African star apple is a delicious fruit that is native to Africa. It is popularly called ‘Alansa’ in Ghana.
The fruit contains loads of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. It is ideal for persons with diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
When ripe, the fruit peel is golden orange or yellow and the pulp within the peel is orange.
The name African star apple is taken from the central arrangement of the seeds inside the fruit pulp. It contains five to six seeds shaped in the form of a star.
From the prevention of mouth gum disease to the tackling of toothache as well as sore throat, the benefit of consuming ‘Alansa’ goes on and on.
Star apple is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Its health benefits include.
- It is highly nutritious
100 grams of star apple provides more than 100% of the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) of vitamin C from a 2000 calorie diet.
It will provide you with about ten times more vitamin C than cashew and guava.
The number of nutrients found in 100 grams of African star apples are as follows
* Energy (Kcal): 119 kcal
* Protein: 4 grams (g)
* Fiber: 4 g
* Potassium: 34% of required dietary allowances (RDA)
* Calcium: 39% of RDA
* Phosphorus: 25 % of RDA
* Iron: 13 % of RDA
* Magnesium: 43% of RDA
* Zinc: 56% of RDA
* Niacin: 9.4% of RDA
* Riboflavin: 51% of RDA
* Β-carotene (Vitamin A): 5.7% of RDA
* Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C): 141% of RDA
It is also rich in manganese and copper – minerals required for the proper function of your immune system.
Note: The required dietary allowance is the number of nutrients your body needs from a daily 2000-calorie diet.
- African star apples are diabetes-friendly
The high fiber content of the African star apple makes it a diabetes-friendly fruit.
Research has shown that foods with high fiber content reduce fasting blood sugar levels and ensure better glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Helps protect heart health
Star apple is particularly low in sodium but high in potassium and calcium. This makes it an ideal fruit for people with high blood pressure who need to reduce their salt intake.
Additionally, fruits high in dietary fiber help lower the risk of hypertension, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.
- May promote weight loss
African star apple (Alasa) is particularly low in carbohydrates and sugar making it an ideal fruit for anyone trying to lose weight.
Its high fiber content also helps to promote a feeling of fullness and satiety – helping you to stay full for longer periods.
5. Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that help fight compounds that cause cell damage.
The fruit pulp of star apple is high in polyphenols, ascorbic acid, β-carotene, and α-Tocopherol (Vitamin E) – coupled with dietary fiber, they have been found to prevent metabolic disorders like cancer, diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease, etc.
- Good for pregnant women
African star apple is rich in calcium, phosphorus, and potassium – minerals needed for electrolyte balance and the development of strong bones and teeth in the unborn baby.
Due to its high ascorbic acid content, the unripe fruit has a strong sour-sweet taste that helps reduce excessive salivation and nausea in pregnant women.
- Helps prevent cold and cough
The high vitamin C and zinc content of star apple may help strengthen your immune system.
And prevent respiratory tract infections, like catarrh and cough.
- 8. Protects digestive health
The high dietary fiber content of star apple fruits helps to prevent constipation in the elderly and pregnant women.
It also protects gut health and prevents colon disease.
Credit: Fareeda Abdul Aziz | primenewsghana