These weird fruits pack a powerful punch
If you've never trekked up Mt. Everest, you've missed out on the exotic fruits that grow out in the Himalaya Mountain Range.
Now, I'm no endurance climber, but the latest research has got me setting my sights eastward to Nepal -- where Mt. Everest is -- and the surrounding regions of India and Tibet.
That's where the "mountain people" have been picking and eating the wild fruits from the trees and shrubs of the area for centuries to maintain good health, since they've got little to no access to modern medical facilities.
And now, in a recent study published in Food Chemistry, Indian researchers found out why: These fruits have tremendous antioxidant potential, thanks to bioactive compounds called "phenolics."
Some of the weird fruits with tongue-twisting names they looked at in the study included kilmora (a.k.a. "tree turmeric," a source of berberine), a type of fig called "bedu," a type of wild strawberry called "kiphaliya," and a type of apricot called "chuli."
But there were three fruits in particular that turned out to be GOLDMINES of antioxidant activity:
- Harad (Terminalia chebula, a.k.a. haritaki or "Ink Nut"), which has been shown to fight bacterial infections (including fighting some nasty bugs like Staphylococcus and H. pylori), prevent liver toxicity, heal ulcers, fight diabetes (by reducing blood sugar and stimulating insulin activity), and even kill cancer cells.
- Anwla (Phyllanthus emblica, a.k.a. amla or "Indian gooseberry"), which is a fruit that comes from the emblica tree, which Hindus consider sacred as the home of the Hindi god Vishnu. High in vitamin C, it's proven to relieve gut problems (including ulcers) and protect the liver.
- Kaphal (Myrica esculenta, a.k.a. kafal, kaiphal, or "Bay-berry") is used by Ayurvedic practitioners to fight allergies and asthma.
Now, these fruits might seem a little far-fetched, but the science of them makes sense to me.
We know that phenolic compounds -- including gallic acid, catechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid -- are known to reduce free radicals. And that antioxidant activity is so miraculous for your health because it can actually slow down the aging process, protect your organs, and keep disease at bay.
If the Himalayas aren't on your list of places to vacation this year -- or any year, for that matter -- you can fortunately find some of these fruits in supplement form.
Harad is frequently included in the Ayurvedic herbal formula called "triphala," and kaphal as part of an Ayurvedic formula for respiratory support. You can also find a traditional Ayurvedic preparation of anwla on its own, in powder form.
And, if all else fails, stick with the tried-and-true by loading up on any of the antioxidant-rich dark berries that you can find at your local supermarket (or, better yet, farmer's market).