It’s hard to believe there are foods we can’t get here in the U.S. But there are. An example is the incredible soursop juice so abundant in tropical places like Jamaica. Not only can’t we get the juice – believe me, I tried – but we can’t even get the fruit it comes from.
That fruit is called graviola, a most unusual fruit that can grow up to an impressive 14 pounds.
Unless you’ve traveled to Central and South America or Jamaica, you’ve probably never heard of it. We can’t grow it here – the conditions just aren’t ideal – and it doesn’t survive transport very well.
But pay attention – because you’re going to start seeing it as an ingredient. And whether it’s in tea, super infused coffee bars that taste like premium chocolate, or super premium skin care products, there are wonderful ways to get graviola’s benefits.
I was recently a guest on KATU, an ABC-TV affiliate in Portland, Oregon. Because I’m the author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” and because my partner Michelle and I travel to the tropics a lot, they wanted me to talk about superfoods in the tropics from guava to graviola.
If you’ve ever been to the tropics, there’s one standout feature of the people who live there that you’ve probably noticed – their skin. I’m not talking about any one race here – our “second home” is St. Martin, which has people from 81 different nationalities. Yet, “Caribbean Skin” is a real thing, which makes me wonder, “What exactly do these people do to keep their skin looking so clean, fresh and young, even though they’re exposed to more sun than we are?”
Well one thing they do is eat a lot of remarkably nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables (hence my segment on KATU “from Guava to graviola!”.)
But here’s the thing: they just eat these plants. They also make tea out of the leaves. They make skin creams out of the fruit. These super-plants of the Caribbean provide food, they provide medicine, and they even provide skin care. Folks there consider graviola to be a medicinal plant.
Which makes sense. Graviola is loaded with vitamin C and a host of other nutrients such as quercetin, tangeretin and luteolin, all of which function as antioxidants. In fact, quercetin has long been one of my favorite dietary supplements for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its antibacterial ones.
So why don’t we see graviola in our local Whole Foods?
Well, frankly, because it’s a finicky, delicate plant and takes very careful handling to preserve its nutritional wealth. You have to really know what you’re doing to grow graviola in the right way, under the right conditions, and to process it carefully to preserve its nutritional bounty.
One company doing it right is Agravitae. They have developed patented processes to ensure their Graviola Tea, super premium skin care products (which I adore!) and Super Infused Bars (really yummy!) maintain the rich supply of nutrients found naturally in graviola fruit.
Just because we don’t have graviola in our supermarkets doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy its benefits.