This week’s post is coming all the way from Costa Rica! B4BC Ambassador Megan Pischke is spending her summer down south and is sharing with us one of her favorite foods she has discovered, guanabana:
I discovered guanabana last summer while I was in Costa Rica gathering my strength and health after a long year of cancer treatments. One day, my girlfriend ordered me the most delicious smoothie I had drank in a very long time. It tasted like pineapple, marshmallows, and sour grapes; it was creamy and all the flavors were wrapped into one. It became my new favorite and I had one every day that summer. I’m back here in Costa Rica for the summer now. Not only do I want to plant a tree in my yard, but I also want to find the fruit and have it readily available for all my popsicle and smoothie needs.
Guanabana has many names and is also known as soursop, graviola, cherimoya or the Brazilian paw-paw. The fruit is native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and northern South America. However, if you’re not in any of these countries, many of them are beginning to export the fruit in different forms: freeze-dried, powder, vacuum-sealed packaging, or supplement pills. I recommend the fresh version and you can actually find it online to be shipped here!
This fruit can grow to be the size of a cantaloupe or larger. The dark green outer layer has spiky little thorns that soften when the fruit is ripe. On the inside it has tons of larger sized seeds (like almonds), and a squishy, white-colored pulp. It’s often juiced then frozen into ice cube trays and used for smoothies, ice cream, pies etc. Not only is the actual fruit beneficial, all the other parts of this plant, from the leaves to the seeds, have a long history of medicinal use in the Americas.
My friend Jenny Smith, tropical rainforest tree expert and the founder of Community Carbon Trees Costa Rica, had a few things to tell me when I shared my love for guanabana. It turns out there are a few studies out there that are claiming this fruit has anti-cancer properties. Although they have never had any human trials, there is very strong evidence that guanabana has anti-viral and anti-tumor effects, along with some other serious health benefits. “The fruit is considered to be a broad spectrum anti-microbial agent against bacterial infections. It is also useful against fungus and mold infections. Proven effective against internal parasites and worms, it also regulates arterial pressure. Guanabana fruit combats tension, nervous disorders and is considered an anti-depressant,” says Jenny Smith.
As I combed over all the information I could find on this amazing fruit, I realized that there is some seriously strong evidence that this is a cancer-killer. For now, these tests are only in labs and although I’m really excited, I realize that there is still some major work to do (like human trials). Interestingly enough, opposition comes from some of the bigger cancer care centers. However, this won’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying regular smoothies, sorbet and popsicles while they are freshly available to me.
My Favorite Smoothie:
- Frozen Guanabana
- Aloe Vera
Instructions: Blend all ingredients and ENJOY!