Are superfruits all they are cracked up to be?

Are superfruits all they are cracked up to be?

Most of us will have read in the press about the magical health-giving properties of so-called superfruits, but do they really live up to these claims? We look at how superfruits can – and can’t – help you.


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 Superfruit myths

If you keep up to date with news on health-related issues, the chances are that you’ll have heard about some of the amazing things superfruits can supposedly do. You might for example, have heard about tomatoes preventing cancer, or avocados giving you a perfect complexion. 

Much as it would be nice if these claims were true, no fruit has superpowers, although they do provide you with valuable nutrients which can help you stay healthy.

What’s good about superfruits

It might be hard to believe many of the claims made about superfruits, for example, that they can stop us gaining weight or prevent us ageing, but there is definitely plenty that is good about them.

Below we’ve compiled a list of superfruits, most of which not only provide valuable dietary fibre, but which also give us many of the vitamins and minerals that we need in our daily diet.

This makes them an excellent alternative to other quick snacks such as crisps or biscuits, which usually contain high levels of fat, salt and added sugar.

They can also help ensure you get the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, helping you keep your weight down and maintain a healthy heart.

Superfruits – The truth

Here are some of the claims that are made about superfruits, and what they can really do for you.

Grapefruit

The claim – Grapefruit can supposedly reduce weight gain and help ensure you don’t contract diabetes. If you’re a woman, they can also help lower the chances of you suffering a stroke.

The truth – tests on mice have shown that eating grapefruit does improve their health and slow weight gain. These tests also found that grapefruit kept mice’s blood sugar levels in check. However, mice and humans are very different creatures, so it’s by no means certain that these results would be replicated in humans. Studies showing that they can reduce the risk of strokes in women are also far from conclusive according to some experts, who say there is no hard evidence that eating grapefruit can help.

Whether or not grapefruit can help with weight reduction or preventing strokes, they are still a very good food choice, and an excellent source of vitamins. Eating just 100g of grapefruit a day can provide half your daily recommended vitamin C intake and a quarter of your daily recommended vitamin A intake.

Avocado

The claim – If you want a clear complexion and glowing skin, avocados are the way forward, and can even help ensure you don’t get cancer.

The truth – It is true that the seeds of avocadoes have a compound in them which scientists think could possibly lead to new leukaemia treatments in future, but there’s no evidence that eating avocados will stop you getting cancer.

They also contain vitamin E, which does help keep your skin healthy, but cutting out other fruit and vegetables in favour of only eating avocados won’t help your complexion. 

Pomegranate

The claim – eating pomegranates can stop you having a heart attack and also slow prostate cancer

The truth – Research into whether pomegranate juice can slow prostate cancer has been relatively limited so far, so further studies are required before doctors can conclusively say it does. No trials have yet proved for certain that eating pomegranate can prevent heart attacks, but they are high in fibre and contain important vitamins.

Acai berry

The claim – eating acai berries will stop you getting fat

The truth – unfortunately there is no evidence that eating acai berries will prevent weight gain. The only certain way to achieve this is to exercise more and consume fewer calories, making sure you have a healthy, balanced diet. 

Goji berry

The claim – You may have heard the goji berry described as a ‘miracle’ food for its supposed anti-ageing properties. The berry is also meant to improve eye health and help you sleep better. 

The truth – unfortunately there’s no conclusive research which proves goji berries will help slow ageing, improve eye health or help with sleep. The good news, however, is that they are full of vitamins A, B and C, and have lots of other antioxidants too. They also taste good, especially if you sprinkle them on top of your porridge in the morning.

Tomatoes

The claim – eating tomatoes can help you cancer, reduce the chances of you having a stroke and stave off osteoporosis

The truth – tomatoes are perhaps the superfruit which have been in the headlines the most, but there still isn’t any really conclusive evidence that eating them can help reduce the chances of you getting prostate cancer, suffering a stroke or osteoporosis.

They are very good for you though, providing high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C.

Blueberry

The claim – eating blueberries can stop you getting cancer, look after your heart and make your memory better.

The reality – Blueberries are a great nutritional option, providing both vitamin C and other antioxidants, but there isn’t any categorical proof that they can fight heart disease or cancer, of help to preserve your memory.

 


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