For lovers of tropical fruits, cherimoya is an exotic and nutrient-dense option. It has great health benefits, which include its anti-aging properties, maintain blood pressure, among others. However, before adding any new type of fruit to your diet, it is best to understand where it comes from, what nutrients it contains, and the potential health benefits it can have.
What is Cherimoya?
Cherimoya is the name of the edible fruit borne of a tree with the same name. Scientifically known as Annona cherimola, this shrub or tree, is native to South America, specifically Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. Although the Cherimoya tree has been naturalized in other areas of the world, it is primarily found in tropical regions. The fruit of this tree is green when ripe and is covered with overlapping scales. It is typically heart-shaped or round and tends to be no larger than a grapefruit. Some cherimoyas may weigh up to 5-6 pounds, but this is quite rare.
The flesh of this fruit is creamy, white, and has a unique blend of flavors that is comparable to bananas, mangos, and pineapples. The edible pulpy interior can be easily scooped out with a spoon when ripe. The fruit has black or brown seeds which are inedible, as they contain dangerous toxins.
Cherimoya, which is also sometimes known as custard apple, is popular in South & Central America. In recent years, it has been exported to several non-tropical countries. Not only are they relatively easy to cultivate, but these fruits are also packed with nutrients and organic compounds that make it an excellent dietary addition. 
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.68|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||17.71|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||3|
|Sugars, total including NLEA [g]||12.87|
|Glucose (dextrose) [g]||5.93|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||10|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||0.27|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||17|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||26|
|Potassium, K [mg]||287|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||7|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.16|
|Copper, Cu [mg]||0.07|
|Manganese, Mn [mg]||0.09|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||12.6|
|Pantothenic acid [mg]||0.35|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.26|
|Folate, total [µg]||23|
|Folate, food [µg]||23|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||23|
|Carotene, beta [µg]||2|
|Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]||1|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||5|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]||6|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.27|
|Tocopherol, gamma [mg]||0.01|
|Tocotrienol, beta [mg]||0.01|
|Tocotrienol, gamma [mg]||0.03|
|Tocotrienol, delta [mg]||0.05|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.23|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.06|
|16:1 c [g]||0.03|
|18:1 c [g]||0.02|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.19|
|18:2 n-6 c,c [g]||0.03|
|18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA) [g]||0.16|
|Aspartic acid [g]||0.11|
|Glutamic acid [g]||0.2|
|Sources include : USDA |
Nutrition Facts of Cherimoya
Cherimoya has an impressive nutrient profile, including high levels of vitamin C and B vitamins, as well as copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and dietary fiber. There are a relatively low number of calories, at only 75 calories per 100-gram serving, as well as low levels of fat. Finally, there are some polyphenolic antioxidants found in this fruit that have a powerful effect on your overall health. 
Health Benefits of Cherimoya
Some of the most notable health benefits of cherimoya include its ability to improve the skin quality, strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, support bone health and stimulate cognition, among others.
With a high level of vitamin C, this fruit is ideal for helping the body produce more vitamin C, which is a critical element of collagen production. Collagen is required for the creation of every tissue, cell and muscle fiber in the body, including the skin. It can also stimulate the immune system to handle any skin irritation caused by infection or chronic diseases. 
Antioxidants present in cherimoya have been linked to reducing the concentration of free radicals in the body. This can reduce oxidative stress in the skin and other organ systems. Ultimately, you will see a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, and other blemishes, helping you look younger for longer. 
Lowers Blood Pressure
With a notable level of potassium in cherimoya, this fruit can help to naturally lower your blood pressure. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it relaxes tension in the blood vessels and arteries, which reduces strain on the cardiovascular system. It has also been traditionally used to manage hypertension in countries like Malaysia and Peru.  
Improves Bone Health
With a diverse range of minerals, cherimoya has been linked to improving the bone mineral density, particularly with its high level of copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. This might help delay the onset of osteoporosis and other age-related diseases.
Boosts Immune System
There are quite a few antioxidants found in cherimoya, in addition to vitamin C, which can stimulate the production of white blood cells in the body. This can function as the first line of defense for the body and can help to prevent acute as well as chronic diseases. 
Vitamin B6 is closely linked to cognitive function, particularly in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. With a significant concentration of vitamin B6 in cherimoya, this fruit has long been known as a brain booster. 
Amongst other beneficial nutrients, cherimoya is also packed with acetogenins. A study published in the Cancer Research journal deems these polyketides capable of offering protection against colon, pancreatic, and breast cancer through anti-tumor and cytotoxic activity. 
Improves Heart Health
The healthy level of dietary fiber in cherimoya helps the body absorb less cholesterol from the food you consume, thus lowering your chances of atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, and coronary heart disease. 
How to Eat Cherimoya?
The best way to eat cherimoya is raw, although it is commonly mixed in with ice creams and other sweet treats. Beginning with a ripe cherimoya, you can slice the fruit in half, revealing the milky flesh in the center, as well as the seeds embedded in it. You will notice that pieces of the flesh will easily break off. You can then spoon out chunks of the fruit with a spoon, similar to eating an avocado. The seeds should be easy to separate, either with the spoon or you can gulp the fruit around the seeds and then spit them out. Do not swallow these seeds, as they are poisonous.
If you don’t want to scoop out and eat the fruit, it is also a wonderful addition to fruit smoothies and salads.
Side Effects of Cherimoya
Despite the many health benefits of cherimoya, there are some potential health risks you should be aware of, including complications with pregnancy, allergic reactions, and possible toxicity. Provided you consume the right parts of the fruit in moderation, you should be able to avoid these side effects.
Toxicity – Some elements of cherimoya fruit do have toxic properties, such as the skin of the fruit and the seeds. Do not consume the skin or the seeds for any reason, due to the presence of toxic alkaloids. In severe cases, consumption can even cause paralysis. 
Allergic Reactions – Some people experience allergic reactions to cherimoya, particularly in the form of skin rashes or irritation. If you experience this side effect or any swelling or inflammation in the mouth or throat, discontinue eating the fruit immediately.
Pregnancy – Some research has pointed to potential complications for pregnant women who eat this fruit, due to its stimulant nature. So, consult a doctor before adding this exotic fruit to your pregnancy diet.