¡ A Comer !

Chirimoya (Annona Cherimola)

I will begin my endeavor with one of my favorite fruits, the Chirimoya.

This fruit has been consumed for thousands of years. Clay pots from the Chimu people of Chan Chan depict a representation of what is believed to be the Chirimoya, or its close relative Guanabana (Annona muricata). Their ancestors, the Moche also have similar art which reflect their cultivation of the plant. The word Chirimoya comes from Quechua meaning Chiri “frio – cold” Moya “semillas – seeds” which reflect its ability to be planted at very high, cold altitudes – an important characteristic for the Incan people.

The Chirimoya ranges in size from a tennis ball to a child-sized football. Their scaly skin is thin but rough. The flavor profile is a delicious combination of those similar to Pear, Banana, and a hint of kiwi, or pineapple. The fruit can be found all over the streets of Peru. It is harvested during the fall and winter, which means it’s currently prime time to partake in the delicacy.

It has a very creamy texture – bear with me on this one – which is similar can of peaches; mushy and a bit slimy but perfectly sweet. The fruit is chock-full of seeds  so you will find yourself spitting them out as you would with a watermelon.

IMG_4982And make sure you do, the seeds if crushed and consumed will cause paralysis.

As any fruit vendor will tell you, the fruit will mature rapidly once plucked from the tree so it is important to enjoy it on your walk home from the market.

So what’s all the hype? It may be the next big thing in cancer research.

The Chirimoya, and Guanabana have been studied since the 1970’s as a powerful cancer fighter. It is stocked full of vitamins and minerals, and extracts of the plant have shown to selectively kill colon cancer cells. When it comes to the special fruit, think all things digestive. There are acetogenic bacteria found in the leaves of the Chirimoya plant, which interferes with the production of tumors in the colon.

IMG_4960The Chirimoya fruit is a good source of vitamins such as C and B, and minerals such as potassium. In Peru, it is recommended as a post workout snack as it resupplies carbs while building a healthy cardiovascular system. The Chirimoya is believed to help with the reduction of bad cholesterol, LDL while increasing the good, HDL. The balance of sodium and potassium is believed to have a strong effect on the heart. Aside from these miraculous properties, the Chirimoya is also a good source of Folate, Manganese, Phosphorous, Zinc, Copper, Iron & Calcium.

There has been a lot of focus on Chirimoya seed extract. Studies show the seed helps soothe symptoms of dysentery, gout, and kidney stones. It has also been used as a way to get rid of head lice.

This fruit can be found on occasion at your local Kroger. If you come across it, I highly recommend. Although keep in mind its natural essence is much more sweet and creamy than what is available as the imported fruit.

Further References:

Arrieta, Ziortza Martínez. “Beneficios Y Propiedades De La Chirimoya.” En Buenas Manos. Ebm, 11 July 2016. Web. 27 May 2017. http://www.enbuenasmanos.com/propiedades-de-la-chirimoya

Han, Bing, Tong-Dan Wang, Shao-Ming Shen, Yun Yu, Chan Mao, Zhu-Jun Yao, and Li-Shun Wang. “Annonaceous Acetogenin Mimic AA005 Induces Cancer Cell Death via Apoptosis Inducing Factor through a Caspase-3-independent Mechanism.” BMC Cancer. BioMed Central, 18 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 May 2017. <https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12885-015-1133-0>

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