Custard apple or sugar apple or sweet sop is popularly known as a delicacy of the drier parts of the world because of its very sweet and delicate flesh. Custard apple fruit is rich in carbohydrates, mainly in the form of sugar, protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron.
The fruit varies in shapes ranging from symmetric heart shaped, lopsided, irregular, round or almost oblate with either a deep or a shallow depression at the base. The pulp of custard apple fruit is fleshy, sweet, aromatic, sweet and slightly acidic in taste.
The plant is native to the Caribbean Islands, South America, Tropical America, mountains of Eucador and Peru.
Health Benefits of Custard Apple
There are many advantages of custard apple. The heath benefits of custard apple have been proven in various research studies, folklore remedies and Ayurvedic medicine
. The roots, leaves, bark and flesh of custard apple fruit are all used for their medicinal benefits.
The advantages of custard apple include, rectifying cardiac, hepatic or kidney problems. It is used in fruit salads, sherbets, and also used in making jams, milkshakes or ice creams. Traditionally it has been recommended for use in people with cardiac, hepatic, kidney conditions or osteoporosis
. Custard apples can be used at any age.
Good for Cancer Treatment
Research studies have revealed that the chemicals isolated from the plant are the main reason behind the great potential of custard apple in renal failure and cancer treatment. The chemical ingredients such as acetogenins and alkaloids impart anti neoplastic activities to custard apple. The custard apple seed extract can cause cell death in many cancer cell lines including bladder cancer cells and melanoma tumour cells. The root extracts have shown inhibitory activity against human melanoma cells. It qualifies as chemoprotective agent in cancer treatment.
Helps in Weight Loss
Custard apple fruit is indicated in slimming diets. Custard apple calories are negligible in amount with zero cholesterol and hence is a great addition for balanced diet intended for weight loss
. Custard apple has glycaemic load score of 10 and hence it is essential for diabetes. The sugar level is not spiked with the consumption of custard apple.
In addition, about 100 g of raw custard apples have 2.4 g of fibre. It is thus beneficial in improving regular bowel movement and also prevents overeating. Studies have also shown that it reduces cholesterol and regulates blood glucose levels.
Custard apple is an essential ingredient of a healthy diet
because it is low in fat content, saturated fat, sodium content, free from cholesterol, an excellent source of Vitamins B6 and C, fibre, potassium, manganese, copper and a good source of Vitamins B1, B2, zinc, magnesium and iron.
Remedy for Inflammatory Diseases
Custard apple has also shown great potential in the development of newer anti-inflammatory agents. Custard apple is a great source of magnesium, which helps in maintaining the water level and eliminating acids from the joints. Custard apple is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
and gout. Custard apple fruit reduces the pain related with auto-inflammatory conditions. The leaves of custard apple also possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Advantages of custard apple also include its use as an analgesic and a central nervous system (CNS) depressant agent.
Remedy for Diarrhoea and Dysentery
The unripe custard apple fruit has antidysentric and antidiarrhoeic properties. The unripe fruit is dried and pulverized for the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. The seeds are also used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. Bark decoction is also used as a remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery.
There are many health benefits of custard apple leaves including its use as a vermifuge and in the treatment of diarrhoea
and dysentery. A decoction of the leaves, bark and green fruits of custard apple is prepared by boiling in one litre of water for 5 minutes. This decoction is efficacious as a home remedy in the treatment of severe cases of diarrhoea and dysentery.
Relief from Colic
Other medicinal use of apple custard leaf is providing relief from colic. A tea is prepared from the leaves of custard apple and given to babies for relief from colic. Warmed leaves are applied on the abdomen for obtaining relief from indigestion in babies and children.
Custard apples are a rich source of Vitamin C. Custard apple has great antioxidant properties. The leaf extract has great benefit in quenching free radicals. It also aids in synthesis of collagen boosting immune system. It has excellent anti-aging benefits.
Custard Apple is good during Pregnancy
Custard apple has high fibre content
which makes it helpful in fighting off the constipation commonly found in pregnant women. Custard apple is good for pregnancy because it is a great source of antioxidants and helps in alleviating morning sickness, nausea, numbness and food cravings associated with pregnancy.
According to folklore medicine, custard apple during pregnancy is also beneficial in minimizing the labour pain during childbirth. In addition, it is also beneficial in developing the brain of the foetus, developing the nerves and immune system of the baby effectively. Regular consumption of custard apple during pregnancy minimizes the chance of miscarriages.
Custard apple is also attributed with anti-fertility properties.
An Excellent Antioxidant
The chemicals present in custard apple which are responsible for its antioxidant
properties are mainly the phenolic compounds Vitamin C is also responsible for the antioxidant properties of custard apple. Hence, it is much better to have natural antioxidants through a balanced diet having adequate amount of custard apple fruit.
Remedy for Wound Healing
The crushed leaves of custard apple or custard apple paste can be applied as a poultice on boils, abscesses and ulcers. The paste to be used as poultice can be prepared from the leaves and also the flesh of the fruits.
Another important medicinal use of apple custard leaf is in the treatment of malaria
Custard Apple Recipes
The fruits are cut in half, the flesh is scooped out and the seeds are discarded after which it is used raw in fruit salads, ice creams, milk shakes and yoghurt drinks. Vanilla and lime are good flavours, which go well with apple custard fruit.
The flesh is scooped from the custard apple skin and served with light cream with a sprinkling of sugar. The flesh of the custard apple fruit is seeded and mashed with banana and cream to prepare a sauce.
Custard Apple Smoothie RecipeTime for preparation:
How to Prepare?
- ½ ripe custard apple fruit
- 1 cup skimmed milk or low fat yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
Cut the custard apple into half; remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh. Take the custard apple flesh and add it to milk or curd and lime juice and mix in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill this for 30 minutes stir it and serve chilled.
How to Pick the Best Custard Apples?
While selecting custard apple, look for the ones who have a firm skin. Also ensure that there are no blemishes or spoiled areas on the fruit. Try to select the heavier custard apples. If the custard apple you got is unripe, store them at room temperature but once ripe; refrigerate them for up to 2 days.
Facial Mask for Dry and Acne Prone Skin
Wash a ripened custard apple fruit and separate its pulp by removing the seeds. Take 2 tablespoons of this pulp in a glass bowl, add one tablespoon of raw honey, ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and mix well. Apply on clean and dry face and leave for 20 minutes. Wash off the facemask with cold water and apply a moisturizer.