20 List of African Fruits and The Health Benefits People Should Know
For those who live far away from Africa must thought this continent is unreachable and only consisting of plain desert and elephants. Well, if you are one of those people and then you thought wrong because Africa is so extensive and in some ways are gifted with both exotic animals and plants. So, you will be surprised about the list of African fruits and the health benefits because most of those fruits are only able to be found in Africa and not something you could find in the nearby grocery.
When you firstly bite miracle fruit, the first flavor you will taste is sour but the longer you chew it the sweeter it becomes. That’s why this fruit is well known as miracle fruit aside from the fact that this fruit also contains some miracle properties. This fruit is originated from West Africa.
There are some intensive studies have been conducted since this fruit is loaded with important nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K and some powerful antioxidants. When it comes to the health benefits of miracle fruit, the list could be endless and among those are anti-inflammatory properties and beneficial for diabetic patients.
African mango is originated from Cameroon, Africa. The appearance and flavor of African mango is not really different with the common mango you know but the color of the peel is the shades of yellow to red.
There are a lot of health benefits of African mango but since the first time introduced to the world outside Africa continent, this fruit has become one of the most recommended fruits for weight loss. Due to its rich of minerals, African mango is highly recommended for mothers during pregnancy because it is rich of vitamin C that could help optimizing nutrient absorption and by those who have anemia issue because it is quite rich of iron.
Baobab fruit is fruit from baobab tree that is native to Africa continent though the variety of this fruit also found in Australia. The baobab fruit has hard outer shell like coconut but a bit smaller in size while the flesh inside tastes really sweet almost similar to pear flavor.
Baobab fruit is so rich of vitamin C and excellent source of antioxidants. Some studies showed that antioxidants found in baobab fruit is six time more powerful than blueberry. A lot of people are consuming this fruit for the sake of the health benefits of baobab fruit especially those who have problem with this digestion since this fruit is so rich of dietary fiber.
Ackee fruit has scientific name Blighia sapida which comes from the same family with lychee and longan. While longan and lychee is native to Asia continent, ackee fruit is originated from Africa, especially West Africa and Guyana. The appearance of ackee fruit is very unique because the seams will pop open to expose the seeds and tasty pulp and that is the sign that the fruit is ripe and safe to eat because unripe ackee fruit is poisonous.
Among the health benefits of Ackee fruit, this fruit is an excellent source of protein and as rich of dietary fiber, ackee fruit is also excellent solution to constipation and other digestive problems. However, ackee fruit contains sodium in quite high level, so those who already have problem with excessive sodium in their bloodstream should aware of this.
Though tamarind fruit has been well known worldwide and has been commercially cultivated in some tropical countries, originally tamarind fruit is from Africa. What makes tamarind so unique is its flavor which is the combination of sweet and sour, perfect ingredients for candy.
When it comes to the nutritional value, tamarind fruit contains some vitamins and minerals that are essential for body metabolism. So, there are plenty of health benefits of tamarind fruit you should know like this fruit has been used as anti-inflammatory remedy and quite good for blood circulation due to its mineral contents.
When talking about exotic fruit, passion fruit is one of fruits in the top of the list because not only the name but the look as well as the flavor of this fruit is very exotic. Passion fruit is very popular worldwide and there are about 500 varieties of passion fruit and some of them are found in Africa continent while others are spread in all tropical and sub-tropical regions.
Passion fruit is excellent source of antioxidants like Beta-carotene, riboflavin, nicotnic acid and caretenoid. The name passion may come from the fact that this fruit is also rich of carbohydrate that makes this fruit an excellent energy booster. Aside from among health benefits of passion fruit, people love to eat it because this fruit promotes healthier skin.
Xylopia aethiopica is one of the herbal plants originated from Africa. This plant has been well known as traditional remedy by the locals for thousands of years and recently studied to be added as part of modern medication. The medicinal properties found in fruit of this plant is also one of the reasons why this plant is cultivated.
Due to its inflammatory properties, the fruit of Xylopia aethiopica has been used to treat bronchitis in the form of decoction, rheumatism and toothaches. It is only one of the health benefits of xylopia aethiopica because more studies showed that the fruit of this tree is excellent solution to dysenteric condition and asthma.
Shea fruit is the main ingredients of shea butter, one of the well known cosmetic ingredients. The shea butter is derived from the nut of shea fruit and one the health benefits of shea butter is promoting healthy skin. Though the fruit is edible but it is not typical thing you could find in dinner table unless you were in Africa where this fruit comes from becausse the African use shea butter as cooking oil.
As rich of fatty oil, shea butter derived from shea fruit has been used as natural skin moisturizer, skin sun block and treatment to dry skin. For skin face, shea butter is also effective to treat conditions like acnes, wrinkles caused by premature aging, eye bags even dark spot. Besides for skin, there are also a lot of health benefits of shea butter for hair that you should aware of.
African Cherry Orange
One more fruit from citrus family that originated from Africa that you should know, it is African cherry orange. The flavor and the appearance of African cherry orange is really similar to tangerine though it is quite smaller in size which is only about 2 – 3 centimeters long, that is why the name cherry comes from because this orange is taste like truly orange but appear in cherry-like size.
If the list of health benefits of tangerine impresses you, it goes the same with African cherry orange. The locals call this fruit as omuboro and this fruit has been used as herbal medicine since ancient time. Due to its antioxidant properties African cherry orange is used to treat several skin conditions, manage diabetes and promote healthy cell regeneration.
Desert date is English name of fruit originated from Africa and some regions in Middle East. In countries like Africa, desert date is considered as valuable plant because it could grow and bear fruits even in the driest condition. The locals are not only consuming the fruits but also the leaves, the seeds and even the flowers are edible. The look of this fruit is not really different with the common dates you know but the appearance of the tree is different as well as the health benefits of dates.
Desert date is well known as fruit which is commonly mixed with porridge and highly recommended to be consumed by breastfeeding mothers because it could help improving lactation and could heal headache. Well, it means desert date is one of the fruit that should be on the list of African fruits and the health benefits due to its excellent nutritional value.
Bitter Kola Fruit
Bitter kola is a flowering plant from the family of Guttiferae or Clusiaceae with scientific name Garcinia kola. This plant is considered to be important for some tribes in Nigeria due to its medicinal properties used in traditional remedy. Originated from Africa, this plant could be found in almost every regions of Africa like Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Ghana and Nigeria.
According to the locals, bitter kola has been used as medicines since ancient time to treat conditions like cough and fever. All of the parts of the plant could be used as medicine like leaves, bark, fruit and seed but the most important part is the fruit where the seed is found. Bitter kola is the source of some vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and C, calcium and potassium. The most well know health benefits of bitter kola fruit is this fruit could help increasing those who have problem with low libido to improve sexual performance.
Horned melon may scare most people right away due to its strange yet really exotic appearance. Those who are not familiar with this fruit may thought this fruit is some kinds of dragon’s egg. Well, horned melon, among locals of Africa where this fruit is originated from, is well known as kiwano or African horned cucumber.
So, it is just another variety of cucumber but with fruitier flavor similar to passion fruit. Though this fruit is native to Sub-Saharan Africa but now this fruit is widely cultivated in some regions of United States, Europe and New Zealand.
This cucumber is so rich of minerals especially magnesium and vitamin C but beside that, the most important thing about horned melon is its calories amount which could reach up to 44 kcal per 100 gram. There are some studies have been conducted to find out more information about horned melon and based on those studies, horned melon contains some amazing compounds that could help regulating stress hormone, so it is great to treat conditions like stress, anxiety even could help dealing with symptoms of depression.
Jackalberry is the English name of African ebony. It is among exotic species of large trees found only savannah of Africa. This tree is cultivated for its fruit but not all tree could bear fruits. The most unique thing about jackalberry is it has gender and only female tree that could bear fruits while the male tree couldn’t but the leaves are nutritious foods for wild animals like elephants and buffalo.
As mentioned above, jackalberry tree is especially cultivated for its fruits because in regions like Africa where food crisis has become daily issue, tree like jackalberry is very precious. The fruit is just like common berry fruit size which is around 2 cm and turn from green to yellow when ripe. Its fruit has been cooked for its nutrition while sometimes the fruit is ground into flour or dried. The taste is quite unique with the combination of chalky texture and lemon-like flavor.
Kei apple is one more exotic fruit from Africa, especially the southern regions that people should aware of. This fruit has scientific name Dovyalis caffra while the name Kei comes from where the fruit is wildly growing around Kei River while the name apple comes from its flavor which similar to apple though the size is smaller that common apple with diameter only around 2 – 4 cm. The fruit is edible and quite mouth-watering with bright yellow or orange when ripe.
Surprisingly, there are some studies have been conducted to learn more about nutritional value of kei apple and the same studies showed that kei apple contains some powerful antioxidants including polyphenol and quite rich of amino acid. The locals are using kei apple as part of their traditional remedy to treat chest pain and due to its anti-inflammatory properties, kei apple is also effective to deal with condition like rheumatism and fever.
Marula is native to southern Africa, Madagascar and West Africa. This fruit is one of the exotic fruits which are packed with super nutrients. This fruit comes from genus Brachystegia that makes this fruit is close relative to mango, cashew and pistachio. The name marula itself is derived from ancient Greek word which means ‘hard nut’ because the fruity flesh contains seed as hard as stone in the core.
Marula has yellow skin while the white flesh inside is so rich of vitamin C. Some studies even stated that vitamin C contained in marula is eight times amount of vitamin C found in orange, so don’t expect this fruit would be sweet, instead the flavor is quite tart. As rich of vitamin C, marula is also excellent antioxidant source. The ascorbic acid content will help to making sure optimal absorption of certain nutrients, especially iron to help improve human body metabolism.
There are a lot of varieties of carissa but the most popular one is Carissa macrocarpa, native to South Africa which has local name as Large Num-Num while the English word for this fruit is well known as Natal Plum. The fruit is totally edible, oval size with red color of the skin when ripe.
There myth that said, natal plum plant is poisonous but as it said, it is only myth. This opinion may refer to some other varieties of plant with similar appearance. It means when you are in the middle of Africa and found this kind of fruit; at least you should be careful and make sure the fruit is natal plum which is the edible one and not the poisonous one.
This fruit is rich of vitamin C and minerals like magnesium which make this fruit excellent source of antioxidant that could help improving your body metabolism. Surely you have know how much benefits of organic fruits and vegetables and carissa is one of those fruit considered as excellent source of some essential nutrients especially for African that should deal with food crisis.
White Star Apple
White star apple is tropical fruit, native to Nigeria, Africa. It has scientific name Chrysophyllum aibidum. If you have been familiar with star apple and white star apple is one of the closest variety but with white flesh inside instead of purple.
Just like the health benefits of star apple, white star apple also has some amazing benefits for human health. The locals have been using white star apple as home remedy to treat conditions like toothache and sore throat. As it is so rich of dietary fiber, white star apple is also excellent solution to deal with constipation. The most important thing you should know about white star apple is, this fruit is super rich of vitamin C and the amount is even higher than vitamin C found in guava and orange. This fruit also among foods that lower cholesterol level you should consider to add to your daily diet to help managing your cholesterol.
From the list of African fruits and the health benefits above, could you mention how much fruits you have taste or at least you have seen? Actually, it is not a surprise if you haven’t taste a single fruit mentioned above and perhaps it is the first times you know that those fruits are actually exist. This world is very extensive and no matter how dry the climate in Africa is, that continent is also one of the richest places in this world.