Health benefits of Canistel

Health benefits of Canistel

Native to southern Mexico and Central America and not so popular throughout the world, canistel (Pautaria campechiana) or Yellow Sapote or egg fruit is a yellowish to orange colored fruit with a meaty pulp that resembles the appearance and texture of cooked egg yolk. It grows well in tropical and sub tropical climates and is cultivated in countries like Brazil, Philippines Taiwan, and Vietnam. The fruit is highly nutritious and has a unique sweet taste. The egg fruit is used to make jams, marmalade, cupcakes and pancakes. The pulp of the fruit is pureed sometimes and added to custards or ice cream to impart flavor. Milk shakes can be prepared by blending the ripe flesh of the fruit with milk and other ingredients. The fruit is also sometimes dehydrated and made into a nutritious powder or flour. The high amounts of nutrients present in canistel make it an extremely healthy food.

Nutritional value of Canistel

cut canistel fruit

cut canistel fruit

Canistel is rich in carotene (provitamin A) and the B group vitamins such as niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin. It also contains reasonable amounts of vitamin C or ascorbic acid. It is a low calorie, low fat fruit that provides high levels of protein and fiber. Canistel also provides the human body with essential minerals like calcium, iron and phosphorus. It contains amino acids such as lysine, tryptophan and methionine. Stilbenes and flavonoids that have antitumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-HIV, antimicrobial and hepatoprotective effects have been isolated from this fruit.

Health benefits of Canistel

Just like most other fruits, canistel is also rich in a wide range of nutrients including many essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients contribute to the various health benefits offered by this fruit. Given below are some of the reasons why you should consider adding canistel to your regular diet:

Canistel is a rich source of niacin

The high levels of niacin found in canistel offer a serious of benefits to the human body. In addition to supporting the conversion of carbohydrates into energy, niacin (also known as vitamin B3) also helps in various other processes such as controlling blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol levels, detoxifying the body, producing adrenal and sex hormones and producing hydrochloric acid in the intestine. It helps in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol or LDL and increasing the good cholesterol or HDL levels, which lowers the risks of conditions like atherosclerosis by preventing the thickening of artery walls. Niacin also helps in the production of a chemical compound known as histamine, which has the ability to dilate blood vessels, thus improving blood circulation to all parts of the body. Dilated blood vessels also help in preventing high blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of heart diseases. Niacin supports the normal functioning of the digestive system, thus promoting a healthy appetite.

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Canistel lowers the risk of diabetes

As mentioned above, canistel is a rich source of niacin. A chemical substance known as Niacinamide is a constituent of niacin that has been found to be effective in preventing diabetes. According to animal studies, niacinamide helps in improving the effectiveness of the oral drugs that are used in the treatment of diabetes. In addition to the effects of niacin, the fiber contained in this fruit also helps in regulating blood sugar levels.

Egg fruit for the treatment of osteoarthritis

Niacin and Niacinamide present in canistel have been found to be helpful in the treatment of arthritis. Niacinamide helps in increasing joint mobility and niacin helps in improving muscle strength, rebuilding worn out cartilage and in reducing weakness of muscles and joints. According to a pilot study published in the 1996 issue of “Inflammation Research”, patients with osteoarthritis found that they had improved flexibility of joints and reduced inflammation after being treated with niacinamide for a period of 12 weeks. Because of these properties cansitel may be considered to be effective in treating osteoarthritis. Niacin also has anti-inflammatory effect, which makes it a good remedy for rheumatoid arthritis.

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Canistel is good for the eyes

Just like all the other yellow- orange colored fruits, Canistel is also a rich source of provitamin A carotenoids. These carotenoids are converted into Vitamin A inside the body.  Vitamin A is essential for good vision. It is found to be effective for the treatment of dry eyes. Carotenoids have antioxidant properties and hence protect the eyes from the harmful effects of free radicals. They play an important role in lowering the risks of cataract and age related macular degeneration (AMD).

Canistel boosts the immune system

Canistel is a good source of vitamin C or ascorbic acid, which is known to be an effective immune booster. It is believed that vitamin C is a helpful remedy for the common cold and flu. Studies reveal that vitamin C helps in reducing the duration of colds and also in reducing the risk of developing further problems, such as pneumonia and lung infections.

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Canistel for digestive health

Canistel is an excellent source of dietary fiber, making it a perfect fruit for improving the health of your digestive system. The fiber helps in promoting regular bowel movements by adding bulk to the stools and removing it easily from the system. As a result you are protected from digestive disorders like constipation and irregular bowel syndrome. Fiber also helps in regulating the blood glucose levels and in eliminating the bad cholesterol from the body.

Canistel is a great source of iron

Canister contains high levels of iron, a mineral that offers numerous health benefits. The most important function of iron is that it helps in the production of hemoglobin that aids in the transportation of oxygen to all parts of the body.  Iron is needed for maintaining muscle health as it is present in the tissues of the muscles and supplies oxygen needed for the contraction of muscles. Iron also helps to maintain the elasticity and tone of muscles. Iron supplies oxygen to the brain and hence is associated with the health of the brain and the nervous system. Proper blood flow in the brain helps in improving cognitive activity and in preventing nervous system disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Adequate amounts of iron in the body helps in preventing iron deficiency anemia, which is characterized by fatigue, headaches, body weakness, and high sensitivity to cold temperatures. Iron also plays a major role in improving the functioning of the immune system.

How to store Canistel

Canistel may be bought unripe, because it will continue to ripen even after being harvested. At room temperature it take up to ten days to ripen and if you want to speed up the ripening the process, keep the fruit in a brown bag along with bananas. Make sure not to allow the fruit to overripe and become soft and mushy. Canistel will keep fresh for one to two months if stored in the refrigerator at 14 degrees Centigrade and 80 percent relative humidity. The pulp when stored in the freezer will keep up to six months. Some people mix the pulp with sugar prior to freezing for obtaining best results.

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How to eat Canistel

For eating canistel, first cut the fruit in half and get rid of the seeds. Then scoop the flesh using a spoon. The skin is inedible and should be discarded.

Some healthy recipes using Canistel

Canistel milkshake recipe

Ingredients:

  • Ripe canistel pulp – 1 cup
  • Sugar – ¼ cup
  • Milk
  • Vanilla – ½ teaspoon
  • Nutmeg – ¼ teaspoon

Method:

Take all the above mentioned ingredients in a blender and blend till you get the desired consistency.

Recipe for Canistel Pie

Ingredients:

  • Mashed canistel – 1 ½ cups
  • Evaporated milk – 1 ¼ cups
  • Brown sugar – 2/3 cups
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg – ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • 1 – 9 inch pie crust

Method:

Combine together all the dry ingredients first and then add the rest of the ingredients excluding the pie crust. Pour the mixture in to the pie shell and bake for about 10 minutes at a temperature of 450 degrees F. After 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 250 degree F and bake for another 50 minutes. Canistel pie is ready and you can serve it either warm or chilled.

Canistel custard

Ingredients:

  • Mashed canistel – ¾ cup
  • Low fat milk – 2 1/4 cups
  • Sugar – 1/3 cup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • Lime juice – 1 tablespoon

Method:

Add sugar, canistel pulp and lime juice to lightly beaten egg and stir well. While stirring slowly add hot milk. Pour the mixture into custard cups that have been buttered. Keep the cups in a pan containing hot water and then bake at 350 degree F for about 45 minutes or until the custard is done.

Canistel ice cream

Ingredients:

  • Ripe canistel fruit pulp – 1 ¼ cup
  • Coconut milk – 1 can (15oz)
  • Sugar – 6 tablespoons
  • Eggs – 3
  • Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg – ¼ teaspoon

Method:

Heat the coconut milk on medium heat. Mix together sugar and eggs and add this mixture to the coconut milk, when it has come to a simmer. Cook on low heat and then transfer the contents into a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Keep in the refrigerator overnight and then transfer it into an ice cream maker and freeze.

canistel on tree

canistel on tree

Canistel is wonderfully delicious when combined with milk products, or made into milk shakes, ice creams or smoothies. Another way to enjoy this fruit is to combine it with salt, pepper, lime juice and mayonnaise and eat it. Being a very healthy and nutritious fruit, canistel is recommended by nutritionists and researchers, to be included as part of

Image Credits: Flickr - J42K, Flickr - purejoyeats, Flickr - James Keith

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