It’s New Years’ Resolution time, and we’re all about finding #fitspo to inspire us, i.e., what new healthy eating habits will you pick up, for real, this year?
We’re here to suggest a handful of sweet natural treats great for replacing refined sugar, are packed with vitamins, and take no preparation. Tasties, prepare to meet your 2016 superfruits.
1. Acai – The Brazilian Super-Berry
You’ve probably tried this one already in a breakfast bowl or over yogurt. If you haven’t, make this the year to give it a shot. A tart purple berry that comes from a particular Amazon palm species, it is famously packed with more antioxidants than any North American berry.
Tastes like: A blackberry with an unexpected hint of chocolate. It’s a star ingredient in the ubiquitous Instagram breakfast bowl.
What’s it do for you? Mainly, antioxidants are proven to protect the body from free radical pollutants, thus warding off blood disease. Supplement companies hype acai’s weight loss properties, but science doesn’t exactly back that up.
2. Cupuaçu – The NEXT Brazilian Superfruit
Except for a handful of wellness entrepreneurs—including a cosmetic company that’s created an entire line based on cupuaçu – you don’t see this cousin of cacao too much in the USA. However, it’s very big in Brazil because it has more health benefits than acai, is slower to spoil, and is less destructive to the rainforest
Tastes like: As a cousin of cacao it tastes a bit like chocolate! However, it’s pulpy and pale under a hard melon-like shell, with lots of natural fat that inspires people to try it out as a cacao substitute, make butter from it, and experiment with it as a non-edible skin moisturizer base.
What’s it do for you? It has caffeine-like stimulant effects, with no caffeine. It also has those above essential fatty acids, plus antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C.
3. Jackfruit – Call It Jack For Short, Really
Jack is a cousin to figs, but you would not necessarily know it to see one. These things come from Southeast Asia and India (where most Indians refuse to eat it) and are ENORMOUS.
One mature jackfruit can weigh up to 100 pounds. Indians call it “the poor man’s fruit,” but vegans in the USA are like “If it’s good enough for Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisine, it’s good enough for us.”
Tastes like: Now, this is where things get weird. Young, not fully ripened jackfruit has the consistency and flavor of pulled pork when cooked. So the main U.S. importer, the online site The Jackfruit Company, packages it in heat-and-serve Asian-inspired curry or teriyaki sauces.
Meanwhile, in locations where you can get it fresh, people prepare it in a dozen different ways—including eating the sweet ripe fruit raw, like…fruit.
What’s it do for you? Proponents of jackfruit say it can feed the world. Fiber-rich, low-calorie and gluten-free, it provides Vitamin C via the fruit and protein and potassium in the seeds.
4. Breadfruit – The South Pacific Starch
Polynesians and Caribbean people don’t need to worry about squash or sweet potatoes because they have this high-yield tree fruit to provide starch. It bears a resemblance to the jackfruit and is equally as much of a staple crop in the island nations where it’s most common.
Tastes like: A starch, when it’s not quite ripe—comparable with potato or yucca. For health and safety reasons you need to cook it when it’s green. When fully ripe, it’s sweeter and can be eaten raw. Some people eat the seeds as well, once cooked.
What does it do for you? The seeds contain protein, but the fruit pulp is high in potassium and vitamin C. Plus, lots of dietary fiber to keep you regular.
5. Soursop – A.K.A Guanabana, Custard Apple, Or Graviola
There’s a lot of hype amongst alternative medicine and natural food communities about this fruit. Not just acai-level “makes you skinny” hype. But actual miracle-cure “cures herpes, might cure cancer” hype. These claims are hard to believe, given that the fruit looks quite warty and tastes like a dessert.
Tastes like: Super sugary pulp, you’d swear it was fully prepped strawberry vanilla crumble pie filling if you ate a ripe one blindfolded. The rind is bitter, but you can avoid it.
What does it do for you? Multiple studies have shown soursop leaves to be effective in fighting and killing certain types of cancer cells. Published scientific research is sparse in the US since the 1970s, but in South America, the plant is widely used in concert with conventional cancer treatment.
6. Dragonfruit – As Seen On Fruit Ninja
This fruit is spectacularly weird looking. It’s brilliant red on the outside, crowned with green, horn-like protrusions. The insides are white with black seeds. It’s the bonus fruit in the video game Fruit Ninja, and IRL it’s a cactus fruit.
Tastes like: Not as crazy as you’d expect. It tastes like bland kiwi or maybe like kiwi mixed with a watery watermelon. There’s a more sour variety that’s found predominantly in desert regions. You don’t eat the skin.
What does it do for you? It’s high-fiber, loaded with antioxidants, and high in vitamin C and several of the Bs. It also has the same kind of good, monounsaturated fat as an avocado.