The reputation of the African star apple (also called the African cherry) precedes it, especially if you’re active on social media, where there’s constant debate and comparison with other in-season fruits like mango (or any other fruit).
For some people, the African cherry (locally called “Agbalumo” or “Udara” in Nigeria) isn’t worth the stress, thanks to its unique sweet-sour taste. To others, it’s the best.
The debate will never cease on social media (it comes up every season!). But beyond the jibes and comparisons, what are the health benefits of the African star apple?
In this post, we’ll explain the nutritional values of cherries and why you should include them in your diet.
Nutritional benefits of the African star apple
The African star apple is a small fruit with a reddish color. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in nutritional value. It’s richer in vitamin C and ascorbic acid than oranges. It’s also rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, and iron.
Now let’s discuss how the African cherry can help you.
1. It improves weight loss
The African star apple is a low-calorie, fiber-rich fruit. As a result, it promotes weight loss. Dietary fiber promotes weight loss by preventing overheating, making you feel full, and reducing your appetite for food. Kirby Walter, the founder of Nourish RD, believes you can’t go wrong with cherries in your diet. “Cherries are a wonderful food to include [in your diet] if you’re trying to lose weight. They’re low in calories and sugar [which] helps with blood sugar regulation,” she told Everyday Health.
2. It improves reproductive health
Over 40% of Nigerian men suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), which is the inability to attain or maintain an erection during sexual activity. But a 2022 study showed the African star apple improved men’s sexual health. According to the study, the African cherry improves sexual health because of its antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants are defensive compounds that protect the body against waste materials (or free radicals) that harm the reproductive system. They also improve sperm development and testosterone levels, the male hormone that regulates sexual drive in men.
Diabetes and hypertension are risk factors for ED—diabetic men are three times more likely to have it. Therefore, for men, controlling diabetes and hypertension levels is one way to improve reproductive health. The African cherry, however, controls diabetes because it’s rich in fiber, which reduces blood sugar. Besides, it’s also rich in potassium, an essential nutrient that decreases the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
3. Helps against constipation
Lack of fiber and fluids leads to constipation, the infrequent release of stools for weeks or longer. But the African cherry supplies the body with fiber and water to fight constipation.
Frequently Asked Questions about the African star apple
Are the seeds of the African star apple edible?
The seeds are edible, and they’re rich in magnesium and protein.
Is it safe to eat the African star apple during pregnancy?
The African star apple contains essential nutrients (e.g., calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin C) that help baby development. It’s also useful for keeping in shape because of its low-fat content. However, medical experts advise pregnant women to avoid excessive consumption.
Can I chew the skin of the African star apple?
Yes, the agbalumo skin is edible. It forms “chewing gum” when you eat it because it’s rich in latex and sap.