Set to release in UK stores this September, what are Nergi Berries and why are they set to be the next must-have 'super-fruit'?
Nergi berries are essentially baby kiwi fruit with a sweet and slightly tart edible skin. They are an easy way to eat a kiwi fruit without the faff of peeling the skin. But just because Nergi berries are thought to be the next big health food, can they justifiably claim their ‘superfood’ status?
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient needed for immunity, skin health and energy production.
Nergi berries are certainly a source of vitamin C containing as much as 52.5mg per 100g, which almost covers our recommended daily intake. But if regular kiwi fruit is a richer source of Vitamin C with as much as 90mg per 100g, wouldn’t we be better off sticking with this potentially less expensive and more readily available option?
Vitamin E is a crucial nutrient for protecting cells against oxidative stress, which could otherwise contribute to cellular ageing.
Nergi berries appear to contain relatively high amounts of Vitamin E per 100g; in fact they are one of the few fruits, which contain reasonable amounts of this vitamin. Interestingly, other foods with similar levels of Vitamin E also come with a much higher calorie count. For example, popcorn contains 5mg Vitamin E and 387 calories, whilst Nergi berries contain 5.28mg Vitamin E but only 52 calories.
An essential mineral for electrolyte balance, energy production and normal muscle function.
Nergi berries contain 19.4mg of magnesium, which is actually more than most other fruits. Whilst this is exciting, it’s also important to remember that magnesium can be easily sourced from other foods as well. For example, just one slice of whole wheat bread can provide as much as 23mg magnesium.
As a population, we are currently under consuming fibre and could all do with a little more in our diet. There is strong evidence to suggest that eating plenty of fibre within the diet is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and even bowel cancer.
Fruit is a tasty way of increasing fibre intake. Nergi berries are certainly a source of fibre and contain as much as 3.6g fibre per 100g. Despite this, most other fruits are a source of fibre and you could obtain similar intakes from bananas or even apples.
Nutrient-dense foods certainly do exist; on the other hand ‘superfoods’ do not and are not backed by science. In fact, there is no official definition of a ‘superfood’.
This marketing term may lead people to believe that they can undo the damage of a healthy diet or lifestyle with a singular food. It may also cause some to believe that focusing on a singular nutrient of food may cure or alleviate certain health conditions. In reality, the key to health is to follow a whole diet approach, which focuses on a variety of foods including a mix of fruit and vegetables. Most of the positive health benefits which come with the Mediterranean diet are not due to one single food, but a variety of nourishing foods working in synergy.
Often marketing terms are used to create hype around a new food product, in order to increase sales. However, these foods can be expensive and the same types of nutrients may be found elsewhere.
Whilst it may be exciting to try new foods, it’s important not to be swayed by marketing terms and get fixated on one food. Nergi berries are certainly nutrient-dense and a tasty way of upping our fruit intake. But always remember to mix and match your fruits to gain as much variety as possible.
By Lily Soutter BSc (hons) Human Nutrition, Dip ION