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Yumberry: The Super-High Antioxidant Subtropical Fruit From China That Will Make America Say "YUM"

First it was pomegranates, the once obscure fruit that now is showcased in antioxidant-rich fruit juices sold across the United States. Then açaí berries and goji berries entered the "superfood" market, drawing people looking for tasty and nutritious additions to their diet.


Yumberries range in color from white to pink, red and purple, but the purple variety is said to taste the best.

In 2008, a new powerhouse berry is set to hit the health-food scene, and it's one that may easily take over the market: Yumberries.

Yumberries (the new name for yang-mei fruit) have been grown and enjoyed in China for thousands of years. They look a little bit like a raspberry with a sweet-sour flavor similar to cranberry and pomegranate juice. Their texture is unique -- slightly stringy like the flesh of citrus fruit -- with a pit in the center.

Although the fresh berries (which rumor has it are delicious) cannot be imported into the United States because of pest concerns, yumberry fruit juice has already reached U.S. supermarket shelves (and products are slated to grow significantly in 2008).

You can expect to see yumberry juice mixed with other fruit juices such as cherry, blueberry and pomegranate. Like these other dark-colored juices, yumberry juice is rich in antioxidants like proanthocyanidins and contains many vitamins including vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, and carotene.

Yumberries may also be featured in slightly unorthodox products, such as wines, cocktails, bakery goods and even dairy products.


Fresh yumberries aren't available in the United States, but juiced forms are already on hand in stores.

Healthy Reasons to Give Yumberry a Try

Yumberries are rich in oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), which are antioxidants that give the fruit their color. These powerful compounds may:

  • Fight free radicals. OPC is said to fight oxidation 50 times better than vitamin E and 20 times better than vitamin C.

  • Reduce your blood pressure and protect your heart health.

  • Lower bad (LDL) cholesterol.

  • Protect your eyesight and reduce your risk of cataracts.

  • Strengthen your cell membranes.

  • Fight inflammation and associated diseases such as arthritis.

Yumberries are also said to help clear up hard-to-digest food in your stomach, cure stomachaches and "dispel summer heat." They have been used since ancient times in China for medicinal purposes, and as early as the 16th century, the well-known herbal pharmacologist Li Shi Zhen said that yumberries could:

"Eliminate sputum, stop vomiting, helpful to digestion and alcoholic drinking ... quench thirst, conciliate the five internal organs, cleanse stomach and intestines, remove the muddleheaded ... and be efficacious to cure diarrhea."

Further, because the trees have a high tolerance to pests and diseases, they are often grown organically or with few pesticides applied to them.

While yumberry trees are capable of being cultivated in the United States, particularly in the Southeast, they are not currently being grown for commercial purposes.

They are harvested only during a narrow window (from June to July), and they are very perishable (like raspberries), so unless you are traveling to China you are unlikely to find them fresh anytime soon.

However, with superfruits like yumberries slated as one of the top 10 food trends to watch for in 2008, you will likely be seeing more and more of this yummy little berry.

Recommended Reading

Papaya: The Delicious Powerhouse Fruit that Can Help Prevent Heart Disease, Cancer

From Mangoes to Butternut Squash to Carrots: Why You Need More Orange in Your Diet

Sources November 28, 2007

The New York Times December 12, 2007

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