*Acerola is the fruit of the tropical tree, Malpighia glabra.
*It is also known as Barbados cherry, wild crapemyrtle, and West Indian cherry.
*The fruit is round to oblong in shape, has thin bright red edible skin, juicy aromatic edible flesh, and two or three hard stones.
*The fruit has varying tastes at varying stages of ripeness, very sour when unripe and very sweet taste and a pleasant tart apple like flavor when fully ripe.
*Acerola fruit is one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin C, and they are mainly cultivated commercially for their Vitamin C content as a nutritional supplement.
*Buying and storage: Select brightly colored, firm, ripe fruits without any bruising. The skin is very delicate, so it gets bruised very easily. Bruising results in contamination. Store them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Keep well for about 2 weeks.
Is it raw?
Yes, the fresh fruits are raw and edible.
1. Acerola fruit is low in calories, very low in fats and sodium, and no cholesterol.
2. It is very high in Vitamin C, a natural water soluble antioxidant, much more than the highest known source, oranges (almost 10-50 times its weight).
3. Vitamin C has the following important functions in the human body -
- Enhances the immunity against infections
- Maintains the elasticity of blood vessels and thus lowers the risk of atherosclerosis
- Maintains the elasticity of skin, keeps it soft and supple and prevents bruising
- Repairs the skin and other tissues
- Increases the absorption of iron from the intestines
- Improves wound healing
- Prevents the formation of clots in the blood
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- As an antioxidant, fights against the free radicals that damage our cells, reduces the risk of heart diseases, cancer and other degenerative diseases
4. Good source of dietary fiber. It adds roughage to the contents of the intestines, promotes satiety, promotes the health of the colon, and also helps in relieving constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticular disorders, etc.
5. Moderate source of minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and manganese which play a very important role in maintaining proper metabolic activities of the body.
6. Moderate source of B-group vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and B6 that are essential to enhance the energy production from the foods.
7. Good source of beta-carotenes, precursors of Vitamin A, which along with Vitamin C, act as powerful antioxidants.
8. Vitamin A and beta-carotenes enhance the eye sight, fight against acne, and result in smooth radiant skin.
9. In some parts of Brazil, it is also used as an anti-inflammatory, astringent, stimulant for the liver and renal systems, diuretic, and to support heart function as well as to heal wounds. It is employed as a nutritive aid for anemia, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, liver problems, rheumatism, tuberculosis, and during convalescence.
10. It is also believed to have anti-fungal activity.