The name ‘sapota’ might not be familiar to most of us. Sapota is another name for the fruit better known as ‘chikoo’ or ‘chiku’ in Hindi, ‘sapota’ in Telugu, ‘chikku‘ in Marathi, ‘cappotta‘ in Tamil and ‘sapeta’ in Bengali. When we say sapota, we are basically referring to the tropical evergreen tree that bears this fruit. Sapota is a delicious calorie-rich fruit belonging to the category of fruits like mango, banana and jack fruit. Its other names are nose berry, sapodilla plum, chickoo sapote etc.
Coming to the point, sapota offers numerous benefits for skin, hair, and health – something we have covered extensively in this post. Keep reading to know more.
Sapota – An Overview
The sapota fruit has its origin in the rain forests of Central America, particularly in Mexico and Belize but it is easily available in India. The fruit is a round or oval-shaped berry measuring around 10 centimeters in diameter and weighing 150 grams. It has 2-5 big, black, shiny bean-like seeds in the centre. The unripe fruit has a hard surface and white pulp due to its high content of latex. The latex content reduces as the fruit ripens and its flesh acquires a brown color. It has a smooth and grainy texture with a sweet and musky flavor. It is rich in calories and its sweet flavor can be attributed to the presence of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that replenish energy and revitalize the body.
Skin Benefits Of Chikoo/Sapota:
The wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in the sapota fruit makes it an amazing choice for healthy and glowing skin. Thus, this article will be incomplete without talking about the skin benefits of this tasty fruit.
- Sapota fruit helps to make your skin glowing, thus reducing your requirement of skin care products to enhance your natural skin texture and complexion. The Vitamin E in this fruit moisturizes your skin, thus giving you healthy and beautiful skin. Hence, eating sapota fruit is good for the skin.
- Sapota fruit is rich in antioxidants. Therefore, it acts as an anti-ageing agent by eradicating free radicals in the body which are responsible for enhancing the ageing process. It is also effective in reducing wrinkles.
- The seed kernel oil of sapota is used as a skin ointment. The residue of this seed, after the extraction of oil, can be applied as a poultice on painful skin afflictions.
- The milky sap of the sapota plant can be used to remove warts and fungal growth on the skin.
- The combination of Vitamin A and C beautifies the skin by imparting it with a healthy glow.
Hair Benefits Of Chikoo/Sapota:
As we all know, proper supply of nutrients to our body and proper absorption of these nutrients is inevitable for maintaining good hair health. Hair problems are a result of exposure to harmful chemicals, unhealthy lifestyle and inadequacy of certain essential nutrients in our diet. Being loaded with essential nutrients, sapota has enough to contribute towards healthy hair.
The benefits of sapota for hair are as follows:
- Oil extracted from sapota seeds helps in moisturizing and softening your hair, thus making it more manageable. It imparts sheen and is considered excellent for curly hair. It gets absorbed easily without leaving a greasy residue.
- The sapota seed oil nourishes the scalp by alleviating irritated skin conditions and promotes healthy hair growth. This oil is considered to be effective in treating hair-fall caused by seborrheic dermatitis.
- The seeds of sapota can be grounded to make a paste and mixed with castor oil. This mixture should be applied on scalp and washed off the next day. This makes your hair smooth and the problem of dandruff can also be controlled.
Health Benefits Of Chickoo/Sapota:
Sapota is one of those fruits which are great for health besides being extremely delicious, thanks to the wide array of nutrients contained in this fruit. The tasty flesh of this fruit is easily digestible and replenishes our body by providing energy due to its high content of glucose. As already said, this fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals and tannins. Due its sugary taste, it is widely used in shakes. The various health benefits of sapota are given below:
9. Good For The Eyes:
Sapota contains a high amount of Vitamin A. According to research, Vitamin A helps in improving vision even during old age. Thus, in order to get or maintain good vision, you must try eating sapota fruit.
10. Source Of Energy:
Sapota is rich in glucose which provides instant energy to the body. Athletes require loads of energy and hence, are recommended to eat sapota fruit.
11. Anti-Inflammatory Agent:
The high content of tannins makes sapota or chikoo an important anti-inflammatory agent. In other words, 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Relief From Constipation:
Sapota fruit provides a high amount of dietary fiber (5.6/100g). Thus, it is regarded as an excellent bulk laxative. The fiber content provides relief from constipation. It supports the colons’ membrane and makes it resistant to infections.
15. Benefits During Pregnancy:
Having a high dose of carbohydrates and essential nutrients, sapota is extremely beneficial for pregnant and lactating mothers. It helps in reducing weakness and other symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea and dizziness.
16. Haemostatic Properties:
The sapota herb is known for its haemostatic properties i.e. stopping blood loss. Thus, this herb is beneficial in reducing bleeding in case of piles and injuries. The ground seeds can be applied as a paste for alleviating stings and insect bites.
17. Anti-viral And Anti-bacterial Properties:
Due to the presence of polyphenolic antioxidants, sapota is found to have several anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial 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.
Sapota is regarded as an anti-diarrheal due to its purgative properties. A decoction made by boiling this fruit in water can cure diarrhea. It also helps in the alleviation of piles and dysentery.
19. Mental Health:
Being a potent sedative, sapota fruit helps to calm the nerves and alleviate stress. Thus, it is advisable for individuals suffering from insomnia, anxiety and depression.
20. Cold And Cough:
Sapota fruit is effective in keeping congestion and chronic coughs at bay by removing the phlegm and mucus from the nasal passage and respiratory tract. Thus, it helps in the alleviation of cold and coughs.
[ Read: Durian Fruit Health Benefits ]
21. Kidney Stones:
The crushed seeds of this fruit act as a diuretic, thus helping to expel bladder and kidney stones. It provides protection against kidney diseases as well.
22. Aids In Weight Loss:
Sapota fruit indirectly helps in weight loss and prevents obesity by regulating the secretion of gastric enzymes, thereby regulating metabolism.
23. As a Detoxifying Agent:
Sapota acts as a diuretic and thus helps in removing waste materials from the body through frequent urination. It prevents edemas or water retention by maintaining the water concentration within the body.
24. Tooth Cavities:
The high latex content of sapota fruit can be used as a crude filling for tooth cavities.
25. Other Health Benefits:
Magnesium contained in sapota is beneficial for blood and blood vessels whereas potassium helps in regulating blood pressure and promoting healthy circulation. Folate and iron prevent anemia. Sapota helps in strengthening the intestines and in improving their performance. In short, eating sapota or chikoo fruit helps in developing body resistance against many infectious diseases.
For best results, the sapota fruit should be eaten ripe. But you can also choose to have the sapota juice if you please. Raw sapota fruits are extremely bitter due to high content of tannin and latex, and can cause mouth ulcers, itching sensation in the throat and difficulty in breathing.
Nutritional Value Of Chikoo/Sapota:
Sapota fruit is a storehouse of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, glucose, tannins and calories. Ripened sapota is a great source of minerals like potassium, copper, iron and vitamins like folate, niacin and pantothenic acid. These compounds are vital for overall health because of their involvement in metabolic processes in the body as co-factors for different enzymes.
Sapota fruit is a great source of dietary fiber, which is a good laxative and protects the outer membrane of our colon from carcinogenic toxins. Sapota is known for its anti-oxidative properties due to the presence of naturally occurring polyphenols called tannins. These compounds help in neutralization of acids and in curing diarrhea, hemorrhoids and bleeding.
Sapota is also rich in antioxidant vitamins like Vitamin C and A. Vitamin C provides resistance against infection and prevents the formation of harmful free radicals whereas, Vitamin A helps in the promotion of vision and protection from lung and oral cavity cancers. The high content of Vitamin B prevents stress and fatigue and Vitamin E is beneficial for the skin.
Last but not the least; sapota is a great source of protein which is vital for the growth of our body. Being rich in glucose, it is an energy-giving food.
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