Properties and Benefits of Jabuticaba: Jabuticabeira, jaboticaba or jabuticaba (Plinia cauliflora) is the sweet fruit of a Brazilian native tree with the same name. Unlike other fruits, jabuticabas grow on the trunk of the tree, making quite a remarkable view out during the fruit-bearing period. In addition to being a tropical delight, the fruit also boasts several impressive health benefits that can be attributed to high levels of antioxidants and a good nutritional profile.
The dark color of the skin is indicative of high concentrations of antioxidants, hence the potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiaging properties of the fruit. Moreover, jabuticaba is used to improve respiratory conditions such as asthma, treat diarrhea and stop hair loss. Due to its good vitamin and mineral content, it makes an excellent tonic and strong detox food. The fruit helps boost energy levels and reducing fatigue.
What does jabuticaba look like? Botanically speaking, jabuticaba is a berry. It is about the size of a plum, round and plump. It looks very much like a big, dark-colored grape. Ripe jabuticabas have a thicker, dark-purple, almost black skin and either glossy white or rose soft, jelly-like flesh. Unripe ones are bright green in color. Each fruit may have one up to four small seeds.
What does jabuticaba taste like? Jabuticaba skin and flesh are both edible. However, wheareas the flesh is soft, fragrant and sweet, quite similar to lychee, the skin has a sharp, acidic taste. The skin tastes a bit like that of some dark-colored mirabelle varieties, sour but refreshing.
Jabuticabas can be found throughout South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Brazil), in proximity to the trees they fall off of. Since the fruit spoils quickly after harvesting (maximum 3 days), it is difficult to find it outside these areas. Jabuticaba is also known as jabotica, jaboticaba, jabuticabeira, Brazilian grape, guapuru or guaperu.
Nutrition facts and health benefits of jabuticaba.
1) Recommended for asthma sufferers. It would appear that jabuticaba helps open bronchi, airway passages taking air into the lungs. Regular consumption is thus believed to help improve everyday life of asthma sufferers. However, it does not replace asthma medication.
2) Useful in cases of diarrhea. Traditional medical practices recommend jabuticaba for the treatment of diarrhea episodes. The fruit is a good source of important nutrients and thus acts as a tonic, promoting recovery as well as rehydration.
3) Anti-inflammatory properties. Jabuticaba is rich in potent antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation has been identified as a main factor in all forms of chronic disease ranging from diabetes and neurodegenerative mental illnesses to cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is believed that keeping inflammation levels under control with the help of a diet rich in natural anti-inflammatory foods such as berries can significantly lower the risks of developing chronic illnesses.
4) Delays aging. Studies reveal that jabuticaba has an antioxidant content far greater than that of blueberries. This would mean that regular consumption can help improve skin appearance significantly and delay aging signs such as wrinkles.
5) Rich in protein. Being a great source of protein, jabuticabas are a good alternative for anyone leading a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. They are also low in carbohydrates and low in calories.
6) Natural hair loss treatment. Several studies have revealed that Brazilian locals who consume jabuticaba fruit on a regular basis tend to have fuller hair, whereas locals who do not consume the fruit regularly suffer from a receding hairline.
7) Anticancer properties. According to research, jabuticabas contain several powerful anticancer compounds (anthocyanins) which may prove efficient in stopping the proliferation of cancerous cells. Jaboticabin is one such compound which exhibited a strong free radical scavenging activity and can be found in fresh, fully ripened fruit. Ongoing research is focusing on extracting such compounds in view of compiling a viable, more natural cancer treatment that lacks the horrific side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
8) Natural detox food. Jabuticaba has a strong detoxification effect on the liver, helping in the process of toxin elimination. Regular consumption is thus believed to help cleanse the body of toxins. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is our body that does the detoxification, with the help of our kidneys and liver. Eating right only helps this process, while poor eating hinders it.
Overal, jabuticaba is a healthy, nutritious fruit with a delightfully sweet aroma. It is a good source of important nutrients such as vitamins C and B1, calcium, iron and phosphorus as well as potent anthocyanins found in great amounts in the dark purple skin. Being an excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, jabuticaba offers ideal protection against chronic illnesses.
Should you ever find yourself in Brazil, don’t forget that you can rent your own jabuticaba tree and enjoy the experience of picking and eating the quaint little fruit growing on its trunk. Such an experience is sure to be unforgettable or, at least, unusually beautiful.