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Sapota or Sapodilla is a tasty and healthy tropical fruit that is very soft to eat, easy to digest and has sugar content that really makes it popular among kids as well as grown ups. The fruit is believed to have its origin from Belize and Mexico, mostly from the Central American rain forests. The popularity of the fruit is so high these days that many countries like Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka have started growing Sapota in large commercial scale.
Sapota tree grows really fast and needs less amount of water. This makes it grow well in dry arid regions that get only less amount of rain. If irrigated properly during summer season, it can provide better results. Sapota is botanically a berry. It is around 10 cm in diameter and weighs around 100-150 g.
The shape of the fruit is oval or round. Sapota looks like a kiwi fruit, but the outer skin is a bit more firm. An unripe sapota fruit has white flesh, is hard and the flesh has a latex that is considered toxic. The toxicity in the fruit is saponin found in the latex of unripe fruit. But when the fruit gets ripen it becomes extremely sweet and the flesh becomes soft and a bit grainy. Around four or ten seeds can be found in the fruit, which are inedible.
Some of the health benefits of Sapota
- Sapota is one among the fruits that are high in calories. The calorie level in sapodilla is equal to those of ripe bananas and sweet potato. Moreover, it is a rich storehouse of dietary fiber. It is henceforth a good bulk laxative. Those who suffer from constipation can consume this fruit and get relieved from constipation. It also helps in protecting the mucosa of the colon from toxins that are reasons behind cancer.
- Ripe and fresh sapota is rich in minerals such as copper, iron, potassium and vitamins such as pantothenic acid, folate as well as niacin. All these are important for overall health, as they are needed for the working of all kinds of metabolic processes that are going inside the body.
- The antioxidant polyphenolic compound called tannin is found in the fruit. As per studies, tannin has astringent properties. It is a good anti inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and more.
- Tannin helps in controlling gastritis, acid reflux and several bowel disorders. Apart from sapota, the fruits that have tannins are pomegranate, grapes and persimmon.
- Vitamin C as well as Vitamin A is also found in sapota. These are essential in getting rid of the free radicals present in the body.
Selecting the fruit
Sapota fruit is available in the markets in almost every season. It is harvested very carefully by plucking with hands. The fruit that is ready to be harvested is very hard to be distinguished since the outer skin looks brown. But the ones that are mature can be recognized by the latex leakage. If there is green color when the skin of the fruit is scratched, it is not ready to be consumed. When the fruit is ready for consumption, the fruit will be very soft and will yield to the pressure of the thumb.
Serving the fruit
The fruit should be washed well in cold water and can be consumed as soon as it becomes soft. It should be cut into halves and with the help of a spoon, scoop out the flesh. The seeds should not be consumed.
Sapota can be added to fruit salads, can be made into sapota milk shakes or smoothies, and can be added to ice creams, cakes, pies and jams.
Eating healthy includes eating the right food. Sapota is filled with all the goodness that you need when it comes to providing health as well as the perfect taste. Add the fruit to your diet only in the right amount. Since the fruit has excess sugar content in it, do not eat in excess.