Have you ever heard of, seen, eaten or used sugar apple? If yes, what spectacular things about this fruit do you actually know about? If no, just relax and read through this article. But apart from eating the sugar apple as a fruit, are you equally aware that this fruit goes beyond being a normal to a phenomenal fruit? Did you know that you can convert this fruit as your quick homemade herbal fruit for tackling several diseases? Right! Just a little bit of intro into what the sugar apple is all about before shedding more light on the reasons why you constantly need this fruit very close to you.
What then is sugar apple? Sugar apple (Annona squamosa L.) is one of the most important fruits among the long lists of medicinal and nutritive fruits. Sugar apple is also known as sweetsop, sugar-pineapple, custard apple (Annona reticulata), aajaa thee, seureuba, plae teib, Gishta (ጊሽጣ), Zimtapfel, foreign lychee, anona blanca, قشطة (ishta), buah nona, noi-na, matomoko, hairico, Khirmish (خرمش), ekistaferi, kachiman, atis, annona guatemala, hvaðerþetta, matopetope, fasadabur, conicony, mãng cầu ta (na) sitaphal, sharifa, sitappalam, fruta-do-conde(fruta-pinha), ata, sitaphal, Katu Atha, srikaya, buah nona, pomme cannelle or pinyin.
The sweetsop is closely related to guyabano (soursop) but a lot more smaller in size without spikes. The fruit is granular in appearance, juicy, soft, sweet and has aromatic flavour. Sugar-apple is a tropical fruit that belongs to the Annonaceae family with a conical shape. The fruit measures approximately 2.4–3.9 inches height, 2.0–3.9 inches in diameter and weighs up to 240 g. The outer skin or rind is very thick with knobby segments that usually separates when ripe. The inner flesh is light yellow to creamy white in colour, tasty and has similar taste to that of custard which suggests why it is also known as custard apple. Each fruit contains up between 15 to 40 seeds depending on the size. Sweetsop is highly medicinal, nutritive and therapeutic in nature which suggests its global high demand. Here are some of the reasons why this fruit is highly sought after.
Nutritional Values of Sugar apple
Sugar apple is an excellent source of essential minerals and vitamins which are needed for the healthy functioning of our bodies and these include; carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, thiamine (B1), zinc, riboflavin (B2), potassium, niacin (B3), phosphorus, pantothenic acid (B5), manganese, calcium, vitamin B6, folate (B9), vitamin C, iron and magnesium.
Benefits of Sugar Apple
1. Ideal for Pregnant Women
Sweetsop contains a high amount of folate (folic acid), which is a super vital vitamin for pregnant women. Even women trying to conceive are highly recommended to include folate in their daily diets as this vitamin helps to prevent neural tube defects. Lactating mothers are also encouraged to regularly eat sugar apple as it facilitates milk production.
2. Promotes Healthy Heart
Sugar apple is an excellent source of vitamin B6 which is essential for preventing the accumulation of homocysteine in the blood. Studies reveal that retaining high amount of amino acid in the blood has a higher chances of causing stroke and coronary heart disease. The high amount of magnesium in sweetsop helps to disentangle the muscles of the heart thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
3. Dermatological Benefits
Sugar apple is a rich source of essential nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B and antioxidants which are vital for maintaining healthy and youthful looking skin. Regular intake of sugar apple is equally effective towards delaying ageing, preventing sunburn and promoting the rejuvenation of the skin cells. The fruit also stimulates the production of collagen in the body which helps to boost the elasticity of the skin. It also reduces the clustering of melanin granules thereby preventing skin pigmentation and brown spots caused as a result of free scavenging radicals.
4. Prevents Asthma
Sweetsop is an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants thus helps to minimize the risk of asthma attacks. Individuals suffering from asthma are highly recommended to include more sweetsops in their diets.
5. Regulates Sugar Level
Sugar apple contains high amount of dietary fiber which have be found effective in minimizing the onset of type-2 diabetes. The fruit also reduces the absorption of sugar in the body.
6. Controls the Blood Pressure Level
The presence of potassium in sweetsop makes this fruit effective for regulating the blood pressure level.
7. Energy Booster
Sweetsop is an excellent source of thiamin which helps to convert sugar into energy. In a nutshell, sweetsop is an energy powerhouse thus an important fruit for fighting fatigue, tiredness and weakness of the body.
8. Promotes Healthy Bones
Sugar apple contains a high amount of calcium and magnesium which are essential for promoting healthy bones, maintaining strong bones as well as increasing the bone density.
9. Controls the Cholesterol Level
Sugar apple is an excellent source of niacin which is essential for controlling the body’s cholesterol level.
10. Anti-cancer Properties
Sweetsop fruit contains alkaloids and acetogenin that are effective for preventing the growth of tumor cells and reducing the risk of cancer. The bark contains tannins and astringents that have been proven effective for treating and inhibiting tumor cells and cancer.
11. Treatment of Toothache
Sweetsop rinds have been proven effective against toothache. Grind the rinds, mix with water and then apply on the affected tooth to ease pain.
12. Prevents Anemia
Sweetsop is an excellent source of iron which is essential for preventing and treating anemia.
13. Promotes Healthy Eyesight
Sugar apple is a rich source of vitamin C and riboflavin which helps to prevent certain eye problems such as macular degeneration, poor vision, night blindness as well as maintains good vision.
14. Promotes Digestion
Sweetsop helps the digestive systems to easily digest food due to its high constituent of dietary fiber. The fruit also helps to get rid of unwanted toxins from the intestines thereby aiding easy bowel movement. It also helps to reduce the risk of constipation, gastritis, heartburn, ulcer and stomach pain.
15. Treatment of Infections
Sweetsop can be used for treating skin infections and diseases such as psoriasis, boils, eczema, abscesses due to its constituent of vitamin C. Leaves decoction of sweetsop can also be used to treating individuals suffering from infections such as cold, fever and dysentery.
16. Detoxifying Properties
Sugar apple is packed with antioxidants and soluble fiber which makes the fruit a perfect laxative. Studies reveal that regular intake of sugar apple is essential for eradicating unwanted toxins from the body thereby making the body to remain healthier and stronger.
17. Eradicates Lice
Unripe sweetsop powder can be mixed with coconut oil or water to form a paste which can be applied on the scalp to eradicate lice. Allow the paste to stay for at least 15 to 20 minutes before washing. Repeat the procedure every day until the entire scalp is cleared of lice.
18. Ideal Treatment for the Hair
Sweetsop seeds oil can be applied on the hair to keep it moisturized and thereby making it shiny and lustrous. Sweetsop also prevents scalp inflammation, hair loss, stimulates the follicles for hair growth, prevents dandruff, prevents premature hair graying, prevents flaky scalp as well as nourishes the hair. This is due to the high amount of vitamin C, copper and iron present in this fruit.
19. Ideal for Menstruating Women
Sweetsop leaves can be decocted and taken by menstruating women to boost blood flow. The essential minerals and nutrients such as iron, copper etc present in the fruit are equally essential for menstruating women in order to replenish lost minerals and nutrients to their bodies.
20. Healing of Wounds
Sweetsop leaves can be squeezed and applied to wounds to aid healing and to prevent germs and worms from infesting the wound. The juice of an unripe sweetsop can be applied on the skin to treat insect bites and stings.
21. Culinary Purposes
Sugar apple is a very sweet fruit that can be eaten fresh or used for preparing other dishes such as beverages, ice cream, custard apple powder, drinks, confectionery and dessert.
22. Healthy Weight Gain
Sweetsop is such a fruit that is packed with healthy calories and it's sugary content helps to boost the body's metabolic process thereby increasing one's appetite. In a nutshell, individuals aiming to add healthy weight can eat more sweetsop.
23. Prevents Asthma Attack
Sweetsop is an excellent source of vitamin B6 thus essential for preventing asthma attack and minimizing bronchial inflammation.
24. Other Uses of Sweetsop
Squeezed sugar apple leaves can be inhaled to prevent dizziness and whirling sensations. A decoction of sweetsop leaves can be used for relieving rheumatic pains.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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