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By JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO/Science and Nature/Tuesday, September 28, 2021

What Are The Health Benefits Of Custard Apple or Cherimoya (Annona reticulata)?

                              
                            
This post will provide information on "What are the health benefits of custard apple or Cherimoya (Annona reticulata)?" as well as provide answers to questions like: Where did custard apple originate? Is custard apple native to India? Why is it called custard apple? How did custard apple came to India? Are custard apples good for you? Can I eat custard apple daily? Is custard apple high in sugar? When should we eat custard apple?

History of Custard Apple or Cherimoya (Annona reticulata)

The custard apple is believed to be a native of the West Indies but it was carried in early times through Central America to southern Mexico. It has long been cultivated and naturalized as far south as Peru and Brazil. It is commonly grown in the Bahamas and occasionally in Bermuda and southern Florida. Apparently it was introduced into tropical Africa early in the 17th century and it is grown in South Africa as a dooryard fruit tree. In India the tree is cultivated, especially around Calcutta, and runs wild in many areas. It has become fairly common on the east coast of Malaya, and more or less throughout southeast Asia and the Philippines though nowhere particularly esteemed. Eighty years ago it was reported as thoroughly naturalized in Guam. In Hawaii it is not well known. Custard apple is a common name for a fruit, and the tree which bears it, Annona reticulata. The fruits vary in shape, heart-shaped, spherical, oblong or weird. The size ranges from 7 to 12 cm (2.8 to 4.7 in), depending on the cultivar. When ripe, the fruit is brown or yellowish, with red highlights and a varying degree of reticulation, depending again on the variety. The flesh varies from juicy and very aromatic to hard with an astringent taste.[1] The flavor is sweet and pleasant, akin to the taste of 'traditional' custard. The custard apple is native to the Americas, but has been found on the island of Timor as early as 1000 CE.

Description of Custard Apple or Cherimoya (Annona reticulata)

The custard apple tree is not especially attractive. It is erect, with a rounded or spreading crown and trunk 10 to 14 in (25-35 cm) thick. Height ranges from 15 to 35 ft (4.5-10 m). The ill-smelling leaves are deciduous, alternate, oblong or narrow-lanceolate, 4 to 8 in (10-20 cm) long, 3/4 to 2 in (2 5 cm) wide, with conspicuous veins. Flowers, in drooping clusters, are fragrant, slender, with 3 outer fleshy, narrow petals 3/4 to 1 1/4 in (2 3 cm) long; light-green externally and pale-yellow with a dark-red or purple spot on the inside at the base. The flowers never fully open. The compound fruit, 3 l/4 to 6 1/2 in (8-16 cm) in diameter, may be symmetrically heart-shaped, lopsided, or irregular; or nearly round, or oblate, with a deep or shallow depression at the base. The skin, thin but tough, may be yellow or brownish when ripe, with a pink, reddish or brownish-red blush, and faintly, moderately, or distinctly reticulated. There is a thick, cream-white layer of custardlike, somewhat granular, flesh beneath the skin surrounding the concolorous moderately juicy segments, in many of which there is a single, hard, dark-brown or black, glossy seed, oblong, smooth, less than 1/2 in (1.25 cm) long. Actual seed counts have been 55, 60 and 76. A pointed, fibrous, central core, attached to the thick stem, extends more than halfway through the fruit. The flavor is sweet and agreeable though without the distinct character of the cherimoya, sugar apple, or atemoya.

Health Benefits of Custard Apple or Cherimoya (Annona reticulata)

  • High in antioxidants
  • May boost your mood
  • May benefit eye health
  • May prevent high blood pressure
  • May promote good digestion
  • May have anticancer properties
  • May fight inflammation
  • May support immunity

Side Effects of Custard Apple or (Annona reticulata)

Cherimoya and other fruits in the Annona species contain annonacin, a toxin that can affect your brain and nervous system.
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