Guamuchil fruits are among the lesser known fruits of the world, despite having a delicious taste, as well as amazing nutritional value and impressive health benefits.
The Guamuchil tree has originated in Mexico, Central America and northern South America. It is currently distributed outside of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Jamaica, Cuba, India and the Philippines. It’s also distributed in other parts of the world, as well, where it’s mostly used with ornamental purposes.
The Guamuchil tree is a semi-evergreen tree, which means that it 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 the Pithecellobium Dulce and it is part of the pea family – guamuchil pods contain the fruit.
The tree is very adaptable and can develop in a variety of 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 when it comes to drought and can survive even in the drier landscapes, making it suitable to be planted in a wide array of 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, while the guamuchil fruit has a mildly sweeter taste, which does resemble a bit to that of white nectarines, with slight floral accents.
Another distinction between these two fruits can be made in terms of color – while the tamarind fruit is mostly 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 it 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 that pack in very good nutritional value, which in turn 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 has riboflavin and niacin in its content. 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 out there, the guamuchil fruit is packed with vitamin C, the single most important vitamin there is in supporting a healthy immune system.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C will work to strengthen 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 developing chronic diseases.
A study conducted on rats, Vitamin C lowers blood pressure and alters vascular responsiveness in salt-induced hypertension , shows that the rats with salt-induced hypertension registered a decrease in their blood pressure after having been 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 wonderful 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 to this, vitamin C also is a great 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, a very important 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 an important element in reducing muscle pain after exercising, filtering out waste from our kidneys, 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 key element that facilitates healthy nerve connection which really helps your entire body stay healthy.
3. Its Potassium Content Will Protect Your Heart
Another one of the amazing guamuchil fruit health benefits stems from this fruit’s great potassium content.
This mineral is extremely important in protecting the heart, as a result of 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 as well – this is why diabetics 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 the consumption of guamuchil fruits, you’ll be kept away from muscle disorders.
Another one of this mineral’s superpowers is that it’s a great aid for people suffering from anxiety, stress and other troubling mental states. In this regard, potassium is great because it helps regulate certain stress-associated hormones in the body, such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Potassium is also responsible for regulating electrolytic functions in the body. This in turn helps regulate fluid levels in the body and proper functioning of some important 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, or 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 properly used 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 of the blood cells.
It’s also been shown that vitamin B2 is extremely 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 choose to integrate guamuchil in 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 important 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, both of 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 that are located in the pancreas. However those suffering from diabetes who take niacin in order 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 important 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 and needs to be further researched on by scientists, with trials and studies that extend to the human body as well, not only to the animal one.
All in all, the guamuchil fruit is something of a miraculous discovery in terms of health benefits and it can be even more so if you choose to use other parts of the plant as well. The bark, flowers and leaves all have additional properties that help support the healthy functioning of the human body in all its wide variety of systems.
The guamuchil fruit benefits are really something to behold and enjoy together with those of other powerful antioxidant fruits available for us.
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