Jul 12, 2012 1:00 AM
TUCSON - Childhood obesity is weighing down an entire generation. In Arizona one out of four is considered obese which carries a host of medical and emotional problems.
Kristi's Kids is dedicated to promoting child health so when we heard about a potential new super fruit we wanted to learn more. It's called the Pichuberry and word has it kids really like it.
The Pichuberry comes from Peru and Chile. Keith Green sells them by the basket at the St. Philips Farmer's Market.
"And this one, can't get enough of them," says Kathy Wood referring to her daughter.
"A lot of different super fruits don't taste that good. They're very tart. You have to add lots of sugars," explains Michael Popescu with MojoTree Farms. MojoTree Farms is importing the fruit.
Extra sugar is not needed with Pichuberries. When Kristi's Kids caught up with Green at the farmer's market, we saw several kids eating them fresh and liking them much.
That's why Popescu is promoting them. He heard about the health benefits and teamed up with researchers at the University of Arizona, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology to learn more.
"Right now the heath aspect of this fruit is for sure."
Donna Zhang, PhD is leading a team which is exposing Pichuberry juice to human cells.
"But that one definitely have a very good response. So presumably really good for disease prevention."
They believe the Pichuberry helps detoxify carcinogens. They think it activates the body's own defense which may help prevent cancer and it may have anti-diabetic properties.
There's a lot you can do with a basket of Pichuberries.
"Actually salsa, on fish that type of stuff, with our chicken tacos," says Kathy Wood.
You can put Pichuberries on your cereal. There are recipes for desserts, sauces and even jelly.
Parents know it can be tricky getting kids to eat healthy but the Pichuberry seems to make it easy.
"So it's nice to have something that's you know healthy and I guess if it's cute, that's always a good sell," say Kathy.
More good news about the Pichuberry: Popescu with MojoTree farms says they can be grown in greenhouses here in the U.S.. He wants to develop a cooperative of growers as demand grows. Click here for more information about the Pichuberry.