Cherry is a small round fruit with some large seeds inside. It is mostly available in Nigeria during the dry season.
The fruit has several names: the Yorubas call it Agablumo; the Igbos call it Udara. It is also known as African star apple. Its botanical name is chrysophyllum albidum and known to belong to the Sapotaceae family in Biology.
Some have said that the name African Star Apple might not be unconnected with the nature of the fruits. The fruit has a minimum of five semi-circle seeds joined together to form a star shape. The outer colour varies from green to deep yellow and the fleshy inner part is brown while the liquid inside is off white.
Agbalumo can be sweet or sour, depending on the level of ripeness. When it is fully rip, the colour is usually deep yellow and it is usually delicious. But when it is not well rip, it is usually green and it may have a sour taste.
After savouring the pulp of the fruit, the outer layer and the fleshy inner layer could also be used as chewing gum.
However, the fruit has proved right the saying that “the food we eat is as good as the medicine we take” through its nutritional value and numerous health benefits
Experts say the fruit, which is readily available, can help to prevent several ailments.
In the African Journal of Food Science, Adepoju, Oladejo and Adeniji, Paulina revealed that the fruit (Agbalumo) “is high in micronutrient content, low in gross energy and anti nutrients, hence they can be good snack or fruit for consumption for all.
“Its low carbohydrate content underscore its low value of simple sugar, hence it can be consumed by diabetic patients. Its low calorie, sugar, and high vitamin content qualify the fruit as suitable for the obese, while it’s very low sodium content qualifies it as good fruit for the hypertensive.”
Similarly, a PhD researcher in Biology and Genetic, University of Lagos, Miss Tawakalt Fagbayi, also stated in an interview that the fruit is high in fibre and about 20 times richer in Vitamin C than orange.
“Its high fibre nature and high content of Vitamin C gives it a double benefit for weight loss and protection of the immune system,” she said.
Prof Ignatius A. Onimawo of the Department of Biochemistry, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, speaking with Pharma News on the nutritional contents of the fruit, said, “It serves as a good source of calcium, with each providing an individual with 10 per cent of the daily requirements, which lends strength to human bones and teeth, and may also lessen symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as cramping and abdominal bloating.
“This fruit also contains five per cent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C, vitamin A and two per cent of iron, a mineral vital for oxygenating your body, that you need every day.”