If you’re like me, there are so many things in the produce section that you walk by and wonder what in the heck is that…and what in the heck do I do with it.
The cherimoya, picrtured above ia probably one of those fruits.
The cherimoya fruit is a large, green, heart-shaped fruit that is anywhere from four to eight inches long and two to four inches around…similar to a pine cone.
The fruit typically weighs anywhere from five to eighteen ounches, but can reach up to six pounds or more.
The skin of a cherimoya is thin and light green in color….often having overlapping scales. The more scales the skin has, the more seeds it will contain.
The creamy white flesh has a soft, smooth and melting texture like that of a soft-ripe pear…supposedly tastes like a blend of banana, vanilla, mango, papaya, pineapple. pear, strawberry or other berry, apple, and coconut….and can range from anywhere from mellow sweet to tangy or acidic sweet–which honestly doesn’t tell me a darn thing…so I don’t quite know what to expect when it finally comes in with my next Instacart order…
As far as the seeds, the cherimoya contains many hard black, glossy seeds that are about half of an inch long and about half as wide. These seeds are inedible.
Where are cherimoya grown?
Cherimoya trees are evergreen trees that grow wild in the tropical highlands of the Andes Mountains—countries such as Colombia, Ecuador and Peru….areas that have an altitude between 4,900 and 6,600 feet…average annual temperature about 66 °F…annual rainfall of about 35 inches…and soils with slightly acidic, sandy soil.
However, interestingly enough, Spain is the world’s largest producer of cherimoya today.
The trees can reach thirty feet or more in height.
The leaves of a cherimoya tree are a dull medium green color…and leathery. They can grow anywhere from two to ten inches long…one to four inches wide. They are pointed at the ends and rounded near the stalk.
Cherimoya trees bear very pale green flowers with purple spots that are three centimeters long.
Okay, you probably get the picture` by now…
So let’s move on to far more interesting things…like why it’s good for you…and what to do with it…
The fruit is rich in nutrients, especially antioxidants,
1.Antioxidants…Cherimoya contains antioxidants—such as flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C and kaurenoic acid—that can help fight oxidative stress, prevent a range of health problems, and help prevent cardiovascular disease…antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects.
2. Fiber…7.2 grams fiber…Cherimoya is also a good source of soluble fiber…which helps with digestive issues because it adds bulk to stool and helps it move through your digestive tract…weight loss because it makes you feel full longer…and reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and more.
3. Vitamin B6…0.7mg…33% DV…Cherimoya is a good source of vitamin B6…which helps maintain healthy blood vessels, supports brain function, regulates sleep cycles, reduces blood pressure and is important for mood and ability to focus.
As far as other nutrients, cherimoya fruits contain…
- Carbohydrates…55.2 grams
- Protein…5.1 grams
- Fat…1.9 grams
- Vitamin C…35.9mg…60% DV
- Potassium…839mg…24% DV
- Riboflavin…0.4mg…22% DV
- Thiamine…0.3mg…19% DV
- Folate…56.2mg…14% DV
- Manganese…0.3mg…13% DV
- Magnesium…49.9mg…12% DV
- Copper…0.2mg…11% DV
- Phosphorus…81.1mg…8% DV
- Pantothenic acid…0.7mg…7% DV
- Iron…0.9mg…5% DV
Cancer…Cherimoya is rich in antioxidants—such as catechin, epicatechin, and epigallocatechin—that have been shown prevent the growth of cancer cells in test-tube studies and lower your risk of developing certain cancers — especially stomach and colon cancer.
Digestion…One cup of cherimoya offers almost 7.2 grams of dietary fiber…over 17% of the RDI. This fiber helps “poop” move through your intestines, nourishes the good bacteria in your gut, produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)—such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate—that protect you from inflammatory conditions that affect your digestive tract—such as Crohn’s disease, stomach ulcers, and colitis.
Eye Health…Cherimoya contains lutein—an antioxidant that is importanr for good eye health. Foods that contain lutein can lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, vision loss, and help reduce eye fatigue, glare and light sensitivity.
Heart Health…Cherimoya contains antioxidants, nutrients such as potassium and magnesium, and dietary fiber that are good for your heart. For example, the potassium found in cherimoya reduces high blood pressure in people with hypertension and can lower your risk of a stroke by about 25%.
High Blood Pressure…Cherimoya contains nutrients—such as potassium and magnesium—that help regulate blood pressure. In fact, one cup cherimoya provides 10% and over 6%RDI magnesium…both of which help lower blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Immunity…Cherimoya is loaded with vitamin C…about 60% DV…a nutrient that is important for fighting infections and disease…helping to decrease the duration of the common cold…and preventing several chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.
Cherimoya also contains several antioxidants—such as kaurenoic acid, catechin and epicatechin—that help promote overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Mood…Cherimoya is an excellent source of vitamin B6. In fact, one cup of cherimoya contains over 30%RDI. Vitamin B6 is important for creating neurotransmitters—such as serotonin and dopamine—which help regulate mood and may help prevent depression.