Open your fridge and check your countertop; we bet you’ll see staple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, apples and pears en masse.
Now, you won’t find us bashing bananas or waving off watermelon, but there are plenty of lesser-known fruits out there that don’t get enough love. In honor of the spring season now upon us, we’re taking a look at some of the other great fruits you should definitely be incorporating into your diet.
Candice Schreiber, RD, a dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center schools us on the sweet stuff you’re not eating, but should be. Kick up your nutritional game and take your kids to the grocery store or farmer’s market for these 10 fun fruits.
Pronounced ah-sigh-EE, these berries are the latest “superfood” incarnation, because they’re packed with “antioxidants anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids and fiber to promote cardiovascular and digestive health,” Schreiber says. “Acai berries are most popularly eaten in smoothies, so pair it with other favorite fruits, throw it in a blender and top it off with granola to make for a nutrition packed meal.”
Since you eat pomegranate seeds, plucking them from the flesh may seem like work — but Schreiber insists it’s worth the effort. “Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, pomegranate should be added to your fruit repertoire,” she says. How exactly? “Make a spring spinach and pomegranate salad, throw them in your oatmeal, or make a pitcher of refreshing pomegranate infused ice water,” Schreiber suggests of this very versatile fruit.
As we move toward summer, you might be in the mood for a tropical fruit or two — so try mango first. “Not only will it give you tropical vibes, mango is a great source of Vitamin C to help build up your immune system,” Schreiber says. “Enjoy it plain, or throw it in your favorite salsa recipe to be served over chicken or fish.”
A furry fruit that just screams “warm weather,” add kiwi to your grocery list now. “It’s high potassium content, a mineral important in regulating blood pressure,” Schreiber says. “Cut it in half and scoop out the fruit inside bite-by-bite, or slice it up to diversify your typical fruit salad.”
Goji berries, native to the Himalayan region, are “all the rage” right now, according to Schreiber. “They’ve got cancer-fighting antioxidants and more iron than a serving of spinach,” she explains. “Add them to a bag of trail mix, or garnish your cereal with them to jump on their nutritional bandwagon!”
If you’re up on your fruit terms, you might also know the star fruit as a “crambola,” says Schreiber. “This fibrous fruit can help lower cholesterol levels,” she explains. “You can enjoy this exotic fruit by eating it plain, mixing it into a leafy green salad with a citrus vinaigrette, or by pairing its unique flavor with seafood dishes.” Eat up!
While you probably pick up cranberries around the holidays, you should be noshing year-round. “Research suggests that cranberries decrease the growth and increase the self-destruction of several types of cancer — all the more reason to add cranberries to your diet,” Schreiber says. “Most commonly eaten as a dried fruit, cranberries can also be enjoyed fresh, as well. Experiment by adding them to different grains, or pair them with another fruit to create a delicious and nutritious relish.”
High in fiber and loaded with a titular enzyme called “papain,” Schreiber says eating papaya will help to boost your body’s digestive powers. “To add more of this tropical fruit into your diet, amp up your yogurt by topping it off with chunks of papaya, or make it a part of your smoothie routine for added health benefits,” she says.
Kids will get a kick out of the name — and taste — of this delicious fruit. “Similar in appearance to a grape, gooseberries are a great source of an array of vitamins and minerals,” Schreiber explains. She says the fruit’s unique flavor “is fan-favorite in jams and jellies to add some spreadable nutrients” to your favorite breads and crackers.
From a purely nutritional standpoint, you can’t do much better than grapefruit. “With the cancer-fighting beta-carotene, eating more grapefruit has been related to lowering the risk of certain cancers,” Schreiber says. “Eat it like an orange to get more fiber, or squeeze out the juice and replace your morning OJ with some fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice instead.”