Soursop

Amazing Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts of Soursop (Graviola)

Soursop is a fruit that’s popular for its delicious flavor and impressive health benefits.

It’s also very nutrient-dense and provides a good amount of fiber and vitamin C for very few calories.

Also known as graviola, soursop (Annona muricata) is a large prickly, heart shaped green colored fruit growing in tropical regions. It is covered with ridges on the outside and has a soft juicy flesh inside. It resembles a custard apple and is dark green when raw. As it ripens, it becomes slightly soft and light green externally. Thus, this fruit is closely related to custard apple and cherimoyas in terms of appearance and flavor. Its white pulpy flesh contains small shiny black inedible seeds and has a sweet, acidic taste.

Seedless varieties of soursop are rarely available and generally have a fibrous flesh. Due to its creamy texture, it is often used in beverages, ice creams, and other sweet foods. The skin of the fruit is inedible, but the white fleshy part is quite nutritious. The seeds should never be eaten as they are toxic in nature. The tips of the prickles of ripe soursop fruit break off easily. Under-ripe fruits can be stored in the dark until they ripen fully.

What Does Soursop Do For Your Body?

Soursop contains numerous phytonutrients that can fight disease-causing cells and even certain kinds of tumors. These phytonutrients contain antioxidant properties that enhance the overall health. They help fight cancer, enhance eye health, and treat a range of infections

Soursop Nutrition Facts

One cup of soursop pulp (225g) provides 149 calories, 2.3g of protein, 37.8g of carbohydrates, and 0.7g of fat. Soursop is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 149
  • Fat: 0.7g
  • Sodium: 31.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 37.9g
  • Fiber: 7.4g
  • Sugars: 30.5g
  • Protein: 2.3g
  • Vitamin C: 46.4mg
  • Potassium: 626mg

Carbs
Soursop contains almost 38 grams of carbohydrates per cup. The carbs in soursop come from naturally occurring sugars, and it contains more than 7 grams of fiber per serving (about a quarter of your recommended daily intake). The glycemic index of soursop is low.

Fats
This fruit is very low in fat, providing less than one gram per serving.

Protein
Soursop, like most fruits, is not a good source of protein. A single serving contains only 2.3 grams of protein. So you’ll need to incorporate other protein sources, such as salmon, lean meats, and legumes, into your diet to meet your daily needs.

Vitamins and Minerals
Soursop comes packed with micronutrients. One cup provides 46.4 mg of vitamin C. The USDA recommends an intake of 90 mg per day to support your immune system. Soursop also provides 626 mg of potassium for blood pressure regulation and rapid workout recovery.

Health Benefits of Soursop

Soursop is high in vitamin C, an antioxidant known to boost immune health. The vitamin strengthens your immune system, improving its ability to defend against pathogens. It also promotes the destruction of free radicals, which can help to protect your skin and cells from environmental oxidative damage. One whole soursop fruit contains 215% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

Soursop (the fruit and the leaves) contains many other antioxidants, including phytosterols, tannins, and flavonoids. Antioxidants play a role in your overall health and may help to protect against a variety of health conditions.

Improves Eye Health

We have seen soursop is replete with antioxidants. These antioxidants, especially vitamins C and E, zinc, and beta-carotene, have been found to decrease the risk of eye disease. The antioxidants also reduce oxidative stress, which can otherwise cause cataracts and age-related macular degeneration

Potential for Cancer Prevention

A 2018 study reported that extracts from soursop fruit and the tree’s bark, roots, and leaves had the therapeutic potential to combat cancer and other non-malignant diseases.

However, not enough human data support this claim. Experts from Cancer Treatment Centers of America warn against using soursop as a cancer fighter, and they note that soursop is associated with numerous unsubstantiated claims. Drugs developed from compounds in the soursop plant are more likely to be effective than simply consuming the fruit or tea made from its leaves.

Healthy digestion

One whole soursop fruit contains around 83% of your recommended daily allowance of fiber, which is a vital nutrient for your digestive health. Fiber helps to promote regularity and prevent digestive issues such as constipation.

It’s High in Antioxidants

Test-tube studies show that soursop is high in antioxidants, which may help prevent cell damage and could lower the risk of chronic disease.

Many of the reported benefits of soursop are due to its high content of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize harmful compounds called free radicals, which can cause damage to cells.

Some research shows that antioxidants could play a role in reducing the risk of several diseases, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

One test-tube study looked at the antioxidant properties of soursop and found that it was able to effectively protect against damage caused by free radicals.

Another test-tube study measured the antioxidants in soursop extract and showed that it helped prevent damage to cells. It also contained several plant compounds that act as antioxidants, including luteolin, quercetin and tangeretin.

Stabilizes blood pressure

High blood pressure may lead to serious issues like heart disease and heart attack. A contributing factor to high blood pressure is sodium intake. Potassium helps your body to get rid of sodium and eases the tension in the walls of your blood vessels, both of which can help to lower your blood pressure. A whole soursop fruit offers approximately one-third to one-half of your recommended daily allowance of potassium.

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May fight against bacteria

Soursop may provide antibacterial effects. One study found that an extract may be able to kill many different types of bacteria, including strains that cause gum disease and cavities. Another study found that soursop extracts may help to fight cholera and Staphylococcus bacteria. While these were test-tube studies, the results are promising, and further research is needed.

Boosts The Immune System

A Korean study states that the intake of soursop can enhance immunity. This can be attributed to the bioactive compounds in the fruit. Oral intake of soursop leaf extracts was found to reduce edema in rat paws, which is usually caused due to a weak immune system. The study concludes by stating that soursop leaf extract has the potential to stimulate immunity, and hence can be used in the treatment of immunocompromised patients. Soursop can also be made a part of the diet to improve the overall lifestyle quality.

The juice of the soursop fruit was found to provide more micronutrients than its pulp. But the pulp has more amount of vitamin A than the juice. Soursop is also rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that strengthens and boosts the immune system. Beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A, also contributes to an enhanced immune system.

Another report published in a journal by The University of West Indies talks about a study where patients with different forms of cancer were given different foods, soursop being one of them. The objective of the experiment, as stated in the report, was to enhance the immune system of the patients.

How to Eat Soursop

From juices to ice creams and sorbets, soursop is a popular ingredient found throughout South America and can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways.

The flesh can be added to smoothies, made into teas or even used to help sweeten baked goods.

However, because it has a strong, naturally sweet flavor, soursop is most often enjoyed raw.

When selecting fruit, pick one that is soft or let it ripen for a few days before eating. Then simply cut it lengthwise, scoop out the flesh from the rind and enjoy.

Keep in mind that the seeds of the soursop should be avoided, as they have been shown to contain annonacin, a neurotoxin that may contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Soursop can be used in juices, smoothies, teas or desserts. It can also be enjoyed raw, but the seeds should be removed before eating.

Summary

Test-tube and animal studies using soursop extract have uncovered some promising results regarding this fruit’s potential health benefits.

Still, it’s important to remember that these studies are looking at the effects of a concentrated dose of soursop extract, much greater than the amount you would get from a single serving.

However, soursop is delicious, versatile and can be a beneficial addition to your diet.

When combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, this fruit may have some impressive benefits for your health.

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