Read in App

Dig into the sweetness of custard apple to boost heart health, reduce diabetes risk

Updated on:28 September 2021, 12:52pm IST
Have you indulged in a custard apple or Sitaphal lately? Don't miss the goodness of this seasonal fruit which is packed with multiple health benefits.
custard apple
This creamy, pulpy fruit can work wonders for your health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Listen to this article

Here’s a fruit that is limited to a season, but unlimited in its benefits. Meet custard apple. People even call it Sitaphal or Sharifa locally, and love it for its creamy and yummy pulp. Its green crust seems like a self-sufficient, fancy ice cream bowl in
itself. What’s more? Experts vouch for its nutritional value in boosting good health and wellness.

custard apple
What you eat impacts your heart health and your overall well-being. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Local, seasonal and healthy – custard apple is a right tick on three vital points which people must increasingly focus on while consuming fruits, rather than following fads.

Custard apple is mostly available in the market around the monsoon season, and merely for 2-3 months! So, make sure you make the most of it.

Nutritionist and dietitian Shweta Shah tells HealthShots that ‘Sitaphal’ gets its name from the Sanskrit words ‘sheet’ meaning cool and ‘phal’, which translate to a fruit with cooling effects on our body. Munmun Ganeriwal, another nutritionist, shared on Instagram that according to one legend, Lord Ram named the fruit ‘Sitaphal’ owing to Sitaji’s fondness towards it.

Custard apple is not only mouth watering, but this creamy indulgent fruit has many miracles waiting for those who devour it.

Benefits of custard apple according to Shweta Shah:

* Boosts immunity; Being rich in antioxidants, it is also rich in
nutrients like Vitamin C, and is helpful in boosting immunity.

* Anti-inflammatory: It is abundant in magnesium and potassium
loaded with anti-inflammatory properties.

* In ancient times, Mexican people used this fruit to treat
depression, anxiety and stress-related disorders. Even chewing on
seeds was useful in removing stressful toxins from the body.

* It benefits the eye and heart health. While it is believed to
lower down blood pressure, it also has cooling properties that
relaxing the eyes and internal system.

* It also helps to cure indigestion and other gastro intestinal
problems being rich in fibre.

Munmun Ganeriwal points out more benefits:

* The calcium and magnesium in Sitaphal make your bones healthy and strong.

* A good source of vitamin B-6, eating it will help in curing bloating and PMS.

* If suffering from Diabetes or Blood Pressure related issues, this should be the go-to fruit. While the high dietary fibre reduces the risk of diabetes, the potassium and magnesium in it will keep blood pressure in control.

Fear versus facts around custard apple

In a 2019 post, popular nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, who champions the promotion of locally-produced and indigenous fruits and veggies for good health, had addressed some fears around custard apple.

Here’s a lowdown:

Fear: Avoid if Diabetic
Facts: Custard apple has a low glycemic index of 54. Not just safe but foods that are low on GI 55 and below, are recommended for Diabetics.

Fear: Avoid if fat
Facts: Custard apple is a good source of Vitamin B complex, specially Vitamin B6, so it even works at reducing bloating.

Fear: Avoid if you’re a heart patient
Facts: Custard apple is high on minerals like manganese and potassium and Vitamin C. It has an anti-ageing effect on the heart and circulatory system.

Fear: Avoid if you have PCOD
Facts: Custard apple is a good source of iron, fights feelings of tiredness, irritability and improves fertility.

How to include custard apple in your diet?

You can choose to eat the fruit off the tree, scooping out the pulp spoon after spoon. But there’s a lot of more interesting things that you can do with the fruit.

While Ganeriwal mentions how the wonder fruit is making its way into smoothies, ice creams and shakes, Shah suggests that you can include Sitaphal in your diet by making sweet dishes like basundi, kheer, ice cream, halwa and cakes.

These are some delicious ways in which Sitaphal can be used in
delicacies:

Custard apple smoothie

Recipe:
1. Blend one cup fruit pulp and one cup curd along with 2 spoons of honey. Make the mixture smooth and creamy.
2. Pour it in a glass. Serve by adding almonds!

Sitafal phirni

Recipe:
1. Boil milk on low flame till it thickens and reduces in quantity.
2. Take some rice with little water and add it
to milk. Stir till it thickens.
3. Let it cool down and add custard apple pulp with honey. 4. Refrigerate, serve with pistachio and
almonds.

Custard apple milkshake

Recipe
1. Blend the fruit pulp with honey and cinnamon powder.
2. Add milk and blend again till it thickens.
3. Serve with ice cubes or crushed ice!

Go, relish the sweetness of custard apple, before it goes off season!

Radhika Bhirani Radhika Bhirani

Content Head for Healthshots.