Mindy Probst, RD, a registered dietitian with Intermountain Healthcare, offers the following seven exotic, healthy alternatives to make eating fruit just a little more fun.
- Papaya: Papayas contain an anti-oxidant known as beta-carotene, which has been shown in studies to reduce the risks of colon and prostate cancers. Papaya also contains ample amounts of fiber, which can assist your digestive track by helping clean it out. In addition, it also contains the necessary minerals potassium, magnesium, and copper.
- Dragon Fruit: Pitaya, which is also commonly referred to as “dragon fruit,” is extremely rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps aid your immune system in times of stress. “There have been a few studies that show supplemental doses of vitamin C can reduce the duration of colds by a day or two,” said Probst. She warned that Dragon Fruit, or anything high in vitamin C for that matter, isn’t a wonder cure for any cold-related symptom. It does, however, help prevent scurvy and provide the body with a dose of healthy antioxidants.
- Durian: Durian is an interesting fruit because it’s extremely strong smell is sometimes regarded as pleasant, and sometimes regarded as absolutely nauseating, depending on who is asked. It’s an excellent source of vitamins B2 and B6, as well as containing ample amounts of vitamins B1 and C. It also contains a good supply of healthy fats. “A common myth is that all types of fats are unhealthy for the body, but bodies actually need a consistent supply of fats in order to function at full capacity,” said Probst.
- Passion Fruit: Passion Fruit may not be a very well-known fruit, but it’s rich in iron. Iron is essential for carrying oxygen throughout the body, and a lack of iron can lead to dizziness and fatigue. It’s also a great snack for those who want to lose weight, because one passion fruit only contains 17 calories.
- Guava: Guava has gained in popularity throughout the years, and for good reason. It has four times the amount of vitamin C than can be found in oranges, which supports a healthy immune system. It also contains a high level of vitamin A, like carrots. Vitamin A promotes healthy eyesight, especially in low light. It also helps overall cell growth within the body.
- Cherimoya: Cherimoya, a deliciously sweet fruit that is quickly becoming more popular in America, contains large amounts of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 has been used in treatments for Parkinson’s disease, although its inclusion is still controversial in the medical world. Cherimoyas also boast high potassium levels, which can help diabetes patients by controlling blood pressure and heart rates.
- Star Fruit: Only containing about 30 calories per fruit, Star Fruit is a great choice for anyone wishing for a healthy, tasty snack. This sweet and sour fruit also contains folate, which has been proven to help minimize the chances of strokes or heart diseases. Star Fruit, named for the shape the edible food pieces take when the fruit is cut down the middle, also contains smaller amounts of copper, potassium, pantothenic acid, and fiber.
Get more information on the health benefits of fruits.