Health Benefits of Palmyra fruit / Palm Fruit / Ice Apple

Health Benefits of Palmyra fruit / Palm Fruit / Ice Apple

As the summer reaches its peak, it becomes extremely difficult to bear the scorching heat of the sun. Moreover, along with summer comes a range of heat related illnesses including dehydration, heat exhaustion and the ever dangerous heat stroke. The key to staying safe from these problems is keep your body well hydrated and nourished. The best way to achieve this is to consume plenty of natural drinks and foods containing higher water content. Fortunately, there is no scarcity for these types of foods as Mother  Nature has been kind enough to bless us with an abundance of various types of nutritious and healthy fruits and vegetables. Palm fruit or ice apple is one such fruit that helps you beat the heat by providing adequate hydration and nourishment.

Palmyra fruit is the juicy and fleshy fruit of the sugar palm tree, found in the coastal regions of India during summertime. Palmyra fruit has sweet and watery flavor and sometimes little bitter aftertaste. The outer cover of fruit is gelatinous and taste sweet and bland flavor. Inside the gelatinous pod there is little sugary coconut water like refreshing water. The translucent and pale white flesh of the fruit somewhat resembles lychee, which is another delicious summer fruit. In addition to the fruit, the sap from the trunk of the tree is also used as a healthy and refreshing drink. A native of South and Southeast Asia, Ice apple is a wonderful coolant and often recommended as a drink for the hot summer months. It is a rich source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C and B complex vitamins) and minerals (zinc, iron, potassium, and calcium).

Botonically coconut water and ice apple are same. Both are endosperm of seed. While coconut water is liquid, ice apple are semi solid. Both are packed with rehydrating properties, minerals, vitamins, fibers and cooling effect.

With such a great nutritional profile, Tadgola, as it is called in Marathi, is capable of providing numerous health benefits, a few of which are explained below:

Palm Fruit Cools the Body

The palm fruit is a natural coolant and helps to keep the body cool during summer. It also helps in preventing a number of heat related problems like prickly heat, dehydration, dry skin, kidney failure and hair loss. Not only does it hydrate your body, but it also helps replace the nutrients and electrolytes that are lost due to excessive sweating. Ice apple quenches your thirst and provides you with the energy to stay active throughout the day.

Palm Fruit Helps Relieve Skin Related Problems

Palm fruit is an excellent remedy for some of the common skin problems that arise during the hot summer season, such as heat rashes and prickly heat. Applying the flesh of the fruit on the affected area provides soothing effects and relief from these conditions. It also helps alleviate the itchiness associated with these heat related problems. The anti-inflammatory properties of the fruit is helpful in treating redness of the skin due to intense heat. A poultice made from palm fruit is found to be effective in treating dermatitis. It can be used safely in babies as well.

Palm Fruit Helps Relieve Digestive Problems

Palm fruit is a natural remedy for several stomach ailments and digestive problems. It helps in relieving constipation and in promoting normal bowel movements. It also helps in preventing acidity and stomach ulcers. Pregnant women are encouraged to eat ice apple, for it helps ease some of the minor stomach ailments and nausea that often occur during pregnancy.

Palm Fruit Helps Reduce Weight

Ice apple is a low calorie fruit and is therefore beneficial for people trying to lose weight. The fruit is rich in water content, which helps keeps your stomach fuller for a long period of time. This in turn helps in preventing frequent snacking, which is important in maintaining a healthy weight.

Palm Fruit is Rich in Phytonutrients

Palm fruit is rich in several phytochemicals that possess strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds can help in slowing down the process of aging and in lowering the risk of many serious health problems such as heart disease and cancer.

Tips for Buying Palm Fruit

When fully ripened, the outer shell of tadgola becomes a deep blackish purple color. Make sure to buy tender tadgolas because overripe ones can be hard to digest and may cause stomach problems. The vendor can help you choose the best and most tender fruit. You can either buy it as a whole fruit or the pods peeled and ready to be eaten.

How to Eat Palm Fruit

Most of the time, palm fruit has three pods but sometimes it comes with 4 pods. After peeling the fruit, the pods are removed. The pods have an outer yellowish brown skin which has to be removed before eating. However, some people prefer to eat the flesh along with the skin. Another way to eat the fruit is to cut the top portion of the fruit so that that the three holes containing the flesh become visible. Gently scoop out the flesh with a spoon and enjoy the fresh nutritious delicacy. Since the fruit contains very little fluid content care should be taken while peeling the fruit.

How to Store palm fruit

Once cut and drained, palmyra fruit become sensitive to oxidation, and the flavor and taste of the fruit begins to change rapidly. The quick fermentation of the fruit makes it a  cheap and easy source of alcohol. If you don’t plan to consume the fruit immediately after purchasing, make sure to buy the scooped pods with the fibrous skin still covering the pod. Keep it in the refrigerator and this can extend the life of the palm fruit by about a day or so. However, the fruit should be eaten within a day.

Palm Fruit Recipes

Palm fruit is used to prepare a variety of sweet drinks and desserts such as milkshake, pudding, lassi, kulfi, kheer etc. Here are some palmyra fruit recipes that will absolutely make you want to buy the fruit again and again:

Tadgola juice – Take four ice apples and blend them. Mix the puree with one and a half cups of lemon juice, 1 tbsp of rose water and one and a half cup of sugar. Add ice cubes or serve chilled.

Tadgola Milkshake- Take 2 or 3 pods of palm fruit, a cup of milk,  4 tsp of sugar and a few strands of saffron in a blender and blend well. Add some crushed ice to the drink and serve immediately.

Tadgola Kulfi – Chop a few pieces of ice apples and keep aside. Mix together a can of sweet condensed milk, a can of evaporated milk and a cup of heavy whipping cream. To this, stir in the chopped palm fruit pieces. Pour this mixture into kulfi molds and freeze. Delicious palm fruit kulfi is ready! You can use some of the chopped palm fruits for garnish.

The palm fruit or tadgola is definitely a nutritious treat for those who can’t bear the hot summers in India. Although palmyra fruit is considered to have been originated in India, today it is found growing in numerous countries of the world including Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, some parts of tropical Africa, and even Hawaii and Florida in the US. The high nutrient and water content in ice apple makes it a healthy way to keep cool in the hot summer, without adding to your fat and calorie count. If you haven’t tried this wonderful fruit before, now is the best time to do so.

Concerns about of Ice Apples: Over ripe ice apples may cause stomach ache. The fruit is highly perishable and should be consumed within a day. Hard or stony ice apples should be avoided.

Other names: Taati Munjalu (Telugu), Taale Hannu or Taale ningu (Kannada), Thati Munjalu (Tamil), Tal gaha (Sinhala), Taalah (Sanskrit), Tala (Oriya), Tnaot (Central Khmer), Thốt Nốt (Vietnamese), Luntar (Bahasa Sūg), Tari (Hindi), Taal (Bengali), Pana Nanguin (Malayalam), Munjal (Urdu), Lontar (Indonesian), Siwalan  (Javanese), Ta’al (Madurese), Ton Taan (Thai), Akadiru (East Timorese), Tao (Divehi), Tadfali (Gujarati), Targula (Konkani), Tadgola (Marathi)

Reference: OSK Reddy

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