Guamuchil fruits are among the lesser-known fruits of the world, despite having a delicious taste, fantastic nutritional value, and impressive health benefits.
The Guamuchil tree originated in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. It is currently distributed outside Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Jamaica, Cuba, India, and the Philippines. It’s also distributed in other parts of the world, where it’s used chiefly for ornamental purposes.
The Guamuchil tree is a semi-evergreen tree that replaces a leaf as soon as one drops around once a year. It’s a flowering plant that belongs to the Fabaceae family, and it can grow from 16 feet to 49 feet high (4.87m to 14.92m). The Latin name for the tree is Pithecellobium Dulce, and it is part of the pea family – guamuchil pods contain the fruit.
The tree is adaptable and can develop in various soil types and habitats in the tropics and subtropics. You will see this tree flower between December and May and expect it to develop its fruits later in the year, between February and August. This tree is very resilient in drought and can survive even in drier landscapes, making it suitable for planting in many environments.
This tree and its marvelous antioxidant fruits have been dubbed a variety of names across the years. The fruit was brought to the Philippines by the Spanish traders, so it ended up being called the Camachile by the locals. It’s also known as the Manila Tamarind since guamuchil trees are strikingly similar to tamarind fruits.
How Can You Recognize the Guamuchil Fruit?
However, tamarind fruits have a sour taste. In contrast, the guamuchil fruit has a mildly sweeter taste, which resembles white nectarines, with slight floral accents.
Another distinction between these two fruits can be made in terms of color – while the tamarind fruit is primarily brown, the guamuchil fruit varies from green bean pods to pink ones when they are ripe. You will know this fruit is ripe when the skin is pink and pops open on its own.
What Are the Guamuchil Fruit’s Health Benefits?
Having said this, what many people don’t know about guamuchil fruits is that they are powerful antioxidant fruits with excellent nutritional value, which translates into great health benefits. But before we take a closer look at the health benefits guamuchil fruits bring to the table, let’s see what the nutritional value one of these fruits has.
The entire guamuchil fruit, including the husk and the seeds, as well, contains 1.3 g of protein, 0.5 g of fiber, 5 mg of calcium, 18 mg of phosphorus, 0.2 mg of iron, 56 mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), 93 mg of potassium and 0.10 mg of thiamine. Apart from these, the guamuchil fruit also contains riboflavin and niacin. Let’s delve in a bit deeper and see what the guamuchil fruit’s health benefits are:
1. Its High Vitamin C Content Will Boost Immunity
As one of nature’s best antioxidant fruits, the guamuchil fruit is packed with vitamin C, the single most crucial vitamin in supporting a healthy immune system.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C strengthens the body’s natural defense mechanism. Antioxidants are, in fact, the ones that fight the damaging action of free radicals in the body, thus slowing down the body’s natural cellular aging process. The oxidative stress that appears as an accumulation of free radicals in the body may ultimately lead to chronic diseases.
In a study conducted on rats, Vitamin C lowers blood pressure and alters vascular responsiveness in salt-induced hypertension, showing that the rats with salt-induced hypertension registered a decrease in their blood pressure after being administered vitamin C.
Vitamin C may also decrease the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and increase the levels of good cholesterol, all of which can prevent heart diseases from developing.
This excellent vitamin also has anti-inflammatory properties that may alleviate the painful symptoms of gout attacks by lowering the uric acid levels in the blood.
Additionally, vitamin C is an excellent aid in helping the body better assimilate iron from its daily diet. Having said this, vitamin C will implicitly help fight off anemia from occurring in the body.
2. Its Phosphorus Content Will Help With Energy Levels
The guamuchil fruit contains a decent dose of phosphorus, an essential mineral to the human body since it helps make energy while also helping the body better manage and use its energy levels.
Apart from this, it also supports the health of the bone system, as well as the muscle system.
Phosphorus is essential in reducing muscle pain after exercising, filtering out waste from our kidneys, and growing, maintaining, and repairing tissue and cells in the body. Apart from this, phosphorus also produces DNA and RNA, the body’s genetic building blocks.
Lastly, phosphorus is also a critical element that facilitates healthy nerve connection, which really helps your entire body stay healthy.
3. Its Potassium Content Will Protect Your Heart
Another of the fantastic guamuchil fruit health benefits stems from this fruit’s great potassium content.
This mineral is vital in protecting the heart due to its capacity to maintain the normality of blood pressure in the human body. Potassium is also great in stabilizing sugar levels in your blood. To this end, there is a strong link between potassium and blood sugar levels; if the first one drops, the second one drops too – this is why people with diabetes are always advised to keep their potassium levels to a healthy level.
This mineral also helps to maintain regular contractions and relaxation of the muscles. Potassium also helps prevent muscle cramps, so if you have a diet that regularly includes guamuchil fruits, you’ll be protected from muscle disorders.
Another of this mineral’s superpowers is that it’s an excellent aid for people suffering from anxiety, stress, and other troubling mental states. Potassium is excellent because it helps regulate certain stress-associated hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Potassium is also responsible for regulating electrolytic functions in the body. This, in turn, helps regulate fluid levels and the proper functioning of some vital body functions. Apart from this, electrolytes are responsible for transmitting electrical charges throughout the body from the brain and nervous system.
4. Its Riboflavin Content Supports Overall Well-being
Riboflavin, otherwise and more commonly known as vitamin B2, plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s energy supply. It also helps break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. This vitamin also allows oxygen to be used appropriately by the body.
By having a good intake of vitamin B2 from your daily diet, you can rest assured your skin functions will be healthy, as well as that of the digestive tract lining and the blood cells.
It’s also been shown that vitamin B2 is highly essential to the eye’s health since it helps protect glutathione, an important antioxidant in the eye. Fortunately, you get a decent dose of this vitamin if you integrate guamuchil into your regular diet.
5. Its Niacin Content May Help Prevent Diabetes and Heart Disease
Niacin is another component of the idiosyncratic guamuchil, and it’s more widely recognized as vitamin B3.
This vitamin is also essential to the human body since it may help lower cholesterol, boost brain function and ease arthritis. Having said this, vitamin 3 can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which can lead to atherosclerosis.
This vitamin is also heaven-sent for type 1 diabetics since it helps protect the body’s natural insulin-creating cells in the pancreas. However, those with diabetes who take niacin to control their cholesterol levels may need to also monitor their blood sugar levels closely during that time.
Niacin is also efficient in protecting the skin against sun damage. In fact, randomized studies, among which also A Phase 3 Randomized Trial of Nicotinamide for Skin-Cancer Chemoprevention, state that vitamin B3 may even play an essential role in treating some types of skin cancer.
To this end, these are only some of the benefits of guamuchil fruit discovered so far. Having said this, this fruit is still relatively unknown to the modern world. Therefore, it needs to be further researched by scientists, with trials and studies extending to the human body, not only to animals.
All in all, the guamuchil fruit is a miraculous discovery in terms of health benefits. It can be even more so if you choose to use other parts of the plant. The bark, flowers, and leaves all have additional properties that help support the healthy functioning of the human body in its wide variety of systems.
The benefits of guamuchil are really something to behold and enjoy with those of other powerful antioxidant fruits available for us.
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