Often, there are fruits that are less valued because perhaps they are very common, but these fruits have numerous medicinal benefits.
Some of these seasonal fruits that have less attention on the market but have great benefits are Velvet Tamarind, African Star Apple, Tropical Almond, Guava, Soursop and others. The plants of some of these fruits sprout on lands without anyone sowing, and maybe that is why people do not value them.
Using Velvet Tamarind as an example, it could be found in various places without having a sole owner.
In search to find out more about the benefits of some fruits which have less attention, The Ghana Report found five popular fruits that have so many benefits to the human system but are less purchased or valued in Ghana.
- Velvet Tamarind
Velvet Tamarind is the name, but others prefer to call it Black Velvet Tamarind or African Velvet Tamarind. This fruit originated from Africa, and perhaps that is why others prefer the name African Velvet Tamarind. The scientific name for it is “Dialium Guineense”.
This fruit is commonly known in Ghana as ‘Yooyi’, which is the local name. In Ghana and other parts of the world, Velvet Tamarind is mostly enjoyed by children.
Velvet Tamarind helps in treating hypoglycemia which is commonly known as ‘Low Blood Sugar”.
It is advisable that people suffering from diabetes are encouraged not to take Velvet Tamarind due to the high level of sugar it contains.
Parents should continue to encourage their children to take in more of the fruit when it is due season.
Again, Velvet Tamarind contains Vitamin C, and according to MAYO Clinic, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a nutrient a body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in bones. Vitamin C is also vital to one’s body healing process.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect the body cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation from the sun, X-rays or other sources.
Free radicals might play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb and store iron. These benefits show the reasons why not only children must be encouraged to take in Velvet Tamarind but including adults.
The fruit soursop popularly known in the Ghanaian language as ‘Aluguintuguin’ originated from somewhere in America. This fruit is loved by many people but sometimes less valued because it is not usually planted by people but finds its roots in soils belonging to people.
The scientific name for soursop is ‘Annona muricata’. Unlike Velvet Tamarind, which is often loved by children, soursop is often enjoyed by adults mostly.
Soursop is high in Vitamin C, an antioxidant known to boost immune health. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system by improving its ability to defend against pathogens. It also promotes the destruction of free radicals, which can help to protect your skin and cells from environmental oxidative damage.
Again, soursop contains potassium which helps to stabilise high blood pressure. Potassium helps the body to get rid of sodium and eases the tension in the walls of the blood vessels, both of which can help to lower one’s blood pressure.
Research has shown that a whole soursop fruit offers approximately one-third to one-half of the recommended daily allowance of potassium in one’s body. The next time you chance on any fruit seller having soursop, do not hesitate to buy some soursop for yourself and the family due to its health benefits.
- African Star Apple
The African Star Fruit or African Star Apple, popularly known in Ghana as ‘Alansa’ is often enjoyed by children and the youth especially. African Star Fruit has different tastes. It can be very sweet and can be sour at the same time. It is believed that ‘Alansa’ originated in either Sri Lanka or the Moluccas, the islands of Indonesia and later spread throughout Asia. The botanical name for this fruit is botanical name is Chrysophyllum albidum.
Like the other benefits of the fruits mentioned above, the African Star Apple serves as a natural source of antioxidants which helps to remove damaging oxidizing agents in the body system and keep the immune system healthy.
Again, the African Star Apple helps in healthy digestion. Research by medical doctors has shown that the active fibre content, which is mainly a carbohydrate in star apple, helps keep the digestive system healthy and helps to overcome constipation and other digestive problems.
It helps in normalizing your bowel movements and aids in getting rid of constipation as well as other problems of the digestive system. Consumption of star apple helps in preventing the most dangerous health problem like cancer of the colon. This benefit is especially unknown to many, but it is good you have known that fact today.
Guava is another major fruit that can be found in many places in Ghana.
I once asked my grandfather who planted the guava behind his house, but he couldn’t tell me the specific person who planted it. He was attributing it to God, but as science will tell me, birds spread seeds on different soils.
This fruit has so many benefits to our immune system. Guava is a native of the tropical America and is grown in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide.
The botanical name for this fruit is (Psidium guajava). It is a small tropical tree or shrub of the family of Myrtaceae. Guava fruits can be processed into jams, jellies, and preserves and are common pastry fillings. Fresh guavas are rich in vitamins A., B, and C.
Guava is commonly eaten raw and may be sliced and served with sugar and cream as a dessert. During the season of guava , try and serve yourself, your family and visitors with some guava to have a feel of the taste.
There are different types of guavas. There is pink and red type and the other type is the white and yellow colours.
The pink and red type is very sweet, and most of those ones can be found in Ghana. The white and yellow type often has a sour and acidic taste. Both types have health benefits, and that is why it is encouraged to always eat guava during its season.
One most important benefits of eating guava is that it helps in better eyesight. Guava contains Vitamin A, which helps one to see clearly and prevents one from developing cataracts and macular degeneration. This means that students and parents at old age must always take in guava as it improves our eyesight.
Guava, again is very good for pregnant women because it contains folic acid and vitamin B-9, which is recommended to be given to women since it helps in developing the baby’s nervous system and protects the baby from neurological disorders.
For those who want to lose weight and are always checking their diet, try to take in lots of guavas as it helps in weight loss. Guava contains less sugar, so it is also recommended for diabetic patients. The sugar content in oranges, apples and grapes is more than that of guava.
- Tropical Almond
Tropical Almond is also a seasonal fruit that originated from Tropical Asia, Northern Australia, Polynesia and Malaysia. It belongs to the Combretaceae family. The scientific name for this fruit is “Terminalia catappa”. It is mostly loved by children because it drops off from the trees by itself, and children are mostly found picking up tropical almonds on the ground.
Tropical almond helps in promoting brain development, and as a result of this essential benefit, parents must encourage their children to eat tropical almond more to develop sharp brains. Research shows that the tropical almond fruit contains two important brain nutrients such as L-carnitine and riboflavin, which helps greatly in increasing brain activity, leading to new neural pathways and lowering the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.
This is also good for pregnant women because it contains folic acid, which is good for the baby in the womb. Tropical almonds sometimes do not have a sweet taste, but it is advisable for every pregnant woman to take in tropical almonds during peak season.
Tropical almond helps to reduce inflammation because the seed of the fruit contains oil which tends to reduce inflammation in the abdominal cavity. Almonds contain two very essential fatty acids, which include linoleic and linolenic acids. To avoid dry skin, take in many tropical almonds, and that will give you very soft and smooth skin.