Well the name might give you the impression of a combo of custard and apple. But custard apple is neither an apple nor a dessert.
Round, irregular, or heart shaped, custard apple fruit comes with a scaly rind. It might not look as appealing as a rose but it is liked by kids as well as elderly people.
Known as sharifa or sitaphal in Hindi and ‘Bull’s heart’, custard apple is a seasonal fruit which is extremely high in taste, nutrition value and health. Such is its multi-dimensional benefits that the leaves of the custard apple tree are even used in dye preparation.
About Custard Apple
This tropical fruit with a soft outer covering is sweet and custard-like in texture. Green and pine like, the heart shaped fruit has a green exterior and white creamy flesh.
There are few other colours of the flesh too – bright red, purplish red and pinkish. The seed is black which is not to be consumed. This fruit should ideally be picked before it is ripe.
Nutritional Value of Custard Apple
Custard apple is high in iron and calcium and antioxidants like vitamin C, which is a positive sign in the treatment of anaemia.
The copper content in it helps cure constipation, indigestion problems and gastrointestinal infections such as diarrhoea and dysentery.
Being high in magnesium, custard apple equalises water balance in your body. This helps in removing acids from the joints and reduces chances of rheumatism and arthritis. Have this fruit in your daily diet, as the potassium in it will help fight muscle weakness.
The vitamin A in custard apple is known to keep your hair bouncy and skin healthy. This fruit is also good for your eye health.
How to Eat Custard apple
Although this fruit can be taken in raw form, it can also be enjoyed in the form of shakes, smoothies, soufflés, mousses and natural ice-creams.
Besides food recipes for adults, custard apple can be used in pulp form as baby food too. The sauce of custard apple pairs well with various meats too.
Health Benefits of Custard Apple
Here are some top reasons why you should eat sitaphal this season.
1. Eye Care
Custard apple is the best bet when it comes to enhancing your vision naturally. This fruit is packed with plenty of vitamins such as vitamin A and E to improve your eyesight. In addition to it, custard apple has vitamin B2 and riboflavin that protect your eyes from vision problems.
2. Facilitates digestion
Rich in copper and dietary fibre, custard apple helps keep your digestive tract in the pink of health. The digestion of food and its passage through the gut and intestinal tract becomes smoother. Magnesium present in custard apples helps in curing indigestion problems and prevents constipation.
3. Cures skin ailments
Being high in vitamin A, custard apple pulp can be used as a balm to treat ulcers, boils and abscesses. It not only plays moisturiser to your skin but also brings you relief from redness and inflammation of the skin. The “rind” or outer skin of the fruit prevents gum pain and tooth decay. Custard apples taken in a dried and powdered form are effective in treating lice.
4. Keeps your heart healthy
Custard apples are high in magnesium and potassium. This helps them in keeping cardiac diseases at bay and controlling blood pressure levels. The fruit also has high levels of niacin and dietary fibre which reduce the blood cholesterol levels. The vitamin B6 too present in custard apple minimises the risk of heart disease.
5. Wards off fatigue
Custard apple is an instant source of energy, which helps it in fighting body exhaustion, as well as weakness. The potassium in it helps to prevents fatigue by improving blood supply.
6. Treats arthritis
Magnesium in custard apples maintains a healthy balance of fluids and electrolytes in your body. This removes the excess of acids and fluids in your joints which leads to inflammation. The end result is reduced risk of joint pain, arthritis and rheumatism.
7. Best for pregnant women
Custard apple is a wonder-fruit for pregnant women. It helps them to cope with morning sickness and mood swings. When regularly consumed during pregnancy, it helps in producing more breast milk. It also manages to reduce the risk of miscarriage and labour pain.
This fruit also contributes to developing the brain, nervous system and immune system of the foetus.
8. Reduces Asthma
Custard apple fruit has high amounts of vitamin B6 that reduces bronchial inflammation. This helps keep asthmatic attacks at bay.
10. Prevents Diabetes
The high dietary fibre present in custard apple slows down sugar absorption, which in turn reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The bark of the custard apple tree has astringents and tannins that can be used to make herbal medicines. In fact, the leaves of the tree are effective in treating diseases such as cancer and tumours.
Recipe for Soy, Custard Apple and Peach Milkshake
Nature has umpteen recipes for health and goodness. Custard Apple is one of them. The sooner you begin to eat this, the healthier and happier you would feel.