Who doesn’t like to enjoy the sweet and juicy Custard apple in a fine sunny day? This tropical fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals and carries several health benefits.
The fruit is also known as sweet-apple or sweet-sop, but most commonly identified as custard-apple due to it’s creamy structure. Therefore, it is mostly served chill like custard.
Centuries ago, the fruit was brought to Asia by the Spanish traders of ‘Manila galleons’ in the Philippines. In India, it is called ‘Sitaphal’ while in Odisha it is known as ‘Aata’. In South America the fruit is widely known as Cherimoya. It flourishes best in the dry and hot climate. The plant flowers from April to May and bears fruit between August and November.
The sweet-apple tastes better when ripe and soft. But sometimes the fruit falls even when it is unripe and hard, many people has found a way not to waste it by keeping it in a bag of rice for a few days, which helps the fruit turn soft and edible.
Here are five amazing health benefits of Custard Apple:
Improves eye health
As custard apple is rich in carotenoid antioxidant lutein, which is one of the main antioxidants for eyes, it helps maintain healthy vision by fighting free radicals. Lutein may also protect against other eye issues including cataract, which is a clouding of the eye that causes poor eyesight and vision loss.
Therefore, consuming Custard Apple (lutein rich food) may support eye health and reduce the risk of conditions like AMD and cataracts.
Prevent high blood pressure
Due to being high in nutrients such as potassium and magnesium, custard apple can help regulate blood pressure. While high blood pressure increases one’s risk for heart disease and stroke, potassium and magnesium help promote the dilation of blood vessels.
According to sources, studies have found that each additional 100 mg per day intake of magnesium is associated with 5% lower risk of high blood pressure.
High in antioxidants
Custard-apple is loaded with antioxidants, which fight free radicals in our body. Many chronic ailments, including cancer and heart disease are caused due to oxidative stress which gets formed with the increasing levels of free radicals.
The fruit is rich in Vitamin-C, which makes it a great source of antioxidants.
Helps in digestion
Around 160 gms (1 cup) of sweet-apple can provide almost 5 grams of dietary fiber. Foods rich in fiber help normalizing bowel movements by increasing the weight and size of your stool and soften it.
By nourishing gut bacteria, the fiber of custard apple can promote optimal digestive health.
As said earlier, custard apple is rich in vitamin-C, which supports immunity by fighting infections and disease. Vitamin C helps decrease the duration of the common cold.
Therefore, consuming custard apple and other foods rich in this vitamin is an easy way to ensure adequate immune health.
Despite abundant health benefits, custard apple too has some downside to it. Albeit being a source of various health benefits, it beholds small amounts of toxic compounds.
The fruit contains annonacin, a toxin that can affect one’s brain and nervous system. Therefore, high consumption of custard apple can prove to be toxic for our health.
Seeds and skin of custard apple contain most annonacin. And hence, it is highly advisable to consume custard apple after removing the skin and discarding skin.