7 Exotic Fruits That Are Even Healthier Than You Think

You already know that fruit is good for you, and you may even know that fruit is full of fiber, which helps regulate your digestion and is low in sodium, fat, and calories. While you may eat plenty of common fruits like bananas, apples, berries, and oranges, there are hundreds of unknown fruits that each contain their own cocktail of antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins that keep the body healthy while fighting against free radicals in your body.

Keep your banana-a-day routine, but make the effort seek out these exotic fruits that are not only beneficial to your health, but offer tastes and textures you’ve probably never tried. These fruits hail from the Amazon, Central America, India, and Southeast Asia and are loved for their taste as much as their physical and mental health benefits.

1. Rambutan

image of lots of Rambutans

Rambutan | Source: iStock

If want to lose weight, boost your energy, or even improve your sperm quality and quantity, rambutan may be the fruit you’ve been missing. Rambutans are often confused for the better known lychee fruit as they both have red exterior shells and white, milky insides that are oval in shape. Rambutans are rich in vitamin C, which helps with sperm production, they have a high carbohydrate and protein content which gives an instant energy boost, and they are high in fiber, low in calories, and full of water, which decreases hunger. For weight reduction, the rambutan seeds can be eaten raw or crushed on top of a salad. Rambutan fruit are native to Malaysia and Indonesia.

2. Physalis

This fruit is also known as a cape gooseberry or a ground-cherry, but has nothing in common with a gooseberry or a cherry. Rather, this exotic fruit is closely related to the tomato. Not only can this fruit be used in ways similar to tomatoes, but also it can be dried and seeped in boiled water like a loose-leaf tea to treat laryngitis, diabetes, and lung disease. Physalis is packed with vitamin A, which helps maintain good eyesight, skin health, and immunity. These fruits are native to Central and South America.

3. Jabuticaba

Jabuticaba on a tree branch

Jabuticaba | Source: iStock

This fruit is similar to the grape in color and use, but unlike its commonly known relative, Jabuticaba grows directly on the trunk of the native Brazilian tree of the same name. Jabuticaba has anti-inflammatory properties, is rich in protein, helps treat diarrhea, and naturally fights against hair loss. On top of it all, the fruit naturally aids the liver in detoxing the body (great for hangovers) and is being studied as a natural cancer treatment.

4. Kiwano

This fruit, which is also called a horned melon or an African horned cucumber is native to Southern Africa but is also grown in Australia and New Zealand. Kiwanos have an orange or gold outer layer that is covered in small spikes. This fruit is comprised of over 80% water making it a perfect, water-packed snack to keep you full without excess calories. Even though Kiwano is low in calories, it is nutrient rich with a potent, antioxidant form of vitamin E, vitamin A for vision health, and is linked to slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.    

5. Mangosteen

Mangosteen Fruit on a table

Mangosteen | Source: iStock

Fruit lovers tend to love mangosteens for their white, juicy insides and exotic purple, yellow, or orange exteriors. They’re native to Southeast Asia and Africa, but are also grown in Sri Lanka and India where there is enough humidity and precipitation to sustain them. The fruit is sweet, mildly tangy, and very fragrant. Mangosteens are a good source of vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, which help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. In addition, they’re packed full of potassium, copper, and magnesium.

6. Cherimoya

These fruits were loved by Mark Twain and can be found in the temperate climates of Ecuador, Peru, and Southern California. Cherimoya is also called a soursop, anone, and colloquial monikers among other nicknames. They are the size of a large grapefruit with a flavor that resembles a mix of pineapple and banana. With no saturated fat or cholesterol and plenty of fiber and iron, Cherimoyas contain cytotoxins that are said to fight cancer, malaria, and human parasites. Other studies have found that cherimoyas can relieve headaches, pain, and depression.

7. Cupuaçu

Cupuaçu (pronounced koo-poo-ah-soo) is grown in the Amazon Rainforest in northern Brazil where it is called “the pharmacy in a fruit” for it’s extensive nutritional benefits. Cupuaçu is said to taste like a mix of chocolate, bananas, pear, passion fruit, and pineapple. It’s related to cacao and improves mood and energy without the use of caffeine. It stimulates the immune system so the body can fight disease, lowers cholesterol, improves libido, and leads to healthier skin and hair.

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet: