Araca: a fruit full of benefits

Like the jabuticaba, the araçá is little known throughout the Brazilian territory, and the southern region of the country presents the greatest diversity of araçazeiro. For those who do not know which fruit is this, just think of a guava , as both are part of the same genus of plants (Psidium) and have similar visual characteristics.

Known as “a plant that has eyes”, this food has a yellowish, fleshy pulp and contains a kernel with many seeds, hence the previous nickname. On the outside, the shape is rounded, small and the yellow color predominates when the fruit is ripe, but on rare occasions it can also be red or purple.

Despite its more acidic flavor, araçá can be consumed fresh , in the form of juice, homemade jam and even jelly. However, it is in the first two formulas that we can enjoy the properties and benefits of the fruit, such as vitamin C and antioxidant action .

For these reasons, araçazeiro is considered an immune system booster. At the same time, it protects heart health and cell integrity, promoting more well-being to its consumers. ( 1 , 2 )

What are the properties of araçá?

The araçazeiro fruit is rich in water, fiber and flavonoids , pigments found in abundance in fruits. It is also a source of vitamins such as A, C and the B complex. Last but not least, the food has great amounts and diversity of important minerals for the body, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. ( 2 , 3 )

Benefits of this fruit

Protects the heart and cells

Phenolic compounds, like flavonoids, have high antioxidant activity. This is because they reduce elements such as iron and copper, metals participating in the generation of free radicals, unstable molecules that attack healthy cells.

By blocking the action of radicals, flavonoids can protect cells against oxidative damage, protecting the body against various diseases such as cancer, heart disease and arteriosclerosis . However, it is noteworthy that these compounds are more present in the green araçá than in the mature version.

Another substance present in this fruit that also contributes to heart health is dietary fiber. It is important for the body to function as it helps to regulate glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. ( 3 )

Strengthens the immune system

If you think orange is an important fruit in strengthening the immune system, try consuming araçá. This fruit has three times more vitamin C than the citrus option mentioned. And its juice manages to preserve 45% of the content of this substance.

Also called ascorbic acid, the vitamin helps in the proliferation of T lymphocytes, cells of the immune system that form a group of white blood cells capable of defending the body against unknown agents.

Therefore, the fruit is an excellent option for those who are facing colds, flu or have low immunity. ( 2 , 4 )

hydrates the body

The pulp of this fruit has a high water content , being formed by 86% moisture. For this reason, it is a perfect food to hydrate the body, especially on the hottest days, thus contributing to the ideal rates of water intake per day. ( 3 )

Helps the digestive system

In general, fruit peels are rich in dietary fiber, and araçá is not left out of this. With this compound there is a better intestinal functioning , as it facilitates peristaltic movements, contributing to the elimination of feces.

As recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), each adult needs to ingest 25 grams of fiber daily. However, those who are not used to consuming all this amount, must make a process of adaptation of the body, adopting this compound little by little and balancing it with water intake.

In addition to araçazeiro fruit, other foods are rich in fiber and should be included in daily meals, such as: flaxseed , sesame , peas, wholemeal bread, avocado , red guava, etc. ( 3 , 5 )

Helps in weight loss

Another benefit provided by fibers is the aid in weight loss. This is because foods rich in this substance require more chewing than others. As a result of this process, the brain understands that we are eating more, causing the feeling of fullness after eating. ( 5 )

How to consume?

The fresh  consumption  of the fruit is the most used form and the one that guarantees the aforementioned benefits. Despite this, the juice also carries, to a lesser extent, the properties of the fruit. The jelly and sweet options, on the other hand, lose one of the main components of the araçá, vitamin C. This is because they are made in fire and ascorbic acid is sensitive to high temperatures. See how to do each one of them!

Juice

Wash a whole fruit, crush it and strain it through a sieve adding ice water. Sweeten to taste, but if you can, consume it without adding any sugar. ( 1 )

Candy

Place a kilo of araçá pulp in a pan and cover with water. Add a kilo of brown sugar or demerara , stir only once and leave on low heat. Over time, the sugar will dissolve, forming a syrup similar in color to the fruit. Turn off the heat as soon as the pulps are soft and dark. ( 1 )

Jam

Make a liter of concentrated juice and bring to low heat with a kilo of brown sugar or demerara. Stir lightly so that the sugar dissolves completely. As soon as the mixture thickens, the jelly will be ready. ( 1 )

What is the difference between araçá and guava?

Psidium cattleianum is the scientific name for araçazeiro, while Psidium guajava L.  is for guava. Both plants are of tropical and subtropical American origin, giving succulent and tasty fruits. But despite sharing the same gender, they have some differences.

The main characteristics that distinguish araçá from guava are a more acidic taste and a more accentuated perfume . It is also common for this little-known fruit to be less fleshy and of lesser economic value. ( 3 )

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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