Quenepa is something of a mixture between a lime and a lychee. Some call it limoncillo, but there are other names for the Spanish lime as well, such as genip, genipe, ginepa, chenet, canepa, skinip, and kinnip. The Latin name is “melicoccus bijugatus.” But let’s just stick to quenepa or Spanish lime. The taste is sour and sweet, while the texture is soft. The hard shell is the biggest challenge to opening the fruit. Once you peel the shell, you’ll notice a thin layer of pulp.
Before we get to the benefits of the quenepa fruit, let’s take a look at some of the nutritional facts. After all, the nutritional facts are what will help us understand the benefits.
- Quenepa is a great source of fibre.
- In terms of vitamins, quenepa is rich in B1, B3, B6, B12, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
- Some minerals that can be found in quenepa include calcium and phosphorus.
- Last, but not least, as with many other exotic fruits, quenepa is rich in antioxidants, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, tryptophan, carotene, and tannins.
That being said, let’s take a look at the quenepa’s benefits. You can find this fruit in many dishes throughout the tropics.
Improves your bones
As I mentioned, quenepa is a great source of calcium. It also has a low amount of iron, making it great for improving the strength of your bones. Calcium also improves the health of your teeth and gums. Consuming quenepa ensures that your bones have strength and durability as you age.
Improves your immune system
All tropical fruit contains vitamin C and other minerals that are crucial for the proper functioning of our body and our immune system. Without vitamin C, our immune system can’t function properly. But that’s not all. Quenepa also contains vitamin A. These two vitamins stimulate the production of white blood cells.
Supports digestive health
One of the most important compounds of quenepa is digestive fibre. For proper digestive health, we need lots of fibre. Many fruits are rich in fibre, but also high in sugar. Quenepa is great because it is low in sugar and very high in fibre. Fibre improves our digestive health by bulking up stool and stimulating peristaltic motion. As a result, you won’t experience constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, or gas.
Improves the urinary system
When you have a urinary tract infection, doctors advise you to take vitamin A supplements. But if you consume quenepa on a regular basis, that won’t be necessary. Thanks to its richness in vitamin A, quenepa keeps your urinary system healthy.
Helps with weight loss
One of the best fruits for weight loss is grapefruit. The reason is simple: grapefruit is very low in fat and calories and high in fibre. But quenepa is even better.
Quenepa is also a great source of iron, which is crucial for the production of red blood cells and circulation. If your iron sources are depleted, you can suffer from anaemia, which manifests as fatigue and weakness. So, to not feel weak, eat quenepa.
For women, one of the best quenepa fruit benefits is a hormonal balance. The exotic fruit is rich in phosphorus, a mineral that supports hormonal function. Our bodies don’t create phosphorus; we can only source it from food. Quenepa contains high amounts of the mineral. And once you achieve hormonal balance, your mood stabilizes. For example, in some tropical countries, this fruit is used as a remedy for anxiety and mood swings.
Improves your sleep
One of the key compounds of quenepa is tryptophan. The compound is known for improving sleep as it stimulates the production of serotonin. Consuming the fruit will clear your mind, and allow you to have a good night’s sleep.
Reduces the risk of diabetes
As I mentioned, quenepa is low on sugar, which makes it a great fruit for controlling blood sugar. And because it is rich in fibre, the fruit has a positive effect on the blood sugar levels in your body. People suffering from diabetes can keep their sugar at bay. But even those who are not diagnosed can reduce the risk by consuming the fruit on a regular basis.
Improves blood pressure
Fibre also helps to lower cholesterol. And once you get rid of cholesterol, you reduce the risk of high blood pressure. In addition, quenepa is rich in antioxidants that prevent many cardiovascular diseases.
How to eat Quenepa
You might think fruit is a fruit. But quenepa is an exotic fruit. And as such, there is a different way of eating it. For starters, quenepa contains several toxins, and because of that, you must wait until it is fully ripe before you can eat it.
When the fruit is ripe, bite the shell to break it. Just chew the fruit off the seed. The seeds can be big and hard, and they can be dangerous for little children. Even adults can choke on them, so avoid swallowing the seed. Once you have finished eating, the seed should be bare. Quenepa is definitely a habit-forming fruit!
The seeds are edible once cooked, and they taste great. You can cook them and mix them with honey. In South America, the seeds are used as an alternative to cassava flour for baking.
To buy quenepa, visit an Asian or Mexican food market, but you may also be able to find it at other speciality markets.