Soursop: The Vitamin C Superfruit
1. Filled with Beneficial Antioxidants that May Help Reduce Eye Disease
Many of the potential guanabana benefits are thought to be derived from its antioxidant properties. (1) Studies show that the phytonutrients found in the fruit are high in antioxidant compounds, including alkaloids, saponins, terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarins, lactones, anthraquinones, tannins, cardiac glycosides, phenols and phytosterols. This is quite a group that can help fight disease-causing cells and even block tumor growth. (2)
Additional studies have reported that antioxidants may also help with eye disease. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study led by the National Eye Institute found antioxidants to be useful, especially when consumed as a cocktail of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc. In one study, this combination actually lowered the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration by 25 percent in those who already had the disease. (3)
2. Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory and Antimicrobial Properties
Extracts from graviola leaves have shown anti-inflammatory properties in addition to their antimicrobial characteristics, making soursop a versatile anti-inflammatory food. Studies indicate that soursop may also be a natural anti-infection treatment for root canals. Often dangerous chemicals, such as sodium hypochlorite (a form of bleach), are used to irrigate the root canal to prevent infection. However, the dangers of these chemicals can pose health hazards. A study published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice shows that the use of graviola to irrigate the root canal is very effective, making it a much healthier option. (4)
3. May Help Fight Cancer
If you’ve ever wondered which fruits are good for cancer patients, soursop may top the charts due to its anti-cancer effects. Research published in Food & Function reports that bioactive components of graviola leaf extracts may have positive cancer-fighting properties. This is due to the free radical scavenging abilities and antioxidant enzymes they contain, thus helping to eliminate cancer cells. (5) It’s believed that the guanabana leaves kill cancer cells by blocking ATP production. ATP, aka adenosine triphosphate, is a usable form of energy for cells. This energy is contained within a chemical bond that, if released, can be used to foster other activity within the cells. (6)
However, the graviola leaf extract can help block this activity, which may reduce the impact of the cancer cells by breaking them down until they fall apart. This is known as apoptosis or programmed cell death. Additionally, scientists at the Tepic Institute of Technology (Instituto Tecnológico de Tepic – ITT) in Mexico discovered acetogenins in the soursop fruit, which hold potent chemotherapeutic properties. (7)
So is gaunabana good for cancer? Keep in mind that current research is limited to in vitro studies, so it’s difficult to determine how soursop may affect the growth and development of cancer cells in humans. More studies are needed before experts can really determine whether the anti-cancer effects of soursop apply to the general population as well. It does, however, show potential as a cancer-fighting food.
4. Potentially Kills Pancreatic Cancer Cells
Graviola extract has shown an ability to help kill numerous types of cancer cells, specifically pancreatic cancer cells. A study conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that the extract can greatly reduce pancreatic cancer. Because cancer cells have more glucose, cell growth is typically enhanced as well as tumor growth. However, in this study, cells that were treated with graviola extract decreased their glucose uptake when compared to untreated cells. This decrease can make it difficult for the bad cells to multiply and grow. This helps block the spread of cancer. (8)
5. Treats Infections
Graviola is often used to treat infections caused by bacteria and parasites, including leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is a disease that’s transmitted through the bite of sand fleas. It’s also been used to treat herpes, coughing and vomiting. Bacterial and viral infections can cause coughing, sneezing, fever and more symptoms. While these symptoms may be frustrating, they’re effective since they’re part of the method that the body uses to trigger the immune system to get to work ridding the body of any infection. Graviola and graviola tea may be able to efficiently fight the infection and get you back on your feet.