20 Bizarre But Healthy Super Foods

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Here at Ethnic Foods R Us, we like to share ethnic foods that are everyday fare for cultures around the world, but unusual and “ethnic” foods to people of other cultures. But we also promote healthy diets and eating habits.

So, in keeping with that secondary purpose, this post will provide you with a list of 20 bizarre but healthy super foods you should know about and have in your diet. Looks can be deceiving, but these foods are loaded with health benefits.


1. Millet

public domain

Yep, good old bird feed, a staple in lots of the mixes you put out for our feathered friends. But you should be eating this yourself.

A gluten-free food, Millet is chocked full of phytic acid, fiber, magnesium, and Magnese, and not only safe for human consumption, very beneficial. Magnese promotes good development of connective tissues and bones, and get this – Millet is sexy too, it promotes the production of sex hormones in the body.

If you can’t find millet locally, you can purchase some if you go here, on our online foods store.


2. Chicken Liver

20 Bizarre But Healthy Super Foods

(Photo Attributed to Author: Poupou l’quourouce)

Lots of people are familiar with, and like, chicken liver pate, but with its ability to deliver to the body a lot of iron, Vitanims A and B12, it should be an inclusion in your diet as an ingredient in menu items as well. Or just sauté some up in butter and eat with a little salt and pepper – delicious.

Another health benefit is how it helps keep your thyroid healthy, because of the Folate it contains, which also promotes fertility.


3. Kohlrabi

(Photo Attributed to Author: Anita Martinz from Klagenfurt, Austria)

(Photo Attributed to Author: Anita Martinz from Klagenfurt, Austria)

This weird looking vegetable is actually a cousin to broccoli and cabbage, but looks more like a turnip with a bunch of spires sprouting out of it. Usually purple or sometimes a light green color, kohlrabi contains a large level of potassium and Vitamin C, as well as many cancer-fighting phytochemicals.

It makes a great addition to salads, and can be added as a tasty and healthy addition to your stir-fry dishes.


4. Amaranth

(Photo Attributed to Author: Dwight Sipler from Stow, MA, USA)

This attractive plant produces a grain that excels over wheat with its extremely high fiber content. Loaded with Vitamins A and C, and potassium, Amaranth is a very good food anytime, but especially good for people recovering from injury or illness, because it is very gentle on the digestive system.

If you can’t find Amaranth locally, you can purchase some if you go here, on our online foods store.


5. Blood Pudding/Sausage

blood pudding

(Photo Attributed to Author: Rainer Zenz at German Wikipedia)

I know, I know, most people are like, “Seriously? Pudding made from blood?”

But yes, this food, quite popular in England, is made from the dried blood of cows or pigs. It tastes like sausage, is often sold in sausage form, and contains “heam,” which is a type of iron.

Heam happens to be the form of iron most readily absorbed by the human body, hence, it is valuable in aiding in the defense against anemia.

Brave enough to try it? You can get some if you go here, on our online foods store.


6. Calf Liver

calf liver

(Photo Attributed to Author- de:Benutzer:Uwe Gille)

People who suffer with migraine headaches should be taking this food, which studies have proven reduces the severity and frequency of the dreaded migraine.

It is also a real delicacy when prepared properly, and super healthy for you, with high levels of Vitamins A and B.


7. Cod Liver Oil

cod liver oil

(Photo Attributed to Author: Adrian Wold – Woldo)

I remember my Grandmother Vanbuskirk always swore by this stuff, she took it in liquid form, claiming it alleviated her arthritis pains, and would make me take a tablespoon of the nasty tasting elixir whenever I had a bad cold or the flu.

Turns out she was right about the arthritis, as well as the aches and pains symptoms of a severe cold or the flu, too. Chocked full of Vitamins A and D, cod liver oil has been scientifically proven to indeed help alleviate pains associated with arthritis, various body aches and pains, and additionally can lessen pains for those suffering from MS.

And nowadays you don’t have to insult your taste buds with cod liver oil, because it comes in soft gel form, which glides down the throat with ease and gets to work for you. Want to try some? You can purchase cod liver oil if you go here, to our online foods store.


8. Marmite

marmite

(Photo Attributed to Author: Malcolm Farmer)

Made from the extract of yeast, Marmite is tasty in spread form, and has several valuable qualities, being very low in calories and suger, and it is 100% vegan.

Also, Marmite is an excellent source of protein and various minerals which aid in breaking down the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in your foods intake – which creates fast delivery of energy to the body and promotes health in the digestive and nervous systems.

Use it as a yummy and healthy alternative to sugar-saturated jams, jellies and preserves.

Marmite can be found here, in our online foods store.


9. Wheat Grass

(Photo Attributed to Author: Malyadri)

(Photo Attributed to Author: Malyadri)

Becoming popular to athletes, joggers, and health nuts alike, Wheatgrass is usually pulverized into a liquid form and taken as a drink, either in power shots by itself, or as an ingredient in superfood smoothies or shakes.

Regarded as healthier than almost any other veggie on the planet, Wheatgrass is a health supplement that cleanses and purifies the body from toxins. To purchase wheatgrass, Click Here.


10. Rambutans

(Photo Attributed to Author: Surukuku - Nelson Ramos-Lopes)

(Photo Attributed to Author: Surukuku – Nelson Ramos-Lopes)

When I first tried eating a Rambutan (you eat the white, soft, kind of gooey flesh inside) I felt like I was munching on a big, sweet and sour eyeball.

Now I’m not a cannibal, and no, I’ve never really eaten an eyeball. But if I were to imagine what the texture of an eyeball is in the mouth, it would be quite the same, I think.

Nevertheless, this bizarre looking critter (if you saw one on the floor, you’d react by wanting to stomp on it like some ugly and scary, spiny red bug) has tremendous health benefits. Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, Rambutans look similar to a cherry, but with little hairy spikes all over it.

Rambutans are a true fruit, growing on trees, and is a super-duper-superfruit, loaded with many essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese and zinc. Eat them raw, or use them to make uber-healthy jams and jellies. Get some here, in our online foods store.


11. Jack Fruit

jack fruit

(Photo Attributed to Author: Shahnoor Habib Munmun)

This ugly and odd superfruit is a monster – one Jack Fruit, when mature and ripe, will weigh between 15 and 18 pounds!

The name is rather put-offish, too, conjuring up images of some back-alley creep, or perhaps a stuffed animal you might let your dog chew on.

The largest of all tree-growing fruits known to man, Jack Fruit supplies to the body copious amounts of Vitamin C, as well as a generous helping of manganese, which is well known for its aid in facilitating maximum function of the brain.

Just don’t be standing under the tree when one drops and your head and you get “brained” by a Jack Fruit!


12. Star Fruit

star fruit

(Photo Attributed to Author: SMasters)

The “star” like appearance happens when you slice (in a crosscut) these yummy superfruits. Indigenous to regions of the world such as Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, where they are also known as “carambola”, the whole fruit is edible – including the skin.

It can be picked off the tree and eaten right then and there, because Star Fruits are 100% natural and organic. Star Fruit Trees have never been sprayed with pesticides or fertilized with chemical-ridden fertilizers. This tasty little treat will deliver your body many benefits, including high portions of Vitamin C, and also potassium and fiber.

Star Fruits are delicious raw, and also make for delicious juices and preserves. You can purchase Star Fruits here, on our online foods store.


13. Hemp Milk

(Photo Attributed to Author: Veganbaking.net)

(Photo Attributed to Author: Veganbaking.net)

Now don’t go getting all excited. Drinking Hemp Milk will not get you high. (wink) But the health benefits will surely make your body more euphoric. One of the more recent additions to the growing “alternative” milks, like soy milk and almond milk, Hemp Milk has an amazingly long list of ways it can improve and assist your body’s health.

The poor, much-maligned marijuana plant, which has been the cause of millions of incarcerations over the years due to illegal smoking or intake of the THC cannabis produces, has scads of useful purposes – one of which is drinking this amazing milk elixir.

An excellent source of calcium, iron and vitamins, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, try drinking a tall glass of Hemp Milk instead of cow’s milk before your morning jog or exercise session.


14. Beef Brain

(Photo Attributed to Author: Javier Lastras)

(Photo Attributed to Author: Javier Lastras)

This superfood is another one of those, “Oh. My. God. You have got to be kidding me!” items. Well, unless you’re from Mexico or certain regions of Europe, like Italy and France, where it is considered a delicacy.

But yes, we are discussing, and recommending, that you eat the brains of cows.

Why?

Because beef brains are jam-packed with protein, for one reason, and they also deliver to the body an extremely valuable omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA.

There was a frightening occurrence of “mad cow” disease some years back, but reports are that the scare is over, and cow brains are again completely safe to eat. Sorry, our online foods store does not carry them, but you can surely put in a request and obtain them at your local butcher shop or meat market.


15. Cherimoya

public domain

Also known as a “custard apple” because of its creamy and soft interior flesh, the Cherimoya looks a tad like an avocado at first glance.

I’ve not yet tasted this one, but I want to, with several people having told me it is absolutely delicious with a flavor and texture reminiscent of pineapple and banana combined. You can eat it raw by itself, or as an ingredient in an exotic fruit cocktail of smoothie.

Packed full of Vitamin C and containing more fiber than an apple, definitely add Cherimoyas to your regimen of healthy eating habits.


16. Arame

arame public domain

Seafood is always healthy for you, but this particular seafood is not fish or lobster or squid, no – we’re talking about a plant.

Collected off the coast of Japan, Arame is typically sold in dried form, and rehydrated before used in meal preparations. Japanese cooks use Arame in lots of dishes such as soups and even muffins.

The reason Arame is on the list of superfoods is due to its rich amounts of iron, magnesium, vitamin A, calcium, and iodine, supplies.

You can get some if you go here, in our online foods store.


17. Dragonfruit

(Photo Attributed to Author: SMasters)

(Photo Attributed to Author: SMasters)

To me, the “Dragonfruit” looks more like a pink hand grenade than a dragon. Sometimes known as a “pitaya”, the Dragonfruit is actually the fruit of a cactus plant.

Unfortunately, Dragonfruit is not the tastiest of fruits, but the health benefits make its consumption well worth it. Low in sugar, and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin C, it might be a bland tasting experience, but this odd looking fruit is excellent food for you. Try blending it together with some more tastier foods in your dishes, and let the goodness roll!

Get some Dragonfruit here.


18. Buddha’s Hand

buddhas hand public domain

It really does look kind of like a hand. A weird hand, to be sure, like something out of an alien or monster movie, but hey – you can see why Buddha’s Hand got its name. Personally, I think whoever named this superfood was high on LSD, teehee, but it matters not. Buddha’s Hand, native to Japan and China, is well known there for its aromatic qualities – they actually use it as a room and/or clothes freshener.

With a taste reminiscent of lemons, it is chocked full of Vitamin C, and I’m sure if you try a Buddha’s Hand, my bet is it will really grab you!

Sorry, our online food store does not currently offer the fruits, but you can buy and grow your own potted and already flowering Buddha’s Hand plant, if you click here.


19. Kiwano

public domain

You might think this fruit looks more like a weapon, maybe medieval, than something you eat. A spiked orange globule that appears like it could do severe bodily harm, it is quite the opposite – a superfruit that will do nothing but aid in your body’s health.

I found Kiwano to have a taste that combines those of kiwi, cucumber and zucchini, with even a hint of banana. Really tasty. Kiwano is indigenous to Africa, and is an excellent source of potassium and vitamins C and A.


20. Kim Chee

Kimchi

(Photo Attributed to Author: Nagyman, a flickr user)

Lastly, but certainly not least, is the original to and popular in Korea food, spicy fermented veggies (usually cabbage and radishes), called Kim Chee, or Kimchi. It is definitely an acquired taste, although I took to it right away. Most people either like it immensely or dislike it equally as much. It comes in mild to medium to hot to very hot levels of spiciness, and has a tangy flavor with a lot of zing to it.

Not only packed full of “good for what ails you” nutrients, this tasty superfood deliver a whopping dose of vitamin C as well as an injection of bacteria that is healthy for your digestive system and intestines.

Nowadays many of the major metropolitan food stores will carry Kimchi, but it is also fairly easy and fun to make your own. For a recipe and “how to” video, please go to this page.

Can’t buy it locally and want to purchase some already made? Find Kim Chee here, on our online foods store.


So there you have it, my list of 20 superfoods that, despite (in most cases) their odd appearance, are extremely healthy for you.

There is one more superfruit, not included on this list, that you should know about. It is not on this list because it is a superfood to beat all superfoods, in a class of its own.

I’m talking about Baobab, a fruit so rich in goodness, I did an entire post on that one by itself. To read up on Baobab, Click Here.

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21 thoughts on “20 Bizarre But Healthy Super Foods

  1. Loved this interesting read, thank you for all this information! I really want to try some of these odd but healthy foods!

  2. This is a super interesting page for sure. I never knew all of these foods were actually healthy for you.

    Although I don’t take cod liver oil specifically, I do take fish oil daily. Personally I’ve never felt any real effect of the pills but they say it’s supposed to be great for your cognitive abilities so I said why not.

    Thanks for the awesome article and the great writing. Keep up the great work! You rock!!!

    • Thanks, and you are very welcome. I remember my Grandma making me take cod liver oil as a youngster, lol.

  3. hey, what an interesting article I’ve just read 🙂 I have to admit that I haven’t tried many of these foods, the only one I tried was rambutan, and to my huge surprise, I quite liked it. I’m quite curious about that wheat grass drink, it looks quite good and you say it’s also healthy too. I know this shouldn’t matter too much for me, but does it have a good taste? 🙂

    • Ashley, thanks for the visit and nice comment. Good that you like rambutan! As for the wheat grass drink, it is an acquired taste, for most people. It IS healthier than it is tasty, lol … but the taste is not bad, really, just a bit different. The health benefits warrant giving your taste buds a chance to adjust.

  4. I’m very familiar with Rambutans, Star Fruit and jack fruit and have heard about the various health benefits of those three fruits. My mom always buys them as our local Asian foods store. As for the liver, I should really think about eating beef liver, I never really gave it a chance. As for pictures, try uploading some pictures of them cooked, some sqeamish people can get turned off by those images of the raw organ meat.

    • Lakan, good suggestion about the images being cooked. Thanks. And thank you for the visit and comment, too. 🙂

  5. Wow – what an eye opener. When I started to read this I thought I’d recognise most of them – how wrong I was – I’ve never heard of quite a few of them.

    I think a lot of them would be difficult to find in the UK but I’m certainly going to keep an eye open for them (speaking of which I’m not sure I’d like to try a Rambutan !)

    Jill

    • Jill, thanks, and you CAN find a lot of the unusual ingredients – right on my site! Just click on the ingredients you want/need, and you will be taken to our Amazon Associated online food store.

      And by the way, Rambutans are available for you, too. 🙂

  6. Hello Marvin,

    I came to your site today because I was looking for nutrional information on Hemp. I have heard that it can be used in so many different ways to solve some of the problems of the world.
    What a surprise that I found not only hemp milk on your list but a bunch of other foods I already eat, jack fruit, millet, chicken liver, another form of blood pudding filipino style called dinuguan (not sure if spelled right) made from pigs blood, Kohlrabi is tasty and is good in singagang, we also eat rambutans here and they are very popular.

    Thanks for the great tips.

    The Fat Guy

    • So glad you discovered my site and found it so useful! You sure seem to have a healthy diet, and a taste for the “unusual”, so please do come back often, okay?

  7. Totally cool post! Thank, this has really livened up my day. Look, in the interests of full disclosure: I’m a Brit.

    That aside, I must urge you to try black pudding. It’s delicious :-)) Slice it thinly (1/2 inch), fry until crispy on the face and serve with sausage, eggs and bacon for breakfast. A perfect start to a weekend.

    Also, try frying again, but placing on a bed of Italian style lettuce leaves and topping with a poached egg and Balsamic vinegar. An amazing starter.

    BTW – I’m surprised you didn’t include the Durian fruit. I ate in South East Asia. I smelled awful and I can still remember it now, 20 years later!

    • I definitely will try black pudding, in fact the entire English Full Breakfast sounds good!

  8. Hi Marvin- A very well researched post of exotic super foods, some of which I have never even seen. It is good to see you mention a few grains such as amaranth and millet.

    Pseudo-cereals like amaranth have been utilized in traditional diets spanning thousands of years in much the same way as the “true cereals” have been and Millet is a must try for those with Celiac Disease as it is gluten free.
    Well done!

    ~Tom

    • Tom, I couldn’t agree more with you about amaranth and millet. And thank you for the kind words.

  9. Among 20 bizarre foods in list, its daily or usual food for me, i.e. Rambutan, Jackfruit, Star Fruit, Dragon Fruit, Chicken Liver, Beef Brain.
    They all have much nutritious ingredient and good for health and taste is yummy.

  10. Very interesting article! I had no idea millet was a good food, and some of the others, I’d never heard of, lol. But thanks for the info … I want to try a few of these.

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