Wednesday, February 21Food Security Matters

Santol: 10 Health Benefits of Cotton Fruit, and Side Effects

If you are here because you want to discover the health benefits of cotton fruit or Santol, you came to the right place, so continue reading.

Welcome to the world of exotic fruits, where vibrant colors and unique flavors reign supreme! Today, we are diving deep into the fascinating realm of cotton fruit, also known as santol. With its scientific name Sandoricum koetjape and belonging to the Meliaceae plant family, this tropical delight is a true gem waiting to be discovered.

Get ready to unravel the secrets of this mystical fruit as we explore its health benefits and side effects. From its mouth-watering taste to its incredible medicinal properties, there’s so much more to cotton fruit than meets the eye. So sit back, relax, and let’s embark on a fruity adventure like no other!

What is Cotton Fruit

Scientifically known as Sandoricum koetjape, cotton fruit boasts a myriad of other names across different regions. In the Philippines, it goes by the name “santol,” while in Thailand it is called “gratawn.” This versatile fruit belongs to the Meliaceae plant family, which also includes popular fruits like mango and mahogany.

benefits-of-cotton-fruit
Matured and ripe cotton fruit

When you lay eyes on a cotton fruit for the first time, its unique appearance is sure to catch your attention. It resembles a large ball with rough outer skin that ranges in color from green to yellow when unripe. However, once fully matured, this intriguing fruit transforms into an inviting shade of golden orange or red.

To truly appreciate the cotton fruit’s beauty, take a closer look at its tree. Standing tall at around 20 meters high with glossy dark green leaves and fragrant flowers that bloom throughout the year, this majestic tree adds grace and charm to any tropical landscape.

Native to Southeast Asia including the Philippines and Malaysia, cotton fruit thrives in warm climates with plenty of sunshine and rainfall. It can be found growing wild or cultivated on trees throughout these regions. Whether nestled in lush rainforests or thriving amidst bustling urban gardens, cotton fruit finds its habitat wherever it can bask under the tropical sun’s embrace.

Cotton Fruit Nutrition Per 100g

Cotton fruit, also known as santol, is not just a tasty tropical treat but also a nutritional powerhouse. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, this exotic fruit offers numerous health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition profile of cotton fruit per 100g.

The nutritional composition of cotton fruit (Santol) per 100 grams may vary slightly depending on factors such as ripeness and growing conditions. Here’s an approximate breakdown of the nutritional values:

  • Calories: 80 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 20.9 grams
    • Dietary Fiber: 0.9 grams
    • Sugars: 20 grams
  • Protein: 0.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Vitamin C: 20 mg (33% of the Recommended Daily Intake)
  • Calcium: 20 mg
  • Phosphorus: 14 mg
  • Iron: 0.6 mg
  • Potassium: 37 mg

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary. It’s important to keep in mind that the nutritional content of cotton fruit can be influenced by factors such as cultivation methods, ripeness, and geographic location.

10 Cotton Fruit Benefits and Medicinal Uses

While Santol is primarily consumed for its juicy flesh, it also offers several potential benefits and medicinal uses. Here are 10 cotton fruit benefits and medicinal uses:

  1. Digestive Health: Cotton fruit contains dietary fiber that can aid digestion and prevent constipation. It promotes regular bowel movements and helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
  2. Boosts Immunity: The fruit is rich in vitamin C, which is essential for a robust immune system. Adequate intake of vitamin C can help protect against common illnesses and infections.
  3. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Cotton fruit possesses anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation in the body. This property can be beneficial for conditions such as arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
  4. Antioxidant Activity: The fruit contains antioxidants that help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote overall well-being.
  5. Skin Health: Applying cotton fruit pulp or juice topically may help improve skin health. It can help soothe skin irritations, reduce inflammation, and provide a natural glow to the skin.
  6. Oral Health: Chewing the leaves of the cotton fruit tree has traditionally been used to promote oral health. It is believed to help prevent gum disease and reduce bad breath.
  7. Antimicrobial Effects: Cotton fruit exhibits antimicrobial properties that may help fight against certain bacteria and fungi. This potential benefit can contribute to maintaining overall health.
  8. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels: The fruit has a low glycemic index, meaning it does not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. It can be a suitable fruit option for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to manage blood sugar levels.
  9. Energy Booster: Cotton fruit contains natural sugars, such as fructose, which can provide a quick energy boost. Including it in your diet may help combat fatigue and increase vitality.
  10. Nutritional Value: Cotton fruit is a good source of various vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, thiamine, and riboflavin. Consuming fruit can contribute to meeting your daily nutrient requirements.

While cotton fruit offers potential benefits, it’s essential to consume it in moderation as part of a balanced diet. It’s always advisable to consult a healthcare professional or nutritionist for personalized advice regarding your specific health concerns.

Possible Side Effects and Disadvantages of Eating Cotton Fruit

1. Allergic Reactions: While cotton fruit is generally safe to consume, some individuals may experience allergic reactions. Symptoms can range from mild itching or swelling to more severe reactions such as difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis. If you have a known allergy to cotton fruit or related fruits like mangoes, it’s best to avoid consuming this fruit.

2. Digestive Issues: Cotton fruit contains high amounts of fiber which can be beneficial for digestion in moderate amounts. However, excessive consumption may lead to digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea. It’s important to listen to your body and consume cotton fruit in moderation.

3. High Sugar Content: Cotton fruit is naturally sweet and contains a considerable amount of sugar. While this makes it delicious for many people, those with diabetes or watching their sugar intake should be cautious when consuming cotton fruit. Excessive consumption could potentially spike blood sugar levels.

4. Tooth Decay: Due to its sweetness and sticky texture, eating too much cotton fruit can contribute to tooth decay and cavities if proper oral hygiene is not maintained after consumption.

5. Interference with Medications: Some compounds found in cotton fruits may interact with certain medications such as blood thinners or anticoagulants, leading to potential problems with clotting time or medication effectiveness. If you are on any medication regimen, consult your healthcare provider before adding cotton fruit to your diet.

Remember that these side effects are rare and usually occur only when consumed excessively or by individuals with specific health conditions or allergies! As always, it’s essential to listen to your body and maintain a balanced diet for optimal health.

How to Eat Cotton Fruit

When it comes to enjoying cotton fruit raw, simply peel off the thick skin and bite into the juicy flesh. Its sweet and tangy flavor is truly refreshing on a hot summer day. Alternatively, you can chop up the fruit and add it to salads for an extra burst of tropical goodness.

If you prefer something sweeter, why not try making cotton fruit jam? Simmer the peeled and deseeded fruits with sugar until they turn soft and pulpy. Spread this delectable jam on toast or use it as a filling for pastries – either way, your taste buds will thank you!

For those who love juices and smoothies, cotton fruit can be blended with ice and a splash of water or coconut milk for a delightful beverage. The creamy texture pairs well with other tropical fruits like mango or pineapple.

Don’t forget about using cotton fruit as a cooking ingredient! It can be added to curries or stir-fries for its unique flavor profile. Experimenting with different recipes will help you discover new ways to incorporate this exotic fruit into your culinary adventures.

Here are some common methods of consuming cotton fruit:

  1. Raw: The ripe cotton fruit can be eaten raw by peeling off the outer skin or rind. Inside, you’ll find the juicy pulp surrounding several seeds. Simply separate the seeds and enjoy the sweet and tangy flesh. Be cautious of the seeds, as they are inedible and should be discarded.
  2. Jam: Cotton fruit can be used to make delicious jams. To prepare cotton fruit jam, remove the seeds and cook the pulp with sugar and a bit of water over low heat until it thickens to a jam-like consistency. This can be spread on bread, crackers, or used as a topping for desserts.
  3. Juice: Cotton fruit juice is a refreshing option. To make cotton fruit juice, extract the pulp by separating it from the seeds. Blend the pulp with water and strain the mixture to remove any solids. You can add sugar or honey to adjust the sweetness according to your taste. Serve the juice chilled.
  4. Smoothie: Cotton fruit can be incorporated into smoothies for added flavor and nutrition. Blend the peeled and deseeded cotton fruit pulp with other fruits, such as bananas, mangoes, or berries, along with your choice of liquid (water, milk, or yogurt). Add sweeteners like honey or dates if desired. This creates a creamy and fruity smoothie.
  5. Cooking Ingredient: Cotton fruit can be used in various savory dishes. The sourness of the fruit pairs well with spicy and savory flavors. It can be added to curries, stews, or stir-fries, providing a unique tangy taste to the dish. The flesh is usually added towards the end of the cooking process to prevent overcooking.

Remember to choose ripe cotton fruit with vibrant color and a slightly soft texture for the best flavor and sweetness. Experiment with these different methods to find your preferred way of enjoying cotton fruit.

Final Words

From its rich nutritional profile to its medicinal uses, it’s clear that this unique tropical fruit is a powerhouse of goodness for your body.

However, it’s important to note that there are potential side effects and disadvantages associated with eating cotton fruit. It may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with certain allergies or sensitivities. As always, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new food into your diet.

If you do decide to give cotton fruit a try, there are various ways you can enjoy it. Whether you prefer eating it raw or using it as an ingredient in jams, juices, or smoothies – the choice is yours! Get creative and experiment with different recipes to fully appreciate the flavors and benefits this fascinating fruit has to offer.

Note: This article also answer the following local questions:

  • Benepisyo ng santol
  • Ano ang vitamins o bitamina ng santol
  • Epekto sa katawan sa pagkain ng santol
  • Side effects ng santol
  • Masamang epekto ng pagkain ng santol
  • Anong vitamins ang makukuha sa santol
  • Ano ang naidudulot ng santol is sa ating katawan
  • Santol side effects
  • Santol leaves benefits
  • Cotton fruit description
  • Cotton fruit tree
  • Is cotton fruit good for acid reflux
  • Santol medicinal uses
  • Santol fruit in English (cotton fruit)

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