Every now and then, established “superfoods” have to move over a bit for the next set of nutritional powerhouses. The most recent stars of the health world are coming to light: maqui berry, acerola, baobab fruit, and cloves.
What are these foods, and what makes them so healthy? Here are some reasons why these foods have made their way onto the superfoods list.
These blueberry-like fruits are taking some of the spotlight from goji and acai berries. They are grown in Patagonia, an area on the southern tip of South America.
As an antioxidant, maqui berries rank very high on tests used to measure the antioxidant potency of various berries and other foods. (This test is called thee ORAC, or oxygen radical absorbance capacity.) Maqui’s ORAC score is more than ten times higher than that of blueberries, and it may even help with weight control.
You may have seen these round red fruits marketed as Barbados cherries or Amazon cherries. They are grown in Central and South America; their flesh is yellowish and their vitamin C content is 40 times higher than oranges. They also rank high on the antioxidant scale. You may have a hard time finding these fresh in supermarkets, though; they are more likely to be found in powders, capsules, and extracts.
Only recently approved for export, baobab fruit grows in Africa. It has a fascinating texture – powdery without undergoing drying or processing. It contains a great deal of vitamin C and calcium, which is good news for those who don’t eat dairy.
Its seeds are edible roasted, and are high in protein. You probably won’t find a baobab fruit in your grocery store, however; but you may see it as a flavoring in yogurt. Hopefully, this will change after the export approval.
This is a superfood that’s been around a long time, but without the superfood status. How many of us know this little spice as the studding on a baked ham, or ground up in pumpkin pie? It turns out that cloves may have a lot more to offer. Spanish researchers have discovered potent antioxidant activity in cloves, and these antioxidants might be able to replace synthetic ones currently used as food preservatives.
While no food is a magic bullet, foods that have earned superfoods status are worth looking into, and may well be worth including in your diet.