Soursop (Annonamuricata), also known as Graviola, Brazilian pawpaw, guyabano, custard apple, and guanabana, belongs to the family Annonaceae. It is a green tropical fruit, with a prickly exterior and a sweet and sour taste. Texture and appearance-wise, it is not a luscious fruit, but the white and creamy flesh of soursop is a flavorful combination of pineapple, papaya, citrus, and strawberry.
Traditionally,soursop was known for its medicinal purposes since it is a rich source of a lot of nutrients – not only the fruit but also the leaves and seeds. However, one should never eat the skin or seeds of soursop as they are toxic. Soursops are very popular in South America and also known as the country’s native fruit. This fruit is used in smoothies, ice creams, and beverages due to its creamy texture.
Soursopis a native plant of South America, widely distributed in the West Indies and North America. It is found today in Bermuda and the Bahamas. It is cultivated from the sea to an altitude of 3,500 feet throughout the West Indies. Soursopwas one of the first fruit trees to be taken from the United States to the Old World Tropics. It was widely distributed from Southeastern China to Australia and the warm plains of eastern and western Africa.
It is common in Malaysian and Southeast Asian markets. Soursop was well-established in the Pacific Islands. The tree of soursophas grown successfully but has never been fruitful in Israel. In Florida, Soursop has grown at an average of 110 years. The Soursoptree was taken to John Fogarty’s Manatee home before the 1886’s air raid. In some Southern states, soursop is commonly grown in home gardens. Soursop is not preferred in the regions like South India and Guam, since the people of these regions like sweet fruits.
Soursop is said to be the best local fruit in East Indies. In Honolulu, this fruit issold in large quantities. People love it there so much that the demand exceeds the supply, sometimes. It belongs to the Annonaceae family, and its fruits are much appreciated for its organoleptic features. The family includes several genera characterized by the presence of metabolites that have essential biological functions. Muricata seeds make up about 5% of the total fruit weight.
Recently, scientific studies have confirmed the presence of alkaloids,acetogenins, and cyclopeptides in soursop.These are the most important drugs that have attracted interest in medicine. Seeds of soursopalso contain a large amount of fat, composition, physical and chemical properties that are attractive to the food industry.
Nutritional Facts of Soursop
100 grams of raw soursop serving contains:
- 16 grams of Water
- 66 kcal of Energy
- 1 gram of Protein
- 3 gram of Total Lipid
- 3 grams of Dietary Fiber
- 54 grams of Total Sugars
- 14 mg of Calcium
- 21 mg of Magnesium
- 27 mg of Phosphorous
- 278 mg of Potassium
- 1 mg of Zinc
- 6 mg of Vitamin C
The data is gathered from the USDA.
Health Benefits of Soursop
Soursop is famous for having natural remedial properties against viruses, cancer, pain relief, inflammation, and many other problems, due to the presence of phytonutrients. Moreover, it has anti-inflammatory properties. Soursops are suitable for your immune system and vision as well.
Soursops are rich in vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, potassium, carbohydrates, fibers, protein, and sugar. The presence of these nutrients and this fruit’s low-fat level make it very beneficial for our health. Not only the fruit, but the leaves of soursopalso have a lot of benefits. Soursop tea, which is made from its leaves, can help in treating bacterial and viral infections. Now, let’s discuss some of the many benefits of soursop.
- Stimulates Digestive Health
Being a great source of fiber, soursop is excellent for your digestive health and aids constipation. Foods high in fiber slows down the digestion process and keep the blood sugar level in a healthy range. Moreover, fiber-rich food also controls your craving.
- Has Cancer-Fighting Properties
There are no researches done on humans up till now to see if soursop kills cancer cells, but some work has done on this topic. However, some studies claim that the soursop has anti-cancerous properties, and it kills cancer cells. A research conducted in 2018 proposed that soursop’s anti-inflammatory features assure the presence of cancer-fighting cells in it. But consult your doctor first before adding anything new to your diet as it may react with the medications you are taking.
Studies have found some compounds in soursops that can kill cancer cells. Drugs made of compounds extracted from soursopare more effective than consuming the fruit.
Furthermore, always remember that herbal supplements are not a substitute for medicines.
- Enhances Your Vision
Since soursop is filled with antioxidants that include vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and beta-carotene, it minimizes the risk of eye diseases. Furthermore, antioxidants decrease oxidative stress and protect the body from dangerous conditions, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Soursop contains antioxidants that help the body to restore and repair the damaged cells and fight inflammation. The leaves, root, and barks of soursop have a great ability to treat inflammation and ease arthritis.
- Antioxidant Properties
Free-radicals cause many diseases and health problems. Antioxidants fight against these diseases that cause free radicals and keep your body healthy. Soursop contains a high content of antioxidants that can help in preventing several diseases.
- Lowers Blood Sugar Level
A studyconducted on rodents in 2008 suggested that soursop lowers the blood sugar level in diabetic patients. The study further added that even though the rats were given less food, they didn’t lose weight. This may be due to the controlled glucose level. Therefore,soursop is considered beneficial in lowering blood sugar.
- Promotes Immunity
Maintaining a healthy diet is very important for boosting the immune system. And soursop is the best fruit to add to your diet to strengthen your immune system. You can add soursop in your diet either in the form of desserts or beverages.
Soursop contains vitamin C in abundance that promotes the growth of white blood cells in our body. White blood cells protect our body from every type of infection and harmful foreign invaders. High vitamin C content protects your body from several infections as well. People with vitamin C deficiency have more chances of being affected by viral infections.
- Treats Insomnia
If you are facing trouble falling asleep or difficulty having a peaceful sleep, then soursop tea is all you need. Soursop tea is made from its leaves and is used to relieve stress and depression. Since soursop has anti-inflammatory as well as soothing properties, it is excellent for the treatment of anxiety and stress. It is easy to fall asleep when you are peaceful and have a stress-free mind.
- Maintains Blood Pressure
Soursop contains a high content of potassium. A cup of soursop includes 626 mg of potassium, along with the traces of iron. High potassium and low sodium content maintain the blood pressure and keep it in a healthy range. Potassium acts as a filtrate. It filters toxins and excess salt and keeps the blood vessels relax. When sodium level gets high, and potassium level falls, it results in high blood pressure. Therefore, consuming soursop can really help in this condition.
- Helps in Fighting Against Infections
Soursop fights against infections caused by parasites and bacteria. The soursop leaves are used to treat several infections, including infections caused by viruses.
- Prevents Ulcer
Soursop can prevent Ulcers. An ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach, intestine, and esophagus. A studyconducted in 2014 proposed that Graviola helps in protecting the digestive tract from damages caused by free radicals. It further added that soursop also preserves the stomach’s mucous lining.
- Improves Gastrointestinal Health
Soursop juice helps in the cleansing of the gastrointestinal tract. It acts as the diuretic and expels the toxins and excessive salt out of the body. The anti-inflammatory compounds of soursop relieve the pain and irritation of the colon and stomach.
- Can Help in Treating Herpes
Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), an infection caused by virus herpes simplex. According to a study, the soursop has an antiviral effect against HSV-2 (herpes simplex 2 virus), which is responsible for genital herpes.
- Soothes Pain
Soursop is used to relieve the pain. Due to the anti-inflammatory and sedative properties, soursop has been applied to the wounds and injuries for ages. It is not only applied externally, but it also relieves the internal pain and irritation as well due to its analgesic properties.
- Beneficial for Skin and Hair
Soursop is very good for your skin and hair as well. It treats dandruff and itching and promotes hair growth. Soursop leaves are used to calm the skin of babies. Moreover, soursop prevents your skin from skin-related problems like papilloma.
The high nutritional value and several benefits of soursops make it way too popular among people, and they start consuming it more than required. Just like the overconsumption of anything can be lethal, high consumption of soursop, whether in the form of supplements or tea made of its leaves, can destroy nerve cells. This can result in disorders related to the nervous system (like Parkinson’s disease). So, always go for moderation. If consumed in moderation, soursop is the best fruit to add to your diet with several health benefits and high nutritional value.