Ask the RD
Food for Thought: Food for Thought
Question: I keep hearing people rave about new health foods, such as acai, goji and mangosteen. What are these foods, and do they really live up to all the acclaim?
Answer:Food manufacturers are marketing these three exotic fruits as "superfoods" that promise to increase energy, boost metabolism and facilitate weight loss. Here's the scoop on each:
Acai (pronounced "ah-sigh-ee") is a purple berry that grows in the Amazon jungles of Brazil. Usually blended with other fruit juices, the berry is also sold in capsule form and as a powder. The truth is that acai is loaded with antioxidant known as anthocyanin.
The goji berry is an Asian fruit that is typically sold in a dried form. It, too, has antioxidant properties, because of its high content of beta carotene, lycopene and zeaxanthin.
Mangosteen, a sweet fruit that grows in the tropics, has a rind that is rich in antioxidants. However, in its juice form, that fruit has less of an antioxidant punch than other (less expensive) juices, like pomegranate.
While all three of these fruits contain healthy antioxidants, you don't have to spend extra money on the exotic stuff. You can get just as much of an antioxidant boost by eating plenty of locally grown fruits and veggies. Take the money you save, and start a fund for a future vacation in the tropics, where these fruits grow in abundance.
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You can pose your own question to our contributing editor Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian and the wellness coordinator for the Albuquerque Public School District. She chairs Action for Healthy Kids in New Mexico and teaches nutrition at the University of New Mexico. Please send your questions, along with your name and city/state/country, to editor Sandy Webster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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