The sweet, pulpy and delicious cherimoya is one of the most consumed tropical fruits originating in the Andean valley. These greenish-yellow conical fruits come from evergreens belonging to the Annonaceae family, in the genus Annona. The plant is believed to be native to the Loja region of Ecuador, which borders Peru, the low elevation tropical forests of the Central Andes mountain range.
What is custard apple?
The cherimoya is a tropical fruit native to Ecuador and northern Peru, where you can still find wild. The fruit that has the scientific name Annona cherimola is considered by many to be a super food and is very well known in South America, and for some years now in the rest of the world. One of the reasons cherimoyas is still relatively unknown is that it is a difficult fruit to grow.
The cherimoya trees that produce this wonderful fruit require good drainage, do not thrive in extreme climates or do very well at high altitudes and in the tropical lowlands. Attempts have been made to grow the fruit in the US with only Southern California succeeding thus far.
Custard apple fruit is often mistaken for sugar apples with which it is closely related. Fruits vary in shape and size but are often heart-shaped and about the size of a grapefruit. They physically resemble a very large artichoke, while their delicious taste is like a combination of banana and pineapple.
The edible flesh of the fruit is sweet and creamy white. The skin and its large seeds are inedible, and in fact the seeds become toxic when crushed.
The creamy texture and sweet taste of the fruit make it an extremely popular ingredient in smoothies, puddings, and ice cream. Besides being delicious and so easy to enjoy, there are many more reasons to add this superfood to your daily diet.
Nutritional information of custard apple
A 100-gram serving of custard apple contains around 75 calories and is free of cholesterol and saturated fat. It is an excellent source of dietary fiber, providing you with 8% of the RDA for soluble fiber.
· Cherimoya has several polyphenols that act as antioxidants in the body. These antioxidants include acetogenin compounds that act as potent cytotoxins and are believed to fight parasites and diseases such as malaria.
· Cherimoya is rich in vitamin C, which is another powerful antioxidant found naturally in many fruits and vegetables.
· Cherimoya contains several of the families of B vitamins, including pyridoxine (vitamin B6), which is believed to help promote GABA levels in the brain.
· Cherimoya contains a healthy amount of many important vitamins such as potassium, copper, iron, and manganese.
Health benefits of custard apple
Custard apples with an unmistakable sweet and pleasant taste contain an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, in addition to the important benefits shown below.
1. Promotes a healthier brain
The vitamin B6 found in custard apple helps regulate GABA levels in the brain. GABA is essential for dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. There is also some evidence that vitamin B6 is necessary in the fight against cognitive diseases like Parkinson’s.
In addition to its benefits for brain health, vitamin B6 is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system and metabolism.
2. Promotes heart health
Anything we can do to protect our heart health should be a priority, as heart disease is among the world's biggest killers. Fortunately, cherimoya contains many of the nutrients necessary to ensure that the heart remains strong.
Vitamin C is a known antioxidant with the ability to neutralize the damage caused by free radicals. It prevents lipids from being attacked and, in turn, helps keep cholesterol levels in check. Contains soluble fiber that is known to support cardiovascular health.
Fiber can prevent cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine. Studies in diabetic patients have revealed that fiber also helps lower LDL cholesterol levels while improving HDL cholesterol.
3. Helps as an antidepressant
Indigenous South Americans have traditionally eaten custard apple for its mild calming effects and its ability to ward off anxiety and seizures. Because of these traditional uses, custard apple has been studied for its effects on the mind.
In animal studies, researchers have found that custard apple has antidepressant effects in mice and have recommended additional trials to see if it would have the same effect in humans.
With mental disorders like depression and anxiety on the rise, it is definitely a natural alternative to powerful pharmaceutical drugs, which also have very negative side effects.
4. Promotes good digestion
A single medium-sized custard apple comes with five healthy grams of healthy dietary fiber. Most of us fall short of the recommended amount of fiber, and just one of these fruits will provide up to 90% of the recommended daily allowance.
There are many reasons why we are advised to try to improve our diets. It is essential for the proper function of our digestive tract and can help treat common ailments such as constipation and bloating. Not only that, but fiber is key to keeping your blood sugar in the normal, healthy range.
5. Powerful antioxidant
Like most fruits, custard apple contains several antioxidants in the form of polyolenols. These compounds can help protect the body from damage caused by oxidative stress that often results in inflammation that leads to serious illness.
6. Provides health to the skin
Back on more solid ground, cherimoya fruit is definitely good for your skin. The fruit is very rich in vitamin C, which is vital for anyone who wants to improve the appearance and health of their skin. Vitamin C has natural antioxidant properties and is key to collagen production.
Collagen is a type of protein that helps keep skin healthy, strong, and elastic. And there is more good news to come, especially for those of us of a certain age. Due to their antioxidant capacity, custard apple fruits can also reverse some of the signs that we are getting old. Say goodbye to wrinkles and age spots by adding this delicious fruit to your favorite meals.
7. Fight against free radicals
The vitamin C found in custard apple also helps inhibit free radicals from destroying lipids and, as a result, increases overall heart health. It helps increase the levels of HDL or good cholesterol and lowers the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol.
This increases the blood flow to the heart, which reduces the chances of heart attacks. Additionally, custard apple has a balanced sodium and potassium ratio, which helps control blood pressure and heart rate. It also neutralizes the harmful effects of sodium. The fiber present helps to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine.
8. Beneficial for hair
Collagen not only helps maintain skin health but is also important for our hair. Our hair and scalp are composed mainly of collagen, and the amount of vitamin C present in custard apple contributes greatly to its formation.
Custard apple is available in the form of custard apple seed oil and is perfect for thick, coarse, and wavy hair. It also helps hydrate the scalp and promotes shiny, healthy, and more manageable hair.
How to eat custard apple
If you've never eaten custard apple before, then a real treat awaits you. It tastes absolutely delicious when eaten out of hand, but it can also be prepared in a wide variety of ways.
To prepare the custard apple fruit, before consumption it must be washed and dried very well, later it must be cut lengthwise. Discard the seeds and use a spoon to scoop out the custard apple meat, be careful not to consume the seeds of this fruit.
· The traditional way to eat custard apple is to cut it in half and scoop out its flesh with a spoon, avoiding eating the seeds.
· It is absolutely delicious the way nature made it with no seasonings or additives.
· It can be used as an ingredient to prepare a healthy juice, it goes very well in all kinds of drinks, smoothies, shakes, juices and juices.
· It can be cut into chunks and used as a topping for ice cream or in a fruit salad.
If you still have doubts about incorporating this delicious fruit into your daily diet, do not hesitate, the benefits and properties of custard apple should not be disregarded.
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