How to safely consume Graviola (Soursop)
Graviola (Annona muricata) is a tropical fruit originated in Central America, mainly of the Caribbean islands. In Brazil is very common in the northern region of the country, since it prefers hot and humid climates. It's also known as Jaca do Pará or Poor Man's Jackfruit.
Indigenous people and the ancient people of Central America widely use graviola for medicinal purposes. Its use goes beyond the fruit, which is nutritionally very rich (see table below), they usually also use seeds, roots and leaves for the production of tea.
- Composition of graviola (Annona muricata)
Graviola (Fruit - 100g) Amount per serving (100g)
|Ascorbic Acid||20.6 mg|
As we can see in the table, soursop is rich in water, which helps in hydration and makes it a natural diuretic, mainly because of the low sodium content present in the fruit.
It has few calories, very little fat and protein, but it has many carbohydrates in the form of sugars, mainly fructose and glucose.
It is also an important source of Vitamins Complex B, Vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus and calcium.
- Popular uses (without scientific evidence)
Graviola or annona muricata is popularly used to treat stomach ailments and as anthelmintic (worms).
Also on popular culture they further claim that tea from their leaves induces sleep and reduces diabetes.
It is also popularly used as an antiseptic and in the treatment of skin wounds.
- Medical use (with scientific evidence)
There are researches, however, that demonstrate that Graviola has several properties that are beneficial to human health.
Its anti-helminth (worm-fighting), antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties have already been proven.
It has also been proven effective in combating lice through an extract from a composition with rue, graviola and fruit of the count.
- Graviola and cancer
One of the most controversial properties would be its use against cancer. Some studies indicate that soursop has a cytotoxic effect 10,000 times greater than adriamycin, used as a reference drug in the treatment of several types of cancer, and for this reason it could be used as prevention and treatment of cancer. This information is present in an intense way in the internet, but it is necessary to be very careful, since the tests were realized only in mice.
An experiment carried out in a laboratory at the University Center of Patos de Minas by Nepomuceno e Silva (2011) concluded that graviola, due to its high cytotoxicity, should not be used as a preventive for cancer. However, if the disease is already established, soursop may be used in treatment, since it reduces the frequency of tumors in the body. Acting as a coadjuvant in the treatment, and should not be used as a substitute for treatments already established by medicine.
- Special care for the consumption of Graviola (fruit and tea).
Important: The information below refers to fruit and tea consumption. The consumption of the dried graviola extract in the form of capsules or liquid vitamin supplement does not pose a health risk as long as it is consumed as suggested by the manufacturer.
Hypotonia (low blood pressure): The consumption of soursop can lead to a reduction in blood pressure. People who have a tendency to reduce blood pressure need to ingest the fruit moderately because it is high in water and low in sodium.
Diabetics: Consumption should also be moderate and accompanied by a nutritionist as the fruit is rich in fructose and glucose, natural sugars that can rapidly raise blood glucose, even fruit, as a whole presenting a low glycemic index. The use of tea from graviola leaves for glycemic control also has no scientific evidence.
Toxicity: Tea consumption of leaves can lead to intoxication.
Excess consumption: Excess consumption of the fruit is related to the risk of neurodegenerative diseases similar to Parkinson's. Studies indicate that if an adult consumes a fruit per day, daily, for a year, it can present brain lesions similar to the research done in mice.