The guanabana is a large exotic oval shaped fruit with dark green skin. The inedible skin has many green spikes. The soft flesh is juicy, white and has a tart flavour. The fruit contains many inedible seeds. Nature’s Pride supplies guanabanas from the Muricata variety.
What if I told you there was a fruit that’s great for your eyes, can treat infections and even shows promise as a potential cancer-fighting food? Would you be interested? If you answered yes — and why wouldn’t you? — let me introduce you to soursop.
Guanabana/Soursop is usually found in South America and often the basis for beverages, ice creams and other popular sweet foods. It’s known to have a few other names, such as graviola, custard apple, paw paw, guyabano and guanabana in Spanish-speaking countries. Additionally, it has superfruit-healing properties as a high-antioxidant food due to its vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorous and even some iron that it contains. These vitamins and minerals are why soursop benefits include potentially helping reduce eye disease, treat infections and potentially even fight cancer, among others.
Benefits of Soursop
1. Filled with Beneficial Antioxidants that May Help Reduce Eye Disease
Many of the health benefits from graviola, or soursop, are thought to be derived from its antioxidant properties. (1) Studies show that the phytonutrients that are found in the fruit are high in antioxidant compounds, including alkaloids, saponins, terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarins, lactones, anthraquinones, tannins, cardiac glycosides, phenols and phytosterols. This is quite a group that can help fight disease-causing cells and even tumors. (2)
Additional studies have reported that antioxidants may help with eye disease. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study led by the National Eye Institute found antioxidants to be useful, especially when consumed as a cocktail of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc. This combination actually lowered the risk of the development age-related macular degeneration by 25 percent by those who already had the disease. (3)
2. Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory and Antimicrobial Properties
Extracts from graviola leaves have shown anti-inflammatory properties in addition to its antimicrobial characteristics, making soursop a versatile anti-inflammatory food. Studies indicate that soursop may be a natural anti-infection treatment for root canals. Often dangerous chemicals, such as sodium hypochlorite, which is actually a form of bleach, are used to irrigate the root canal to prevent infection. However, the dangers of these chemicals can pose health hazards. A study published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice shows that the use of graviola to irrigate the root canal is very effective, making it a great, much healthier option. (4)
3. May Help Fight Cancer
Research published in Food & Function reports that bioactive components of graviola leaf extracts may have a positive cancer-fighting effect due to the free radical scavenging abilities and antioxidant enzymes it contains, thus helping eliminate cancer cells. (5) It’s believed that the graviola leaves kill cancer cells by blocking ATP production. ATP, aka adenosine triphosphate, is a usable form of energy for cells. This energy is contained within a chemical bond that, if released, can be used to foster other activity within the cells. (6)
However, the graviola leaf extract can help block this activity, which may reduce the impact of the cancer cells by breaking them down until they fall apart. This is known as apoptosis or programmed cell death. Additionally, scientists at the Tepic Institute of Technology (Instituto Tecnológico de Tepic – ITT) in Mexico discovered acetogenins in the soursop fruit, which hold chemotherapeutic properties. (7)
4. Potentially Kills Pancreatic Cancer Cells
Graviola extract has shown an ability to help kill numerous types of cancer cells, specifically pancreatic cancer cells. A study conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that the extract can greatly reduce pancreatic cancer. Because cancer cells have more glucose, cell growth is typically enhanced as well as tumor growth. However, in this study, cells that were treated with graviola extract decreased their glucose uptake when compared to untreated cells. This decrease can make it difficult for the bad cells to live and multiply, which is a good thing. (8)
5. Treats Infections
Graviola is often used to treat infections caused by bacteria and parasites, including leishmaniasis, which is a disease that’s transmitted through the bite of sand fleas. It’s also been used to treat herpes, coughs and vomiting. Bacterial and viral infections can cause coughing, sneezing, fever and more symptoms, and while these symptoms may be frustrating, they’re effective since they’re part of the method that the body uses to trigger the immune system to get to work ridding the body of any infection. Graviola and graviola tea may be able to efficiently fight the infection and get you back on your feet. (9)