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Don’t winter seem sweeter with the sweetness of chikoo? It’s a delicious tropical fruit from the Sapotaceae family and is also known as “sapodilla” or “sapota.” Chikoo is armed with a plethora of nutritional benefits which can contribute to the overall health and wellness of the body. But it is high in calories and so it falls in the category of fruits like mango, orange, and jack fruit.
Chikoo is not a very popular fruit among this generation but in the good old days, people really enjoy it as their mid-day snack. In fact, it is a popular ingredient in many smoothies, shakes, and desserts.
Deepti Khatuja, Head Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram says, “It maintains the overall health as it is loaded with various nutrients such as vitamin A and C and is used for antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. Apart from being a good source of dietary fibre, chikoo also contains other essential nutrients like potassium, sodium, copper, iron, and magnesium.”
Along with the main fruit, its other parts such as skin and leaves are also used for treating cold and cough because it contains antidiarrheal, diuretic, ant hyperglycemic, antibiotic, and hypocholesterolemic effects.
Deepti Khatuja says chikoo should be avoided or eaten in control by those who are trying for weight loss as it is high in calories. Leaving that concern aside, you can enjoy these health benefits:
Sapota fruit is a rich source of dietary fibre, which makes it an excellent bulk laxative. The fibre content provides relief from constipation. It helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon and makes it resistant to infections.
The high content of tannins (poly phenolic compounds) makes sapota or chikoo an important anti-inflammatory agent. It helps in improving the condition of the digestive tract through prevention of diseases like esophagitis, enteritis, irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis. It also reduces inflammation by reducing any swelling and pain.
Chikoo juice helps the skin and keeps the head nourished and healthy, and also helps in growing hair. It is also effective in treating hair fall due to swelling in the head. Also, antioxidants are found in good quantity in chikoo. Therefore, it is helpful in stopping the aging process as it eliminates free radicals, and it also reduces wrinkles.
The magnesium in sapota keeps the blood vessels up and running, and the potassium regulates blood pressure and circulation.
Chikoo contains high dose of antioxidants and has been found to be effective in lowering the risk of different types of cancers. In addition, vitamins A and B help in maintaining the health of several mucus lining of the body and the texture of the skin. Vitamin A also provides protection from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Additional amounts of calcium, phosphorus and iron are required by bones to increase their endurance. Being rich in calcium, iron and phosphorus, sapota fruit greatly helps in enhancing and strengthening the bones.
Due to the presence of polyphenolic antioxidants, sapota is found to have several antiviral, anti-parasitic and antibacterial properties. The antioxidants prevent bacteria from entering into the human body. Vitamin C destroys the harmful free radicals whereas potassium, iron and folate, niacin and pantothenic acid facilitate proper functioning of the digestive system.
Sapodilla is consumed raw by scooping the flesh out or making jam or sherbet. It is also added to pancakes and cakes. It is also found in the form of custard, juice, ice creams or milkshakes.
Khatuja says it is recommended that for a healthy balanced diet one should eat at least 5-8 servings of seasonal fruits and vegetables in a day. So include chikoo also in your diet.