If you haven’t heard of the sapodilla, or sapota fruit, you’re definitely not alone.
If you’re like most people, you’re familiar with fruits that you see at your local grocery store: apples, oranges, bananas, etc. The end.
But if you enjoy trying new foods that are beneficial to your health, then this is one Central American fruit that you may want to investigate.
Here’s some information on where the sapodilla comes from and some of the health benefits that it might provide.
The sapodilla tree is native to the northern parts of Central America and the southern portion of Mexico. It’s also known as the Manilkara Zapota tree.1 The tree belongs to the Sapotaceae family, which also includes the Mamey Sapote and Green Sapote.2
The fruit that comes from the tree is also known as the Sapota fruit or the Chikoo fruit.3
A ripe sapodilla has a sweet flavor, comparable to a mango, with a yellowish-brown hue. It’s also very juicy.
During immaturity, the flesh of the fruit contains a latex substance used to make chicle – an ingredient that was historically used in the making of chewing gum.4
Potential Health Benefits
Sapodilla, also known as Chikoo fruit, is rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and protein.5,6 Here are just some of the health benefits associated with the fruit.
Vitamin C –
You’ll get nearly 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C in a 100-gram serving of sapota fruit (the sapota fruit typically weighs about 150g).7 Research indicates that the vitamin C found in fruits and other foods, as well as supplements, could reduce the risk of heart problems.8
Fiber content –
The sapodilla fruit is also a great source of dietary fiber. You’ll get about 5g of fiber per 100g-serving.9
Of course, fiber is very important to the digestive process. It helps keep stools firm so they move at the correct pace through the intestines. Fiber can also reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels and help you maintain a healthy weight.10
The sapodilla fruit provides 21mg of calcium in a 100g-serving.11 This mineral is important not just for building strong bones but also in terms of keeping them strong as we get older. Calcium also plays a role in keeping our blood circulating properly and helping us control our muscles.12
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just 100g of this fruit provides a whopping 193 mg of potassium.13 Potassium is also very important to maintaining bone health, especially in older women.14 Potassium is also associated with improved cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of developing digestive problems such as inflammatory bowel disease.15
You’ll get about 12mg of magnesium per 100g of sapodilla fruit.16 Magnesium plays a role in helping make bones stronger. A lack of this mineral has been associated with an increased risk of migraine headaches.17
How to Buy Sapodilla
You might be able to find sapodillas in your local farmer’s market. And there’s great news – the plant is evergreen, meaning it grow year round.18 As a result, it shouldn’t matter what time of the year it is when you look for it.
Also, you’ll want the freshest fruit you can find. So make sure the fruit you buy doesn’t have any bruising, cracking, wrinkling, or cuts on the skin. If you buy an unripe sapodilla, you’ll need to keep it at room temperature for about 7-10 days until it ripens. The ripened fruit will usually last about six weeks in your refrigerator.19
A Final Word
The sapodilla fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential to your health. Plus, it tastes great. It would be worth it for you to give it a try. Before you do, however, have a talk with your doctor to make sure it will be safe to do so.