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Pitanga fruit (Eugenia uniflora) or Surinam cherry is a tropical fruit. It’s a member of the myrtle (Myrtaceae) family. Pitanga fruit or Surinam cherry is native to Suriname and some other South American countries like Guyana, Brazil, and Uruguay.
Surinam cherries are high in vitamins and minerals. One cup (173 grams) of raw surinam cherry contains:
Protein: 1.4 grams
Calcium: 16 milligrams
Magnesium: 21 milligrams
Potassium: 178 milligrams
Vitamin C: 46 milligrams
Vitamin A: 130 micrograms of retinol activity equivalents (RAE)
Surinam Cherry Health Benefits
Surinam cherry has been used in traditional medicine for different health conditions, including:
Lower blood pressure
Research on surinam cherries is still in the early stages. Limited research has been done via lab or test-tube studies. More studies are needed to learn how this fruit affects people’s health.
Antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Researchers have found that surinam cherry essential oils and leaf extracts may have antifungal properties. In early lab studies, the extract and essential oils have been found to have antifungal activity against Candida. This fungus lives naturally on your body but may cause infections, especially in people with poor immune systems.
Lab studies have also found that extracts made from surinam cherry fruits and leaves may be effective against Streptococcus, Listeria, and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
Streptococcus (strep) can cause skin and throat infections. Listeria is a serious infection caused by eating contaminated foods. Staphylococcus (staph) mostly infects the skin. MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a type of staph infection that can’t be treated with regular antibiotics.
Rich in plant compounds. The darker the pitanga fruit, the more plant compounds it has. Experts say that the rare dark purple-colored fruits have the highest antioxidant potential, with a higher concentration of carotenoids and phenolic compounds, compared to the red and yellow fruits. The peel has more of these compounds than the flesh.
Carotenoids are natural pigments in plants that are produced during photosynthesis. These pigments cause the bright colors of the piranha fruits. Carotenoids have antioxidant properties and may have potential to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Pitanga fruits are a good source of the following antioxidants:
Antioxidants are substances that may help delay or prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. These are unstable molecules that your body naturally produces when it converts food into energy or when you exercise.
Promotes skin health. Surinam cherries are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and helps protect from some types of cell damage. It’s also needed to make collagen, the main protein in your body that’s essential for wound healing. Women should get 75 milligrams of vitamin C a day, and men need 90 milligrams.
Written by Sharlene Tan. Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on June 03, 2022 (Webmd)