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Guanabana: The Spiky Superfood that Inhibits Cancer Cells 

By Simeon Darwick
Nutritional Health Coach

Photo Illustration by Pinar Istek

Guanabana, also known as Soursop, is a soft fruit with green skin and a thorny outward appearance, but it has a white fleshy appearance on the inside with large seeds.  It is also described as a thorny custard apple. The flavor is sweet and sour, creamy and intoxicating.  A combination of pineapple, strawberry, citrus, and coconut all in one, whoh!

Not only is this fruit delicious; it also has powerful health benefits that stand it along side some of the most well known superfoods. Although there haven’t been many studies to date on the benefits of the guanabana, there is a lot of research now happening that suggests that this fruit is not just beneficial for one’s health, but can be used as a compliment to treating cancer.

Guanabana contains significant amounts of vitamin B1 and B2 as well as Vitamin C, known for its ability to combat diseases and boost the immune system.  The leaves, roots and bark of the guanabana have been studied extensively by the University of Purdue’s school of pharmacy, which they concluded contain special organic compounds that have the ability to target and skill six types of human cancerous cells.  These compounds inhibit enzyme processes only found in the membranes of cancerous tumor cells, and have no toxicity to healthy cells.  Many of these compounds have demonstrated selective toxicity to tumor cells at very low dosages.

Some research in the Caribbean indicates that high consumption of Guanabana may lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s due to the high concentration of annonacin, a neurotoxin, found in the seeds. But just like everything, in moderation it seems this superfood is more than worthwhile to include in the tropical diet.

In Nosara, you can get this fruit at the Tuesday organic farmer’s market. Look for guanabana pulp at the larger supermarkets and you can also sometimes special order the fruit from one of the trucks that sell fruits & vegetables. Guanabana drinks or smoothies are also available at many local restaurants.

    How to Prepare Guanabana

  • Remove the seeds and blend ½ cup guanabana with 2 cups of water, pipa (coconut water), milk or another liquid of your choice.
  • Remove the seeds, freeze it and make your own ice cream by adding salt and running it through a juicer, ice cream machine or blender so it’s thick and creamy.
  • Use it as an ice pack for inflammation.  Place it on the swollen body part, lay back and relax.

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