Nutrition facts and health benefits

Cherimoya is a large, green, cone-shaped fruit with a leathery skin that may or may not have round projections, and has creamy, sweet flesh inside. It is closely related to Sweetsop and Corossol.

The famous American writer Mark Twain loved this delicious fruit so much that he called it “the most delicious fruit known to men”. The fruit is also called the “Pearl of the Andes”, indicating its value to the Incas, who reserved it only for royalty.

The flesh of the cherimoya is creamy and sweet, which is why it is also called apple cinnamon. Cherimoya can be eaten by scooping out its flesh with a spoon, and it tastes best when served chilled as a custard. It has a sweet taste similar to other tropical fruits, such as banana, pineapple, and mango.

Cherimoya may have originated in the Andes. However, it is now cultivated in high altitude tropical and subtropical areas around the world, including Central America, eastern South America, southern California, Southeast Asia, Australia , in the Mediterranean region and in North Africa.

Cherimoya: nutritional value

The nutritional value of one cup of cherimoya, as provided by the USDA, is mentioned below:

Calories: 120

Carbohydrates: 28.3 grams

Sugars: 20.6 grams

Protein: 2.5 grams

Fat: 1.1 grams

Sodium: 711.2 grams

Fiber: 4.8 grams

Potassium: 459mg

Folate: 37mcg

Vitamin C: 20.2mg

Vitamin B6: 0.4mg

Riboflavin: 0.2mg

Thiamine: 0.16 mg.

Health benefits of cherimoya

Cherimoya is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, potassium and soluble fiber (Image by Unsplash @Muhamad Farihin)
Cherimoya is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, potassium and soluble fiber (Image by Unsplash @Muhamad Farihin)

Cherimoya is a delicious and very healthy fruit (it contains almost no fat), which you can easily incorporate into your diet. Let’s take a look at some health benefits of cherimoya:

1) Rich in antioxidants

Cherimoya is a fruit loaded with antioxidants that help fight free radicals and oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is associated with many chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

Cherimoya contains compounds like kaurenoic acid, flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C which have powerful antioxidant effects. Carotenoids like lutein can improve eye health and reduce the incidence of chronic disease.

2) May Prevent High Blood Pressure

Cherimoya is rich in nutrients like potassium and magnesium that help regulate high blood pressure. A cup of fruit contains 10% of the RDI for potassium and more than 6% of the RDI for magnesium.

These two minerals promote the dilation of blood vessels, which helps lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

3) Helps Fight Inflammation

Cherimoya contains the compound – kaurenoic acid, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory acid. It is also a source of flavonoid antioxidants – catechin and epicatechin – which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

Chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk of serious diseases like cancer and heart disease.

4) Improves immunity

Custard apples are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants (Image by Unsplash @Sandip Kalal)
Custard apples are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants (Image by Unsplash @Sandip Kalal)

Cherimoya is a rich source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient for immunity and which helps fight infection and disease. Some studies have linked adequate vitamin C intake to a decrease in the duration of colds, although this research has focused more on supplements than dietary vitamin C.

However, consuming cherimoya and other vitamin C-rich fruits will ensure adequate immune health.

5) Improves eye health

The carotenoid lutein in cherimoya helps promote eye health (Image by Pexels @Jan Krnc)
The carotenoid lutein in cherimoya helps promote eye health (Image by Pexels @Jan Krnc)

Cherimoya is a rich source of a carotenoid called lutein, which is one of the main antioxidants found in your eyes. Lutein helps fight oxidative stress by fighting free radicals.

Lutein is generally associated with good eye health, including a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Consuming lutein-rich foods like cherimoya may benefit eye health.

6) Promotes Digestion

One cup of cherimoya contains 5 grams of dietary fiber, or nearly 17% of the RDI. Fiber helps with good digestion and bulking up your stools, thus preventing constipation.

Soluble fiber, like that found in cherimoya, benefits the good bacteria in your gut and can ferment to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are sources of energy for the body and play a role in the prevention of inflammatory conditions in the digestive tract.

Additionally, the nutrients found in cherimoya may also help preserve memory. Vitamin B6 present in cherimoya is linked to better memory in the elderly.

Cherimoya is also an excellent mood booster. A cup of fruit provides 24% of the RDI of vitamin B6, known for its role in creating neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine, which help regulate your mood.

Vitamin B6 deficiency is linked to depression, especially in older people, although more research is needed to confirm this.

Risk for the health

Cherimoya offers impressive health benefits, but the seeds and peels of the fruit contain the Annonacin toxin, which can affect your brain and nervous system.

The toxin is linked to a specific type of Parkinson’s disease that does not respond to common medications. To limit your exposure to Annonacin, remove and discard the seeds and peels before consuming the fruit.

How to get cherimoya?

Cherimoya can be obtained on its own. It tastes best when chilled. It can also be mixed with fruit salad, yogurt, oatmeal or smoothies. This sweet tropical delicacy can be a good addition to a nutritious and balanced diet.

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Richard V. Johnson