Custard apple, also known as “sitaphal” in Hindi, is a delicious fruit that is popular for its creamy, sweet flesh. This soft and creamy fruit has a hard rind and is full of nutrients. The fruit contains antioxidants and is high in nutrients like magnesium and potassium, offering a plethora of health benefits. In this post, we have outlined some of the most amazing health benefits of custard apple along with its nutritional value, and an easy recipe to go with.
Custard apple is synonymous with the chilly weather in India, being extensively used in desserts, such as kheers, milkshakes and ice creams, for its intense sugary flavour. Moreover, this delightful winter fruit offers some fabulous wellness incentives such as renewing skin texture, boosting vitality and managing diabetes.
Locally known as “Sitaphal” in Hindi and Telugu, “Sharifa” in Punjabi and “Seethapazham” in Malayalam, the custard apple is also called sugar apple, cherimoya or sweetsop. The scientific names for the different varieties of this tasty fruit are Annona squamosa, Annona cherimola and Annona reticulate.
The custard apple tree grows up to a height of 5 to 9 feet, carrying huge green leaves and yellow flowers shaped like a trumpet. The fruits are either green or brown in colour and oblong in shape. When completely ripened, the flesh of the custard apple fruit has many black seeds, with a fragrant and sweet-tasting pulp.
Custard apples supply carbs for instant vigour. They are low in unhealthy or saturated fats and packed with beneficial dietary fibers. In addition, this exotic fruit comprises umpteen valuable nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, the B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, carotenoids and flavonoids.
Nutrition Value of Custard Apple
Custard apples are a rich source of nutrients and minerals required by the body. Let’s take a look at the table below to understand the nutritional values of the fruit.
A fresh, 100-gram custard apple contains:
Calories – 94
Proteins – 2.1 gms
Dietary Fiber – 4.4 gms
Total Fat – 0.0 gms
Carbohydrates – 23.6 gms
With that in mind, let’s discuss the potential health benefits of consuming custard apples.
Health BenefitsThere are several advantages to eating custard apples. Various research and studies have proven the potential health benefits of custard apples. Listed below are some of the known health benefits of consuming custard apples.
May boost your mood
Cherimoya is an excellent source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). In fact, 1 cup (160 grams) of the fruit contains 24% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
Vitamin B6 plays an important role in the creation of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which help regulate your mood.
Inadequate levels of this vitamin may contribute to mood disorders.
In fact, low blood levels of vitamin B6 are linked to depression, especially in older adults. One study in older adults found that vitamin B6 deficiency doubled one’s chances of depression.
By boosting levels of this important vitamin, eating foods like cherimoya may help reduce your risk of depression related to vitamin B6 deficiency.
Better cardiovascular healthCustard apple is one of the few fruits that contain a well-balanced ratio of potassium and sodium that helps in regulating and controlling blood pressure fluctuations in the body. The high magnesium content in custard apple relaxes the smooth heart muscles, thus preventing stroke and heart attack. Moreover, fiber and niacin in the fruit help in lowering bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol in the body. Most importantly it helps in preventing the absorption of cholesterol in the gut and averts the free radicals from affecting lipid.
May promote good digestion
One cup (160 grams) of cherimoya offers almost 5 grams of dietary fiber, which is over 17% of the RDI.
Because fiber cannot be digested or absorbed, it adds bulk to stool and helps move it through your intestines.
In addition, soluble fibers — like those found in cherimoya — can feed the good bacteria in your gut, as well as undergo fermentation to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These acids include butyrate, acetate, and propionate.
SCFAs are energy sources for your body and may protect against inflammatory conditions that affect your digestive tract, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
By supporting healthy bowel movements and nourishing gut bacteria, cherimoya and other fiber-rich foods can promote optimal digestive health.
Helps fight fatigueFatigue can result from a number of factors, including daily lifestyle as well as diseases. A 100-gram serving of custard apple contains 101 kilo calories (Kcal), which is roughly around 5% of the recommended dietary allowance. The fruit will keep you going with your day to day activities without any hassle.
Boosts eyesightCustard apple is a rich source of vitamin C and riboflavin, two most essential nutrients that are responsible for keeping the eyes healthy. They also help in fighting free radicals from damaging the cells. As we age, weak eyesight is a common problem. In this day and age where we are glued to the screens of our phone, TV, tablets, and laptops, it is important to take good care of your eyes. The essential nutrients in custard apple prevent your eyes from drying out allowing them to function properly.
Keeps skin youthful and delays agingEating custard apple has shown to stimulate and increase collagen production in the body. Collagen is a protein that gives the skin its elasticity, plumpness, and smoothness. As we age, collagen production becomes slow. This results in the formation of crease lines on the skin, sagginess of the skin, and wrinkly skin. Consuming custard apple thickens and stimulates the production of collagen, therefore reducing the fine lines and wrinkles. The compounds present in custard apple slow down the breakdown of collagen, improving the elasticity of the skin and keeping the skin hydrated. The presence of antioxidants in the fruit ensures that signs like blemishes and age spots are delayed. Last but not least, it is essential for the regeneration of the skin cells, which keeps the skin look youthful all the time.
Custard apple for better brain healthCustard apples contain B complex vitamins in abundance. B complex vitamins are known for controlling your brain’s GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neuron chemical levels. This is what influences different emotions, including depression, irritability, tension, and stress. The B complex vitamins help the brain to calm down, especially when you are stressed about something or are depressed. According to experts, it is a great food to have to protect against Parkinson’s disease. 100 gms of custard apple contains 0.6 gms of Vitamin B6 which is 15-20% of the daily recommended value.
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Remedy for inflammatory diseasesCustard apple is a highly recommended fruit for people suffering from inflammatory diseases like gout and rheumatoid arthritis. The antioxidants present in the fruit can help curb pain related to auto-inflammatory diseases and conditions. Not only the fruit, but the leaves of custard apple have also been known to possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Lowers the risk of arthritisCustard apples are a rich source of magnesium. When consumed, magnesium helps in equalizing the water balance in the body, therefore eradicating acids from the joints. This ultimately helps in reducing the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. According to experts, regular consumption of the fruit also helps in fighting muscle weakness. Custard apples also contain calcium which is essential for bone health.
Prevents anemiaAnemia occurs due to a disorder within the body. It leads to the body having less than regular amounts of hemoglobin or red blood cells in the body. The red blood cells use hemoglobin for transporting oxygen all around the body, allowing the body to perform numerous functions. Lower amounts of red blood cells or hemoglobin result in the blood lacking an adequate amount of oxygen. This makes the lungs and the heart work harder to produce more oxygen. Custard apple is known as a haematinic as well as an expectorant, which helps in dealing with conditions like anemia.
Best Ways to Consume Custard Apple
While custard apple is better served raw and fresh, it can be used as seasonings or dressings. You can mix the white creamy pulp with other fruits in salads or can use the pulp as a topping for your ice cream. Now, in this section, we are going to tell you how to make custard apple ice cream at home.
- Custard apple – 3/4 cup (deseeded)
- Vanilla essence – 1 tablespoon
- 1 Frozen Banana
- Fresh cream – 100 grams
- Milk powder – 1 cup
- Milk – 2 cups
- Add all ingredients in a blender along with 1/2 cup of custard apple and blend till smooth. Mix well until no sediments or lump are formed
- Fold the remaining custard apple into the blended mix till well incorporated.
- Take a shallow container, and pour the mixture
- Cover the container with foil paper and freeze it until it is set
- Your custard apple ice cream is ready. Serve and enjoy!