Last week we published a blog on the benefits of Acerola; this week it is the turn of Graviola or Soursop, which is another fruit pulp coming from the forests of South America.
Soursop is the fruit of Annona muricata, a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree. The exact origin is unknown, but it is native to the tropical regions of the Americas and is widely propagated. It is in the same genus, Annona, as cherimoya and is in the Annonaceae family.
The soursop is adapted to areas of high humidity and relatively warm winters; temperatures below 5 °C (41 °F) will cause damage to leaves and small branches, and temperatures below 3 °C (37 °F) can be fatal. The fruit becomes dry and is no longer good for concentrate.
The flavour of the fruit has been described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavour notes contrasting with an underlying creamy texture reminiscent of coconut or banana.
Commonly mixed with milk into a smoothie, the aromatic pulp of graviola makes a delicious and nutritive thick white drink. Recent studies have shown that apart from containing important nutrients including Vitamin B complex and C, calcium and phosphorous.
Similar to our supplies of Acai and Acerola, we obtain our Graviola as frozen fruit pulp making it an ideal ingredient for juices and smoothies.
Soursop is widely promoted (sometimes as "graviola") as an alternative cancer treatment. There is, however, no medical evidence that it is effective.
We don’t know much about how graviola affects the body. But some researchers are concerned that particular chemicals present in graviola may cause nerve changes and movement disorders when taken in large amounts. One research study has shown that people in the Caribbean who had large amounts of graviola in their diet were more likely to develop particular nerve changes and were also more likely to have hallucinations. But don't worry, it is unlikely that drinks or foods containing graviola could harm you when taken as part of a normal diet.
Uses around the world
Due to the fruit's widespread cultivation and popularity in parts of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, soursop and its derivative products are consumed across the world, also via branded food and beverage products available in many countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Canada, the United States, the UK, Ireland and Continental Europe, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
In Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Harar (Ethiopia), it is a common fruit, often used for dessert as the only ingredient, or as an agua fresca beverage; in Colombia and Venezuela, it is a fruit for juices, mixed with milk. In Cuba, a thick smoothie made of soursop pulp, milk and cane sugar goes by the name of champola. Ice cream and fruit bars made of soursop are also very popular. The seeds are normally left in the preparation, and removed while consuming, unless a blender is used for processing.
In Indonesia, dodol sirsak, a sweetmeat, is made by boiling soursop pulp in water and adding sugar until the mixture hardens. Soursop is also a common ingredient for making fresh fruit juices that are sold by street food vendors. In the Philippines, it is called guyabano, derived from the Spanish guanábana, and is eaten ripe, or used to make juices, smoothies, or ice cream. Sometimes, they use the leaf in tenderizing meat. In Vietnam, this fruit is called mãng cầu Xiêm (Siamese Soursop) in the south, or mãng cầu (Soursop) in the north, and is used to make smoothies, or eaten as is. In Cambodia, this fruit is called tearb barung, literally "western custard-apple fruit." In Malaysia, it is known in Malay as durian belanda and in East Malaysia, specifically among the Dusun people of Sabah, it is locally known as lampun. Popularly, it is eaten raw when it ripens, or used as one of the ingredients in Ais Kacang or Ais Batu Campur. Usually the fruits are taken from the tree when they mature and left to ripen in a dark corner, whereafter they will be eaten when they are fully ripe. It has a white flower with a very pleasing scent, especially in the morning. While for people in Brunei Darussalam this fruit is popularly known as "Durian Salat", widely available and easily planted. It was most likely brought from Mexico to the Philippines by way of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade.
As with all similar claims, please conduct your own research. The source of the article provides references to all claims. The views and nutritional advice expressed in this article are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine. If you have a medical condition or health concern, see your doctor, before taking any health supplement.