Sapota, also known as Sapodilla (Manilkara zapotilla, Sapotaceae) or chikoo is a super tasty tropical fruit that is full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. It comprises of simple sugars such as sucrose and fructose that instantly provides energy and replenishment to your body. It offers amazing benefits for your skin, hair, eyes and bones. Other health benefits includes its effectiveness as anti-inflammatory, diuretic, antimicrobial and its ability to boost immunity, prevent cancer, improve mental health, regulate blood pressure and promote all round health.
Native to Central America, southern Mexico, and the Caribbean, this fruit is also grown widely in other tropical countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia. A ripe sapota fruit has a light brown colored flesh with a remarkably sweet taste and grainy texture. The unripe fruit contains high concentrations of saponin, which causes drying of the mouth because of its astringent properties. Trunk of Sapodilla also is good source of chicle which is a key component in chewing gum.
Delightfully sweet, the sapota fruit is easily digestible and is a storehouse of vitamins, minerals and many other health benefiting nutrients that protects your body from all sorts of diseases and infections. Ripe Sapota fruit can be eaten raw. It is used in various desserts, making ice cream. Chiku milk shake and sapota smoothie are very common. It is also known by other common names like Dilly, Chikoo/chiku/chikku, kauki, naeberry, nispero, mispu, muyozapot, sapote, sapoti, satotille, zapote and others.
Nutritional value of Sapota fruit
In addition to being a very good source of dietary fiber, Sapota fruit is also high in calories. A 100 gram serving of this fruit provides about 83 calories of energy. It is low in cholesterol and saturated fat content. It is exceptionally rich in tannin, a poly-phenolic compound that has potential antioxidant, anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasitic properties. Sapota is also high in vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, niacin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid. It is also a great source of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and iron.
Sapota fruit Health benefits
The Sapota fruit as well as various parts of the tree have medicinal benefits and hence are used in treating several health conditions. Given below are some of the many health benefits of this exotic fruit:
Benefits of Sapota for skin
The plethora of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants contained in sapota fruit makes it highly beneficial for obtaining healthy and beautiful skin. The Vitamin E found in this fruit helps in moisturizing your skin and keeping it healthy and glowing. It also helps in improving the texture and complexion of your skin. Vitamin A and vitamin C found in this fruit also helps in providing a smooth and glowing skin. Sapota fruit is an excellent source of antioxidants that helps in preventing early aging. It does this by fighting off the free radicals in your body that are responsible for speeding up the ageing process by causing oxidation stress to the cells. The nutrients in this fruit are also effective in eliminating the aging signs like fine line, wrinkles and dark spots. The sap obtained from the sapota tree is found to be effective in getting rid of fungal growths and warts that develop on the skin.
Sapota and hair benefits
Just like the other parts of the body, your hair also requires a well balanced diet in order stay healthy and strong. Most of the hair problems that occur can be attributed to a poor supply of nutrients to your body. The regular consumption of sapota fruit can keep your healthy as it is loaded with plenty of vitamins and minerals. The oil extracted from the seeds of sapota, when applied to the scalp nourishes and moisturizes the scalp and helps in preventing dryness, itchiness and other scalp problems. It also promotes hair growth and prevents hair fall. Dandruff can be eliminated by applying a mixture of castor oil and a paste of sapota seeds on to the scalp. Leave this mixture on the scalp overnight and wash it off the next day.
Sapota is good for the eyes
Sapota fruit contains high concentrations of vitamin A, which according to research is highly beneficial for the eyes. It nourishes the eyes and helps to improve and maintain good vision. This fruit also contains vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radical damage and prevents eye disorders like cataract and age related macular degeneration.
Anti-inflammatory properties of Sapodilla
Sapota is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent as it contains high amounts of tannins. Therefore the consumption of this fruit helps in reducing inflammation and pain, and also in getting relief from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, enteritis, esophagitis, and gastritis.
Sapota for respiratory problems
Eating sapota fruit is a great way to obtain relief from the severe cold and persistent cough as it helps in loosening and removing the mucus and phlegm from the respiratory tract.
Sapota boosts immunity
As mentioned before, Sapota fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C. A 100 gram serving of this fruit provides about 24.5 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of this vitamin. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that plays an important role in enhancing the functions of the immune system. The intake of Sapodilla helps in preventing cold, flu and also other infections. Sapota fruit also contains a polyphenolic compound known as tannin that has antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
Sapota and prevention of cancer
Sapota fruit is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A that helps to prevent certain types of cancers by neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals. According to studies, the alcoholic extracts of the sapota fruit contains phytochemicals that are capable of killing cancerous cells, a process known as apoptosis. The studies revealed that the extract was able to induce apoptosis on different types of cancers such as breast, blood, ovarian and lung cancers.
Sapota for strong bones
Sapota fruit promotes stronger and healthier bones as it is rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus and iron. These minerals help in improving the strength and endurance of the bones.
Sapota helps digestion
Sapota fruit is high in fiber content, which makes it extremely beneficial for the digestive system. The fiber promotes regular bowel movements and prevents conditions like constipation.
Sapota – good source of energy
The sapota fruit or chikoo is considered as an energy boosting food as it is packed with simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that releases instant energy. If you are feeling tired after workout and need quick energy, sapota smoothie shall be refreshing.
Sapodilla improves mental health
Sapota fruit is helpful in improving mental health because of its sedative properties. It is found to be effective in calming down the nerves and relieving stress. It is often recommended for people suffering from various nervous disorders like stress, anxiety and depression.
Benefits of sapota during pregnancy
Sapota is rich in vitamin A, electrolytes, carbohydrates and energy, which makes it perfect for pregnant ladies and lactating mothers as well. It also helps to deal with problems related to pregnancy such as dizziness, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation etc. Being rich in folate content, sapota fruit also prevents birth defects in the fetus.
Anti-microbial properties of Chiku
Sapota fruit is found to have strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic and properties because of the presence of high amounts of antioxidant polyphenolic compounds. These active compounds protect your body from infections by preventing the entry of various disease causing microbes.
Sapota for kidney problems
Sapota fruit functions as a diuretic, which helps in increasing the frequency of urination, thus preventing water retention in the body. This property makes sapota a detoxifying agent as it helps in removing the toxic wastes formed in the body. It also helps in preventing kidney diseases by getting rid of the kidney and bladder stones.
Sapota good during diarrhea
Sapota fruit has purgative properties and hence is considered an anti-diarrheal agent. A decoction prepared by boiling sapota in water is an excellent remedy for diarrhea.
Does Sapota fruit promotes weight loss?
Since sapota is high in calories, many people think that it will cause weight gain. Actually this fruit promotes weight loss indirectly by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes and speeding up the rate of metabolism.
Sapota regulates blood pressure
Sapota is rich in minerals like potassium and magnesium that helps in keeping the blood pressure under control. Potassium acts a vasodilator that widens the blood vessels, allowing the blood to circulate easily through them.
Sapodilla prevents anemia
Sapota has high amounts of nutrients like iron, folate and phosphorus, which increases the production of new blood cells. This helps in preventing anemia. Sapota is thus good fruit for women. Most women are anemic and especially during menstruation, which may lead to loss of red blood cells in body.
Benefits of Sapota seed oil
Oil is obtained from cold pressing seeds of sapota and has varied benefits. Also sometimes known as Sapote oil, sapuyul oil, or sapayulo oil. It has almond like odour and used in cosmetics and beauty products. It forms part of cooking in some tropical countries. Sapodilla oil has good moisturizer properties and promotes hair growth.
Besides being exceptionally tasty, Sapota is one of those fruits which provide a myriad of health benefits owing to the wide range of nutrients it contains. They are inexpensive and also easily available all through the year. So next time you crave for something sweet, yet healthy and refreshing, grab a couple of ripe sapota fruits and enjoy their benefits.