Have you ever seen or even heard of a fruit that grows directly off the trunk of its tree? Well, that’s what Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora) is! Also known as the Brazilian Grape tree, the Jaboticaba tree is unique for its striking and eye-catching feature of producing fruits on its trunk. A native to South America, especially Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, Jaboticaba is a purple colored, juicy fruit that has a grape like texture with a sweet taste. It is also used in making jams, jellies, wine and liquor. Since this fruit has a very short shelf-life, it is difficult to get fresh Jaboticaba from markets outside of areas where it is cultivated. The thick skin of this fruit has astringent qualities which make it useful in treating asthma, diarrhea, hemoptysis, and persistent inflammation of the tonsils.
Nutritional value of Jaboticaba
Jaboticaba is a fruit that is low in fat, low in calories and low in carbohydrates. It is a rich source of vitamin C and also contains other vitamins like vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. Minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese and zinc are also present in this fruit. In addition to vitamins and minerals, Jaboticaba is also a good source of several amino acids, fatty acids and many powerful antioxidants that have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies reveal that Jabotica peel is a high source of dietary fiber and phenolic compounds (anthocyanins) that have potent antioxidant properties. Jabuticaba along with its Myrtaceae family fruits have high content of ellagitannins. Jabuticaba peel has one of the highest content of ellagic acid. Anthocyanins content increases with ripening of the fruit.
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Health benefits of Jaboticaba
Being a rich source several important nutrients, the health benefits of Jaboticaba are numerous and promising too. Some of the benefits are listed below:
Antioxidant properties of Jaboticaba
Jaboticaba has high content of phenolic compounds and antioxidants. The oxidation stress caused by the free radicals to the cells of your body is mainly responsible for ageing and also many health conditions like cancer. Antioxidants help in getting rid of these free radicals and in preventing cell damage. Research is active in the area of antioxidant properties of jaoticaba.
Jaboticaba and skin benefits
Being one of the powerful antioxidants it prevent early aging and also in preventing the occurrence of ageing signs like dark spots, wrinkles and fine lines. This exotic fruit has important nutrients, especially in its peel that has been found to be very beneficial for your skin. Studies have found that Jaboticaba helps in rejuvenating and hydrating your skin. It also encourages the production of collagen that helps in increasing the elasticity and suppleness of skin. The pulp of this fruit contains vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) which supports the functioning of enzymes that promote cell growth. It also has detoxifying and anti-microbial properties and hence is used in the treatment of acne. Jaboticaba is used in preparation of tropical skin care formulations. Mix jaboticaba pulp, oatmeal and honey to make jaboticaba face scrub at home.
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Jaboticaba for healthy hair
The nutrients in Jaboticaba promote healthy and lustrous growth of hair and are also helpful in preventing hair loss. Various formulations with Jaboticaba extract for hair are also available in market.
Jaboticaba and weight loss
Jaboticaba is a good addition to a weight loss diet since it is low in fat and calories. Besides, the skin is a rich source of dietary fiber that controls your appetite and prevents you from overeating by keeping you fuller for a longer period of time.
Jaboticaba has anti-cancer properties
Jabuticaba is very popular for its powerful antioxidant effects due to the presence of phenolic compounds like anthocyanins and many others. Anthocyanins, which act as potent antioxidants also possess anti-inflammatory, with anti-cancer properties. These antioxidants help in fighting off the free radicals that are responsible for causing cell damage and DNA mutations.
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Jaboticaba has strong astringent properties
Jabuticaba Fruit has been found to have strong astringent properties. It helps in opening up the bronchial air passages and hence is a good remedy for asthma The astringent effects also makes it effective in treating diarrhea and inflammation of the tonsilitis.
Jaboticaba and digestive health
The high fiber content in Jaboticaba helps in making your bowel movements regular and in preventing constipation. The nutrients in this fruit aid in digestion and also in cleansing and detoxifying your intestine.
Jaboticaba may help in reducing cardiovascular diseases
It has been found that diets rich in anthocyanin or polyphenols can lower your risks of cardiovascular diseases by regulating lipid metabolism. A study conducted in obese rats confirmed that such diets help in reducing the total serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels and also in increasing the good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Jaboticaba peel is a rich source of dietary fiber that is capable of lowering the levels of LDL and total cholesterol.
Jaboticaba and diabetes
According to studies conducted on mice, the peel of Jaboticaba is effective in reducing blood glucose levels and hence its regular consumption may be helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes. Since it a low calorie food with plenty of dietary fiber, it is a healthy addition to the diet of people with diabetes. Animal studies have also found out anti obesity properties of jaboticaba peel.
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Jabuticaba for stronger bones and teeth
The high levels of calcium, potassium and magnesium in this fruit is beneficial for your bones and teeth. These minerals help in strengthening your bones and in preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
Jaboticaba relieves arthritis
Because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, Jaboticaba is useful in easing arthritis and other inflammation related disorders.
Jaboticaba is good for pregnant women
In olden times, Jaboticaba was given to pregnant women because of the high amounts of iron in it. This fruit is also a good source of folic acid that plays a major role in the growth and development of the baby.
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Jaboticaba is a good source of depside
Depsides are polyphenolic compounds that exhibit antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-HIV and anti-proliferative properties. A depside known as jaboticabin has been found to be present in Jaboticaba, which is considered to play a key role in promoting health benefits.
Interesting facts about Jaboticaba – Natural blue dye in Jaboticaba has been used in development of dye based solar cells. Extracts of Jaboticaba have shown ability to convert light into electricity in dye synthesized solar cells.
Jaboticaba has a very short shelf life, which makes it pretty much unknown to the other parts of the world where it is not grown. The most amazing thing about Jaboticaba is that the fruit looks like it is glued on to the trunk and you can pluck them right away. Although often discarded, most of the antioxidants and polyphenols like quercetin, ellagic acid and anthocyanins are located in the peel. Regular consumption of Jaboticaba ensures that your body gets the essential vitamins and minerals needed for maintaining normal and healthy bodily functions.Image Credits: Flickr - Roberto Antonio Hoffmann, Flickr - Ign11