Also known as custard apple, cherimoya is a heart-shaped green tropical fruit with a sweet taste and creamy texture. Let’s explore more on the incredible health benefits of cherimoya.

What is Cherimoya?

Cherimoya, or custard apple, are the common names for Annona cherimola and Annona reticulata, two similar varieties of a delicious tropical fruit.

It is native to the Andes Mountains of South America, though it’s largely grown in Spain. It’s also cultivated in other parts of the world, including the Mediterranean and Caribbean regions.

It’s very similar to soursop and sweetsop, and that’s because it belongs to the same family, Annonaceae. However, they are all entirely different.

You can easily distinguish them from their appearance, for example, cherimoya is medium-sized and smooth, while soursop is larger with sharper spikes and sweetsop is smaller with rounded ridges.

Otherwise, one can easily be mistaken for the other when it comes to their flesh, creamy texture, sweet taste, and black seeds.

Also see: Soursop and Sweetsop!

cherimoya (annona reticulata) growing on a tree

Health Benefits of Cherimoya Fruit:

Cherimoya is best known for its incredible phytochemical profile, including polyphenols and alkaloids that have contributed to its use as a traditional remedy for various ailments, including promoting eye health, boosting cardiovascular health, alleviating skin issues, and improving the digestive system.

It’s also rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins that the body needs to function correctly.

1. It’s high in antioxidants

Antioxidants are essential for maintaining a strong and healthy body. Although the body can produce a certain amount of antioxidants on its own, boosting your intake will come a long way in fighting and preventing chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer from taking root.

Cherimoya is rich in various antioxidant compounds, including flavonoids, kaurenoic acid, vitamin C, and carotenoids, that have been shown to neutralize free radicles and prevent oxidative stress.

One study found that the Cherimoya peel and pulp contain the highest levels of antioxidants; however, the peel has some health concerns and should never be consumed.

2. May promote eye health

Cherimoya is rich in lutein, one of the major carotenoids found in the eye ( retina and macula). Lutein works as a light filter, protecting the eye from light damage.

Consuming foods high in this nutrient may help prevent eye diseases like cataracts that often lead to age-related macular degeneration (the common cause of vision loss in old age).

In one study, researchers found that high serum lutein reduced the risk of developing cataracts by 27 percent compared to those with low levels.

3. It may put you in a better mood

Cherimoya is an excellent source of vitamin B6, which plays a vital role in maintaining a better mood and increasing focus. This is because B6 is necessary for creating neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin, which help regulate your mood.

A cup of cherimoya fruit (160 grams) offers up to 24 percent of your daily vitamin B6 requirements, clearly improving your intake and promoting the benefits.

Sufficient intake of B6 has also been shown to lower twice the risk of developing depression.

Moreover, B6 may also promote healthy blood vessels, regulate sleep cycles, lower blood pressure, and support brain functions.

Closeup of some custard apples, one of them cut in half, on a rustic wooden surface

4. It may promote digestive health

Cherimoya is high in fiber, with a cup (160 grams) providing5 grams of fiber, equivalent to 27 percent of your daily requirements.

Fiber promotes digestive health in various ways, including bulking up the stool, thus increasing your bowel movement. It also makes your bowels regular and may be excellent at managing diarrhea or preventing constipation.

In addition, fiber feeds the good gut bacteria, which then promotes the release of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetate, butyrate, and propionate, through the process of fermentation.

SCFAs are the primary source of nutrition for your colonic cells. They also play an important role in fighting inflammation, thus protecting against gut inflammatory conditions like chronic disease and ulcerative colitis.

SCFs may also reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.

So incorporating high dietary fiber foods like Cherimoya can not only boost your digestive health but also lower your risk of developing various chronic conditions.

5. It may lower blood pressure

Cherimoya is rich in blood pressure regulating nutrients like potassium and magnesium.

Each cup of the fruit offers 10 percent and 6 percent of your daily potassium and magnesium requirements, respectively.

The body needs both magnesium and potassium to keep your blood vessels dilated and relaxed, which in turn causes blood pressure to fall.

In one study, a high potassium intake was found to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension while lowering their risk of stroke by 24 percent.

On the other hand, each 100 mg additional magnesium intake was shown to lower the risk of high blood pressure by 5 percent.

6. It may fight against cancer

Cherimoya contains antioxidants like epicatechin, catechin, and epigallocatechin, which have shown the potential to inhibit cancer growth in lab studies.

One study found that catechins stopped breast cancer cell growth, while epicatechin was shown to lower cell growth and replication in bladder cancer treatment.

This is such a promising potential benefit, but more human studies may be necessary.

Risks and Side Effects

Cherimoya offers impressive health benefits, but like soursop and any other fruit of the Annona species; they contain annonacin, a chemical compound with toxic effects, especially to the nervous system.

The good news is, annonacin is high in seeds and peels. So Cherimoya flesh is absolutely safe to consume.

A pile of cherimoya at a farmer's market.

How to Eat Cherimoya Fruit: 10 Delicious Ways

You can eat ripe Cherimoya by cutting it into two and scooping the flesh with a spoon. Remember to remove the seeds and discard the peel.

Cherimoya fruit (also called custard apple) is a delicacy enjoyed in the tropics, but it’s possible to find them at specialty markets in temperate regions as well. Like other exotic fruits, cherimoya can be intimidating to the first-time eater—but the sweet-tart flesh of the fruit shouldn’t be hard to love once you try it! Here are 10 delicious ways to eat cherimoya fruit.

1. Throw it in smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to get the most out of fruit and add some extra nutrients to your daily diet. Cherimoya, or custard apple, is a popular ingredient that can bring a new flavor and nutritional punch to your smoothie.

Adding cherimoya into your smoothie gives you a sweet, creamy taste that will make your drink irresistible. This tropical fruit is also high in antioxidants, which are great for your health.

Besides, if you’re looking for a delicious way to add some extra flavor and nutrients to your smoothies, cherimoya might be the fruit for you. This Latin American fruit is high in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. It’s also low in sugar and calories, making it a great choice for weight loss or maintaining healthy eating habits.

Here are four easy ways to include cherimoya into your smoothie routine:

  • Add cherimoya to your morning smoothie for a boost of energy.
  • Use cherimoya as a replacement for bananas in your afternoon or evening smoothie.
  • Add cherimoya to your dessert smoothie recipe to give it a sweet and tart flavor profile.
  • Freeze cherimoya slices and use them as ice cream toppings in your favorite smoothie recipes.
2. Bake with it

Cherimoya is a unique fruit that is perfect for baking. The fruit has a creamy texture and a sweet flavor that is perfect for sweets and desserts.

Cherimoya can be used in place of banana, apple or other fruit in baking recipes. Additionally, they are great in pies, tarts and quiches due to their sweet and creamy texture.

When you bake with cherimoyas, it is important to remember that these fruits are high in sugar and should be used in moderation. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your bakes!

  • Choose the right recipe: When baking with cherimoyas, it is best to choose recipes that call for a small amount of sugar. For example, using cherimoya in a banana bread recipe will result in a sweet and delicious loaf, while overusing cherimoya will make the bread too sweet.
  • Choose your ingredients wisely: Likewise, selecting your ingredients wisely is important when baking with cherimoya. Avoid using overly sweet or heavy ingredients, as they will overpower the fruit. Instead, use natural sugars like those found in bananas or honey to bring out the flavor of the cherimoya.
  • Preheat your oven before beginning to bake. This will help to ensure an even cooking process.
  • Cherimoya bakes can be served with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. These bakes make for great gifts for the holidays!
3. Make a fruit salad

If you’re looking for a delicious fruit salad that will impress your guests, you’ll want to try making one with cherimoya.

This creamy, ripe fruit is perfect for creating a stunning presentation and tastes amazing when paired with other fresh fruits. Here’s how to make a fruit salad with cherimoya:

  • Start by slicing the cherimoya (without the seeds) into thin wedges. If it’s too thick, the fruit will not mix well together and will be difficult to eat.
  • Add the slices to a bowl and top with chopped fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, or any other fresh fruit you might have on hand.
  • Serve chilled and topped with whipped cream or crumbled chia seeds for an extra indulgent touch.
4. Make popsicles

If you’re a fan of cherimoyas, then you’re going to love these popsicles! The sticky sweetness of the cherimoya pairs perfectly with the icy coldness of the popsicles. Plus, they’re easy to make, so you can enjoy them whenever you want.

Start by slicing the cherimoya into thin slices and blend them up. Blend until the mixture is smooth, then pour it into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions and enjoy your delicious Cherimoya popsicles!

5. Include them in your oat recipes

Cherimoya is a delicious fruit that can be added to sweet oatmeal recipes for an extra boost of flavor. Whether you want to add some sweetness to your breakfast or want to use cherimoya as a natural sweetener, adding this fruit to your morning routine will surely satisfy you.

6. Add it to pancakes

Pancakes are a great way to start the day, and they can be made with all kinds of ingredients. If you’re looking for something a little different but still healthy, try making them with cherimoya fruit.

This fruit is high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals like potassium and magnesium. Not only will these pancakes be delicious, but they will also give you plenty of nutrients to start your day off right.

7. Use it as a dessert topping

If you’re looking for a delicious and beautiful dessert to top off your meal, look no further than the cherimoya!

Cherimoyas are tart and sweet at the same time, and they are a perfect addition to any dessert or snack.

8. Mash it

Mash up a ripe cherimoya fruit, then mix it with yogurt and cinnamon. Use it as a spread on waffles or pancakes. Top your toast with a layer of mashed cherimoya fruit and sliced banana. The easiest way to mash it is with a fork

Final Thoughts

Cherimoya is a heart-shaped sweet tropical fruit with a creamy texture.

It’s rich in a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Regular consumption of this fruit may promote eye health, enhance your mood, lower blood pressure, and fight cancer.

However, not every part of the fruit is edible. While creamy flesh is safe to consume, seeds and the skin contain high levels of annonacin, a neurotoxic compound. Besides that, Cherimoya is delicious and easy to incorporate into the diet.

More Exotic Fruits:

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