What is Chico?
Chico, which is also called Sapodilla or Sapote Manilkara zapota, commonly known as sapodilla, sapota, chikoo, chico, naseberry, or nispero is a long-lived, evergreen tree and is another popular tropical fruit that is common in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines
Sapota composes of soft, easily digestible pulp made of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose.
Botanically, sapodilla fruit round or oval-shaped berry measures about 10 cm in diameter and weighs about 150 g. A tree can produce as many as 2,000 fruits/year.
Sapota fruit has gray/brown, sandy, kiwifruit-like outer surface. An unripe fruit has a firm outer skin and when picked, releases white chicle from its stem. A fully ripened fruit has saggy skin and does not release chicle when picked.
This milky latex gradually disappears, and its white flesh turns brown as the fruit matures.
Once ripen, it becomes soft, acquires a sweet taste, and smooth or grainy textured flesh with slight musky flavor. It contains about 3-10 black, smooth, shiny biconvex/bean-shaped, inedible seeds, located at its center.
The fruit is a large berry, 4–8 cm (1.6–3.1 in) in diameter. Inside, its flesh ranges from a pale yellow to an earthy brown color with a grainy texture akin to that of a well-ripened pear. Each fruit contains one to six seeds. The seeds are hard, glossy, and black, resembling beans, with a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed.
The trees can survive only in warm, typically tropical environments, dying easily if the temperature drops below freezing.
From germination, the sapodilla tree will usually take anywhere from five to eight years to bear fruit. The sapodilla trees yield fruit twice a year, though flowering may continue year-round
When we were growing up, my family lived in a huge property surrounded by all kinds of tropical fruits and you can actually stay on the ground, go around for a long time and pick any kind of fruits you want and just fill your stomach with them.
One of them was Chico and we had about six trees of Chicos growing so bountifully on the left side of the yard. I used to get up around five-thirty in the morning and I would go straight to those trees and picked all those Chicos that were dropped on the ground. I can actually fill up a basket with them.
There were plenty every day and that was why I had a habit of eating them first thing in the morning. But of course, I have to wash them thoroughly first before eating them.
Very Sweet Taste
They were very sweet and being they were just small in size, you can consume at least four of them at one time.
Since they were always plenty available, we used to take them to school and give them away to our classmates, and
then after school, we would let our neighborhood friends come and let them have them too and anything they wanted from other fruit trees. It was like having a fruit party every day.
Nutritional Value Per 100g (3.5 oz)
Energy 347 KJ (83kcal)
(Dietary Fiber) 5.3g
VITAMINS QUANTITY %DV
Riboflavin (B2 ) 0.02 mg 2%
Niacin (B3) 0.2 mg 1%
Pantothenic Acid (B5) 0.252 mg 5%
Vitamin (B6) 0.037 mg 3%
Folate (Bg) 14 pg 4%
Vit. C 14.7 mg 18%
MINERALS QUANTITY %DV
Calcium 21 mg 2%
Iron 0.8 mg 6%
Magnesium 12 mg 3%
Phosphorous 12 mg 2%
Potassium 193 mg 4%
Sodium 12 mg 1%
Zinc 0.1 mg 1%
Percentages are roughly approximated using US
Recommendations for Adults.
1. Sapodilla is one of the high-calorie fruits like bananas. 100 g provides 83 calories (almost the same as that of sweet potato).
3. Studies suggest that the tannins possess astringent properties and shown to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic effects. Hence, these compounds may found useful applications in traditional medicines as antidiarrheal, hemostatic (stops bleeding), and as a remedy for hemorrhoids.
4. Also, the anti-inflammatory effect of tannins may found useful in conditions like erosive gastritis, reflux esophagitis, enteritis, and irritating bowel disorders.
It also helps in digestion by keeping your digestive system in check and prevents a condition called – irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). And the dietary fibers make the sapota a laxative, therefore helping to fix constipation problems.
5. Sapote contains a good amount of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-C (24.5% of recommended daily intake per 100 g of fruit), and vitamin A. Vitamin-A is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A is known to offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
6. Further, the consumption of fruits that are naturally rich in vitamin C helps to boost immunity and to scavenge harmful free radicals from the human body.
7. Fresh ripe sapodilla is a good source of minerals like potassium, copper, iron, and vitamins like folate, niacin, and pantothenic acid. These compounds are essential for optimal health as they take part in various metabolic processes in the body as co-factors for enzymes.
It is also good for the bones as a good source of minerals like iron, folates, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, phosphorous, selenium, etc which are very essential for facilitating various body functions including proper bone growth.
8. It is an Energy Provider. The natural fructose and sucrose content in sapota can give your body a lot of energy.
9. It controls blood pressure. The magnesium in sapota keeps the blood vessels up and running, and the potassium regulates blood pressure and circulation. It’s also good to treat anemia as it’s also rich in iron.
10. It is good for Moms-to-be. Packed with electrolytes, Vitamin A, and carbohydrates, sapotas are good for expecting, and even lactating mothers. If you’re pregnant, sapota can help to deal with morning sickness and dizziness. And because it helps in the production of collagen too, it keeps stomach-related disorders at bay.
11. It controls weight If you’re on a diet, a sapota might work to rid your body of water retention. It regularises your metabolism and works to your advantage if you’re trying to lose weight.
12. It has beauty benefits. Eating the sapota regularly helps to remove toxins from your body, and is thus great for your skin and hair; it keeps them healthy and moisturized.
However, eat it for better results, instead of putting it on your face or in your hair, unless you’re doing it every day. In fact, the sapota is known as a ‘happy’ food; it helps promote the production of collagen and prevents the growth of deep wrinkles. You’ll thank it later when you’re older.
Please let us know in the comments below:
- Did you know about chico before reading this material?
- Have you eaten it yet? If so, how did you like it?
- Would you recommend it to anyone?
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