Used in exotic beverages, candies, flavourings and desserts, the soursop is a huge favourite especially in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados.
But how much do you really know about the sweet but tart, heart-shaped green fruit with the spiny, leathery skin?
In this Sunday edition of Bet You Didn’t Know, ilovejamaicans.com presents ten amazing health benefits, the fruit can provide you:
- The pulp (fleshy parts that is eaten or juiced) of the Soursop fruit contains high level of fructose, which is a natural sugar. After glucose, fructose is the least-complex carbohydrate and that allows for easier absorption within the system.
- Guanabana, as it is also called in Central America, has impressive reserves of Vitamin C. Among the many benefits of vitamin C, some include: protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
- In sections of rural Asia, a decoction of the soursop’s youngest leaves is regarded as a remedy for gall bladder trouble, as well as coughs, catarrh, diarrhoea, dysentery, high fever and indigestion.
- In Central American, the root bark of the soursop is used as an effective antidote for poisoning.
- The seeds of the soursop have been proven to contain emetic properties, and have been a natural alternative used in the treatment of vomiting.
- Soursop is rich in Vitamins B1 and B2, which occur naturally as the compounds thiamine and riboflavin respectively. Vitamin B1 is an important nutrient which ensures the smooth functioning of the brain and helps improve memory and concentration; Vitamin B1 helps relieve stress and also helps strengthen the nerves. Vitamin B2 is important both for the energy-producing electron transport chain and the metabolism of fat molecules into chemically useful energy.
- Soursop has rich reserves of dietary fibre. When eaten fresh, the pulp of soursop aids in the clearing of the digestive tract, and promotes efficiently-working small and large intestines.
- Soursop leaves are an effective herbal remedy for treating back pain without any negative effect, unlike pharmaceutical alternatives. It is recommended to boil 20 pieces of soursop leaves in 5 cups of water until only 3 cups of water are left. Then one should drink ¾ cup of this concoction once in a day for relief. Soursop leaves are also beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, and eczema.
- Recently, soursop leaves have been increasingly used to stabilize blood sugar levels within the normal range. It is believed that many of the nutritional extracts found in soursop leaves can be used as one of the natural diabetic remedies.
- Soursop has been encouraged as a ‘heart-friendly food’ as research has indicated that the fruit is low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. Soursop is also very high in and Potassium.
EXTRA FACT: There have been conflicting claims that soursop is a fruit that can cure cancer. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the US, soursop continues to be extensively researched to prove or disprove its cancer-fighting properties.
Other studies have proven the soursop may be naturally antiviral and antiparasitic, and may also suppress inflammation.
However a 2013 statement from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America reads:
“Soursop fruit, with its sweet flesh and distinctive flavour, is grown commercially to make juice, candy, sorbet and ice cream.
It’s also is purported to have medicinal qualities, with claims across the Internet that soursop extract can slow the spread of cancer or make traditional cancer therapies work better.
Experts warn against using the fruit to treat cancer. While research suggests soursop can fight cancer, it has not been studied in humans. As a result, there is no evidence of its safety or efficacy.”
Hungry for more amazing health benefits found in the foods you eat? Then look no further, see related stories below: