7 Health Benefits of Graviola, a Miracle Fruit
Graviola is a Portuguese name of the broadleaved fruit tree of the rainforest. Graviola belongs to the Annonaceae family and Genus Annona. Graviola is a tropical crop inherent to South America, Central America, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. Graviola is also grown in some parts of Asia—Malaysia, Vietnam. The reputation of graviola is due to its medicinal value. The fruit also has a custardy, tangy taste.
The Many Names of Graviola
It is also commonly known as soursop, cherimoya, guanabana, custard apple and Brazilian paw paw. Graviola’s Latin name also Annona muricata and should not be mistaken with Annona squamosa a different species of Annona which is called “Hanuman fal” in Hindi and interchangeably known as “sharifa” or “aata phal” in Bengali. The British name of the fruit ‘soursop’ is because of its little acidic taste when it is taken ripe. In Malaya, it is called, “durian belanda”, “durian maki” or “seri kaya belanda”. The fruit is popularly known as “thu-rian-khack” in Thailand. In North Vietnam, it is known as corossol, or “corosso”.
Size and Shape
Graviola or soursop is heart-shaped or more or less oval. It is a compound fruit with irregular with soft, pliable “spinous” skin. The size of the fruit ranges from 4 to 12 in (10-30 cm) in length to 6 in (15 cm) in width. The weight may be up to 4.5-6.8 kg.
The Nutrition of Graviola
The graviola fruit is very delicious (like custard apple) and often used to add flavor to ice cream, jams, and juices. The health benefits of graviola are due to its balance of nutrients. It has no cholesterol, sufficient in calories (100 g contain 66 calories), low in fat, substantial carbohydrate, and protein. Graviola or soursop fruit is rich in minerals and vitamins especially calcium and potassium. Its richness in vitamin is due to the presence of vitamins B1, B2, and C and folate. The active ingredient that serves as a medicine is understood to be a kind of plant compound (phytochemical) known as annonaceous acetogenins. The nutritional and medicinal value contributes to the health benefits of graviola.
Health Benefits of Graviola
The traditional health benefits of Graviola are well known in history as an ancient medicine. Graviola or soursop is a nutritious fruit with minerals and vitamins. The barks leaves and roots have been used as local remedies. Graviola is known to be cancer fighter and controls diabetes, rheumatism, depression, and arthritis. The fruit relieves of diarrhea caused by infections of worms. Tea made with graviola extract is used to control blood pressure and hypertension.
Specific Health Benefits of Graviola
Specifically graviola or guanabana as the English call it aids retaining various health conditions.
1. Benefits in bowel movements
Graviola is a high fiber fruit. With a 100 gram helping, you can get 3.3 g of fiber. Constipation and related disorder can be overcome if taken daily.
2. Health benefits of graviola as antioxidant
Due to the anti-oxidating qualities, graviola gets rid of the free radicals. Thus, it strengthens the immune system and prevents lot of non-communicable diseases.
3. Health benefits of graviola in treatment of cancer
Research has shown that extracts of graviola can prevent at least 12 different forms of cancer. It is effective in treating cancer of the colon, breast cancer, pancreatic, lung and prostate cancer. During treatment of cancer, extracts of graviola are used to kill cancer cells which cannot be killed by chemotherapy. This is because it protects the immune system during chemotherapy. Studies also show that it reduces the cancerous cells’ capability to grow. The health benefits of graviola in cancer treatment are widely recognized.
4. Prevention of osteoporosis
Graviola is rich in calcium and phosphorus that endows with a specific health benefit in preventing osteoporosis. These minerals strengthen the bones and joints of the body.
5. Health benefits of graviola in heart diseases
Due to high potassium content (278 mg/100g) and sodium (14mg/100g) the ionic balance in the blood is maintained. It helps in functioning of the heart and prevents heart diseases as well as maintaining a healthy nervous system.
6. Lowers Uric acid
The extract of the leaves is used to make a concoction for decreasing uric acid. It medicinal value is accepted to help control of gout. But here’s a caution: not advisable during pregnancy.
7. Control of skin diseases
Health benefits of graviola are known for control of skin diseases such as boils, eczema, and skin ulcers. Both the extracts of leaves and pulp of the fruit prevent blackheads and make the skin healthy.
Why is graviola considered a beneficial crop?
Despite the fact that there is doubt on the real efficacy of graviola, humans throughout the world have exploited plant part extracts and the fruit to their benefits. Besides the fruit having economic value, graviola plant parts have been experimented upon to show the presence of potential anti-cancerous agents. Acetogenins in gran viola destroy the cancer cells. The leaf and seed oil contain the pharmacological compounds such as tannins, steroids, antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic agents makes one believe the health benefits of graviola.
Graviola leaves—a biopesticide?
One of the wonderful applications that graviola can have is in organic agriculture. The leaves contain acetogenin constituting compounds such asasimisin, squamosin and bulatacin that kills harmful insects. Many insects and pests die when fed even with little amounts of the leaves. Thus, they can be an effective agent in biopesticide preparation.
Health benefits of graviola- from soursop or graviola supplement
The rising popularity of graviola has led pharmaceuticals to develop graviola capsules and pills. The supplements are used for back pains, constipation or for extra energy. However, one should buy from a good manufacturer.
To live a healthy life a diet of the best combination is important. Taste is a vital issue when it comes to food. Knowledge of healthy food can help on developing the taste for it. Given the health benefits of graviola, it would be wonderful to taste and get the flavor.