Deepti Khatuja, Head Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.
The Chikoo fruit is a delicate brown fruit that tastes sweet and yummy. Chikoo is scientifically known as ‘Sapodilla.’ It comes from the Sapotaceae family. It maintains overall health as it is loaded with various nutrients and is used for anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Apart from a good source of dietary fibre Sapodilla is rich in calories. Along with the fruit, other parts are also used to the colds and cough because it contains antidiarrheal, diuretic, ant hyperglycemic, antibiotic and hypercholesteremic effects.
- Relief from constipation– Sapota fruit is a rich source of dietary fiber (5.6/100g), which makes it an excellent bulk laxative. The fiber content provides relief from constipation. It helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon and makes it resistant to infections.
- Anti-Inflammatory agent- The high content of tannins (poly phenolic compounds) makes sapota or chikoo an important anti-inflammatory agent. It helps in improving the condition of the digestive tract through prevention of diseases like esophagitis, enteritis, irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis. It also reduces inflammation by reducing any swelling and pain.
- Anti -Oxidants and Prevention of certain cancers– The Vitamins A and B help in maintaining the health of the mucus lining of the body and the texture of the skin. The antioxidants, dietary fiber and nutrients found in sapota provide protection against cancer and tightly bind the carcinogens (toxins) to protect the mucus membrane of the colon. Vitamin A provides protection from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Controls blood pressure– The magnesium in sapota keeps the blood vessels up and running, and the potassium regulates blood pressure and circulation
- Healthy bones – Additional amounts of calcium, phosphorus and iron are required by bones to increase their endurance. Being rich in calcium, iron and phosphorus, sapota fruit greatly helps in enhancing and strengthening the bones. Copper is essential for the growth of bones, connective tissue and muscles. The deficiency of copper increases the chances of osteoporosis, muscle weakness, low strength, breakage, weak joints etc. The studies show that the intake of copper with manganese, zinc, calcium slows the loss of bone in older women.
- Anti viral and anti-fungal properties– Due to the presence of polyphenolic antioxidants, sapota is found to have several anti-viral, anti-parasitic and antibacterial properties. The antioxidants prevent bacteria from entering into the human body. Vitamin C destroys the harmful free radicals whereas potassium, iron and folate, niacin and pantothenic acid facilitate proper functioning of the digestive system.
How to eat?
Sapodilla is consumed raw by scooping the flesh out or made jam or sherbet. It is also added to the pancakes and cakes. It is also found in the form of custard, juice, ice creams or milkshakes.
It is recommended that for a healthy balanced diet one should eat at least 5-8 serving of seasonal fruits and vegetables in a day. At least 2 servings (200-300gms) of seasonal fruits is must, along with 30-45 minutes of physical activity.