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Energize With Superfruits

Five antioxidant-rich treasures you need to know about

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for profiles of three more superfruits: camu-camu, goji, and sea buckthorn.

For centuries, certain fruits have provided residents of their native habitats with high levels of energy, and long, healthy lives. In recent years, scientists have been learning why these fruits seem to have superpowers. The ones below are available fresh, in juices, powders, capsules, or blends.

Historians estimate that açaí has been a staple for human beings in Brazil’s Amazon region for 9,000 years. In that area, locals climb palm trees up to 50-feet tall to pick the fruit, but they are amply rewarded with stamina and good health. Scientific studies have found that açaí is one of the richest sources of antioxidants. In a study of people with fibromyalgia, açaí juice reduced inflammation and pain, and improved joint mobility. And because açaí provides stable levels of energy, it may also help with weight loss.

Although we don’t think of chocolate as a fruit, it certainly comes from one. The cocoa, or cacao tree bears fruit in the form of pods shaped and often sized much like an American football. Cocoa beans, the source of chocolate, are seeds in the pods. Cocoa is high in magnesium and antioxidants that help to regulate blood pressure, improve circulation, and protect the heart. Rather than being limited to chocolate and cocoa drinks, we can now buy raw cocoa beans, cocoa nibs, raw powder, and an edible form of cocoa butter, a healthful form of saturated fat in the bean.

Found in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the Pacific, the mangosteen fruit contains a unique type of antioxidant known as xanthone. Nutritional analysis and animal research show that these have the power to prevent cancer, reduce inflammation and chronic allergies, boost resistance to infection, and suppress appetite. The fruit also contains a range of essential vitamins and minerals.

Maqui comes from Patagonia in South America. In that region, the Mapuche Indians who drink maqui make up the only indigenous tribe that has never been conquered, and they credit the berry for their resilience. Extremely rich in a number of antioxidants, maqui also contains iron, potassium, and vitamin C.

It has a shape and color reminiscent of a hand grenade, and nutritionally, noni fruit packs a lot of power. Used as medicine for hundreds of years in Polynesia, noni may protect against cancer, according to animal studies. Noni is rich in antioxidants, healthful fats, vitamins C and E, potassium, and other nutrients whose benefits are only beginning to be discovered by scientists.

Product Examples (from left)

FoodScience of Vermont Superior Purples combines 19 darkly colored, nutrient-rich whole fruit and vegetable extracts in one delicious antiaging blend.

Source Naturals Açaí extract is now available in a convenient vegetarian capsule and offers a natural way to combat free radicals.

Genesis Today Coco Cacao100 is a 100 percent pure, all-natural combination of cacao and pure coconut water, with no refined sugar. Add to coffee or other beverages.

Tahiti Trader Organic Noni Max provides premium potency noni fruit, native to Tahiti and cultivated in the rich volcanic soils of the South Pacific Islands. Shown to enhance immunity, digestion, detox, and more.