Exotic fruits could improve health

Swapping traditional fruit and vegetables for exotic fruits and alternative options could be better for a person's health, a survey has found.

A healthy five-a-day diet could prevent needing obesity treatment or even prevent certain types of cancer.

According to data from US health surveys, the highest sources of phytonutrients, the chemicals that protect the heart and arteries and can prevent people from needing cancer treatment, are found in less common sources of fruit and vegetables.

Researchers, who presented their findings at the 2010 Experimental Biology conference in California, revealed that switching from carrots to sweet potatoes would nearly double beta-carotene intake, while papaya provides more nutrients than oranges.

Other alternatives included eating kale instead of spinach and raspberries over strawberries.

Dr Emma Williams from the British Nutrition Foundation commented: "They are right that some foods are richer sources of phytonutrients.

"But at the end of the day, to be healthy you need to make sure you have a varied and balanced diet."

She added: "No one food can give you everything you need."

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