Travelling can be so much fun, especially when you know a little about your destination in advance. And this applies to local foods as well. Here are five exotic fruits that are available in different parts of the world. Most of these fruits are nutritious and loaded with health benefits.
- Lychees are found in China, India, and Taiwan, and belong to the soapberry family. The lychee, or litchi, is small white fleshy fruits, covered in a red rind. They’re rich in vitamin C and have a grape-like texture. The fruit is now easily available in markets worldwide, either fresh or canned.
- Lychees can help prevent blood clots and cell damage, and reduce the likelihood of strokes for patients suffering from heart diseases. This fruit is also considered a good source of carbohydrates and fibre.
- The dragon fruit is prominently found in Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico and South America. Strawberry pear, or pitaya, as it’s locally known, is a night flowering vine that resembles a cactus. The fruit is sweet and juicy, making it a popular choice. The most common dragon fruit is the red pitaya, but other varieties include the Costa Rica pitaya and the yellow pataya. You can drink the juice from this fruit, or use it to make delicious homemade wine. Dragon fruits are commonly used in preserves and spreads, in salads, sorbets and even fruit pizza.
- Dragon fruit can help lower blood glucose levels, fight harmful free radicals, stimulate the metabolism due to its protein content, and help in tissue development. So if you happen to spot this fruit, be sure to give it a try!
- Passion fruits are found in South America, India, New Zealand and Brazil. This fruit has a soft, juicy interior that is full of seeds, and can be used to make juice to boost the flavor quotient. There are two types of passion fruit: the golden one (maracuyá), which is similar to a grapefruit, and the dark purple passion fruit (gulupa), which is about the size of a lemon. But be careful of those dark purple passion fruits; they can be harmful or even toxic.
- Passion fruits have phenolic acids and flavonoids which are supposed to have a heart-protecting function and are known for their anti-microbial activities. This fruit is also rich in vitamins C and A, and potassium.
- Rose apples are common throughout South Asia. It is also known as champoo, and is considered one of the most exotic fruits on this planet since it smells and tastes a lot like roses. These bell-shaped fruits are crisp, crunchy and have a deliciously fresh flavor. Rose apples are frequently boiled in water to make rose water.
- Rose apple fruits can help with diabetes, piles, diarrhea, and sterility in females, and can combat dysentery and liver problems.
- This fruit is found in Malaysia and Indonesia. It is called salak or snake fruit because of its brown, scaly skin which resembles a serpent. It grows in clusters at the bottom of a palm tree and it looks almost like a fig. Salak tastes sweet and acidic at the same time, and its consistency varies from dry and crumbly, to moist and crunchy. Snake fruit helps treat constipation, heartburns and hemorrhoids.
So next time you are travelling to some exotic destination (or out at your local produce market), make sure you keep an eye out for these exotic, bizarre fruits. They’re a sweet treat, and loaded with health benefits as well! - Alekhya Reddy and Pic courtesy: pixabay.com