Tamarillo or tree tomatoes, locally known as ‘ibinyomoro’ are fruits loved by people of all age groups. And while it is common to spot different types of juices in many restaurants, one can rarely miss a glass of ibinyomoro juice.
A part from one taking them as juice, nutritionists say the natural fruit has more health benefits, which makes it a key fruit to include on one’s menu.
Rene Tabaro, a nutritionist and dietician at King Faisal Hospital, Kigali, says that the fruit is healthy and daily intake can work wonders when it comes to improving one’s weight.
“For those who are struggling to maintain a good and healthy weight, raw and fresh tree tomato a day will aid in that. The juice in the fruit acts as a detoxifier as its acidic properties aid in cutting down fat,” he says.
Tree tomatoes are also rich in vitamins and mineral salts. They also contain iron and potassium.
Tabaro explains that the presence of potassium helps in balancing the harmful effects of high sodium levels in the heart. The presence of irons is vital for forming red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body, as well as generating energy from the food one eats.
Apart from just being a loved fruit, Joseph Uwiragiye, the head of nutrition department at University Teaching Hospital, Kigali (CHUK), says the fruit is also abundant in vitamin C which plays a big role in fighting diseases.
“Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron found in fruits. It is also important in making new cells and clearing free radicals from the blood, which might damage the cells,” he adds.
Uwiragiye points out that vitamin C also plays a big role in healing of wounds, as well as repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.
Vitamin C also helps in repair of tissues in all parts of the body, he says.
“Antioxidants contained in the fruit help in fighting free radicals and prevent some diseases such as cancer, anaemia and hypertension, among others, says Uwiragiye.
Consuming the fruit will also ensure that the skin stays healthy and glowing all the time. He explains that this is due to the presence of vitamin A in it.
“The fruit contains anthocyanin and flavonids which protect the skin from oxidative stress and also aid in anti-aging.
Cabohydrates, protein, fat calcium, copper and zinc are just some of the other vitamins that tree tomato contains. All these can help in improving the immune system, according to Uwiragiye.
Eric Musengimana, a nutrition and diabetic specialist at Diet Therapy Company in Remera, Kigali, says the fruit is also known to control diabetes.
Tamarillo contains chlorogenic acid that is responsible in helping reduce the level of blood sugar, especially in people with type II diabetes mellitus.
“The antioxidant helps to lessen the oxidative stress in the liver and pancreas. Consuming the fruit on a light stomach will ensure better results,” he says.
In cases of inflamed tonsils, Musengimana says consumption of this fruit ensures its cure.
In some situations, the inflamed tonsil can be relieved of pain by just warming the plant’s leaves and wrapping them around the neck.
Further, high blood pressure can also be controlled with consumption of tamarillo, according to Musengimana.
“When you want to lower the high pressure levels, high intake of the fruit ensures that. This is because it possesses potassium and minerals that help to maintain normal blood pressure,” he adds.
The fruit can also be good for the heart, according to Tabaro. He explains that this is due to the presence of potassium, which assists in balancing the harmful response of high sodium levels in the heart.
He also notes that due to the presence of magnesium in it, it assists in the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system.
Uwiragiye says that because of its high content of fiber, it helps to eliminate the absorption of bad cholesterols in the body.
“It can also lower chances of stroke as well as oxidative stress. This is because of antioxidant properties found in the fruit,” he says, adding that it contains vitamin A which helps to restore the eye membrane’s moisture which acts as an obstacle to viruses and bacteria.
Uwiragiye says consuming the fruit prevents one from eye infections and eye disorders such as macular degeneration and cataract.