cause tooth decay. Cranberry juice components also show efficacy against formation of kidney stones. Raw cranberries and cranberry juice have shown promise as anti-cancer agents in in vitro studies. Cranberry tannins have anti-clotting properties and may reduce urinary tract infections and the amount of dental plaque-causing oral bacteria, thus being a prophylaxis for gingivitis. There is also benefit of cranberry juice consumption against bacterial infections in the urinary system.
  4. Durian fruit contains a high amount of sugar, vitamin C, potassium, and the serotonergic amino acid tryptophan, and is a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is recommended as a good source of raw fats by several raw food advocates. A decoction of the leaves and roots has been prescribed as an antipyretic. The leaf juice is applied on the head of a fever patient and/or drank. Traditional Chinese medicine consider the durian fruit to have warming properties liable to cause excessive sweating. The Javanese believe durian to have aphrodisiac qualities. Pregnant women and alcoholics should not eat durian.
  5. Goji's medicinal benefits, especially due to its antioxidant properties, include potential benefits against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, vision-related diseases (such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma), having neuroprotective properties or as an anticancer and immunomodulatory agent. Goji/Wolfberry leaves may be used to make tea, together with Lycium root bark (called dìgǔpí; 地 骨 皮 in Chinese), for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). A glucopyranoside and phenolic amides isolated from wolfberry root bark have inhibitory activity in vitro against human pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
  6. Guarna has shown to give memory, alertness and mood increases, platelet and weight loss. Other laboratory studies showed antioxidant and antibacterial effects, and also fat cell reduction in mice.
  7. Mangoes are rich in a variety of phytochemicals and nutrients. The fruit pulp is high in prebiotic dietary fiber, vitamin C, polyphenols and provitamin A carotenoids. Mango peel and pulp contain other phytonutrients, such as the pigment antioxidants - carotenoids and polyphenols - and omega-3 and -6 polyunsaturated fatty acids which may counteract free radicals in various disease mechanisms. Mango is an effective inhibitor in laboratory models of prostate and skin cancers. An extract of mango branch bark called Vimang, isolated by Cuban scientists, contains numerous polyphenols with antioxidant properties in vitro and on blood parameters of elderly humans.
  8. Mulberries, in traditional and folk medicine is believed to have medicinal properties and as a source of anthocyanins for functional foods. The skin is a source of Reservatrol.
  9. Purple Mangosteen has a combination of nutrient richness, antioxidant strength and potential impact for lowering risk of human diseases. It also has a cooling effect, the opposite of the durian.
  10. Pomegranates rind and the bark of the pomegranate tree is used as a traditional remedy against diarrhea, dysentery and intestinal parasites. The seeds and juice are considered a tonic for the heart and throat, and classified as a bitter-astringent, and considered a healthful counterbalance to a diet high in sweet-fatty (kapha or earth) components. The astringent qualities of the flower juice, rind and tree bark are considered valuable for a variety of purposes such as stopping nose bleeds and gum bleeds, toning skin, firming-up sagging breasts and treating hemorrhoids. Pomegranate juice is also used as eyedrops as it is believed to slow the development of cataracts. Juice of the pomegranate is effective in reducing heart disease risk factors and has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure. Juice consumption may also inhibit viral infections, while pomegranate extracts have antibacterial effects against dental plaque. Extracts of the fruit can inhibit the proliferation of human breast cancer cells.
  11. Red Grapes have properties such as reducing susceptibility to vascular damage, decreased blood vessel constriction, and lowering blood pressure. Concord grape juice is showing potential benefits against the onset stage of cancer, platelet aggregation and other risk factors of atherosclerosis, loss of physical performance and mental acuity during aging and hypertension in humans. The skin is also a great source of Resveratrol. Together with tannins, polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids, grape seed constituents display inhibitory activities against several experimental disease models, including cancer, heart failure and other disorders of oxidative stress.
  12. Seaberries' nutrient and phytochemical constituents have potential value as antioxidants that may affect inflammatory disorders, cancer or other diseases. The fruit of the plant has a high vitamin C content—about 12 times greater than oranges. The fruit also contains dense contents of carotenoids, vitamin E, amino acids, dietary minerals, β-sitosterol and polyphenolic acids.
So why has no company made a juice from all of these 12 super-fruits, the 7 reservist super-fruits, and the one fruit not listed that seems to be in every super-fruit concoction... Pear.

But what good is pear juice, other than a pleasant taste?

Pears can be useful in treating inflammation of mucous membranes, colitis, chronic gallbladder disorders, arthritis, and gout. Pears can also be beneficial in lowering high blood pressure, controlling blood cholesterol levels, and increasing urine acidity. They are good for the lungs and the stomach. Most of the fiber is insoluble, making pears a good laxative. The gritty fiber content may cut down on the number of cancerous colon polyps. Most of the vitamin C, as well as the dietary fiber, are contained within the skin of the fruit.

I think the pear should be the 8th reserve super-fruit, giving us, truly, 20 delicious super-fruits to choose from.

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