Often referred to as the aristocrat of fruits, custard apple is a sweet and juicy fruit that is bursting with flavor and nutrition. Although not a very attractive fruit to look at, the health benefits that can be obtained by eating it is indeed very impressive. Custard apple, also known as Chermoya has its origins in South America and West Indies, but is also cultivated in many other subtropical regions of the world. This remarkable fruit is a single source that provides a wide range of nutrients and hence it is often recommended as a food item to be included in a healthy and balanced diet.
Nutritional value of Custard Apple
One of the health advantages of custard apple is that it is low in cholesterol, low in saturated fat and sodium. It is a wonderful source of dietary fiber that not only helps in keeping your digestive tract healthy but is also beneficial for preventing many ailments. This fruit is very high in vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant) content and also contains good amounts of other vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B6 and niacin. The sugars in custard apple provide you with continuous energy without causing major alterations in your blood sugar levels. In addition to all these nutrients, you can get a good supply of minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, copper and phosphorus. Custard apple also contains several antioxidant polyphenols that is found to have several health promoting effects.
Health benefits of Custard Apple
The vast array of nutrients contained in custard apple is not only beneficial in improving your overall health, but is also helpful in protecting your body from many diseases. This fruit is a healthy and wholesome food that offers benefits to your body, skin and hair.
Custard apple for healthy skin and hair
The high amounts of vitamin A found in custard apple give you healthy, beautiful and glowing skin and also shining, luscious hair. The vitamin C in this fruit is a potent antioxidant that fights off free radicals and prevents cell damage. This helps in preventing premature aging and in reducing aging signs like fine lines and wrinkles. A facial mask made with custard apple, honey and lemon juice, when applied on the face is effective in getting rid of acne and dry skin. Applying a paste of powdered custard apple seeds can help in eliminating dandruff as the seeds are found to have anti-microbial properties.
Custard apple as a remedy for skin diseases
It has been found that the flesh of custard apple when applied directly on the skin is effective in treating various skin conditions like ulcers, boils and abscesses.
Custard apple has anti-cancer properties
Research has found that custard apple contains compounds called acetogenins, which are long chain fatty acids that possess anti-cancer properties. These compounds inhibit the growth of cancer cells by depleting adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a major source of energy for the cells. They also destroy the cancer cells by inducing cell death or aptosis. Furthermore, the antioxidants in custard apple prevent cell damage by destroying the harmful free radicals.
Custard apple promotes weight loss
Custard apple, being low in glycemic index and rich in dietary fiber is a filling food that is ideal to be included in a weight loss diet. By eating this food, your hunger is satiated and you feel fuller for a long time. This helps in controlling your appetite and in preventing overeating.
Custard apple for treating Arthritis and Rheumatism
According to research, the high levels of magnesium content in custard apple helps in regulating and maintaining the water balance in your body. This may promote the removal of acids from the joints, thus providing relief from the painful symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. Magnesium has also been found to be helpful in restoring the bone tissues and also in preventing the wear and tear of joints.
Custard apple improves digestion
Custard apple is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps in adding bulk to your stools and helping in peristalsis, thereby improving digestion. The fiber also helps in preventing conditions like constipation and irritable bowel syndrome by making your bowel movements regular. The powder of sun dried custard apple is considered to be a great remedy for dysentery and diarrhea.
Custard apple is a mood enhancer
Custard apple is a good source of vitamin B6, a vitamin that is known to elevate your mood and help fight depression.
Custard apple is heart healthy
The magnesium and potassium in custard apple helps in relaxing and strengthening the muscles of your heart, thereby lowering your risks of heart diseases. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are two key factors that can lead to heart problems. Studies conducted in animals have shown that this fruit helps in lowering the total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The high content of potassium balances the effects of sodium and thus helps in preventing high blood pressure.
Custard apple has anti-diabetic properties
Studies reveal that custard apple has anti-diabetic properties. These properties are attributed to its ability to stimulate the production of insulin and also in aiding the increased uptake of glucose by your muscles, thereby balancing the levels of glucose in your blood.
Custard apple makes you energetic
Custard apple is a great source of energy that helps in fighting fatigue. Also the potassium present in this fruit can help in preventing weakness of muscles.
Custard apple for eye health
Being a rich source of vitamin A, custard apple helps in improving your eyesight as well as the health of your eyes. The antioxidant, vitamin C in this fruit lowers your risk of developing eye disorders like cataract and also slows down the progression of conditions like age related macular degeneration (AMD) and visual acuity loss, two major factors that can lead to blindness.
Custard apple and healthy bones
The presence of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in custard apple promotes the building and maintaining of strong and healthy bones.
Boost your immunity with custard apple
Vitamin C in custard apples can help in strengthening your immunity system and in preventing infections. This vitamin has been proven to be the most powerful vitamin to boost your body’s immunity.
Benefits of custard apple for pregnant women
Since custard apple is a fruit with high nutritional content, it is considered to be extremely beneficial for expecting women. This small fruit is a source of all the essential nutrients like protein, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and essential fats. It has been found that custard apple helps in building the brain nerves of the baby and its regular consumption promotes the growth of the baby. It also helps in relieving morning sickness, nausea, mood swings and food cravings, which are usually associated with pregnancy. Pregnant women need a good supply of copper because its deficiency can lead to premature birth of the baby. Custard apple being a rich source of copper can provide you with the required amount of copper.
Custard apple for treating anemia
Custard apple is rich in iron and copper, both of which stimulates the production of red blood cells and hence are important in treating anemia.
Medicinal effects of various parts of the custard apple tree
In addition to the fruit, other parts of the custard apple tree also hold several medicinal properties. The leaves of this tree are considered to have anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties. The crushes leaves are considered to be an effective remedy for treating skin diseases like boils, abscesses and ulcers. The extract obtained from the roots of this tree serves as a coolant when you have high fever. The bark is used in making herbal medicines as it contains tannin and compounds that have strong astringent properties. These medicines can be used in treating diarrhea, dysentery and also in easing tooth aches and gum problems.
Selection and storage of custard apple
While selecting custard apples, look for the ones that are firm with no damages and blemishes. Once you have purchased the fruits, store them in room temperature until they are soft, after which they can be stored in the refrigerator. Ripe custard apples will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about two or three days. In order to speed up the process of ripening of this fruit, you can keep them in brown paper bags containing a ripe apple or banana at room temperature. Apple and banana are found to release ethylene gas that can accelerate the ripening process.
Because of its creamy texture and sweet, delicious taste, custard apple is an ingredient that is most often used in desserts. It makes a superb addition to a milk shake or smoothie. It can also be added to fruit salads. In addition to satisfying the sweet tooth, custard apple can also make savory dishes taste divine. Custard apple is a wholesome and well balanced food that contains almost all the essential nutrients your body needs. Adding them as part of your diet can improve your overall health and keep you safe from diseases.
Other names you might know: sweet apple, sweetsop. Annona squamosa, aajaa thee, atis, noi-na, น้อยหน่า, hand grenade, mãng cầu ta, na, قشطة, qishta, ishta, ashta, foreign lychee, 番鬼荔枝, hairico, buah nona, hvaðerþetta, Gishta, ጊሽጣ, fasadabur, plae teib, anón, anón de azucar, anona blanca, fruta do conde, cachiman, saramuyo, grenadilla, little grenade, fruta-do-conde, fruta-de-conde, condessa, fruta-pinha, pinha, araticum, aata, anona, fruta-do-conde, fruta-pinha. ata, aarticum, shareefa, sitaphal, seethaphal, seetha pazham, सीताफल சீதாப்பழம். Sita’s fruit, aathachakka, atna kothal, shareefa, srimatikiya, srikaya, sakya, 釋迦.