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Health Benefits of Chiku (Manikara zapota)

Chiku, is a sweet and delicious tropical fruit with plenty of nutritional benefits. Although a native of American continent it is grown largely in India and Mexico. This fruit is soft and made of easily digestible pulp giving a crunchy and sweet flavor. The sweetness of chiku can be related to the simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that make up the fruit and which replenishes and revitalizes our energy instantly. This abundantly available fruit surprisingly is a storehouse of many nutrients, which contribute to our overall health and wellness. Chiku is very rich in dietary fibre, which makes it a good laxative. Besides that, it protects the outer membrane of colon from carcinogenic toxins. When it comes to antioxidants although it doesnot belong to the popular categories of berries but nevertheless it is known for its anti-oxidative properties due to the presence of Tanin. Tanins are naturally occurring polyphenols, which help in neutralizing acids. Studies have found that tannins have antiviral, anti-bacterial, antiinflammatory and anti-parasitic effects. Therefore, these compounds are useful in antidiarrheal, prevents bleeding and as a remedy for haemorrhoids. Antioxidant vitamins in sapota may be linked to the presence of vitamin C (24.5% of recommended daily intake per 100 g of fruit), and vitamin A. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infection, and prevents large formation of harmful free radicals.

Vitamin A is known for its promotion of good vision. Besides it is also known to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers as well as keeping healthy mucus membranes. Ripened sapotas are a good source of minerals like potassium, copper, iron and vitamins like folate, niacin and pantothenic acid. These compounds are essential nutrients, which promote optimal health, and they involve in various metabolic processes in the body acting as cofactors for the enzymes. In order to enjoy eating this healthy and nutritious fruit, the following ways of preparation and serving will make this fruit diet more delicious and attractive. Fresh ripe chiku can be cut into four parts and can be consumed directly after removing the seeds and the outer covering. Moreover, it can be added to fruit salads and smothies. Chiku skin can also be consumed. So next time you come across a chiku or sapota you will not fail to notice its wonderful benefits as a fruit.

 

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Govardhan Ecovillage is inspired by H.H Radhanath Swami, a teacher of bhakti- yoga for over 40 years, and student of His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna consciousness.

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