Fruits

Health benefits of Cagaita – Learn more about the properties of this fruit

The cagaita is a fruit scientifically called Eugenia dysenterica . This species has a green and yellow bark (perfect to represent Brazil, isn’t it?), up to four seeds in its interior and belongs to the Myrtaceae family . Cagaita and uvaia are also close relatives!

The other name by which it is known – cagaita-do-cerrado – already makes it clear which Brazilian biome this fruit is typical of, right? It can be found in the states of Goiás, Bahia, Minas Gerais and, of course, in Cerrado regions. It can also be known as Orvalha do campo or Uvalha do cerrado, according to the region in which it is found.

Cagaita is a small fruit, measuring about 3 cm, which has an acid taste and is reputed to be harmful to those who consume it. But is it true? Come find out!

CAGAITEIRA CHARACTERISTICS

• The cagaita tree is called cagaiteira and can reach up to 10 meters in height, although it commonly reaches 8 meters;

• Cagaiteira wood is widely used in constructions, as it has a thick and resistant bark;

• The plant is used to decorate environments, as it is very beautiful, especially during the flowering season;

• The leaves are used to make teas that are effective against diarrhea and can even be used to treat diabetes and jaundice;

• Flowering takes place between the months of August and September, when very fragrant white flowers can be appreciated;

• Fruiting takes place between September and October.

CAGAITA: WHAT IS IT FOR? IS IT BAD?

Many people believe that eating cagaita is bad for you . This is due to the fruit’s reputation for causing a laxative effect on those who consume it, but this is only partially true. Firstly, the ripe fruit must be exposed to the sun for a long period so that the fermentation of substances that will lead to this effect takes place. Afterwards, it is necessary that the individual consumes the fruit in excess to fall victim to it, and we already know that no excess is good, right?

Therefore, the ideal is always to strive for moderation.

So  cagaita is bad?

Not unless consumed in excess and after long periods in the sun after it is ripe.

But think on the bright side: if by chance you have diarrhea from eating a lot of cagaita, just make tea with the cagaiteira leaves to get rid of the discomfort! And as only the cagaita in excess causes this discomfort, how about checking some recipes with this tasty fruit?

HOW TO MAKE A DELICIOUS CAGAITA JUICE?

Although this is not the hottest time of year, some regions still enjoy sunny days that call for a very cold juice. In that case, how about a little change and try some cagaita juice? It’s very easy to do!

Ingredients:

 20 cagaitas

 One liter of water

 Ice to taste

You can sweeten it if you prefer.

Way of doing:

At first, take the fruit to the blender, but don’t blend! Just leave on the pulse function for the seeds to come loose. Once the pulp is free of lumps, you can beat it with water until you get the smooth consistency. If you choose to sweeten it, this is the time to add sugar too.

Once the juice is made, just serve it with ice.

But not only that! When it comes to cagaita, recipes abound. Let’s see how to make two more?

CAGAITA: MOUTHWATERING RECIPES!

Cagaita popsicle

• 6 ripe shit

• 2 glasses of water

• Popsicle shapes

Preparation method:

Peel the cagaitas and cut them, removing the pits. Then take the fruit and water to the blender and blend until you get a creamy consistency. Afterwards, just take the mixture to the molds and wait for it to freeze.

shit jelly

• 2 kilos of cagaita pulp

• 1 teaspoon of pectin

• 400g of sugar

• Sterilized glass jars

You can reduce or double the revenue if necessary.

Preparation mode:

Place the pulp, pectin and sugar on the fire and stir until it reaches the “straight edge” point. Then, just put it in the previously sterilized pots, preferably with a wide mouth. It can be consumed with cakes, breads, toast…

THE 4 BIGGEST BENEFITS OF CAGAITA

1. Cagaita acts in the biological control of verminosis – the extract from the leaves of this species is a potent molluscicide that kills the intermediate hosts of the schistosomiasis verminosis, known as water belly, a problem especially among children who live in less favored regions;

2. Cagaiteira flowers have great beekeeping potential – this means that they produce enough raw material for pollination, generating food products such as honey;

3. Cagaita and diabetes – diabetes is a disease that affects even children with a few years of age. Although the ideal is to avoid excessive consumption of sugars, cagaita has been shown to be a good adjuvant in the treatment of this pathology;

4. Cagaita medicinal use – the fruit, pulp, oil, leaves and flowers can be used in the treatment of some other pathologies, detailed below, in properties of the cagaita.

CAGAITA PROPERTIES

• Aids weight loss: cagaita leaf tea helps in the weight loss process;

• Very few calories: 100 g of fruit provide between 20 and 30 calories;

• B-complex vitamins, important in cell maintenance, breathing and repair;

• Vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and helps with iron absorption;

• Niacin, an essential vitamin for energy production;

• Proteins, cell repairers;

• High content of antioxidants, which protect cells from the harmful effects of free radicals;

• Diuretic function, excellent for preventing and improving abdominal swelling;

• Astringent action, which works by reducing inflammation;

• Cagaiteira flowers are used to treat kidney diseases;

• High concentration of calcium, magnesium and iron, essential minerals for the proper functioning of the body;

• Cagaita (fruit) can be consumed fresh , in the form of jelly, liqueur, juice, candy or ice cream;

• Cagaita fruit pulp oil comes from 2% fat, mainly composed of unsaturated fatty acids, or as they are popularly known as “good fats”, which reduce cholesterol levels in the blood;

• It has antifungal activities, fighting diseases caused by fungi.

I WANT TO START A CAGAITEIRA PLANTATION! HOW TO PLANT CAGAITA?

1. The first thing you should keep in mind if you want to know how to plant cagaita is that the tree grows relatively slowly in its first two years of life. However, it is a plant that resists well to large variations in temperature, even surviving frosts of up to -3°C.

2. The type of soil preferred by the species is acidic and red, but it also does well in sandy and clayey soils .

3. After choosing the cultivation site well, you need to get a cagaiteira seedling to start planting. The seeds must be placed in plastic bags with red earth, sand and organic matter and then they must be left in the sun, being irrigated every other day. Germination takes place between two to three months and the seedling will have the appropriate size for planting in about a year.

4. The best time to plant cagaita is between September and November. When planting it is important that the holes have 50 x 50 x 50 cm and a spacing of 6 x 6 meters between them.

5. It is not a species that needs great care during its cultivation, but it is important to spread wax dust, prune the branches and remove weeds from time to time.

Fruiting will begin between 4 to 7 years after planting, a variable time depending on the region and form of cultivation.

And you, did you already know the cagaita? It is not well known in most regions of Brazil, but it has been gaining ground in recent times. Don’t forget to let us know if you make any of the recipes and also share it with friends and family!

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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