What is tamarillo?

Also known as the tree tomato, tamarillo is an egg-shaped subtropical fruit that grows in warm and sunny areas of the world.

It’s native to South America and was first cultivated in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Argentina.

Today it’s popular in different parts of the world, including Africa, China, Nepal, India, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United States. New Zealand is however the major cultivator and exporter.

Tamarillo grows in clusters similar to tomatoes. However, unlike the tomato, its shape is more oblong, and its skin has a bitter taste that most people find distasteful. You may want to peel the skin as it makes it more likable.

The fruit comes in gold, red, and amber hues with orange-yellowish flesh and small, tender, edible seeds.

It has a deeply sweet, tangy, and tart taste and can be eaten raw or added to various recipes, including chutneys, sauces, soups, salads, and sandwiches. They have also been included in cakes, ice cream, and pies.

Tamarillo is a storehouse of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that can benefit your body in various ways.

This article takes a closer look at tamarillo fruit’s nutrition and health benefits.

Tamarillo nutrition:

100 grams fresh tamarillo contains:

  • Calories: 30
  • Carbohydrates: 25 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Vitamins A: 1637 international units, which is more than 100 percent of your daily requirements
  • C: 5 milligrams, or 50 percent of the daily requirement
  • E: 9 milligrams, or 14 percent of the daily requirements
  • Calcium: 10 milligrams or 1 percent of the daily requirement.

Tamarillo also contains small amounts of niacin, copper, folate, magnesium, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, and thiamine.

Health benefits of tamarillo:

1. Boosts metabolism

Metabolism is the process by which the body converts the food you eat into energy in the cells. You need this energy for everything, including growing, thinking, moving, etc.

Specific enzymes in the body control this process while various nutrients like the B complex vitamins facilitate the functioning of such enzymes, thus increasing metabolism.

Tamarillo contains vitamin B6, and since it is part of the B complex vitamins, it can help promote the conversion of calories from food into usable energy.

Vitamin B6 plays an essential role in protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism and the production of neurotransmitters (the chemical messengers in the brain).

B6 is also needed for iron to be converted into hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells essential for oxygen transportation throughout the body.

Additionally, vitamin B6 promotes the conversion of stored energy (glycogen) into an active form of fuel (glucose) ready for use in the body.

Low vitamin B6 can cause anemia, among other health issues. However, regular consumption of tamarillo can boost your B6 intake and thus promote its functions.

2. Regulates blood pressure

Keeping your blood pressure within normal is essential to ensure proper cardiovascular function and reduce disease risk.

Consuming vegetables and fruits like tamarillo can offer sufficient potassium needed to promote normal blood pressure levels.

100 grams of fresh tamarillo contains approximately 400 milligrams of potassium; in reference to the daily recommendation of 4700 milligrams, it’s pretty easy to fill the remaining amount by incorporating plenty of colored fruits and veggies throughout the day.

Furthermore, research shows colored fruits and vegetables can lower systolic blood pressure by 10 percent in individuals with high blood pressure.

3. Tamarillo may lower the risk of heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. As of 2018, 30.3 million Americans were diagnosed with heart disease, and every year, approximately 647,000 American adults succumb to heart disease. That’s quite a big number, but these numbers may begin to drop with more people becoming health-conscious.

In addition to lifestyle changes, having a diet plan promoting heart health and general health is essential. That should involve lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Tamarillo is one of those fruits that can make a great addition to your heart-healthy diet.

It’s rich in soluble fiber and antioxidants such as carotenoids and anthocyanins, which promote cardiovascular health.

Research shows that a diet rich in anthocyanin can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease markers.

On the other hand, carotenoids have been shown to play an important role in fighting inflammation, increasing insulin sensitivity, and lowering blood pressure, all of which may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

4. It may support eye health

Tamarillos contain high levels of vitamin A, which can help promote good vision, fight inflammation, and lower the risk of eye conditions like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

As an antioxidant, vitamin A neutralizes free radicals in the eye, preventing oxidative stress that may result in disease.

5. It may promote longevity

When it comes to living longer, some things may be out of your reach; however, there are those specifics like leading a healthy lifestyle that can promote health, lower the risk of disease and increase your chances of living longer.

Tomatillo is rich in vitamin C, a key nutrient for achieving longevity. This is because it’s a powerful antioxidant that boosts immunity and minimizes your chances of falling sick.

In lab studies, vitamin C has proven beneficial in promoting longevity, and these benefits could somehow apply to humans.

Side effects and precautions

Apart from one study where one participant reported hives 12-24 hours after consuming tamarillo, there are no other known side effects to the fruit.

Nonetheless, in case of any allergic symptoms, like any other food, discontinue and seek medical advice if need be.

Final thoughts on tamarillo:

Tamarillo is a nutritious subtropical fruit found in warm climate areas. It’s rich in nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

Regular consumption may help lower the risk of cardiovascular conditions, regulate blood pressure, promote longevity, and boost eye health.

Tamarillo is quite versatile and easy to incorporate into the diet. Tamarillo can be an excellent addition to anything from desserts, condiments, and even the main dishes.

More exotic fruits:

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