Fruits

Peach palm – Health benefits and medicinal uses

Peach palm or Bactris gasipaes is well known for its energy boosting abilities. It has many other health benefits which include improving vision, strengthening the immune system, reducing blood pressure, protecting against cancer, and aiding weight loss. It is rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A.

Botanical name: Bactris gasipaes
Other name: Guilelma gasipaes (H.B.K) Bailey, Chontaduro

The benefits of peach palm are associated with its high energy-giving ability. Thus, its popular slogan is “a storehouse of energy”. The peach palm which is also called Guilelma gasipaes (H.B.K) Bailey, is a fruit of the peach palm (Bactris gasipaes), a tree of the botanical family Palmae. It is said to be native to South and Central America. As a perennial plant, it can live up to 50-75 years while still being productive.

Uses

The fruits of peach palm are edible, but they have to be cooked before they can be eaten, as they contain irritating calcium oxalate crystals. In those days, sellers of this fruit use to cook them for about 5 hours a day before taking them out for sale. But those days are now long gone. Thanks to pressure cookers that can get them ready within 30 minutes or less.

Raw peach palm fruits often get spoilt quickly. This is why some people dry them to produce flour, or extract edible oil from them. Apart from human consumption, peach palm is widely used to make animal feed. Its high starch content makes it a suitable substitute for maize in animal fodder. It is also used in fish and poultry feed formulation.

peach-palm-health-benefits

 

Properties

  • Peach palm contains about 40% carbohydrate, mainly starch and little amount of simple sugars. This high carbohydrate content accounts for its high energy-producing ability.
  • It contains small amounts of proteins, just about 2.6% of its content.
  • It also contains small amounts of fats, at 4.4 g per 100 grams.
  • It is very rich in vitamin A, as it provides up to 1500% of the daily recommended intake for this vitamin in a 100 gram serving. It also contains vitamin C, vitamin E, and some B group vitamins in significant amounts.
  • Minerals present are phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and calcium, although in small amounts

 

8 health benefits of peach palm fruit

  • Provides energy
  • Aids growth
  • Speeds up recovery after illness
  • Improves vision
  • Boosts immunity
  • Prevents cancer
  • Manages diabetes
  • Protects the heart

 

  • Provides energy

Each gram of starch provides the body with 4 calories after metabolism. Thus, peach palm’s high starch content makes it a good energy producer. Athletes or people involved in physical labor will find peach palm an attractive fruit to boost their capabilities. It can supply a great amount of energy to meet up with their needs.

  • Growth

Peach palm is highly indicated during growth periods especially during childhood and adolescence, as it helps with a great deal of energy. Children who are actively growing need a steady supply of energy to boost their metabolism, and peach palm consumption is one way to get some more calories.

Also, peach palm contains significant amount of folates, a vitamin that can help prospective moms protect their child against neural tube defects such as anencephaly.

  • Recovery after illness

Peach palm fruit consumption can be a very good way to speed up recovery after a debilitating illness or even after surgical operations. They can help replenish lost energy in no time. However, consuming this fruit after surgical operations must be supervised or instructed by your doctor.

 

  • Improves vision

Looking at how advanced the medical world of today is, doctors are still yet to find a way to transplant an eyeball. This shows you how important this piece of organ is, since it is an irreplaceable part of the body. Of course your kidneys, hearts, and livers can be transplanted, but not your eyeballs. Due to this, finding means of strengthening your eyes and preventing them from damage should be your priority.

One way to add more strength to your vision is through the consumption of peach palm. The vision-strengthening ability of this fruit is attributed to its rich content of vitamin A, providing more than 1490% of the daily recommended allowance for this vitamin in just a 100 gram serving. This essential vitamin helps protect the surface of the eye from damage. Several studies have also shown this vitamin to be effective at relieving dryness of the eye. And its deficiency leads to night blindness.

  • Boosts immunity

Peach palms are rich in vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of vitamin C and other antioxidants, which collectively act to boost the body’s immune system. This is achieved by stimulating the production of white blood cells, and protecting the body from invading microorganism such as bacteria and viruses.

  • Prevents cancer

The antioxidants in peach palm act to prevent cancer by halting the activities of free radicals, whose association with other body cells can result in cancerous growths.

  • Manages diabetes

Fiber is present in peach palm in significant amounts. Fiber can help the diabetic by preventing spike in blood sugar level and also stimulating insulin secretion. It does this by intercepting sugar molecules during digestion, and releasing them slowly into the blood stream. Like this, the sugar content in the blood remains fairly stable; just enough for the limited insulin of people with type 2 diabetes.

  • Heart health

Fiber continues to be an important non-nutritive component in foods. Its presence in a diet comes with a lot of health benefits. Its activity can help protect the heart. Did I just hear you say how? Fiber protects the heart by absorbing excess cholesterol from the body. Excess cholesterol when left to stay, can clump in our arteries and block the flow of blood to vital organs such as the heart and brain – situations that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Peach palm contains fiber in reasonable amounts, and of course has very little fat content, reason why it may be beneficial to your overall cardiovascular system.

About the author

Abbati

Abbati studied Biological sciences at Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!

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