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 apples 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.
If you’re looking for a natural way to fight off infections, look no further than soursop. This fruit is packed with beneficial compounds that can help reduce the severity of colds and flu symptoms.
It also has a rich list of antimicrobial qualities, which can help fight infections. Soursop contains compounds such as dihydrochalcone and chrysin, which have antimicrobial properties. These compounds can kill a wide variety of bacteria and fungi, including Legionella pneumophila and Candida albicans.
Additionally, soursop contains vitamin C, which helps the fruit fend off infection by boosting the immune system. In addition to its antimicrobial properties, soursop also reportedly has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall health.
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
Soursop has been shown to lower blood pressure by relaxing the muscles in the blood vessels, which reduces the amount of stress on your heart. In addition, soursop contains potassium and magnesium, both of which are essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. If you’re looking for a natural way to lower your blood pressure without medication, consider adding soursop to your diet.
Moreover, in a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, researchers found that people who ate soursop extract had reductions in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The scientists behind the study say that this effect may be due to the presence of polysaccharides and phytonutrients in soursop extracts.
In another 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 further confirms 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 contains high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which are beneficial for your 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.
Here are more ways soursop promotes healthy skin:
- Soursop helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots
One study found that people who regularly consumed soursop had fewer wrinkles and age spots on their skin than those who didn’t. The antioxidants in soursop help reduce the appearance of these signs of aging.
- It helps improve your skin’s texture and tone.
Like other antioxidants, soursop can help improve the texture and tone of your skin. This is because they improve the flow of blood to the skin, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
- Fights acne bacteria
Acne is caused by bacteria, and one study found that soursop helped kill acne bacteria. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the severity and duration of acne outbreaks.
6. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is a natural response of your body to an injury, infection, or illness. Inflammatory responses are, in fact, an important part of the immune system. However, research shows that when dealing with chronic inflammation, it can result in damaged tissues and organs that lead to disease and pain. Soursop has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory fruit that can help reduce various inflammatory markers in the body.
One way soursop could help reduce inflammation is by inhibiting the production of NF-kB, a protein that can cause inflammation. NF-kB plays a role in many health conditions, including cancer. Soursop also contains compounds that can block the action of COX-2, another protein that can cause inflammation.
Overall, soursop has many potential benefits for reducing inflammation and improving overall health.
Soursop can also help to lower blood sugar levels and improve blood flow. This can help to reduce the inflammation that occurs as a result of high blood sugar levels.
7. May help treat herpes
Herpes, a disease caused by the herpes simplex virus, or HSV, has been causing outbreaks of sores in humans since the beginning of time. The most common HSV strains are HSV-1 and HSV-2, which live in your body’s peripheral nervous system and can cause cold sores on your mouth or genitalia at any time.
Most people who get HSV will have outbreaks several times a year, often triggered by sunlight exposure or stress. There are several effective treatments available for herpes, including topical creams that relieve symptoms and oral medications that prevent the spread of the virus from one person to another. But did you know that soursop can be used to treat herpes as well?
According to research, soursop seed extract contains antiviral properties that may help treat the herpes virus.
8. It can stabilize blood sugar
One surprising health benefit of soursop is how it stabilizes blood sugar levels. In fact, the fruit is beneficial for those who have diabetes or have a high risk of developing diabetes.
Soursop has high fiber and vitamin C levels, which work together to help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Additionally, soursop contains magnesium, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. The high levels of fiber in soursop can help you feel full after eating smaller amounts, preventing you from reaching for unhealthy snacks that might cause your glucose level to spike.
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 a fruit that has been used in traditional remedies to promote healthy digestion. The enzymes and acids in soursop help break down food and flush out bad bacteria from the digestive system. Additionally, the antioxidants present in soursop may help to protect the digestive system from damage.
Soursop is also 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
One of the most important health benefits of soursop is its role in boosting immunity.
Immunity is the body’s natural ability to resist infection and disease. It is essential for protecting the body from harmful microbes and toxins. Soursop can boost immunity by increasing the production of white blood cells and boosting the production of lymphocytes.
Soursop also contains bioactive compounds that help to boost immunity. These compounds include vitamin C, vitamin A, and quercetin.
Together, these compounds work together to improve immune function and protect the body from infection. They can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer. Including soursop in your diet can therefore be very beneficial for your health.
11. Supports bone health
One of the many benefits of consuming soursop is that it can promote bone health. This is due to the high levels of vitamin C and potassium, which are both essential for maintaining strong bones.
One study found that soursop can promote bone growth and protect against osteoporosis in rats. According to the study, soursop could improve bone mineral density by up to 25%.
Another study found that a soursop extract can inhibit the activity of inflammatory cells, which could help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Soursop is also a good source of fiber and vitamin K, which can help prevent osteoporosis and other chronic diseases of the skeletal system.
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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