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Health Benefits of Chickoo or Sapodilla

The chickoo fruit is also known as sapodilla or Manilkara Zapota. It is believed that chickoo is a native of Mexico and was brought by Spanish colonists to Philippines. Chickoo is the name given to this fruit in Pakistan, India and South Asia.

Sapodilla Fruit And Chickoo Nutrition

  • Chickoo tree and chickoo fruit: This ever green tree grows to about 30 or 40 m in height. The chickoo tree bears fruit twice a year.
    Chickoo, which looks quite like a rounded potato, has a brown skin with a sweet and grainy flesh. It has a high latex content and is about 4 to 8 cm in diameter. In India, chickoo is grown in several states including Chennai, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • Origin: Research shows that the chickoo fruit was first found in Yucatan and in south of Mexico and in north eastern Guatemala. Chickoo trees were also believed to be cultivated all through Central America in earlier days.
  • Cultivation: The chickoo tree grows well in a sunny and warm climate sans frost. While, chickoo trees can grow in any type of soil, good drainage is essential. These trees can go without water for a long time too, but regular watering will yield more fruit.
  • Chickoo health benefits: The chickoo fruit as well as the tree have medicinal benefits and various parts of the plant are used in home remedies to cure health problems.
  • Chickoo is high in tanning. So, it is believed that when chickoo is boiled with water, the decoction is good for curing diarrhea.
  • A mixture made of chickoo flowers and fruits can bring relief and can prevent pulmonary problems.
  • A concoction made with the old chickoo leaves can prevent cough and cold as well as diarrhea.
  • Some people prepare a tea with the bark of the sapodilla or the chickoo tree to cure dysentery and diarrhea.
  • The latex from the chickoo tree is used to fill up cavities in some places in the tropics.
  • Culinary uses: The sweet, grainy texture and flavor of the chickoo fruit makes it a favored ingredient in salads and desserts. Chilled and sliced chickoo is a dessert in itself. It can also be used in custard batter or in baking. Chickoo can also be made into pies or whipped up with salads.

Sapodilla Nutrition Value

Scientifically referred to as Manilkara zapota, the English name of the chikoo fruit is sapodilla. Native to Central America and Mexico, sapodilla is extensively cultivated in India and Pakistan. The sapodilla or chikoo fruit tree is an evergreen, deciduous tree that grows in the tropical belt, reaching a height of 9 to 12 meters. Sapodilla fruit is an ellipsoid berry that is approximately five to six centimeters in diameter, containing seeds. The sapodilla fruit flesh is yellow to brown in color, and its texture is somewhat granular. The fruit is pulpy and sweet to taste. Sapodilla fruit ripens only when plucked from trees. Sapodilla or chikoo fruit has three to four seeds that are black in color, hard and glossy in texture. Sapodilla fruit is known for its sweetness and malty flavor, somewhat similar to caramel. Sapodilla or chikoo fruit nutrition is attributed to its high content of vitamins and minerals. It is rich in carbohydrates, which, in turn, makes it a high-calorie and high-energy fruit. An interesting sapodilla nutrition fact is that it is has a very high content of vitamin C, followed by other vitamins including vitamins A and B-complex. Sapodilla is also rich in minerals including copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and calcium and electrolytes including sodium and potassium.

Some of the sapodilla fruit benefits are as follows. Sapodilla is a rich source of the poly-phenolic antioxidant tannin. Consequently, sapodilla fruit is anti-hemorrhoidal in action. Another one of sapodilla’s benefits is its ability to cure diarrhea, attributed to its purgative properties. Sapodilla fruit helps remove the wastes from the stomach, thereby cleansing it and relieving diarrhea. Sapodilla is also a rich source of fiber. It adds bulk to any diet and helps relieve constipation. Sapodilla fruit regulates the metabolism and keeps the digestive tract clean. Sapodilla fruit also helps in regulating the secretion of gastric enzymes, thereby regulating metabolism. It is rich in minerals which help in formation of essential enzymes and gastric juices. Among its many benefits related to the digestive system, weight loss and obesity prevention can also be included in the benefits of Sapodilla fruit. 

Sapodilla is also an expectorant. The fruit helps remove the mucous and phlegm in the nasal passage and respiratory tract, thereby helping relieve cough and cold. Consumption of this fruit helps to keep congestion and chronic coughs at bay. Sapodilla is also diuretic in action. It helps in the removal of waste materials from the body by frequent urination. It also helps maintain the water concentration of the body, preventing edemas or water retention. Hence, sapodilla fruit also helps prevent various diseases and infections related to the urinary tract such as helping in the prevention of the formation of bladder and kidney stones.

Sapodilla also helps regenerate the cells of the mucous membranes and internal lining of various organs of the body. This helps in proper metabolism and prevents abrasion of delicate organs of the body. Sapodilla fruit is also a rich source of anti-oxidants and helps prevent cancer. Sapodilla fruit nullifies the effect of free radicals formed as a result of various biological reactions, which could otherwise initiate chain reactions leading to tumors and cancer. It is known to be effective in lowering the risk of breast and colon cancers. Sapodilla fruit also works well as an antihistamine. It is often used to treat stings and bites that result in allergic reactions. However, it should be noted that poisonous sting and bites will need medical attention. Apart from being an antihistamine, sapodilla is also a potent sedative. It can be used to calm the nerves and relieve stress. It often prescribed in the diet of people suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. Sapodilla in conjunction with chayote leaves helps lower blood pressure, thereby reducing hypertension and susceptibility to heart attacks. In addition, sapodilla fruit helps prevent various cardiovascular diseases. As mentioned earlier, sapodilla is rich in antioxidants that help detoxify the body; hence, regular consumption also helps in boosting immunity, keeping infections and other problems at bay.

In addition, intake of chikoo fruit during pregnancy is highly recommended; this is because of sapodilla’s high nutrition content. Since the fruit is rich in carbohydrates and energy, which is essential for pregnant and lactating mothers, it is often prescribed to help reduce weakness and symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea and dizziness. Sapodilla is also an anti-inflammatory agent; this means that it can be used to prevent enteritis, gastritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Another reason why is it good for pregnant women. Sapodilla fruit can also be used for the treatment of aches and pains and muscle spasms owing to its antispasmodic properties.  Sapodilla fruit helps in the regeneration of cells and is often used for delaying the signs of aging. It helps revitalize the skin, making you look younger and preventing the appearance of dark spots, fine lines, and patches on skin.

Sapodilla is also good for the eyes. Owing to its high Vitamin A content, regular intake of the fruit ensures that your eyes remain healthy. Sapodilla fruit is also hemostatic in action and helps prevent bleeding. It helps prevent blood loss by promoting blood clotting and faster healing. Sapodilla is also a rich source of electrolytes, and as such, it helps in transmission of nerve signals, thereby promoting proper functioning of the nervous system. Apart from the health benefits of sapodilla, sapodilla fruit is also used in the manufacture of several products. The bark of the sapodilla tree secretes milky white and gummy latex, which is used in the manufacture of chewing gums. The wood of the sapodilla plant is hard and durable, and it is thus used in making furniture, carts, and tools. Also, since sapodilla is rich in tannin, it is used in preparation of dyes. Sapodilla latex is also used as a filling for tooth cavities.

In sum, sapodilla fruit has many health and medicinal benefits, and it can be consumed by people of all age groups. You can include sapodilla fruit in your diet by consuming it directly as a ripe fruit, or drinking its juice, or using it as toppings in various culinary preparations like puddings and custard. Sapodilla fruit is especially good for toddlers during their teething process as it is nutritious and easy to chew and digest.

Submitted on January 16, 2014