What is a star apple?
The star apple is a tropical fruit with the scientific name Chrysophyllum cainito,
which is indigenous to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.1
Depending on the type, this fruit is also called "caimito," "golden leaf tree," or "purple star apple."
The fruit's features are in a round or oval form,tough, glossy, smooth purple or green skin,and white, juicy flesh with a sweet, mild, and somewhat acidic flavour.The fruit's flesh is a common component in sweets, includingfruit salads, sorbets, and ice cream, despite the fruit seeds in the centre are not edible.Star apples must be hand-harvested since they hang firmly to the branches even when fully ripe. The star-like pattern in the fruit's centre, which appears like the middle of an apple, gave rise to the name "Star Apples," even though they are not apples.2
This article aims to reveal the health benefits, nutritional content, uses, and side effects of star apple
Types of star apple
The star Apple often comes in two varieties: one with green skin and clear-white pulp, the other with dark purple skin and red-purple pulp. Both varieties have identical cultivation needs and flavours, however, fruit lovers suggest that the purple variety is a little bit sweeter and denser, whilst the green variety is softer and more flavourless.3 Numerous closely related species, also known as starapples, are cultivated in Africa. These include C. album and C. africanum. C.album also known as African star apple is called Agbalumo in the southwest of Nigeria
Health benefits of star apple include:
- Improved the digestive system
Abdominal discomfort, constipation, loose stools, diarrhoea, gastrointestinal symptoms, and bloating can all be avoided with a healthy digestive system. Star apples include fibre and phosphorus, which aid in eradicating these problems ahead or while they are present and assist the digestive system to run smoothly.
- Antimicrobial properties
The elements in star apples function as a natural antibacterial agent, killing harmful microorganisms such asviruses, bacteria, mycobacteria, fungi, protozoa, andothers that either directly or indirectly harm the body's cells.
- Healthy antioxidant properties
Antioxidants prevent the process of ageing, which releases free radicals into the body and destroys our cells. The body is guarded by antioxidants against cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. Vitamin C is a good source of a natural antioxidant present in star apples.
- Helps prevent anaemia
The iron in star apples is a rich source of the mineral haemoglobin. The major constituent of the red blood cells is a protein called haemoglobin. The primary job of haemoglobin is to transfer oxygen to your body's organs and carbon dioxide (CO2) from your tissues and organs to your lungs, where you exhale it. Making haemoglobin hence avoids anaemia, or having too few red blood cells in your blood.
- Assists in controlling high blood pressure (hypertension)
Potassium is an effective blood pressure regulator. Along with other substances like the presence of vitamin C, calcium, also helps in the regulation of blood pressure.
- Heals wounds
Along with preventing colds and sore throats, vitamin C helps wounds heal quickly. Scurvy and other illnesses are also avoided with vitamin C.
- Immune system booster
The production of T cells in the bone marrow, which develop in the thymus, are assisted by vitamins A and C.It helps in viral detection by the immune system and then destroysor activates other crucial cells to help get rid of bacteria, viruses, or illnesses.
- Develops healthy teeth and bones
In the star apple, phosphorus is a beneficial component that aids in the production of stronger bones and teeth. Not only this, but it also helps with indigestion and controls hormone imbalances, cell and tissue development, healing, and maintenance.
- Lowers high cholesterol
Lowering high cholesterol is the principal effect of vitamin B3 (niacin). Niacin not only increases energy production from mealsbut also improves cognitive function, and keeps your skin, mental system, and digestive system healthy.4
In the Caribbean region. The mucilaginous flesh of star apples is thought to cover and lessen inflammation in the airways, therefore they are frequently eaten to ease sore throats.2
- Good for people who are pregnant
Most pregnant women like the acidic flavour of African star apples because they help curb their urge to vomit. The star apple is very beneficial for treating indigestion, constipation, and sore throats, three common pregnancy ailments. As a result, you should eat this fruit throughout your pregnancy since it will be quite beneficial.
- Possibility of usage as drugs
The fruits, seeds, and leaves provide effective herbal medicines for a variety of medical conditions. To treat diarrhoea and dysentery, boil the tree's leaves or bark. To treat malaria and yellow fever, prepare the star apple tree's shell. The leaves of the African star apple are used to cure diarrhoea, stomach discomfort, and skin rashes. Additionally, ointments made from star apple seeds are used to cure skin diseases and virginals.
Given its varied nutritional makeup, it might be employed in a variety of food-related contexts.6
Table 1: Nutrient Content of Star Apple Fruit (per 100g).4
Side effects and other concerns
Natural latex, a possible allergy, is present in the peel of the star apple. You should stay away from the fruit if you have a latex allergy. Although star apple allergies are uncommon, eating them may cause the latex-fruit syndrome's rashes, itching, wheezing, and difficulty in breathing.5
It has a high glucose content and is highly sweet. Non-sugar lovers and diabetic patients would not readily want the fruit for health reasons due to its high sugar content.
Due to its high moisture content, which ranges from 32–33%, the Purple star apple is extremely perishable despite its nutritional advantages. Due to the high moisture content, it is prone to microbial activity and might contain a variety of microbes.6
Tropical star apples come in a range of shades and appearances and have a delicious, creamy flesh. They are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, all of which have several positive health effects. However, excessive eating may result in negative side effects including headaches or upset stomachs, and the fruit's seeds may be poisonous. Overall, when eaten in moderation, star apples are a delightful and healthful addition to one's diet.
- Doan HV, Le TP. chrysophyllum cainito : a tropical fruit with multiple health benefits. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine [Internet]. 2020 Feb 19 [cited 2023 May 8];2020:1–9. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2020/7259267/
- Star apples [Internet]. [cited 2023 May 8]. Available from: https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/Star_Apples_8430.php
- Star apple - chrysophyllum cainito [Internet]. [cited 2023 May 6]. Available from: https://www.tradewindsfruit.com/content/star-apple.htm
- Doan HV, Le TP. Chrysophyllum cainito: a tropical fruit with multiple health benefits. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med [Internet]. 2020 Feb 19 [cited 2023 May 8];2020:7259267. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7049829/
- kobmel. Star apple benefits, nutrition, and its side effects [Internet]. Kobmel. 2022 [cited 2023 May 9]. Available from: https://www.kobmel.com/benefits/star-apple-benefits/
- 6.Austinpublishinggroup. Org - this website is for sale! - austinpublishinggroup resources and information. [Internet]. [cited 2023 May 9]. Available from: http://ww16.austinpublishinggroup.org/?sub1=20230509-1040-51f6-923c-0c32db8b8b5c