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Custard apple and its few health benefits

Custard apple is an edible tropical fruit also known as sugar-apple or sweetsop or seetaphal in Hindi. It is believed that its origin lies in between southern central America to tropical South America. As its name suggests it has a custard-like pulp, rather less sugary and less flavored than other familiar species.

Benefits of custard apple                  

Skin Care

There are a good number of polyphenolic antioxidants in custard apple, which makes it an ideal solution for people who want to protect themselves against free radical damage. This can help to eliminate the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and age spots, as well as increasing skin elasticity to reduce the signs of aging.

Hair Care

By regularly consuming this mineral-rich fruit, one can boost the strength of their hair, while also enjoying the beneficial effects of vitamin C. Collagen is essential for every part of the body, and vitamin C is required for its production, so this fruit can definitely help hair loss and dandruff issues.

Anti-cancer Potential

While human studies are required to explore the full potential of the anti-cancer properties of custard apple, animal studies have shown that custard apple pulp can inhibit the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. A 2016 research study by Gagan Deep published in Scientific Reports studied the effects of the pulp on laboratory mice and concluded that custard apple (graviola) pulp could be developed for chemo-prevention use in normal/high-risk individuals as well as for intervention in prostate cancer patients.

Improves Vision

Beta-carotene is found in limited quantities in custard apple, but with the other nutrients and antioxidants present in this fruit, regular consumption can help boost vision. Furthermore, this includes lowering the risk of macular degeneration and slowing the advance of cataracts as one age.

Treats Diabetes

There is a very high level of dietary fiber found in custard apple, which can significantly slow down the release of insulin into the body, in response to the intake of sugar. This regulation is also perfect for diabetic patients, who need to be mindful of their balance between glucose and insulin at all times.

Prevents Arthritis

Studies have found certain anti-inflammatory properties in this unique apple, meaning that it can help to soothe the pain of arthritis, while also cutting down on inflammation in the gut and cardiovascular system.

Boosts Immunity

Also, there is an impressive amount of vitamin C in custard apple, which is a major kickstart for the immune system. Vitamin C can help to stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are the first line of defense for the body’s immune system.

Adding custard apple to your diet

Custard apple can be eaten raw or utilsed preparing various desserts with custa , as well as include it in fruit smoothies and as a topping for tarts and pies.

Recipe for Custard apple (seetaphal ) rabdi

Ingredients

Seethaphal or Custard apple       –       2 nos

Whole Milk or Full Fat Milk      –       250 ml

Sugar                                                –       1 – 2 tsp

Soda                                                  –       a pinch

Cardamom powder                       –       a pinch

Pistachios                                       –       3 nos

Badam                                              –       3 nos

Directions

Boil the whole milk in low temperature for 30 minutes stirring in between.

Add little sugar and still until the sugar gets dissolved. Then add a pinch of soda and stir slowly. (by adding this, the milk will not cuddle).

Add in the Seethaphal pulp (discard the seeds), mix well and then add pinch of cardamom powder and cook for few minutes until thick and creamy.

Allow cooling and then serve garnished with almond and pistachios flakes.

Recipe for Custard Apple Milkshake

Preparation Time: 15 mins   Cooking Time: 0 mins    Total Time: 15 mins     Makes 4 glasses

Ingredients

3/4 cup custard apple (sitaphal) pulp

1 cup vanilla ice-cream

1 1/2 cups chilled milk

2 1/2 tbsp sugar

5 ice-cubes

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a mixer and blend till smooth.

Pour the milkshake into 4 individual glasses.

Lastly, serve immediately.

Side effects and word of caution

(1) Too Much Weight Gain Is Bad

Regular and moderate consumption of custard apple is very beneficial for weight gain. This is also an advantage to those who are underweight and are looking for a natural way to gain weight. Although this is an advantage but this can soon turn into a disadvantage if the person is not careful about his/her custard apple consumption. It is very important to maintain ideal weight as both excessive weight gain and excessive weight loss is bad for our health.

Eating too many custard apples could give rise to weight gain problem which in turn give rise to many health complications like increased risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat etc. It can also give rise to high blood pressure which is a serious problem that affects millions of people all over the world. Thus, excessive weight gain is harmful to our kidneys, liver, and other vital organs too.

Some of the other health complications of excessive weight gain are high cholesterol levels, increased risk of cancers, breathing disorders, increased risk of respiratory problems, sleep apnea, increased risk of gallbladder risk etc. So, if you want to enjoy the benefits of custard apple without worrying about the weight gain then it would be better to eat them in moderation. And, if you are eating custard apple for weight gain then make sure that you don’t eat them too  much.

(2) Too Much Fiber Is Bad For Our Health

Custard apples are a good source of dietary fibers which plays a very important role in keeping our digestive system healthy and for providing relief from constipation. This is because it regulates the bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of waste out of the body. In this way, dietary fibers help in providing relief from constipation and reduces the risk of various gastric problems like heartburn, indigestion, acidity etc.

Dietary fibers are good as long as you are eating them in moderation but excessive problems can give rise to complications. Eating too many dietary fibers can interfere with the absorption of  nutrients in our body, and can give rise to stomach problems like diarrhea, malabsorption, constipation, intestinal blockage, intestinal gas etc. (source)

 (3) Iron Overdose Complications

Custard apple is an excellent source of iron which is an important mineral for our body. Some of the important health benefits of iron help in the formation of hemoglobin, aids in carrying oxygen from one cell to another, reduces the risk of anemia, helps in proper functioning of brain etc. (source)

Although custard apple is a good source of iron and provides a lot of benefits, but still it is important to eat them in moderation as too much iron is not good for our health.

Some of the common health complications of high iron intake are may worsen stomach and intestinal ulcers, intestinal inflammation such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, thalassemia etc. (source)

(4) Potassium Overdose Risk

Custard apple is a good source of potassium which is an important nutrient that provides a lot of health benefits to our body. One such benefit is its ability to regulate high blood pressure level.

Potassium is a vasodilator which means it relaxes the blood vessels of our body and thus provides relief from high blood pressure. However, too much potassium is bad as it can drop down the blood pressure to a dangerously low level and give rise to problems like dizziness, fainting, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, nausea, shallow breathing etc (source).

Because of this reason, it is important to eat custard apple in moderate quantity.

(5) May Interact With Certain Medications

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, cardiovascular problem or blood sugar problem, and are already taking medication for the same, then it is important for you to make sure that you eat custard apple in moderation and only as per the advice of your doctor. This is because custard apple is a wonderful fruit that helps in providing relief from high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems etc. However, eating them along with medication could worsen the situation.

Like in the case of high blood pressure, both medication and custard apple working together can lower the blood pressure to a dangerously low level and give rise to other health complications.

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