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Soursop – The Oval-Shaped Fruit with Several Health Benefits

Soursop (Annona muricata) is a fruit that resembles a custard apple. It has a spine studded surface and is oval in shape, with whitish, fibrous pulpy flesh hidden behind the spine-covered green skin. This fruit is extensively distributed and endemic to tropical America and Caribbean areas. It belongs to the Annonaceae family and is in the same genus as Cherimoya. Many plant components, including the leaves, fruit, and stems, are used medicinally. You may use it on the skin and in cooking. 

Soursop serves impressive benefits to one’s health. It has significant amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, folate and calcium. Therefore, it helps boost immunity, growth and tissue repairment, and much more. 

Nutritional Value of Soursop

Soursop is high in dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals like many other fruits. It is also rich in antioxidants.

As per USDA, one hundred grams of soursop serving contains:

Energy: 66 kcalCarbohydrates: 16.8 gFat: 0.3 gProtein: 1 gFibre: 3.3 gSugar: 13.5 gWater: 81.2 gVitamin C: 20.6 mg

Health Benefit of Soursop

Aids in Digestion

Fibre is an essential component of digestive health. One single soursop fruit contains roughly 83% of your required daily amount. Fibre adds bulk to your food, making it easier to move through your digestive tract. In addition, it helps improve bowel movement and benefits gut health. As a result, fibre promotes regularity and helps avoid digestive problems like constipation.

Soursop is Anti-Carcinogenic

As per a vitro study, soursop extract can prevent the growth of breast cancer cells. In addition, it can shrink tumours, destroy cancer cells, and boost immune system function. 

Another research looked at the effects of soursop extract on leukaemia cells, finding that it can inhibit cancer cell proliferation and development. However, these are experiments using a high dosage of soursop extract. Therefore, more research is needed to understand the fruit’s effects on cancer. 

Soursop Fights Bacteria

Soursop also has antimicrobial qualities. Studies employed different amounts of soursop extract on bacteria that cause oral illnesses. Soursop can also prevent the growth of multiple kinds of bacteria, including those that cause gingivitis, dental decay, and yeast infections. 

Another study shows that soursop extract is effective against the bacteria that cause cholera and staphylococcus infections. However, these studies employed a high concentration of soursop. So, one requires more extensive research to substantiate it. 

Reduces Inflammation

Soursop has about 200 chemical components, the most significant of which are alkaloids, phenols, and acetogenins, which assist in relieving inflammation. Plant-derived alkaloids are an excellent source of antioxidants and can aid in decreasing inflammation, especially in the case of colitis in this study

Treats Arthritis

In studies, the internal administration of soursop leaf decoction has anti-arthritic capabilities. Cooked and topically applied leaves also helped with rheumatism and abscesses. In addition, anthocyanins, tannins, and alkaloids found in soursop have anti-arthritic properties. 

Improves Hair and Skin Health

Soursop leaf extract can help prevent cutaneous papilloma, a disorder that produces skin tumour eruptions. Moreover, soursop is beneficial for the skin that it leaves to soothe a baby’s skin. According to some sources, Soursop paste helps hair by reducing dandruff and irritation and strengthening it. However more research in the field is required..

Improves Sleep Quality

The leaves of the soursop plant are infused and brewed to form a beverage that is beneficial in treating abnormal sleep patterns. Many individuals put the leaves inside their pillows to help them sleep better. In addition, many people use the leaves of the soursop plant as a sedative in the West Indies.

The HealthifyMe Note: 

Medical professionals found a range of health advantages for soursop in recent years. It aids digestion, is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, stabilises blood sugar levels and treats arthritis. Some in-vitro studies have even found that it may assist in decreasing cancer growth.

Precautions and Certain Things to Keep in Mind

Low Blood Pressure 

Soursop potentially can interfere with high blood pressure or diabetes drugs. The fruit’s components can amplify the effects of such medications, resulting in severe decreases in blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Parkinson’s Disease

Several studies have found the chemical in soursop in those with Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, patients with this neurological disease should avoid soursop since it might aggravate their symptoms.

Pregnant Women

Pregnant women should avoid using soursop as it stimulates uterine contractions. It might lead to premature birth or miscarriage.

Toxic Seeds

You should also avoid consuming soursop seeds. They contain hazardous substances that can have negative consequences. So before consuming the fruit, make sure to remove them.

Soursop Recipes 

Soursop Leaf Tea

Servings: 2

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Water: 3 cupsYoung soursop leaves: 3-4

Method

Wash the leaves and add them to the water.Boil for 10–15 minutes.Allow for another 10–15 minutes of steeping.Serve immediately after sweetening.Soursop Smoothie

Ingredients

Soursop pulp: 0.5 cupDiced fresh pineapple: 1 cupChopped fresh​ coconut: 2 cupsLarge kale, spinach, beet, or collard leaves: 4Fresh ginger, peeled: 1-inch pieceWater or coconut milk, optional: 1 cup

Method

Prepare the ingredients.Mix the soursop pulp, cubed coconut, pineapple, leafy greens, and peeled ginger in a blender. Pulse until everything is well blended. Add a little water or coconut milk if you like a smoothie with a runny consistency.  For a thicker smoothie, add ice cubes.

The HealthifyMe Note

You can store soursop at room temperature for 2-4 days. Then, keep it at 15-16 degrees C in the refrigerator if it is fully ripe. It is preferable to consume it within 5-10 days. Furthermore, if frozen (pulp), it will last up to half a month or more (for example, soursop sorbet or frozen soursop pulp recipes). 

Summary

Soursop is a nutrient-rich fruit. High in fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C, it has many health benefits. It aids digestion and reduces inflammation. It would be best if you consumed soursop in moderation, and you should consider certain precautions. People with Parkinson’s disease or low blood pressure must avoid it. Pregnant women must avoid it. Make sure to remove its seeds before eating as they are toxic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can you eat soursop every day?

A. Depending on their size and habits, most soursop tea consumers discover their perfect serving size is one to three cups per day. However, if you consume soursop in other ways besides tea, you should limit your daily dose to one-half cups.

Q. Is Soursop a Superfood?

A. Soursop is high in antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation and keep free radicals in control. Vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and beta carotene are abundant in soursop. Soursop is high in vitamin C, which improves immunological function. The vitamin strengthens your immune system’s ability to fight germs. It also helps destroy free radicals, which can protect your skin and cells from oxidative damage caused by the environment. However, it is not considered a superfood. 

Q. Is soursop good for kidneys?

A. There is no proven evidence for soursop benefiting kidneys. It positively affects blood pressure and uric acid but does not affect kidney functioning. 

Q. Is Soursop good for your diet?

A. A standard serving of this fruit is low in calories while high in fibre and vitamin C. It is good to include this fruit in your diet for wound healing and anti-bacterial properties; however, it is recommended not to consume it daily. 

Q. What are the side effects of soursop?

A. Soursop induces excessive blood pressure reduction, mobility abnormalities, neurotoxicity issues, and fungal and yeast infections in the body. They also have the potential to elevate the risk of cardiovascular disease. As a result, eat them in moderation. The fruit and tea derived from the leaves have been demonstrated in studies to induce symptoms comparable to Parkinson’s disease. Also, it may potentially interfere with drugs for high blood pressure or diabetes.

Q. When should you eat soursop?

A. The colour of the fruit’s skin shifts to a more yellowish tone as soursop ripens. Therefore, when a soursop fruit is ready to eat, it should be soft and somewhat mushy to the touch. A soursop fruit also can mature in the refrigerator, though it will take longer.

Q. Is soursop acidic or alkaline?

A. Soursop is an alkaline-forming fruit in most cases. Therefore, when this fruit ripens, it tends to get slightly acidic. However, due to its malic content, soursop fruit may be slightly acidic, even if it is not as acidic as other fruits (citrus fruits).

Q. Does soursop lower blood pressure?

A. High blood pressure can cause significant problems such as heart disease and heart attacks. Sodium consumption is a factor in high blood pressure. Potassium aids in the removal of salt from the body and relieves pressure on the walls of blood vessels. One entire soursop fruit has around one-third to one-half of your daily potassium requirement.

Q. Does soursop make you sleep?

A. The leaves of the soursop plant are brewed to form a beverage that is beneficial in treating abnormal sleep patterns. For example, many individuals put the leaves inside their pillows to help them sleep better. Plus, many people use the leaves of the Soursop plant as a sedative in the West Indies.

Q. Is Soursop good for the liver?

A. In a few animal studies, soursop extract was proven safe and treated liver problems. However, the detailed groundwork of health experts and researchers is needed to understand its beneficial effects on the liver. 

Q. Does soursop lower blood sugar?

A. In animal tests, soursop has been proven to help manage blood sugar levels. Diabetic rats were given soursop extract for two weeks in one research. Blood sugar levels in those who got the extract were five times lower than in those who were not. Therefore, soursop might help manage high blood sugar levels. 

Q. Who should not eat soursop?

A. soursop can cause low blood pressure, movement problems, neurological problems, and fungal and yeast infections in the body. They may also increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. As a result, limit your intake. In trials, the fruit and tea made from the leaves cause symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, it has the potential to interact with blood pressure or diabetic medications.

Q. Are soursop leaves good for hair growth?

A. Soursop paste can help your hair by curing dandruff and irritation while strengthening it. Since it has anti-bacterial properties, it plays a good role in eradicating dandruff. It may also treat head lice and sweaty scalp. 

Q. Is soursop stronger than chemotherapy?

A. Soursop is beneficial in cancer treatment, but there is no definite proof that it is better than chemotherapy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve soursop or agree with any claims that you may use it to cure diseases like cancer. There have also been reports of cytotoxic drug-related side effects such as hair loss and immune system impairment. In addition, medical professionals found the most prevalent acetogenin to be neurotoxic in laboratory studies. According to researchers, the potentially hazardous effects of soursop vary depending on the section of the plant, the extraction process, the plant’s location, and the harvest time.

Q. What are the health benefits of soursop leaf?

A. Soursop is abundant in vitamin C, which increases immunity and other antioxidants that protect you from various illnesses and health issues. It promotes healthy digestion and prevents constipation due to high fibre content. Of course, it has anti-carcinogenic properties. It reduced inflammation due to the presence of antioxidants. Soursop is also helpful in fighting bacteria and stabilising blood pressure. It can also help you sleep better. 

Q. What are the benefits of drinking boiled soursop leaves?

A. Herbalists use soursop fruit and Graviola tree leaves to cure stomach disorders, fever, parasite infections, hypertension, and arthritis. You can also use it as a sedative. Due to the high fibre content, it supports good digestion and avoids constipation. It possesses cancer-fighting capabilities. Because antioxidants were present, they lowered inflammation. It also helps to combat bacteria and keep blood pressure in check.

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