By Nirmala M. Pieris Did you know that sapodilla is one of the best fruits to provide quick energy and is regarded as a natural energy boosting food? This is due to the exceptionally sweet taste of the ripe fruit that also carries a bunch of bonuses for your health and wellness. Sapodilla (Manilkara zapota) [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Sapodilla for a quick energy boost


By Nirmala M. Pieris
Did you know that sapodilla is one of the best fruits to provide quick energy and is regarded as a natural energy boosting food? This is due to the exceptionally sweet taste of the ripe fruit that also carries a bunch of bonuses for your health and wellness. Sapodilla (Manilkara zapota) (Sinhalese – sapathilla or rata mi, Tamil – sapota) belonging to the family Sapotaceae is a long lived evergreen tree found in home gardens, parks and fruit farms as a minor fruit crop. It is the original “chewing gum tree” as the white latex sap of the tree called ‘chicle’ used to be the main ingredient in chewing gum. The industry now uses a less costly synthetic product.

The fruit is brown in colour, looking almost like a potato and can be round, oval or ellipsoidal. The skin is coated with sandy brown scurf until fully ripe. The flesh that is yellowish to light or dark brown or sometimes reddish brown is soft, juicy and has a malty flavour when ripe. Always buy sapodillas with smooth intact skin and without cuts, bruises or wrinkles. The fruit is usually available, year round. Unripe fruits will ripen at room temperature and when ripe can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. When ripe, the fruit will just yield to gentle thumb pressure.

Sapodilla, preferably chilled, cut in half and the flesh consumed is a fantastic treat. The skin, which is not edible, remains firm enough to serve as a “shell”. Care must be taken not to swallow a seed, as the protruding hook might cause lodging in the throat. Fresh fruit sections are also a great addition to fruit salads. The sweetness of the fruit can be offset by blending the pulp with yoghurt to make a lassi. Alternatively, the pulp can be poached in wine and lemon juice and served with ice cream. The scooped out flesh can also be used in sherbets, milk shakes, cakes and tarts or you can try the cool fruitilicious sapodilla ice cream recipe by Master Chef.

Nutritional benefits
Sapodilla is a calorie-rich easily digestible fruit belonging to the category of fruits such as mango, banana and jak fruit. Additionally, it is a very good source of dietary fibre. Its sweet flavour is attributed to the presence of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose. The fruit is rich in antioxidant poly-phenolic tannins. The fruit also contains a good amount of vitamin C, vitamin A, B complex vitamins, folate, niacin and pantothenic acid and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous.

Beneficial during pregnancy
With a high dose of calories and essential nutrients, sapodilla is extremely beneficial for pregnant and lactating mothers. It helps in reducing weakness and other symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea and dizziness.

Good for babies
The Sapodilla fruit is full of vitamins and ideal for infants and toddlers as they help in the physical and mental growth of the child. The fruit does not cause any allergic reactions and you can safely introduce your baby to this fruit, between the ages of 6 to 8 months. Your baby will love it as it has a sweet and rich texture.

Relieves constipation
Sapodilla is a good source of dietary fibre, which makes it a bulk laxative and thus provides relief in case of constipation. It also helps in protecting the mucous membrane of the colon from cancer causing toxins by firmly binding to them.The potassium, iron, folate, niacin and pantothenic acid in the fruit also facilitate the proper functioning of the digestive system.

Provides quick energy
The fruit is one of the best to rejuvenate the body with natural energy as it contains sucrose and fructose. Niacin, present in the fruit also promotes healthy circulation and assists with the body’s natural energy production.

Important anti-inflammatory agent
The high content of tannins in the fruit makes it an important anti-inflammatory agent and thus helps in improving the condition of the digestive tract through prevention of diseases such as esophagitis, enteritis, irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis.

Good haemostatic properties
The tannins in the fruit also have haemostatic properties, a process that causes bleeding to stop. Thus, it is beneficial in reducing bleeding in case of piles and injuries and in curing hemorrhoids.

Is anti-viral and anti-bacterial
Due to the presence of polyphenolic antioxidants, the fruit is known to have several anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial properties.

Maintains eye health
The fruit contains a good amount of vitamin A that plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision and helps in improving vision even during old age.

Enhances bone strength
Being rich in calcium, and phosphorus, eating the fruit regularly will maintain the health and strength of bones and teeth.

Good for healthy and glowing skin
Vitamins A, B and C and the antioxidants in the fruit help in maintaining the health of the mucous lining of the body and the texture of the skinand thus make it an amazing choice for healthy and glowing skin. The antioxidants also act as an anti-ageing agent by eradicating free radicals in the body and are effective in reducing wrinkles as well.

Supports mental health
Sapodilla is a natural sedative. It is used to relax the nerves and also to relieve stress. Thus the fruit is often suggested as a part of the diet of those struggling with insomnia and panic disorders. It is one of the best natural anti-depressants.

Effective against cold and cough
The expectorant properties found in sapodilla can provide relief from congestion and clogging that are co-related with phlegm and mucous formation in the nasal passage and respiratory tract. Therefore the fruit provides relief during colds and coughs.
So if you have not already tried a sapodilla, it is high time you tried this extraordinary fruit to not only get an instant energy boost but also to take advantage of its many nutritional and health benefits.

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