We all know that fruit is good for us, but most of the time the types of fruit we eat are limited by where we live. That’s a shame, because there’s an incredible array of fruit found across the globe that doesn’t just taste incredible, but can also fill our bodies with nutrients and prevent or cure diseases!
Some of the most fascinating fruits are native only to Asia, where people caught on to these magnificent treats a long time ago. Although everybody’s taste is different, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried these exotic fruits…
1. Noni: A Southeast Asian fruit, the noni may lack visual appeal but certainly makes up for it in medicinal properties. Noni juice helps protect against damage caused by strokes. The juice is also full of antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial.
2. Pulasan: Found almost solely in Malaysia, the pulasan is easily confused with the rambutan and lychee. However, they’re much sweeter and have shorter spikes. High in vitamin C and antioxidants, they’re used to manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
3. Breadfruit: This Southeast-Asian fruit is known for its bread-like consistency and flavor. In can be mashed, sautéed, or baked. It can even be candied or turned into fries. Plus, the leftover pulp can be recycled to make paper!
4. Wax Apple: Also known as Java apple, water apple, and love apple, it’s native to the Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and comes in a variety of colors. The most popular ones are called “black pearls,” but they’re actually red and purple in color.
5. Lychee: These sweet little fruits originate from the subtropical region of China and have some amazing health benefits. From supporting the digestive system to boosting immunity, they are a great source of vitamin B and antioxidants.
6. Sugar Apple: Although technically a tropical American native, sugar apples blossomed across the West Indies after the Spanish introduced them to the area. They support heart health and milk production for lactating mothers and also prevent asthma due to high levels of antioxidants.
7. Kumquat: These citrus fruits from Southeast China are ready to eat right off the tree. The peel, as well as the inside flesh, is full of vitamins and minerals, and possesses anti-viral and anti-cancer properties, boost metabolisms, and even balances insulin levels in the body.
8. Rambutan: These little land-urchins were named after the Malay word for “hair,” due to the soft red spikes that cover the fruit. A cousin to the lychee and Pulasan, rambutan lacks the variety of vitamins found in those fruits but does boast high levels of dietary fiber and iron.
9. Chinese Bayberry: Rich in the most powerful class of free-radical-killing antioxidants, the Bayberry also boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and is even used to fight infections. It’s downright tasty, too!
10. Lotus fruits: The lotus flower is an important symbol of perseverance and strength in Hindu and Buddhist practices. In Cambodia, however, they’re simply food; the lotus’s seed pod contains up to two dozen delicious seeds that taste similar to peanuts.
11. Durian: These guys are best known for the strong, rank smell that pierces straight through their outer shell. It’s so stinky that it has actually been banned on public transportation. Despite its odor, durian is extremely healthy, as it’s rich in iron, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
12. Dragon Fruit: Also known as Pitaya, the dragon fruit is actually a cactus. They are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients, boosting the immune system, reducing the risk of respiratory problems, and alleviating heart problems. Bonus tip: you can carve them into cool shapes!