Popularly called ‘Udara’ in the eastern part of Nigeria (Igbo) and ‘Agbalumo’ in the west, the African star apple is one of the most sort after seasonal fruits in Nigeria.
The oval-shaped orange colour fruit is also called Chrysophyllum albidum, in botany, and is mostly cultivated in rural areas. Udara is usually in season from December to April, however, to savour the sweet taste of well-ripened ones which is referred to as Nwannu in Igbo, the last two months of its season are the best time to eat them.
The tender, sweet inner flesh is of Udara is usually off-white or pale orange, it has seeds that make the inside look like a star-shaped fruit, thus its name ‘star apple’. The sour but milky taste of this fruit is loved by many, but not so many people know the level of nutrients it offers.
According to a research published in the African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Udara leaves are capable of reducing glucose levels in diabetic rabbits, the same function that insulin serves.
This is to say that with more researches it may be possible for udara leaves to control diabetes in humans, although eating the leaves in large quantities can be toxic to the body. That said, here are the benefits of African Star Fruit – Udara/Agbalumo.
1. Udara is a Natural Anti-Oxidant
Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. This means eating Udara increases the potency of the anti-oxidants your body needs to fight and avoid heart disease, cancer etc.
2. Low Calorie Fruit
One medium sized agbalumo contains 67 calories only while 105 calories is present in one banana. This fruit is very good for those who want to loose weight because you consume more and get less calories intake. It is also a good snacking fruit which can be used to stop hunger pangs, as the fiber inside and the skin can be converted to chewing gum.
3. High Vitamin C Content
Unlike most mammals and other animals, humans do not have the ability to make ascorbic acid and must obtain vitamin C from their diet.
Agbalumo presents a good source of vitamin C, 100g gram gives 25mg of vitamin C and White star apple had been suggested to contain more vitamin C than orange and guava, the fruit is also rich in calcium, iron potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, tannins, flavonoids, terpenoids, and phytochemicals.
This fruit also contains 5 percent of the daily recommended value per serving of vitamin C and vitamin A. Additionally, one serving of star apples serves up 2 percent of the iron, a mineral vital for oxygenating your body, that you need every day. Helps Diabetic conditions Star apples may have particular benefits for diabetics.
4. Natural Remedy
The Agbalumo/Udara is a natural remedy for a toothache, constipation, sore throat, and much more. According to research, the bark of the tree can be used traditionally to treat yellow fever and malaria, while the leaf treats wounds, stomach ache, and diarrhoea.
In some parts of Nigeria, the seeds when crushed are used to treat vaginal and skin infections.
5. Rich in Calcium
Vitamins and Minerals Star apples serve as a good source of calcium, with each serving providing 10 percent of the amount you require each day. The calcium strengthens the bones and teeth, and it may also lessen symptoms of premenstrual syndromes, such as cramp and abdominal bloating.
6. Prevents Heart Disease
Frequent consumption of Udara can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol thereby preventing or managing heart diseases. It is a very good recommendation for patient with heart problems.