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Nutrient dense superfoods packed with vitamins and other health benefits promise to help keep us young, strong and protected from a catalogue of diseases.
Whilst we've been bombarded with blueberries and assailed by avocados for their sought after superfood qualities, there's a whole other world of exotic superfoods around the globe just waiting to be discovered.
Hailing from more exotic climes these are fruits and vegetables with some impressive health credentials, that is if you are able to get past some other less desirable features.
Here are 11 of them; some are readily available at the supermarket, for others you'll sadly have to wait a few years to track them down easily.
These soy beans are commonly found on the menu in Japanese restaurants. Rich in protein, fibre, antioxidants and isoflavins Edamame are particularly good at combatting cholesterol, easy to digest and are perfect for a mid-afternoon snack. You can usually pick them up fresh or in the frozen section at the supermarket.
Healthy noni, or Indian mulberry fruit, are typical of Southeast Asia, from Taiwan to Australia. Besides the odd shape, the peculiarity of noni lies in the strong and unpleasant odour, giving it the unfortunate name of 'vomit fruit'. Usually eaten raw or seasoned with salt, the juice can also be used to make sauces.
In an ideal world the noni would be an anti-inflammatory perfect to combat headaches and other pains, that's if you were able to overcome the putrid smell.
3) Kiwi Fruit
The widely available kiwi fruit deserves a place in the list as one of the healthiest fruits in the world, originally from China but later being adopted by New Zealand who gave the fruit its name.
Currently Italy is the largest producer of this Vitamin C rich fruit, where just one kiwi contains 100% of our daily Vitamin C requirement. And if that weren't enough the kiwi is also rich in potassium, vitamin E, copper, iron and fibre as well as being known to combat hypertension, constipation and even old age.
If you're looking for a portable bijou kiwi try the baby Nergi kiwi.
This salad, originally from ancient Egypt, is actually considered a weed so common that you have probably find yourself weeding it out of your garden paving. But this is a weed with benefits. In fact purslane is a plant rich in omega 3 fatty acids, the same as the salmon, and has the added bonus of a delicious lemony flavour. It can be eaten raw in salads or cooked to add to soups valued for its purifying, refreshing and diuretic qualities.
5) Camu Camu
The camu camu's exterior is similar to that of an apple, but cut it in half looks like an unripe persimmon. Native to the forests of Peru and Brazil the fruit is full of antioxidants with anti-viral properties.
Considered to prevent atherosclerosis, it reduces inflammation, and being rich in vitamin C helps to prevent degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's. And it doesn't stop there - the fruits of camu camu protect against liver disorders, lower blood pressure and thus in general are retorted to make you young and beautiful. The only drawback being the off putting sour flavour.
The gac is a spiny soft-hearted fruit and as red as blood which hails from Vietnam, Thailand, China and Laos where it is known as the fruit of paradise. The vibrant colour is proof of a rich beta carotene content, even more so than tomatoes, making it good for the heart, the immune system, eyes and skin.
Native to South and South Asia the jackfruit comes from the family of moraceae, and you'll probably smell its pungent odour before you see it. It produces fruits of up to 30 kg rich in vitamin C and protein. The flesh inside is rich in folic acid, so eating jackfruit frequently might help you to stay young forever as well as protecting from mood swings and depression.
Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, has a tart flavour and posseses astringent qualities. It's used both fresh and dried to reduce inflammation. In raisin from it's rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids that enhance antioxidants . If that weren't enough eating Indian gooseberry is also considered good for fighting old age, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and dementia.
(Photo: kqed )
Many believe that the soursop has cancer fighting properties, but this is yet to be supported with scientific evidence. The fruit does however contain fibre, carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C and water.
In its juice version, whilst bitter to taste, is is used as invigorating drink with a pulp that's useful in healing wounds, rashes and eczema.
Japanese plums are often used to make sweets despite their 'sour and salty' characteristic. Having a number of astringent and antipyretic properties that help against nausea, heartburn, colds, fever and dysentery. They are perfect against fatigue circulation problems, weakness and have even been cited as an effective hangover cure.
Teff is the smallest grain in the world, most commonly used in Ethiopia and a rich source of calcium, protein and fibre. Amongst its many advantages is that it's completely gluten free, making it a good wheat alternative.