Superfruits: (Top 20 Fruits Packed with Nutrients and Phytochemicals, Best Ways to Eat Fruits for Maximum Nutrition, and 75 Simple and Delicious Recipes for Overall Wellness) By Paul M. Gross * Publisher: McGraw-Hill * Number Of Pages: 240 * Publication Date: 2009-10-01 * ISBN-10 / ASIN: 0071633871 * ISBN-13 / EAN: 9780071633871 We've all heard of superfoods. In fact, I have an entire shelf filled with books whose sole focus is superfoods, some common and some exotic--but all packed with so much nutrition that they warrant being a base of one's diet.
What sets this book apart is that the 20 superfoods are all fruits. Nowadays hybrid fruit is often so sweet and high in sugar that it might be little more than junk food. The impact on blood sugar often makes it only a step above a sugary dessert. But these superfruits are packed with antioxidants, and 9 of them are berries, making them low glycemic (little impact on raising the insulin levels). The 7 criteria the author uses to pick the 20 top fruits are that the fruits should be rich in the Vitamins A, C, E; rich in B vitamins; rich in minerals; rich in amino acids and protein; rich in fiber; rich in omega fats; and rich in phytosterols. (We are given a page or so explanation of each of these 7 categories.) The author warns us that superfruit juices (diluted with concentrates) or supplements cannot replace eating the fresh superfruit in its natural state. I absolutely agree--processing nearly always diminishes the nutrients.
The book is divided into 3 parts and 4 appendices. Part I enlightens us on essential nutrients and what the author calls "superfruit signatures" -a specific nutrient feature that makes it exceptional among other plants. The four he cites are dietary prebiotic fiber, Vitamin C, carotenoids and polyphenols. 6 of the fruits contain all four of the signatures in high amounts (mango, red guava, dried goji berry, orange, seaberry and papaya). In part I we also learn about the phytochemicals and the health value of the different colored fruits. For example, red-tan, blue-purple-black colored fruits, such as dark berries or red grapes, often contain resveratrol, the nutrient being hyped up as a longevity factor. It has helped in avoiding cancer, Alzheimer's and metabolic syndrome. Page 41 provides a chart on the colors, with their phytochemicals and what they are good for.
Part II is all about the 20 chosen superfruits. Each fruit is given several pages. At the top of the page we learn where it is grown. Below is an "info-box" titled "Superfruit Snapshot" which provides its nutrient content, phytochemical content, and color code (so we can refer back to page 41 to see what it is good for). Some of the fruits also have an info-box entitled "Fun Facts" in which we learn interesting tidbits about the fruit. (For example, in the University of Maine, hamburgers mixed with blueberries were preferred over regular hamburgers, and leftovers lasted longer in the refrigerator due to the antioxidants!) Next, each fruit has a section explaining why they are super, followed by a section on what health benefits the research has shown the fruit to have, followed by a section that discusses how or what research has been done on the fruit. Near the end is a section giving us suggestions of how to get it into our diets (where to find it, how it tastes, how to use it--as in smoothie, yogurt, fruit plate, etc.) Finally, we have a "Superfruit Score" info-box. This gives us 7 rankings for each fruit, including nutrient content, phytochemical content, rank among the 20 in the book, medical research activity, popularity and more.
Part III gives us practical uses for the fruits. We learn which fruits fit under the color codes, and to go shopping for all colors for a well-balanced diet. We learn to think about the superfruit signatures while shopping. As a raw fooder, I would only buy them in fresh or sundried form. But for those who still buy processed, bottled things, we are given info on how to navigate various brands of bottled smoothies, 100% juices (better than the highly processed, nutrient-poor juices we are warned to avoid early in the book), and even superfruits in cereals, granola bars and packaged products. There is a chapter with suggestions on incorporating the fruits into your daily diet (ex: use of jams, sauces, side dishes, salads, etc). Finally, we are presented with a recipe chapter: 75 simple recipes in 6 categories (smoothies, breakfast and snacks, sa