As 2009 starts to wind down, we at the L.A. Times Booster Shots blog have been wondering what the next trendy health fruit will be -- you know, the superfruit that Oprah or Dr. Oz or Dr. Perricone will swear by in 2010, the one that is packed with all the condensed healing power that the ancients knew about but we modern dunderheads have overlooked.
Acai -- so yesterday. Mangosteen, goji -- yawn. Pomegranates and kiwi -- barely exotic, really. (Apples pears, grapes, strawberries, bananas? What a waste of time.)
So it was a thrill to receive news from a public relations firm -- about a fruit called the maqui berry.
There's been some buzz about it, but we don't sense the maqui has come into its own quite yet. Never heard of it? Wonder how it's pronounced? Those things in and of themselves make the maqui berry prime superfruit material.
And there's more: According to the press materials, the maqui -- a purple berry from the Patagonia region of South America -- is "traditionally used by the indigenous Mapuche Indians for supporting stamina, increasing strength, and promoting healthy immune response. The only unconquered Native American Indians in all of the Americas, the Mapuche Indians’ legendary strength and stamina are attributed to drinking a fermented Maqui drink several times a day. Research shows Maqui is the highest antioxidant superfruit in the world — two to three times higher than acai, pomegranate, goji berry, or mangosteen."
The only other contender we've heard of recently for superfruit sash-of-the-year is the prickly pear, in a release that made reference to a Disney tune sung by Baloo the bear, and that's just not going to hack it next to ancient brews quaffed by unconquered Patagonian Indians.
Me, though -- I'm still rooting for the fruit of the baobab because the tree looks ridiculous and it's pollinated by bats. (Oprah: Can't you give the lowly baobab a boost?)
-- Rosie Mestel
Photo: Superfruits, like this mangosteen, wax and wane in popularity.