Pouteria sapota, mamey sapote, is a species of tree native to Central America, naturally ranging from southern Mexico to southern Costa Rica. Today, the tree is cultivated not only in Mexico, but also in Central America, the Caribbean, and South Florida for its fruit, which is commonly eaten in many Latin American countries. It has different names depending on the country: mamey, zapote colorado, níspero and zapote rojo (South America), among others.
Mamey sapote is a large and highly ornamental evergreen tree that can reach a height of 15 to 45 meters (60 to 140 feet) at maturity. Like most fruit trees, it is mainly propagated by grafting, which ensures the new plant has the same characteristics as the parent, especially its fruit. It is also considerably faster than growing trees by seed.
The leaves are pointed at both ends, 4 to 12 inches in length and grow in clusters at the ends of branches.
The fruit is about 10 to 25 cm long and 8 to 12 cm wide and has flesh ranging in color from pink to orange to red. The brown skin has a texture somewhat between sandpaper and the fuzz on a peach. The fruit's texture is creamy and soft. A mamey sapote is ripe when the flesh is pink when a fleck of the skin is removed. The flesh should give slightly, as with a ripe kiwifruit.
The fruit is eaten raw or made into milkshakes, smoothies, ice cream and fruit bars. It can be used to produce marmalade and jelly. Some consider the fruit to be an aphrodisiac. Some beauty products use oil pressed from the seed, otherwise known as sapayul oil.The fruit is an excellent source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, and is a good source of riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E, manganese, potassium and dietary fiber. Research has identified several new carotenoids from the ripe fruit.
Choosing nutrient-dense foods that are highly satiating for relatively few calories is a simple way to lose or prevent unwanted pounds. Mamey sapote fills you up – and helps delay the onset of hunger – in a few ways. According to the USDA, roughly 30 percent of the fruit’s carbohydrates come from starch.
These complex carbohydrates contribute to long-term satiety because they take longer to digest. More significantly, mamey sapote is a high-fiber food that offers substantial amounts of both types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Its insoluble fiber takes up space in your stomach to help you feel fuller on fewer calories, while its soluble fiber slows the rate at which digested food exits your stomach.
Mamey sapote is a heart-healthy food. The fruit’s soluble fiber promotes healthy cholesterol levels, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease. Its high potassium content protects cardiovascular health by keeping blood pressure in check and supporting normal heart function.
As an excellent source of vitamin C, mamey sapote helps maintain firm capillaries and blood vessels. Its substantial vitamin E content helps prevent the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels and arteries, which lowers your risk of heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease.
As antioxidants, vitamins C and E also protect against the kind of free-radical damage associated with heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Vitamin E is particularly beneficial to cardiovascular health, as it helps prevent the oxidation of artery-damaging LDL cholesterol.
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