If you are looking for a fruit with plenty of nutrients and providing various health benefits, you should include chikoo in your diet. This blog describes the several chikoo benefits for both physical and mental health.
What Is Chikoo?
Chikoo is a round or oval-shaped sweet fruit. Historically, it was primarily grown in Central America. Chikoo is believed to be a medicinal fruit as it offers plenty of health benefits. Its outer skin is light brown, the reason why chikoos look similar to potatoes.
The center cavity of the chikoo comprises a few big black seeds. In India, fresh chikoos are generally available in the market during the winter season. It is also called Sapodilla. You can have chikoos with or without their skin.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100g of raw chikoo offers 83 calories. It also has high water content. Furthermore, 100g of chikoo has 78g water, 1.1g fat, 0.44g protein, 20g of carbohydrates, 5.3g of dietary fiber. Chikoo is also rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
100g of chikoo also has 21g of calcium, 0.8mg iron, 12mg magnesium and phosphorus, nearly 200 mg of potassium, 12mg sodium, and 0.1mg of zinc.
Moreover, chikoos have zero cholesterol. They contain essential vitamins like folate, vitamins A, B6, and C. A quantity of 100g chikoo has 60 IU of Vitamin A, 0.037mg of Vitamin B6, and 14.7mg of Vitamin C.
Chikoo is one of the healthiest fruits because it comprises plenty of minerals and vitamins. Here are some significant health benefits of chikoo that will persuade you to include chikoo in your diet:
1. Aids in Digestion
One of the vital chiku benefits is that it promotes digestion. If you have constipation, eating 1-2 chikoos a day will facilitate bowel movement and relief from constipation. Chikoo is rich in dietary fiber and laxatives that help with digestion.
2. Strengthens the Immune System
Chikoo is a superfood that contains nearly all the essential vitamins and micronutrients. It boosts the immune system and protects the body from various infections and diseases.
Chikoo contains protein, vitamins A, B, and C, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and other elements. Moreover, chikoo is also a good source of phytochemical compounds like tannins and flavonoids that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents and strengthen immunity.
3. Helps in Treating Anemia
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anemia is one of the most common health problems in Asian countries. The major cause of nutritional anemia in people is iron deficiency in the diet.
Lack of other nutrients in the body like vitamin A and folic acid also cause anemia. As chikoo contains high amounts of iron and vitamin A, it can help treat anemia.
4. Helps in Improving Vision
According to the American Optometric Association, the best way to improve your eyesight is to add antioxidants to your diet. As chikoo contains tannins, it is rich in antioxidants and aids in improving vision.
Moreover, research suggests one of the most common causes of preventable blindness in children is vitamin A deficiency. As chikoo contains vitamin A, it is beneficial for the eyes. Chikoo also contains other nutrients like vitamin C, essential fatty acids, and zinc, all of which help improve vision.
5. Regulates Blood Pressure
According to research, the key minerals that help regulate blood pressure are potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Potassium plays a crucial role in relaxing the blood vessels and preventing muscle cramps. It also reduces the chances of irregular heartbeat.
Similarly, calcium and magnesium also release essential enzymes and dilate blood vessels, thus helping balance the blood pressure. Chikoo, being a rich source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium, is beneficial in regulating blood pressure.
6. Helps Prevent Cancer
Another of the primary chikoo fruit benefits is that it helps prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Research suggests that phytochemicals in plants and vegetables help prevent cancer. Phytochemicals suppress the action of carcinogens on specific tissues and, thus, reduce the chances of cancer.
Sapodilla is also believed to be a traditional medicine that prevents the growth of cancerous cells due to the presence of antioxidants like phenolics and carotenoids. As chikoo also comprises essential vitamins like A, C, and folate, it boosts immunity. Therefore, chikoo is beneficial in preventing cancer.
7. Helps Treat Depression
According to research, phytochemicals like tannins derived from plants aid in treating neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases like depression, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. Tannins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in treating neurological disorders.
Research suggests that sapodilla or chikoo contains compounds like flavonoids, saponins, and tannins. Therefore, eating chikoos is beneficial for your mental health and can help fight neuropsychiatric disorders.
8. Helps Prevent Kidney Stones
According to research, sufficient intake of Vitamin B6 and magnesium reduces the chances of kidney stones in women. They convert oxalate into other forms, preventing the formation of kidney stones. As 100g of chikoo contains 12g magnesium and 0.037mg of Vitamin B6, it prevents the formation of kidney stones in women.
9. Promotes Bone Health
Another of the essential chikoo fruit benefits is that it improves bone density and helps prevent osteoporosis. According to research, bone health can be improved with a nutritious diet.
Some of the nutrients required to maintain healthy bones are calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, and other minerals. Vitamins A, B, and C also promote healthy bones. As you have already read, chikoo contains all these essential vitamins and nutrients for bone density.
10. Improves Gut Health
It is crucial to keep your gut healthy to ensure overall physical and mental wellbeing. It helps you get proper sleep, improves digestion, and also boosts immunity. Therefore, taking care of your gut is most important.
According to research, Vitamin A plays a vital role in improving gut health. As chikoos are a good source of Vitamin A, they help improve gut health.
11. Treats Nausea
According to research, one of the most significant causes of chronic nausea is irritable bowel syndrome. As chikoos contain tannins and other anti-inflammatory agents, they can provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome.
If you often experience morning sickness, you might have a Vitamin B6 deficiency. As chikoos are a good source of Vitamin B6, they can help with morning sickness.
12. Chikoo Benefits for Skin
Having 1-2 chikoos a day also offers various benefits for the skin. Among other things, the fruit offers anti-aging properties. According to research, there is a strong relation between skin aging and nutrients.
One of the best ways to slow down aging is to have food items rich in antioxidants like vitamins A and C. Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, boosts collagen and reduces wrinkles and fine lines. As chikoo is a good source of vitamins A and C, it helps slow down aging.
It also helps manage acne. Research suggests that Vitamin A and zinc are beneficial in managing acne. As chikoo contains sufficient Vitamin A and zinc, it helps in acne treatment.
13. Chikoo for Weight Loss
Chikoo is one of the best foods to include in your diet if you are trying to reduce weight. A study by Massachusetts Medical School suggests that people with a high dietary fiber intake lose more weight than people whose fiber intake is low.
As chikoo is rich in dietary fiber, it aids in digestion and also keeps the stomach full for a long time. Thus, it helps prevent overeating and reduces food cravings. As per research, 100g of chikoo comprises 5.3g dietary fiber that accounts for 19% of the daily fiber intake. Therefore, if you want to lose weight, you can try eating chikoo.
14. Chikoo During Pregnancy
Chikoo is also beneficial for pregnant women and nursing mothers as it contains plenty of nutrients. Women require extra energy during their pregnancy. Since chikoo is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, folate, iron, and zinc, it is considered a powerhouse of energy.
Therefore, it provides sufficient nutrition and energy to pregnant women, boosts their immunity, and keeps both mother and the child safe from infections.
Research suggests that around 20-30% of pregnant women worldwide have a vitamin deficiency that can affect the foetus. Therefore, women require extra energy during pregnancy along with a sufficient intake of protein, dietary fiber, and fatty acids. Other micronutrients like calcium, iron, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B, and C are also essential for pregnant women. So, women should have chikoo during pregnancy.
How to Select and Store Chikoo?
Chikoos taste best when they are ripe. To select ripe chikoos in the market, you can touch them and see if they are soft. If it is slightly soft and has slight wrinkles on its peel, the fruit is ripe. However, if the fruit is hard to the touch, it must be raw.
You also have to ensure that you do not pick up mushy chikoos because they are overripe and will not have the best taste. Another way by which you can identify a ripe chikoo is the color of the fruit’s flesh. Raw chikoos have a slightly green shade, whereas ripe chikoos are light brown, similar to the color of potatoes.
As chikoos are usually available in winters, you can store them at room temperature for 2-3 days. However, if the chikoos are quite mushy, you can keep them in the refrigerator.
Disadvantages of Chikoo
Even though chikoo offers several health benefits, it can contain high levels of sucrose and fructose. Therefore, excessive consumption of chikoo is not recommended for diabetic patients as it can increase blood sugar levels. Here are a few other disadvantages of chikoo:
- Throat itchiness: Chikoo contains tannins and latex that can cause allergic reactions. It may lead to itchiness or swelling in the throat.
- Skin rashes: Another allergic reaction that is very common with eating chikoos in some individuals is skin rashes with itching or inflammation.
- Abdominal pain: As chikoo is rich in dietary fiber, eating a huge quantity of chikoo can cause abdominal pain.
Summing Up on Chikoo Benefits
Chikoo is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It contains nearly all essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. This is why chikoo is beneficial for weight loss, regulating blood sugar levels, preventing cancer, improving eyesight, and boosting immunity.
Can We Eat Chikoo Daily?
Yes, you can eat 1-2 chikoo daily for various health benefits. Just make sure you eat in moderation especially for people with diabetes.
When Should I Eat Chiku?
As chikoo has high amounts of fructose and sucrose, you should have it in the morning. It is best to eat chikoo before or after your workout.
Is Chikoo High in Sugar?
Yes, Chikoo is high in sugar and diabetic patients should eat in moderation. Although chikoo has a low glycemic index of 0-55 however, it does have a high amount of fructose and sucrose.
Can Diabetes Patients Eat Chiku?
Yes, people with diabetes can eat chiku. However, they should have it in fewer quantities. Excess consumption of chiku might spike the blood sugar level in diabetic patients.
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