10 Health Benefits And 6 Side Effects Of Sugar Apples
Sugar apple (Annona squamosa) is an exotic fruit with a sweet taste known by many names. Some call it sugar pineapple, sweetsop, cherimoya, sitaphal (hindi) or custard apple. The name is quite deceiving, and this fruit is not actually an apple, although it is sometimes used as an apple substitute in cooking and in many recipes.
It has a creamy and sweet white flesh and leathery skin and due to its creamy texture, it is very often eaten with a spoon when is soft. Its taste is similar to banana and pineapple. Being creamy and very refreshing it is best to be eaten chilled, and it is a popular ingredient in smoothies and ice creams.
Sugar Apple Is A Very Healthy Fruit
As you can guess, this fruit is very healthy and contains many nutrients and its vitamin C content is higher than orange. It is cultivated as a tropical fruit in tropical climates in Central and South America, but in the 16 century, it was introduced in India and the Philippines and it has been mostly cultivated there. (1)
It is rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals and it is known for boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, fighting fatigue, and keeping your skin beautiful and smooth. (2)
You can find it for only two to three months on the market’s shelves (from August to October), so make sure you benefit it when you can!
One fresh, 100-gram custard apple contains:
- Total Fat – 0.0 gr
- Carbohydrates – 23.6 gr
- Proteins – 2.1 gr
- Calories – 94
- Proteins – 2.1 gr
- Dietary Fiber – 4.4 gr
And the following nutrients:
- 38% of Vitamin C
- 22% of Magnesium
- 15% of Vitamin B6
- 6% of Iron
It is also very rich, in phosphorus, B2, B3, B5, B9 and potassium.
Sugar Apple Health Benefits
As mentioned, it is very healthy and rich in nutrients, and the following health benefits make it worth eating:
1. It may improve your mood
It is rich in vitamin B6, which is very important for mood regulation and plays one of the key roles in the creation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. B vitamins can help you to calm down if you are under stress or depression. (3)
If you take it in inadequate amounts, it may cause mood disorders.
2. It may boost respiratory health
Vitamin B6 has anti-inflammatory benefits and reduces the inflammation of bronchial tubes and it is helpful for asthma patients and prevents asthma attacks and bronchial inflammation. (4)
3. It promotes the good digestion
It is rich in fiber content, in both soluble and insoluble fibers that improve digestion. It may alleviate some digestive issues like diarrhea and constipation and facilitates fatty acids fermentation. These fatty acids protect the digestive tract from inflammatory diseases like Chron’s disease and colitis.
It offers almost 5 gr. of dietary fiber, which is 17 % of daily intake. (5)
4. It has anti-cancer properties
It contains certain flavonoids such as catechin, epicatechin, and epigallocatechin that prevent cancerous cell formation and growth. (6)
One study showed that catechin in sugar apples prevents the proliferation of cancer cells. (7)
The dietary flavonoids are especially good for preventing the risk of digestive tract cancers which are very common malignant tumors worldwide. (8)
It is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body that will help you to detoxify the body and prevents cancers.
5. It can regulate the blood pressure
The content of potassium in sugar apples is higher than in a banana, so it makes it very helpful in fighting this health problem, known as a silent killer. The potassium in the diet balances the sodium levels and lowers blood pressure and reduces the risks of heart diseases. (9)
6. It can prevent anemia
Sugar apple is rich in iron and may fight anemia, a disease that comes when there is iron deficiency in the body and lower levels of hemoglobin or red blood cells to transport oxygen and help the organism to perform many functions. Sugar apple is an essential source of iron and may help you to fight anemia and it is advisable to put it on your everyday diet in case you have anemia.
Some of the most common symptoms of anemia are dizziness and chronic fatigue.
7. It may lower the cholesterol levels
Custard apple has niacin, a B vitamin that helps with lowering the cholesterol level in the body. Fiber is another agent that may help you reduce your high cholesterol level. One animal study showed that the ethanolic extract of Annona squamosa ( custard leaves) reduced blood sugar levels and fell total cholesterol (TC) levels by 49.3% in rabbits when administered orally. (10)
8. It may lower the blood sugar levels
The fiber content may reduce the blood sugar levels in the body. The glycemic index of the custard apple is 54 and contains a moderate amount of glycemic load is 10.2, although it is very sweet. It exhibits potent anti-diabetic properties and one animal study showed that its intake significantly reduced the sugar levels in rats. (11)
Still, it is rich in calories and sugar, and you should be careful if you have diabetes and do not eat this fruit in high doses.
9. Lowers the rheumatic pains
The magnesium in the custard apple helps maintain the water balance in the body and eliminates the acids from the joints and lowers the inflammation caused by rheumatism and arthritis. In addition, it contains calcium that promotes bone health.
10. Boosts the collagen production
As you grow old, your collagen production decreases and causes wrinkles and skin lines, and looses the skin. The sugar apple stimulates collagen production and reduces collagen breakdown and improves skin elasticity. It is loaded with vitamin vitamins B and vitamin C and antioxidants that help in building tissues and protect the cell structure and prevent cell damage from ultraviolet light. (12)
It improves skin elasticity and makes your hair stronger.
5 Sugar Apple Leaves Health Benefits
The leaves of this fruit are equally beneficial as the fruit itself.
The custard apple leaves have been studied in many in vitro and in vivo investigations. This is due to a considerable diversity of phytochemicals and phenol compounds, mainly alkaloids and flavonoids. Although there are findings, additional research is needed to determine the exact effects on human health.
However, they are considered medicine in Ayurveda, and are highly praised, and can be used topically or taken as fruit sugar apple tea after being boiled, so it is best to consult an Ayurvedic expert for suggestions of use and to get to know more about their healing capabilities. According to Ayurveda, it can be used for the following health conditions:
1. Skin rejuvenation
Custard tea, taken in the morning it will help you in the maintenance of your skin to glow and shine. It has anti-age properties boosts collagen production and delays aging.
2. Promotes the heart health
The high magnesium and potassium content relaxes the heart muscle and prevents stroke and heart diseases. It also lowers high blood pressure and this is another reason that decreases the chances of getting a heart attack.
3. Boosting your daily energy and fighting fatigue
The custard apple tea can eliminate the toxins from your body and boost your energy level. It contains 110 calories in just 100 gr, which will help you to do your daily activities without any difficulty.
4. Sugar apple tea is used for healing wounds
Sugar apple leaves have anti-inflammatory properties and custard juice is used for healing wounds. They contain manganese and vitamin C that are good for wound healing. One study confirmed that topical application A. squamosa L. had positive effects on diabetic wound healing. (13)
Moreover, it can be helpful for insect bites and stings.
5. Sugar apple tea maintains the blood sugar levels in the body
The custard apple tea keeps the blood sugar levels under control and supports the digestive system. It is very low in glycemic index and it can be used by diabetic patients. It is rich in potassium and magnesium ad fiber that reduce the risk of diabetes.
Is Sugar Apple Good For Weight Loss?
Sugar apple is high in fiber and has a low glycemic index and it is a good choice for your weight loss diet. One sugar apple contains 25 gr carbs and around 19 gr. of sugar. But, you need to stick to just one sugar apple per day if you want to add to your weight loss diet or eat it occasionally.
This fruit is rich in calories and it is not one of the highly recommended fruits for weight loss, especially if you eat it in high doses. You can even gain weight if you eat 4 – 5 sugar apples daily, and it is preferable to mix them with honey and eat this mixture daily to gain weight easily and in a healthy way.
Sugar Apple During Pregnancy
Folate, one of the B vitamins, is very important for pregnant women and can prevent premature babies and birth defects. Sugar apple is rich in vitamins B, copper, and iron that are essential for pregnant women, and is good to be taken during pregnancy.
It can also relieve morning sickness during the first months of the pregnancy as it is high in vitamin B6, which fights nausea. It is also rich in vitamins and nutrients that are very important in pregnancy. Copper may also help in reducing the chances of miscarriage.
Also, being high in fiber, it can relieve constipation which is very common in pregnancy. Other fruits rich in folate that can be taken in pregnancy are papayas and avocadoes that can be consumed with custard apple for having a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies.
Sugar Apple Seeds Are Poisonous
The dried sugar apple seeds are poisonous and are used as fish poison in India. It is also used as a hair tonic and scalp paste in India for lice elimination. You can mix it with coconut oil or water and make a smooth paste. Apply it to your scalp, leave it for 15 to 20 minutes, and wash it. It will eliminate the lice and keep your scalp healthy and it will even fight dandruff.
Sugar apple seeds contain annonacin, which is poisonous and can affect your nervous system and your brain. (14)
Note: It is very important to avoid eye contact as the sugar apple paste can be very dangerous and cause blindness.
If you want to eat it, you should always remove the skin and the seeds before its consummation. (15)
Sugar Apple Daily Intake
You can have many health benefits from eating this fruit daily. It benefits your immunity, controls your blood sugar levels, and other benefits. The daily intake should be about 1 to 2 scoops a day to get all the needed nutrients from it. You can put it into your ice cream or blend it with milk for a delicious drink, or make a delicious smoothie.
But, you should avoid eating its skin and seeds as they contain the toxin called annonacin. Overconsumption should also be avoided as it may lead to excessive weight and it can boost sugar levels.
Sugar Apple Side Effects
- Some people can be allergic, especially to the skin and seeds, and if you have rashes after eating them, you should stop eating them.
- Sometimes it may cause digestive problems like diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, and bloating if it is overeaten.
- You should always remove the seeds and the skin before eating them as they are poisonous.
- It is very rich in iron, and if you eat it in excess, it can make you sick, and you can start vomiting and have health problems like nausea.
- If you eat it in high doses, it can make you obese.
- If you take medications for high pressure, it may interact with them as it may lower your blood pressure instantly, so you should be cautious if you take them.
- Sugar apple (Annona squamosa) is an exotic fruit with a sweet taste known by many names. This fruit is very healthy and contains many nutrients and its vitamin C content is higher than orange. You can have many health benefits from eating this fruit on a daily basis. It is beneficial for your immunity, controlling your blood sugar levels, and other benefits. The daily intake should be about 1 to 2 scoops a day to get all the needed nutrients from it.
- Sugar apple is rich in vitamins B, copper, and iron that are essential for pregnant women, and is good to be taken during pregnancy.
- Sugar apple is high in fiber and has a low glycemic index and it is a good choice for your weight loss diet.
- Sugar apple seeds contain annonacin, which is poisonous and can affect your nervous system and brain.
- People with diabetes and high pressure should eat with caution as it is high in calories and fiber and can also lower blood pressure instantly.