Custard apple (in English) or sugar apple or sweetsop or cherimoya also known as sifaphal or sitafal in Hindi or sharifa in Punjabi , is a fruit of Annonaceae family. The tree of sitafal is native to West Indies and America but now it is found in the subtropical parts of Asia, Australia, Africa and various other parts of the world. When you cut the fruit, you will find black colored seeds that are surrounded by a white pulp. The pulpy part of this fruit is known for its mouthwatering taste and this taste makes it a delicious ingredient of various dishes such as jams, shakes, jellies, desserts, ice creams and smoothies. Depending on the external color, this fruit have several varieties like red, green, yellow. Green variety is fairly popular and hence we’ll discuss about green variety in detail.
Seeds of sugar apple are said to have poisonous effects and hence they should not be consumed. Some people use seed paste for topical application however, you should always be careful while using these seeds in any form. The parts of sitaphal such as bark, root and leaves are fraught with medicinal properties. Medicinal properties of sweetsop can be attributed to the presence of alkaloids and nutrients. The fruit pulp is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc selenium and so forth. It is also loaded with protein and dietary fiber. In this article we’ll concentrate on the health benefits, side effects and remedies of custard apple.
Top Health Benefits of Eating Custard Apple or Sitaphal
Good in Improving Energy Levels
Sitaphal fruit is a good example for energy enhancing food because it is loaded with energy and nutrients that are required for energy production in the body. Eat half to one cup of custard apple pulp with milk in breakfast to be energetic all day long. It is indeed a good energy boosting fruit for athletes and for those who are facing a problem of exhaustion.
Immunity Enhancing Effects
This fruit is blessed with vitamin C and other nutrients that are said to be helpful in maintaining and improving body’s self defense power. So, it you making a list of immune system boosting foods then you can add sitafal in that list because of its immunity enhancing effects.
Sharp and Healthy Brain
Regular consumption of this fruit is said to be helpful in improving brain power and functions. Brain friendly nutrients and nervine properties of this fruit is beneficial in enhancing memory and concentration. Moreover, this fruit is capable of preventing and curing stress, tension, anxiety and irritability. Parkinson’s sufferers can also eat this fruit regularly in order to slow down the progression of the disease. Presence of pyridoxine vitamin makes this fruit an excellent mood enhancer. It is good for treating mood fluctuations.
Beauty Benefits of Custard apple
One can use sitaphal to enhance his/her beauty naturally without even touching the chemical filled hair and skin care products. This fruit is blessed with wide variety of skin and hair friendly nutrients like vitamin A, C, B, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for maintaining healthy skin and tresses. Flesh, seeds, outer fruit covering and latex can be used to formulate various home remedies for variety of skin, scalp and hair problems.
- No need to worry about aging related problems like fine lines, wrinkles, spots and sagging skin because anti-aging properties of sitafal can help stave off various aging related issues.
- Consuming the fruit regularly is said to be helpful in improving elasticity, improving regeneration and rejuvenation. It also helps protect from the harsh effects of the sun. So, consume this fruit daily to have youthful, flawless and radiant skin.
- This fruit is also known for its detoxifying properties so you can include it in your detox diet plan to have a beautiful skin from inside. It will also make your skin more firm and flawless.
- You can quell the occurrence of acne or pimples by consuming and applying the custard apple fruit. One can either consume it or apply it topically to decrease the sebum production thereby decreasing the probability of pimples. A mixture of sitaphal pulp, honey and lemon juice can be applied on acne prone skin in order to prevent the formation of acne. This mixture will also make your skin glowing and flaws free naturally.
- This fruit is blessed with healing and anti-inflammatory properties so it can be used to treat wounds, abscesses, boils, cuts and minor burns. Many people use the latex of sitaphal plant to treat eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions. Applying the paste of sitaphal leaves in a sure shot remedy for abscess.
- This iron present in this fruit is helpful in improving blood circulation, thereby improving the symptoms of rosacea.
- This fruit is also good in controlling melanin distribution and production and hence it is beneficial in treating pigmentation issues like dark spots, uneven skin tone, dark patchy skin, sun tanned skin etc.
- Intake of custard apple helps provide nutrients such as protein, minerals and vitamins to hair. These nutrients are essential for the proper growth and maintenance of the hair. This fruit helps moisturize the scalp, skin and hair thereby resulting in glowing skin and shiny tresses.
- Seeds and fruit can be used as an effective remedy for scalp infection, head lice and dandruff.
- Copper mineral is said to be effective in treating hair graying or white hair. Custard apple is fully loaded with this mineral so you can eat it regularly to stop the problem of hair graying.
- The Extract, unripe fruit powder and seed powder can be used to treat head lice. The safest and easiest ways to use custard apple for head lice is to mix unripe fruit powder with coconut oil to make a paste. Apply it on your head. Leave it on for some time and then wash. Another way is to make a paste of seed powder with water. Apply it on your scalp. Allow it to sit on for one to two hours and then wash. Here you have to be careful and do everything in order to avoid the mixture to come in contact with your eyes because seeds of sitaphal are poisonous and may cause blindness.
- When dealing with dandruff, make a paste of custard apple and apply it on your head overnight. Wash it in the morning to have dandruff free scalp.
- You can also prepare custard apple hair masks to get shiny, soft, voluminous and healthy hair.
Custard apple for Healthy Weight gain
No need to take weight gain pails because now you can easily put on some weight simply by eating a single fruit i.e. custard apple. Intake of this fruit helps improve the body’s metabolism and appetite. Once you have good metabolism and appetite, you will eat more and as a result you’ll gain more weight. So, this fruit is good for thin people those who want to increase their weight naturally. Eat a mixture of sitaphal pulp and honey daily for a healthy weight gain.
The parts of custard apple plants are used to prevent and cure wide range of dental issues such as gum problems, tooth problems etc. Chew the root bark for five minutes to get rid of pain, dental infection, gum diseases, toothache and other oral problems.
A Good Digestion Friendly Fruit
This fruit is good for digestion and overall gastrointestinal health. Eating this fruit will give you a decent amount of fiber. This fiber content adds bulk to your stool and improves peristalsis movements and thereby it helps cleanse your intestinal system. Improved bowel movements are essential for preventing problems like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, skin issues and various other intestinal infections and diseases. This fruit also helps prevent and treat ulcers, acidity, diarrhea, dysentery and lots of other problems.
Make a bark decoction of this sitaphal plant and have it 3 to 4 times a day to stop diarrhea.
Boil clean and chopped root in a cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and have it to treat dysentery naturally.
One can also take the powder of unripe fruit twice daily to get rid of diarrhea and dysentery.
Healthy Cardiovascular System
Custard apple supports cardiovascular health in many ways like being magnesium and potassium rich fruit it helps lower the blood pressure and prevent cardiac diseases. Fiber and niacin content of sitaphal helps lower the bad cholesterol. Moreover, pyridoxine present in this fruit is beneficial in preventing heart diseases and maintaining healthy heart.
Sitaphal during Pregnancy
Custard apple or sugar apple is said to be an excellent fruit for pregnant women. Eating sitaphal during pregnancy helps quell various problems like mood fluctuations, food cravings, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness etc. It is also beneficial in preventing premature birth and miscarriage. Moreover, sugar apple is a store house of several nutrients that are essential for the development of fetal brain, immune and nervous system. After birth, it also helps increase milk production in nursing mothers. This fruit is a good alternative of milk so if you are allergic to diary items then include this fruit in to your diet.
Custard apple for Rheumatism
This fruit is blessed with mineral called magnesium. This mineral helps maintain the water and electrolyte balance in the body, thereby preventing the accumulation of fluid and acid in the joints. So, we can say that this mineral is beneficial in treating the symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis. Moreover, this fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties that helps stave of inflammation. When dealing with rheumatic pain, boil leaves of sitaphal plant with a cup of water until the water reduces to half, apply this water on the affected area to have some relief.
The roots of sugar apple plant are loaded with anti-pyritic properties. Take quarter teaspoon powder of dried root. Boil it with a glass of water. Steep it for one hour and then drink. Do this twice daily. Eating fruit is also helpful in treating the symptoms of fever like lack of energy, lack of appetite and so on.
If you are looking for improving your vision the natural way then sitaphal fruit is indeed the best bet. The pulp of fruit is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B2 and antioxidants. All the nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy and sharp vision. Regular consumption of this fruit helps ensure that you’ll less likely to suffer from eye disorders, vision loss and other eyes problems.
Custard apple is loaded with bone building minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. These all minerals can help you achieve strong and healthy bones.
Sitaphal during Anemia
The fruit of sitaphal is blessed with iron and copper. Both these minerals are essential for the formation of red blood cells. So, eat this fruit daily in order to prevent and cure iron deficiency anemia naturally.
Cancer fighting effect
Parts of custard apple plant like bark and fruit is loaded with anti-cancerous properties and hence they are used to make natural medicine for cancers. Fruit of sitaphal is loaded with alkaloids and anti-oxidants that helps stave off colon, lung and various other types of cancers.
How to Select, Store and Enjoy Sitaphal
In India, custard apples can be easily found in the market. The season of sitaphal starts from august and ends in somewhere between November and December. So, if you are an Indian then you can easily buy this fruit in its peak season. The availability of this fruits in other countries depend on the climatic factors so, if you are from any other country then you can ask to your lock fruit and vegetable store for more information. The selection process for this fruit is fairly simple and all you have to do is to go for mature, firm and hard fruit and avoid those with spots, overly ripe and bruised skin. You can store the fruit at room temperature for two to three days or until they become soft. You can store the soft fruit in your fridge for one or two days. You can enjoy this soft and ripe fruit in many ways like in the form of snack, salad, shake, smoothie and with various other dishes. The simplest way to enjoy custard apple is to eat it. I used to prepare a shake by mixing a cup of yogurt, little honey and quarter to half cup of sitaphal pulp. This is one of the most digestion friendly, energetic and nutritious recipes that I had ever used.
Side Effects of Custard Apple
Sitaphal is said to posses cooling properties. So, consuming this fruit in excessive amount can cause health related problems.
As mentioned above, that seeds of this fruit have poisonous effects. So, avoid consuming them.
As you know the fruit pulp is loaded with sugar. Therefore, it is not good for those who are facing the problem of diabetes. If you are also dealing with high blood sugar problem then always eat this fruit in limit.
It is good in pregnancy but still you should consult with your doctor before consuming this fruit. Sitaphal also has abortifacient properties that may induce abortion in some cases.
Obese people should avoid eating sitafal pulp because this fruit is good for gaining weight.
Now you have an idea about the health benefits of eating sitaphal or custard apple. So, include it into your daily diet menu to reap the amazing benefits of this marvelous fruit.