The sea buckthorn berry – a grape-sized orange fruit grown in the Himalayas – is being touted as the latest ‘superfruit’, which aids weight loss and staves off dementia.
According to Marap UK, the supplier of organic fruits from around the world, sales of sea buckthorn have soared by 30% in the past six months after scientists discovered its powerful antioxidant value.
A study by the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and the Indian Institute of technology discovered that sea buckthorn berries contain a potent mixture of vitamin A, K, E, C, B1 and B2 vitamins. They also found high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, folic acid and flavonoids.
Experts believe its mix of fatty acids signal the body to stop storing fat, and according to leading nutritionist, Dr.Oz, the weight stays off, too.
“What this means for users is that it starts melting away the fat immediately, and it has been scientifically proven to help users keep it off for longer periods than conventional weight loss programmes,” explains Dr. Oz in a statement.
Sea buckthorn oil is already used to alleviate eczema, sunburn, gastric ulcers and urinary tract infections, but it seems their nutrient content is causing a stir among the health conscious and those wanting to boost their cognitive function.
A small helping of 25g of sea buckthorn provides four times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 – the vitamin thought to improve cognitive decline and help prevent the onset of dementia.
Adequate amounts of vitamin B12 helps halve the rate of brain shrinkage (atrophy), which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, a previous study by the University of Oxford and the University of Oslo found.
“Sea buckthorn is a nutrient dense Himalayan berry, rich in antioxidants and vitamins. As part of a healthy diet, it could provide an additional nutritional boost,” nutritionist Kirsten Brooks from Eat Yourself to Health, told HuffPost Lifestyle.
“But people should not get too fixated on these so-called superfoods, as it's best to get an array of different nutrient-rich foods. “
Following another recent study health experts are also hailing the benefits of chia seeds.
According to researcher Dr Wayne Coates from the University of Arizona who dubs himself ‘Mr Chia’, these seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, minerals and antioxidants.
"It's not like other supposed miracle foods that come out only to be dismissed as dangerous months later. You can add it to anything. My wife sprinkles it on our salad. It lowers cholesterol, it reduces joint pain,” Dr Coates said, as cited in the Independent.
The seeds are being reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, to decide whether they should be allowed into food products.
Want to keep up-to-date with the latest health-boosting ingredients? Take a look at our round-up of the best new superfoods for 2012.