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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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Superfruits with super powers?

Acerola, aronia and goji berries are considered to be “super healthy”. They’re supposed to strengthen the heart and immune system and help fight cancer. Do they deserve this reputation? What is it about these super fruits?

Good for the heart, effective against cancer, a boost for the immune system – if you believe the advertising, some fruits have miraculous powers. These fruits include acerola cherries, açaí, goji berries, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate and most recently the ariona berry. They are expensive to buy whether raw, processed into juice, made into jam or as dietary supplements.

Many berries are rich in healthy ingredients

A healing effect or health benefit of these super fruits has yet to be established. For instance, the supposed anti-aging properties of pomegranate have been rejected by the European Food Safety Authority. There is also a lack of reliable sources to establish the exact nutritional composition of these fruits. What is certain is that most super fruits are rich in antioxidants. These are anti-inflammatory agents which tame free radicals – molecules which can cause cell damage, amongst other things. The antioxidant effect is due to certain phytochemicals called anthocyanins which darken the colour of the fruit. The native blueberry contains a lot of these anthocyanins (up to 420 milligrams per 100 grams) and the dark aronia berry also contains a large number (from 1000 to 2000 milligrams per 100 grams, depending on the source). Tip: aronia berries are very bitter so it’s a good idea to mix aronia juice with other juices such as grape juice.

Full of vitamins and energy

Acerola, which is packed full of Vitamin C, is grown mainly in Brazil. With 1,700 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, it beats northern European vitamin champions – like rosehip and sea buckthorn – hands down. Açaí berries, fruits of the tropical açaí palm, are popular as a source of energy and contain a lot of calcium, phosphorus and iron. Goji berries, also called wolfberries, provide protein and fibre. Tip: eat goji berries in moderation, as they are often contaminated with pesticides.

Source: Stiftung Warentest