Prunus africana, the African cherry, has a wide distribution in Africa, occurring in montane regions of central and southern Africa and on the islands of Bioko, São-Tomé, Grande Comore, and Madagascar. It can be found at 900–3,400 m above sea level.
African cherry also serves as a good source of calcium that offers strength to the human body. The calcium embedded in the fruit can lessen symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as cramping and abdominal bloating.
It is that time of the year when African cherry, also known as Agbalumo by the Yorubas and Udara by the Igbos, will begin to flood the market. Asides from the very appealing, sweet taste it has, there are also some health benefits.
Here are some of the health benefits of African cherry.
1. It helps you lose weight
Agbalumo is a low-calorie fruit as each fruit only contains about 67 calories. This means that you can eat more of it and not worry about excess calories. It also has a fibre content of 3g, which helps you feel fuller for longer. It can help reduce your food intake and subsequently aid weight loss.
2. Reduces menstrual cramps
Cherry is a great source of calcium which gives strength to your bones and teeth. It can also lessen the pains of menstruation like cramps and abdominal bloating.
3. It prevents vomiting and spitting in pregnant women
African cherry has a sour-like taste that hits the palate of the mouth and stops one from throwing up or spitting excessively. It is arguably the reason why some pregnant women crave it.
4. You can use it as a natural remedy
Cherry is a natural remedy for toothache, constipation, and sore throat. The bark of a cherry tree is also used traditionally to treat yellow fever and malaria. The leaf is also known to treat wounds, stomach ache, and diarrhoea. In some parts of Nigeria, they use the seeds to treat vaginal and skin infections.
5. Udara can help prevent heart disease
Udara contains antioxidants. These are substances that protect your cells against the effects of free radicals molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when exposed to smoke and radiation. This means that frequent consumption of cherry can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol thereby preventing or managing heart diseases. Doctors recommend that it is great for patients with heart problems.
6. It helps contain diabetic conditions
Researchers have indicated that the leaves of this fruit may reduce glucose levels in diabetic patients, which is basically the same function that insulin serves.