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Weird But Tasty Cancer-Fighting Fruits
Tropical Fruits

Stuck in a fruit rut?

You know fruits are healthy: they contain plenty of vitamins and phytochemicals. And they lower cancer risk. They're also sweet, refreshing and perfect for that easy snack.

And because each fruit contains its own unique and healthful compounds, eating a variety of fruits is smart – and tasty.

So if you're tired of grabbing that same banana or apple, read on. Don’t recognize that fruit? Have no fear. We'll help you out.



Blend a plum with an apricot and you’ll get this sweet and juicy fruit. Also called pluots or dinosaur eggs, plumcots are generally more plum than apricot. They are a lighter color than a plum on the outside and deep red when you take a bite.

Plumcots are high in vitamin C and boast vitamin A and fiber too. They're a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Enjoy as is or in a fruit salad.



This vibrant fruit that looks like large orange olives packs a burst of flavor. Kumquats have a tangy skin and sweet insides; as you pop them in your mouth - skin, seeds and all - the instant tartness becomes sweeter as you chew.

With no seeds or leftovers, they are great for snacks or salad toppings. Cooking makes them sweeter and they make a great sauce for seafood, chicken or other meat.

Eat seven of these fruits, and you'll get at least 20 percent of your daily recommendations for fiber and vitamin C.

Dragon fruit

Shop at an Asian supermarket, and this fruit will make you look twice. The dragon fruit, also known as the pitaya, has a bright-pink outer layer with green scales: Inside is white flesh dotted with black and crunchy small seeds.

You could try cutting the fruit into slices and adding to a green or fruit salad.

The dragonfruit contains vitamin C; it's mildly sweet, refreshingly light and juicy, a great fruit for a hot summer's day.


It looks like a heart-shaped artichoke but the cherimoya tastes sweet and creamy, like a cross between banana and pineapple.

It is delicious eaten fresh as is but you can also use it in juices, smoothies and fruit salads. Called the "ice cream fruit," many people chill it and eat with a spoon. You can also remove the seeds, freeze for 4 to 5 hours then blend to make a creamy cherimoya sorbet.

A cherimoya will give you over 10 percent of your daily recommendations for fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and riboflavin. You can find this fruit at specialty markets.



A cut open papaya looks dramatic, with hundreds of small black seeds packed inside this smooth yellow-orange fruit. A papaya is larger on one end and when ripe, its yellow skin should make a slight indentation when you press down.

Papayas are creamy and sweet. You scoop out the seeds like a melon and cut up in cubes or quarters, not eating the skin.

A cup of cubed papaya will give you at least 20 percent of your daily recommendations of vitamins A and C, along with plenty of fiber and folate.

Pomelo (Pummelo)

The pomelo (also spelled pummelo) looks like a gigantic grapefruit but tastes like a sweet, mild version with none of the bitterness. Its outer layer is thick, which is what makes this citrus fruit so enormous.

You can eat it just like a grapefruit, peeled and cut in sections, or try adding it to a salad. You can find pomelos in most supermarkets.

The pomelo is high in vitamin C.


The appearance of these little prickly, hairball fruits isn’t particularly appetizing, but looks can be deceiving. Once open, the flesh inside is translucent white or pale pink, with a sweet, mildly acidic flavor, similar to grapes.

Each fruit has one single seed in the center that is not edible raw, but you can cook then eat. You can make rambutan into jams or jellies, but this fruit is mostly eaten raw - just peel and eat for a delicious treat.

Eat about 15 of these fruits, a serving, and you'll get at least 10 percent of your daily vitamin C recommendation.

Ugli Fruit

This aptly-named fruit is made by hybridizing grapefruit, Seville orange and tangerine and it tastes just like a mix of those fruits. Ugli fruit is at peak ripeness when its green blemishes turn orange.

Try eating it plain or squeeze it for its sweet and tangy juice. It's also a good addition to a marinade or sauce recipe and works great on a salad. Ugli fruit is easy to peel and section, and slightly sweeter than grapefruit, making it a great snack.

Like its citrus parents, ugli fruit is loaded with vitamin C.


Red Bananas

Squatter than the familiar yellow variety, red bananas are eye catching with their deep red to purple color. They have only made it to the US recently but once you taste them it will be hard to stay away.

A ripe red banana tastes creamier and sweeter than the common yellow bananas. The flesh is pale, slightly pink. Like the beauty of all bananas, it comes in its own wrapping and makes a great fruit to grab as a snack or when traveling.

Red bananas are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.


For more information:

See below for more information on fruit nutrition, eating them, and how they may reduce risk of cancer.

AICR's Foods that Fight Cancer™

Top 5 Cancer Fighting Fruits of Summer

Recommendations for Cancer Prevention

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