Health Corner: African Star Apple

African Star Apple (agbalumo in Yoruba, udara in Igbo) is a popular seasonal fruit normally consumed with its flesh in Nigeria. Agbalumo is mostly cultivated in the rural areas of the country and fully in season from january to april. Naturally, its advisable to let the fruit fall to the ground before harvesting but it is common practise for people to pluck it from the tree even when it has not ripened fully. This is one of the major reasons for its sour taste and slapping sensation when it is consumed. However when the fully ripe agbalumo is consumed, it is sweet, lush and sensitises the taste buds of the eater. To crown it up, it is highly nutritious. The beautiful fruit can be gotten mostly everywhere in Nigeria towards the end of November till later in March when it would have gone out of season.

Vitamins and Minerals
Star apples serve as a good source of calcium, with each serving providing you with 10 percent of the amount you require each day. The calcium lends strength to your bones and teeth, and it may also lessen symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as cramping and abdominal bloating. This fruit also contains 5 percent of the daily recommended value per serving of vitamin C and vitamin A.

Natural Remedy
The agbalumo/udara is a natural remedy for toothache, constipation, sore throat, and much more. Also the bark of the tree according to research was used traditionally to treat yellow fever and malaria, while the leaf treated wounds, stomach ache, and diarrhea.  In some parts of Nigeria the seeds are used to treat vaginal and skin infections.

All-Round Basic Nutrition
1-cup serving of fresh star apple contains 67 calories. Eating star apple as a snack is a good choice as the calories are low and it provides no fat; however, this may not be enough calories to ease hunger pains and boost energy levels, as between-meal snack are meant to do. The Diet Channel notes that 100 to 200 calories per snack is best; consider eating an oz. of cheese or a tsp. of peanut butter to boost the number of calories into this range

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