Benefits of soursop
Officially known as Annona muricata, soursop is a tropical fruit native to the American tropics. It also goes by guanabana and Brazilian paw paw. Learn more about the benefits of soursop.
It’s a heart-shaped fruit with a greenish prickly exterior covering an edible fibrous white flesh with black and brown seeds.
The flesh has a creamy texture similar to a banana and an aroma like that of a pineapple. Its taste has been described as something between strawberries and apple with a citrus touch.
Soursop is a nutrient-dense fruit with a good amount of fiber and vitamin C, among other nutrients. It has also been shown to offer incredible health benefits.
1. It’s rich in antioxidants
Soursop is high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, tannins, phytosterols, and flavonoids.
Antioxidants are compounds that reduce or prevent cell damage from free radicals in the body. This could help lower the risk of various chronic conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
According to research, antioxidants in soursop can effectively protect against free radicals.
2. It may fight off bacteria
Besides its antioxidant activities, soursop can help fight and protect against infections.
In one study, soursop was shown to kill bacteria, including those associated with yeast infections, tooth decay, and gingivitis. It has also been shown to treat various bacterial and parasitic infections, including leishmaniasis and herpes.
3. It may lower blood pressure
In a study to ascertain the effects of soursop supplementation on blood pressure, 200 grams of soursop juice taken daily for 3 months was shown to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and uric acid in prehypertensive individuals with normal high uric acid levels.
This shows that regular consumption of soursop may be effective in patients with high blood pressure.\
4. It may fight against cancer
Soursop is an anti-cancer fruit that may help support cancer patients and improve their health. It has more than 200 phytochemicals, which are compounds with anti-cancer effects.
Soursop is also cytotoxic, meaning it kills cancer cells and prevents them from dividing and spreading.
Soursop may also prevent tumor growth in various cancers, including ovarian, breast, prostate, lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers.
According to research published in Food & Function, soursop leaf extract may offer positive cancer-fighting benefits due to its high antioxidant abilities, which scavenge free radicals that may cause cell mutations leading to cancer.
However, these findings may not be substantial enough as no conclusive human studies have been done.
Also, experts believe that drugs developed from soursop compounds may be more effective in treating cancer than taking the fruit or its extract.
5. Supports healthy skin
Soursop is rich in vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient for skin health. Firstly, vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it fights free radicals that may cause cell damage. If uncontrolled, free radicals may result in skin damage with adverse effects like premature signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C also increases collagen production, which strengthens the skin, and promotes hydration and elasticity.
6. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory
Acute inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection, but research shows that chronic inflammation can cause disease. Soursop is high in anti-inflammatory properties that can help decrease various inflammatory markers.
7. May help treat herpes
According to research, soursop seed extract contains antiviral properties that may help treat the herpes virus.
8. It can stabilize blood sugar
Though more human studies are needed to confirm this potential benefit, several lab studies show that soursop may help regulate blood glucose levels.
9. Promotes proper digestion
Soursop is rich in fiber, which is an essential nutrient that promotes healthy bowel movements and prevents constipation. It also helps feed the good gut bacteria, thus increasing them in number and promoting their function. A healthy digestive system will improve other aspects of health, including boosting the immune system and promoting brain health.
10. Boosts immunity
Vitamin C is a powerful immune booster that can help boost immunity and increase protection against disease-causing pathogens. It also facilitates the destruction of free radicals that may otherwise cause cell damage, resulting in disease formation.
How to eat soursop:
Soursop can be consumed raw or ripe. Simply cut the fruit in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. You can always work around the seeds or spit them out as you go.
Ripe soursop has more of a light-yellowish green color and is soft to the touch.
The fruit is often used to make ice cream, beverages, milkshakes, soups, custards, and syrups
Soursop is also available as a supplement; however, its effects have not been studied in some groups like pregnant and breastfeeding women and those on medication. So it’s always better to stick to whole fruit if you fall under any of these categories.
Concerns and side effects
Although the white flesh of soursop has not shown anything to be worried about, its seeds should be avoided. This is because they have been shown to contain high levels of annonacin, a common neurotoxin linked to neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease.
Research also shows that drinking tea made from soursop leaves and stems can also cause neurotoxicity.
Also, you need to talk to your doctor if you are on any medications and considering taking soursop.
Final thoughts on the benefits of soursop:
Soursop is a delicious and nutritious fruit from the tropical regions of America.
It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and other nutrients that have been shown to promote heart health, fight inflammation, regulate blood glucose, fight infections, and protect against cancer.
Combining soursop with a healthy lifestyle can help support your nutrition, thus promoting better health.
Soursop can be eaten raw or when it ripens; just remember to avoid the seeds and to eat only the white flesh.
You may also incorporate it into various recipes, including ice cream, soups, and various drinks.
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