Miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) is a type of berry that originates from Taiwan, now in West Africa too. This fruit is known for its ability to make sour foods sweet when eaten before the food. This ability is due to the presence of a glycoprotein in the fruit called “miraculin” which binds to receptors on the taste bud that causes acidic fruits and sour foods to be perceived as sweet. This sweet effect of the fruit lasts for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. The fruit is known by other names such as miraculous berry, miracle berry, sweet berry or magic berry. The berry itself has low sugar content and a mildly sweet tang with a firm pulp surrounding a bitter seed. Before the introduction of the fruit into the western world, it has been used by Africans to sweeten palm wines and other foods.
Health benefits of the miracle fruit
- Great for weight loss: Miracle fruit contains just 1 calorie per berry. It, therefore, can be substituted for high-calorie fruits and very beneficial for people who are trying to reduce their calorie intake. It can also be used as a sweetener to replace sugar.
- Great for diabetic patients: Research has shown that miracle fruit is good for diabetic patients as it contains active polyphenols which help improve insulin sensitivity and decrease plasma glucose among diabetic patients.
- Useful for patients that have undergone chemotherapy: Patients that have undergone chemotherapy usually have issues with their taste bud and this result in poor nutrition. Research has shown that giving these patients the miracle fruit helps them to eat better thereby improving their nutritional status.
- Rich in antioxidants: The miracle fruit contains flavonoids that are useful in protecting the cells of the body against free radicals thereby reducing inflammation and stress on internal organs of the body.
- Rich in important vitamins: The magic berry contains vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, E and K which are important to the support of the immune system against diseases and infections, also important for skin health and bone health.