Since my teenage years when I lost several people I loved to various illnesses, I embarked on a quest to understand the effects of fruits and vegetables on our well being. I traveled all over the world and discovered fruits indigenous and found only in certain regions. Through those travels and by talking with physicians and nutritionists, I’ve learned that these 10 Asian super fruits for good health and skin truly uphold their reputation as healers of everything from simple canker sores to fevers to even cancer.
ASIAN PEAR (Chinese, Japanese and Korean origins)- with a skin that ranges from light to dark brown, the Asian pear (also known as Japanese pear, Korean pear- there are numerous varieties) resembles and apple in shape and a regular pear in taste. A good Asian pear will however be far juicier (and sometimes sweeter) than either apples or pears and in Asian medicine is believed to be of “yang” or cooling energy.
High in fiber and Vitamin C, Asian pears are lauded for aiding in digestion, eye health, heart health, lowering cholesterol and supports healthy weight loss.
The United State Center for Disease Control estimates that the average sized Asian pear contains a measly 50 calories– making this a must-have fruit for anyone concerned about healthy eating and/or weight loss.
For external use, you can slice wedges of a refrigerated Asian pear (I prefer without skin for a smoother texture) and use one wedge on each eye as a compress to help with puffiness and dark circles. Simply leave on for 10 to 15 minutes, rinse your face with cold water and apply moisturizer around the eyes. Asian pears have the same effect on eyes as cucumbers and tea bags.
CANTALOUPE (Iranian origins)- incredibly high in Vitamins A and C, beta-carotene (promotes healthy eyesight), blood thinning adenosine and potassium to deliver oxygen to the brain (which helps reduce overall stress levels), this sweet, juicy fruit is great for a quick breakfast on the go or mid-day snacks. Cantaloupe is believed to significantly reduce the harmful effects of smoking, cardiovascular disease and obesity with its high levels of folate and carotenoids (the bright orange, yellow and red pigments plants synthesize).
Cantaloupe is also an anti-inflammatory fruit, which used topically, is great for reducing the redness and size of pimples.
Mash a large wedge of cantaloupe (without skin and seeds) using a large fork until it becomes a rough pulp and juices flow out (just a few mashes should suffice). Standing with your face over a sink, rub the mashed cantaloupe all over your face or over any problem areas for just a minute or so. Let all the pulp fall to the sink but allow the juice to remain on your face for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing.
This is a bit messy but as long as you wipe up any juice that dribbles down your neck after initial application, the juice on your face should slightly dry up and allow you to tend to other things during the 10 to 15 minutes.
KIWI (Chinese origins)- packing more Vitamin C than an orange, kiwi has also been the subject of extensive phytonutrient research, demonstrating an extraordinary ability to protect DNA from oxygen damage. Its high content of Vitamin C and fiber make this super fruit a strong fighter of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Folic acid and Vitamin E are also strong aspects of kiwi’s allure.
For skincare use, leading cosmetic companies have turned kiwi essence into one of the “it” ingredients, touting a myriad of youth promoting benefits.
As part of a simple twice-weekly routine, slice a kiwi in half with the skin trimmed around the edge. Rub firmly all over your face and leave the juices on for 15 minutes before rinsing off and following with your usual skincare products.
KUMQUAT (Chinese origin)-these tiny citrus-tasting jewels are the fruits of an evergreen tree native to Southern China. Unlike other citrus fruits, kumquats can be eaten whole with their skin on. Ranging in flavor from the extreme tangy to lightly sweet, kumquats are highly rich in Vitamins C and B-complex. They also contain notable amounts of calcium and potassium.
In addition to the usual properties of super fruits in this category including being a strong fighter against cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and flus/colds, kumquats are also known to help speed up the healing all types of wounds.
As part of a skincare routine, squeeze the juice of one or more kumquats (depending on how juicy they are) onto a large cotton pad and gently wipe all over your face, particularly in the t-zone for those with oily or combination skin. Leave on for at least 15 minutes up to 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water.
Lychee (Chinese origins)- packing more Vitamin C than many citrus fruits, lychees provide more than the recommended daily dosage for adults in just a large handful of these super fruits. Also rich in Vitamins B-complex, folates, thiamin and niacin, lychees are powerful fighters against the flu, early aging and helps in metabolic functions.
A polyphenol called Oligonol is found in abundance in lychee- helping to protect against harmful uv rays, cancers and overall blood flow.
For skincare, lychee essence is used in many global brands’ anti-wrinkle and whitening creams. You can derive the same benefits as these expensive face creams by squeezing the juice from 2 or 3 fresh lychees onto a large cotton pad and saturating your face with the juice. Leave on as a mask for 15 to 30 minutes. You can do this 1 time per week for maintenance or up to 3 times per week for more aggressive anti-wrinkle and whitening effects.
MANGO (Indian origins) – this fragrantly sweet super fruit is rich in Vitamins A, C, B-6 and E, beta-carotene, copper and fiber. All of these elements combine to create a tropical fruit that is a powerful fighter against cancers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. It also promotes healthy vision, production of red blood cells and boosts the immune system.
Green mangos shares many of these properties but boasts other health benefits since it has less sugar content. It has long been used in Asia as a cooling agent for overheating and constipation.
To help control acne and enlarged pores, blend ½ cup of fresh mango chunks with ½ cup plain unsweetened yogurt using a blender or food processor. Carefully slather onto your face and leave on as a mask for 15 to 20 minutes 1x per week for maintenance of 2x per week for more aggressive action.
MANGOSTEEN (Indonesian and Malaysian origins)- a treasured fruit in Asia, this super fruit has a deep purple eggplant color of a thick skin before revealing its soft, creamy flesh within. With a sweetness that resembles a cross of lychee and mango, mangosteens explode with incredibly juiciness, making it a prized fruit for combating dehydration and overheating.
Its most lauded attribute is the high content of a polyphenol called xanthones- a biologically active compound rarely found in nature. Xanthones is believed to be a strong fighter against nearly every major known ailment to man, and along with mangosteen’s myriad of antioxidants and Vitamin C, this super fruit fights the usual suspects such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancers, auto-immune deficiencies, inflammation, constipation, diabetes, diarrhea, Alzheimer’s and even skin disorders.
For skincare, mangosteen essence is one of the most highly prized natural ingredients organic beauty companies have been using in their damage protection products. At home, you can take the thick peel (skin) of the mangosteen and rub the insides all over your face as a kind of firm exfoliator and massager in one. Do this for about 10 to 15 minutes 2 to 3 times a week before rinsing and following with your regular skin care routine.
PERSIMMON (Chinese origins)- this bright orange colored fruit is sweet and juicy when properly ripe; if you taste a slightly bitter flavor and feel a sandpaper-ish sensation, the persimmon is either not ripe yet or just not a good one. Packed with an enormous amount of fiber and antioxidants including Vitamins A, C, B-complex and B-6, beta-carotene, manganese and lycopene, persimmons are considered to be one of nature’s super fighters against free radical damage.
Including persimmons in your regular diet will help stave off the aging process as well as help fight against cancers, obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammation, infections and bad eye-sight.
The empresses and princesses in China have for centuries used persimmon for skincare, citing its brightening and moisturizing benefits. You can take a few chunks of fresh persimmon and mash with a fork to form a pulp. Gently rub all over your face for a few minutes, allowing just the juice to remain on your face for about 15 minutes before rinsing with cold water and following with your regular toner and moisturizer.
POMEGRANATE (Iranian origins)- this “ruby of the Orient” features a deep pinkish to red thick skin with hundreds of edible seeds within that burst with juiciness and a tart sweetness. In recent years, pomegranate has become the darling of the medical and skincare worlds. With numerous antioxidants including a compound called punicalagins, which is found only in pomegranates, this super fruit has been extensively studied and shown to aggressively fight heart disease, cancers, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Some studies have even led to the belief that pomegranates pack more antioxidants than the all powerful green tea.
Using pomegranates for skincare provides benefits that include anti-aging, anti-inflammation and anti-microbial. Take a few tablespoons full of fresh pomegranate seeds and mash with a fork to force the juices out. Pour the juice onto a large cotton pad and gently wipe it all over your face. You can leave it on as a mask for about 20 minutes up to 3 times per week or leave it on (overnight) as a toner before following with a moisturizer.
STARFRUIT (Indonesian, Indian and Sri Lankan origins)- this bright yellow fruit with edible skin has a unique, tartly sweet flavor and like watermelon, is very low in calorie due to its high water content. Rich in fiber, Vitamins B-complex and C, folate and antioxidant flavonoids, starfruits, also known as carambola, are a strong anti-inflammatory and fights against high cholesterol, constipation and obesity. For those on weight loss programs, this is a “star” fruit to include as a prominent part of the diet.
The only caveat in eating starfruit is for those with kidney problems. Ongoing studies are attempting to determine why starfruit has had an adverse and sometimes fatal effect on people with unhealthy kidneys.
You can use starfruit to combat acne and oily skin by slicing into the fruit and rubbing its juices all over your face (or problem areas only) and leaving the juice on as a mask for about 20 minutes before rinsing with cool water. For serious acne, use the starfruit mask up to 3 times per week; for maintenance, you can use it once a week.