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Friday, March 1, 2024

Sweet and sour, healthy by the hour: Discovering the benefits of lanzones

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Lansium parasiticum, more commonly named langsat or lanzones, is a species of tree that is part of the Mahogany family, native to the Southeast Asian region. Despite the scientific name, it is not parasitic and is harvested as a well-loved fruit.

Although it looks like potatoes, the fruits are renowned for their flavor: tangy, sweet, and sour, identical to pomelo.  Meanwhile, inside, they have white flesh containing inedible, bitter seeds.

It is popularly grown in various areas in southern Luzon, Mindanao, and especially in Camiguin, where the province is known as the lanzones capital of the Philippines. The annual Lanzones Festival celebrated in Sagay, Camiguin, is held in the third week of October.

Though lanzones can be eaten raw, the fruits have also been made into various products, ranging from ice cream, jam, and wine to turmeric brew. They have also served as components for medical applications, such as treating malaria and dysentery.

Lanzones provide a significant number of health benefits when consumed:

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Edible portions of lanzones contain fair amounts of dietary fiber, which is good for digestion and cholesterol control. A hundred grams of lanzones carries 57 calories, having no saturated fats.

The fruit’s sweetness is due to its fructose and sucrose contents, which boost energy and help consumers revitalize through electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals.

It has B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, folates, thiamin, and niacin. These are essential vitamins as they act as assistants in helping the body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Lanzones also carry small amounts of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium. Potassium contributes to managing heart rate and blood pressure, helping protect from high blood pressure and strokes.

Finally, as aforementioned, the fruit is also used as a component in medical applications. The fruit’s seeds possess compounds that prevent the growth of pathogens causing malaria. It also contains Vitamin C, where crushed seeds help reduce body temperature and treat fever.

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