Most Americans are aware of the nutritional benefits of eating apples, oranges, carrots and bananas, but for those looking for a culinary adventure, there is a world of less known, “strange” foods to be discovered, many of which can greatly benefit your health.
While the list may seem endless, the following are four uncommon foods which contain an abundance of nutritional perks:
The rambutan fruit is native to the tropics, and grows across South America, as well as Hawaii and Southeast Asia. These fruits resemble grapes housed in a hairy, spikey outer shell, and the flavor of the white fruit inside is sweet and somewhat resembles a lychee.
Not only do rambutans taste great, they are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C, besides aiding the immune system in fighting off infections, also helps the body to build collagen for healthy-looking skin.
Additionally, rambutan fruits are high in copper, which is necessary for energy production and connective tissue formation, and manganese, which plays an important role in bone formation and balancing blood sugar.
Mangosteen is a tropical fruit that grows on evergreen trees throughout rainforests in Southeast Asia. While there are several species, the most common is characterized by round fruits with a purple outer rind and juicy, white segmented flesh inside. Mangosteens boast a sweet, aromatic, tropical flavor that can really liven up a smoothie or fruit platter.
Along with being high in vitamin C, mangosteen is rich in a variety of B-vitamins, which are key to many biological processes, including the metabolism of different nutrients. It is also high in minerals, including copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium. These nutrients, plus its fiber content, makes mangosteen a heart-healthy fruit.
According to leading natural health doctor, Dr. Joseph Mercola, some compounds in mangosteen have been found to possess the potential to fight cancer cells.
You may be surprised to learn that marmite, a salty, yeasty spread enjoyed in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, is good for you. Some research suggests that this blend of brewer’s yeast, salt, celery and spices may offer significant benefits.
Marmite is high in niacin, also known as vitamin B3. A 2012 study found that high doses of B3 could make the immune system up to 1,000 times more able to fight antibiotic-resistant staph infections. Study co-author, Dr. George Liu, states, “this vitamin is surprisingly effective in fighting off and protecting against one of today’s most concerning public health threats.”
This distinctive spread also contains other B-vitamins, including folic acid, which helps the body to produce new cells. This vitamin is essential for pregnant women, as it can help to reduce birth defects. For some women, marmite may also be an effective remedy for morning sickness symptoms.
When choosing a marmite spread, be sure to read the ingredients carefully, as some may contain additives and chemical preservatives. This is one food not to go overboard on, but in small doses, it may prove quite beneficial.
The brains of cows have been featured for generations in the cuisines of many nations, including French and Indian dishes. They have also been eaten in the West for over 100 years, although they are not as popular today as they once were. When cooked, beef brains have a delicate consistency, and are often paired with eggs.
Besides their rich protein content, beef brains contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid that has been shown to boost cognitive ability and support cardiovascular health. This organ meat is also high in B-vitamins, including vitamin B12, as well as the minerals copper and selenium. Selenium is only found in significant quantities in a few foods, and has potent antioxidant qualities.
When choosing beef brains, it is important to know your source. Some brains may contain prions, proteins which may cause mad cow disease. Local, grass-fed, organic beef brains are best, and it helps if you get them straight from a farmer whose practices you trust.
-The Alternative Daily