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17 Unique and Nutritious Fruits

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Every fruit lover has their go-to favorites. Bananas, apples, and melons are popular choices worldwide and can be purchased almost anywhere.

Although some people are happy eating the same fruits every day, you may want a bit more variety.

Interestingly, thousands of fruits grow around the globe, some of which you may have never heard of.

Here are 17 unique and nutritious fruits to try.

1. Rambutan

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Rambutans are the reddish fruits of the Nephelium lappaceum tree, which is native to Southeast Asia.

Technically classified as berries, rambutans are small and grow in clusters. Their leathery skin is covered in hair-like spikes known as spinterns (1).

Their grape-like, gelatinous flesh tastes sweet, yet slightly tart.

Rambutans are particularly rich in vitamin C, providing 40% of the Daily Value (DV) per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving. This water-soluble vitamin boasts powerful antioxidant and immune-boosting properties (2).

2. Pawpaw

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Pawpaws (Asimina triloba) are the largest edible fruit native to the United States. Historically, they’ve been essential to several Native American nations and provided sustenance for early European explorers and settlers (3).

Pawpaws can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. They have a greenish-yellow hue when ripe and a sweet, somewhat tropical taste (4).

This bulbous fruit is packed with nutrients, especially vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and iron. It’s also loaded with powerful polyphenol antioxidants (45).

Its delicate flesh and short shelf life limit its availability. Nonetheless, you can get pawpaws from specialty growers or farmers markets in the United States when they’re in season.

3. Kiwano (Horned melon)

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Kiwano (Cucumis metuliferus), also known as horned melon or jelly melon, is the delectable fruit from a vine native to Africa. It belongs to the same family as cucumbers and melons.

Its vivid, orange skin is covered in small spikes, while its flesh is jelly-like and vibrant green or yellow. Although the seeds are edible, some people prefer to eat only the flesh.

Kiwano is a good source of many nutrients, particularly vitamin C and magnesium. Plus, animal research suggests it may help lower blood sugar levels, which may be helpful for people with diabetes (67).

4. Loquat

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Loquats are the small, highly nutritious fruits of the Eriobotrya japonica tree. They’re yellow, orange, or reddish, depending on the variety.

Loquats are particularly rich in carotenoids — plant pigments with powerful health-promoting properties. For example, eating a carotenoid-rich diet may help protect against heart disease and certain types of cancer (89).

These sweet, citrusy fruits can be eaten raw or incorporated into both sweet and savory dishes. Loquats can be found at some specialty grocery stores.

5. Jujube

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Not to be confused with the candies of the same name, jujubes — also known as Chinese dates or red dates — are nutrient-dense fruits native to Southeast Asia.

Though jujubes can be eaten fresh, they’re more commonly eaten dried because they take on a sweet, candy-like taste and chewy texture.

Both fresh and dried jujubes are a nutritious choice. These small fruits are packed with fiber, vitamin C, and flavonoid antioxidants (1011).

6. Star fruit

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Star fruit, also called carambola, is a tropical fruit with a star-like shape. Its unique shape and bright color make it a popular add-in for fruit salads and cheese plates.

Yellow when ripe, this fruit has a juicy texture and slightly tart taste. Star fruit is a convenient, portable snack choice because the entire fruit is edible.

Carambola is low in calories, containing only 38 per large fruit (124 grams), but it also offers plenty of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and copper. In particular, its rich supply of insoluble fiber promotes healthy bowel movements and overall digestive health (1213).

7. Black sapote

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Black sapote (Diospyros nigra) is closely related to persimmons. Often called “chocolate pudding fruit,” black sapote has dark brown, custard-like pulp that’s somewhat reminiscent of chocolate pudding.

This tropical fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing over 200% of the DV per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (14).

Native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, black sapote isn’t frequently sold in stores but can be purchased online from specialty growers when in season.

8. Jackfruit

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Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) can weigh up to 110 pounds (50 kg). Native to India, this fruit is covered in tiny, cone-like projections (15).

Its flesh has a banana-like aroma and sweet flavor when ripe. Unripe jackfruit is often used as a vegan meat replacement due to its mild taste and meaty texture.

What’s more, it’s an excellent source of many nutrients, including vitamin C, several B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants. Some research even suggests that it may help lower your blood sugar (15).

9. Cherimoya

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Cherimoya, or custard apple, is a unique fruit prized for its sweet, creamy flesh. It’s native to South America but grown in tropical regions worldwide.

The creamy flesh of these green, heart-shaped fruits is commonly scooped out with a spoon.

Cherimoya is loaded with fiber, vitamin C, several B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. This nutrient-dense fruit also provides antioxidants that may protect against cellular damage (1617).

10. Soursop

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Soursop (Annona muricata) is an oval-shaped fruit covered with tiny spines. It can reach upwards of 15 pounds (6.8 kg) and takes on a yellow-green hue when ripe. It has a distinctly sweet-and-sour flavor (18).

Test-tube and animal studies demonstrate that soursop may provide anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetes, and anticancer effects, though human research is limited (19).

Though cultivated in tropical regions, soursop can be purchased online through speciality fruit distributors.

11. Husk cherries

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Husk cherries, also known as golden berries, Cape gooseberries, Inca berries, or Peruvian groundcherries, are small, yellow fruits with a sweet, grape-like flavor.

Wrapped in an inedible papery husk, they resemble tomatillos and are often used to make jams, sauces, and desserts. They can also be eaten raw as a tasty, low-calorie snack.

They’re packed with compounds like vitamin C, numerous B vitamins, and beta carotene — a potent carotenoid antioxidant (20).

Husk cherries are grown in many parts of the world and maybe available at your local specialty grocery store or farmers market.


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