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Tropical Almond


Introduction of Tropical Almond


            Scientific name - Terminalia catappa


Having its roots in the Leadwood tree family, Terminalia catappa is a large tropical tree, that cultivates mainly in the tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia. It bores corky and light fruit that are dispersed by water. Having the similar taste to that of an almond, the seeds of the fruit are edible when fully ripened. Having both the male and female reproductive organs in the same individual; hermaphrodite, they are monoecious, with separate male and female flowers on the same tree. Both are 1 cm (0.39 in) in diameter, white to greenish, not immediately obvious with any petals; they are produced on axillary or terminal spikes.


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About fruit


The fruit of tropical almond is a drupe 57 cm (2.02.8 in) long and 35.5 cm (1.22.2 in) broad, with a slight wing, they are about the size and shape of an almond fruit. At its initial stage, they are green in color and then yellow and eventually become red when ripe. On the other hand, full-sized fruits are green at its first stage, turn red, then brown then again becomes yellow at maturity, however, it contains only one seed. They are 2 inches or more long and 1 inch across. At its young stage the plump and stringy pulp surrounding the large seed is safe to eat and tastes sweet and then slightly sour thereafter. There is a light-brown, thick and hard stone inside the shell and it contains an almond-like kernel that is also edible. There are certain specific areas where flowering and fruiting occurs throughout the year.

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Nutritional Value of Tropical Almond


Tropical Almond (Terminalia catappa),
Nutritional value per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 575 Kcal 29%
Carbohydrates 21.67 g 16%
Protein 21.22 g 38%
Total Fat 49.42 g 165%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 12.20 g 30%
Vitamins
Folates 50 g 12.5%
Niacin 3.385 mg 21%
Pantothenic acid 0.47 mg 9%
Pyridoxine 0.143 mg 11%
Riboflavin 1.014 mg 78%
Thiamin 0.211 mg 16%
Vitamin A 1 IU 0%
Vitamin C 0 mg 0%
Vitamin E 26 mg 173%
Electrolytes
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Potassium 705 mg 15%
Minerals
Calcium 264 mg 26%
Copper 0.996 mg 110%
Iron 0.20 mg 2.5%
Iron 3.72 mg 46.5%
Magnesium 268 mg 67%
Manganese 2.285 mg 99%
Phosphorus 484 mg 69%
Selenium 2.5 g 4.5%
Zinc 3.08 mg 28%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene- 1 g --
Crypto-xanthin- 0 g --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 1 g --


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Habitat


Seeing that the tree has been unfurled extensively by humans, the native range is in doubt. However, sources say that it has long been naturalized in a broad belt widening from Africa to northern Australia and New Guinea through Southeast Asia and Micronesia into the Indian Subcontinent. Having said all that, the plant has also been introduced to several parts of the US, more recently. In view of the fact that, they are a rare case tropical deciduous, until the mid 20th century, the tree has been widely used in Brazilian urban landscaping, for the reason that their fallen leaves would give an "European" flair to the street. Currently, this practice is been abolished and the "amendoeiras" are being replaced by native, evergreen trees.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10b and 11 considers this has a functional and attractive option for gardeners mainly because of its bright fall colors and tasty fruit. They are known to provide an excellent shade given their large leaves and mature heights of 30 to 55 feet. They are salt and drought tolerant. Despite its attractive feature, it does create a lot of litter and not advised to plant close to sidewalks and pool areas. Given that the almonds are high in tannic acid, it has all potentiality to stain cars and footpath when the nuts fall. However, the tree is worth the mess it makes. A bit of planning before planting will help get rid of potential problems!

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Health Benefits of Tropical Almond


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The leaves and bark of the tree is astringent and with regards to medicinal benefits, the tree has had innumerable uses in folk medicine and they are highly helpful in the treatment of following ailments such as:

Cancer

Sickle cell disorders

Dysentery

Cough

Leprosy

Nausea

Diarrhea

Intestinal parasites

Eye problems

Rheumatism

Colic

Liver disease

Scabies

Upset stomach, thrush and as an antibacterial agent and contraceptive.

Modern research study suggests that they might be useful in treating high blood pressure. Leaf extracts are known to have some anti-diabetic and antioxidant activities. Poles apart, the leaves and bark are also used to reduce bacterial infections amongst the tanks inhabitants; they are simply put in fish tanks.

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