Star Apple (Caimito) – Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects

Star apple (botanical name – Chrysophyllum cainito) is a tropical tree of the family Sapotaceae. It is native to the West Indies and the Greater Antilles.

This fruit is also known as purple star apple, apple star, kayimit, caimito, stingy tree, and milk fruit.

According to the data, Cieza De Leon (a Spanish explorer) was the 1st person who discovered and documented this fruit in Peru during the 1500’s.

It can be oval or round and may reach a diameter of 12 cm. Inside, it can have about 8 seeds of bright brown color and its flesh is white and very juicy.

Nutrition Facts

It is a good source of dietary fiber, healthy carbs, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), calcium, iron, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin B2, manganese, and selenium. In addition, it has no cholesterol or saturated fat.

Health Benefits

Eye Health

This fruit is an excellent source of carotenoids. The beneficial effects of carotenoids are believed to be due to their role as antioxidants and their capacity to be converted into vitamin A.

There are more than 600 specific carotenoids currently known, and this number is increasing every year. The carotenoids which have been most studied are lycopene, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein.

According to research, carotenoids support the health of male reproductive health and the cardiovascular system.

Once consumed, they have antioxidant activities which help block the formation of oxidative stress, the leading cause of degeneration and aging. Furthermore, carotenoids have the ability to boost the function of white blood cells that support the immune system to fight both cancer and infections.

Note – carotenoids are fat-soluble compounds, which actually means that they are best absorbed with some type of fat, preferably healthy fat from a plant source.

100g of this fruit has 5 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A.

Reduces The Risk Of Developing Cataracts

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that is found in most fruits and vegetables (almost non-existent in animal-based foods). According to some studies, vitamin C may reduce the chance of developing cataract – a clouding of the lens in the eye that leads to a decrease in vision.

Furthermore, vitamin C found in fruits considerably combats the oxidative damage caused by exposure to tobacco smoke. In addition, vitamin C reduces exercise-induced oxidative damage and boosts the health-promoting effects of any type of physical exercise. Lastly, it stimulates the immune system of the human body, which protects it from cold and flu.

100g of this fruit has 5 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

Prevents Iron Anemia

Iron is an essential mineral for the proper growth and development of the body. For example, iron plays a role in the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin.

A lower red blood cells count can impair the carry of oxygen to the many different tissues and organs within the body.

More importantly, iron helps with the metabolic enzyme processes which the human body carries out to absorb nutrients and digest proteins from food.

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common known form of nutritional deficiency, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Common symptoms of iron anemia include:

  • difficulty concentrating;
  • dizziness;
  • weakness;
  • fatigue.

Note – low intake of vitamin C can also contribute to iron anemia since vitamin C is required to absorb non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plant foods.

100g of this fruit has 2 percent of the daily recommended intake of iron.

Bone Health

Calcium forms 2 percent of the body weight in a healthy adult. This mineral is typically found in the body as deposits in the teeth and bones in high volumes.

According to studies, calcium, along with vitamin D, may have important benefits beyond bone health, including – diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure protection.

A deficiency in calcium can deteriorate bone mineral density and weaken the bone structure in the body. 100g of this fruit has 15 percent of the daily recommended intake of calcium.

Weight Loss

Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes) your body can’t digest or absorb. Due to the fact that fiber isn’t well absorbed, it doesn’t lead to the blood sugar spikes which can put you at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes mellitus.

Fiber has also been shown to boost weight loss among obese or overweight people, most likely because dietary fiber increases satiety feelings. Also, according to research, for every 7-grams more dietary fiber you intake on a daily basis, stroke risk is reduced by 7%.

100g of this fruit has 3 grams of dietary fiber.

Boosts The Energy Levels

Carbohydrates are the human body’s main source of fuel. When you take in carbs, the body breaks down its starches and sugars and absorbs them into your bloodstream. The fiber is not digested, but it becomes food for the gut bacteria.

100g of this fruit has 15g of carbohydrates.

How To Eat

Only the pulps of the fruit are consumed since the peel is unpleasant to the taste. The pulp can be utilized in the fresh form in salads, fruit juices, or in various fruit desserts. A traditional way to eat this fruit is frozen, that is why for many people it is a healthy substitute for ice cream.

Moreover, a tea can be made from the leaves. This tea has medicinal uses, and they include – hypertension, diarrhea, dysentery (a type of gastroenteritis that results in diarrhea with blood), type 2 diabetes mellitus, arthritis, pneumonia, and hypoglycemia.

Side Effects Of Star Apple

There are no clinically proven side effects.

Star Apple vs Mangosteen – Differences

Mangosteen fruit (botanical name – Garcinia mangostana) is a tropical evergreen tree that has been originated in Indonesia. The fruit is dark purple or reddish in color. Because of its amazing taste, this fruit is also known as the queen of fruits.

According to studies, this fruit has both anti-tumor and antimicrobial functions, hence, it has strong therapeutic potential in treating a variety of conditions.

Both fruits are highly nutritious and should be included in your regular diet.

Image credit – Shutterstock

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