Ever heard of a fruit that makes sour foods turn sweet? Native to West Africa, the miracle fruit, or the Synsepalum Dulcificum berry, is known for its unique property to modify your sense of taste. A primarily sour-tasting fruit, described by some as a “less flavorful cranberry”, the real miracle begins after you eat it. The fruit contains a sugar-like protein called miraculin that binds to the taste buds of your tongue. Thanks to this protein, everything you consume after eating the berry tastes delightfully sweet – yes, even the sour or bitter foods!
For the miracle berry to work, you need to hold its pulp in your mouth for a minute and spread it over your tongue. The effect of the fruit lasts for about 2 hours. But the taste isn’t the only best thing about these fruits – they’re also quite healthy! Here are some benefits of miracle fruit.
1. Helps You Lose Weight
Who says you need to eat boring food to lose weight? The miracle fruit is rich in vitamin C, which is potent antioxidant known to help with the weight-loss process. In fact, studies show that individuals who contain adequate amounts of vitamin C in their body can burn up to 30% more fat than people who don’t.1 2 And since the fruit makes other foods taste sweet, it satisfies your sugar craving. In turn, you can manage your weight by eliminating actual sugary foods from your diet.
2. Prevents And Manages Diabetes
If you are struggling with insulin resistance, you could be at risk of developing diabetes. According to studies, eating miracle fruit could delay the progression of insulin resistance and hence, prevent diabetes.3 This hypoglycemic effect could due to the presence of miraculin – the taste-modifying sugar-like protein – in the berry.
3. Boosts Immunity
Rich in vitamin C, miracle fruit can give your immune system a boost. By eating the berries regularly, you can increase your body’s resistance to pathogens and decrease your risk of developing various diseases. If you’re sick, the berries might also help reduce the duration of the illness.4
4. Treats Hyperuricemia And Joint Pain
Miracle fruits are anti-inflammatory in nature. Caused by the excess uric acid in the blood and deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints, hyperuricemia can cause intense pain, stiffness in the joint, and lead to gout. The butanol content of miracle fruits can significantly relieve the symptoms of hyperuricemia and can also act as an effective means of treatment for acute gouty arthritis.5
5. Enhances Brain Function
Rich in antioxidants like polyphenols and phytochemicals, miracle fruit can improve the functioning of your brain. By regularly eating these berries, you can prevent your brain cells from succumbing to oxidative damage caused by free radicals. The antioxidants present in the fruit can also help reduce your risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia.6
6. Helps Cope With Chemotherapy
Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy frequently report a drop in the sense of taste. Thanks to miraculin, miracle fruits can improve the gustatory sense. Studies observe that miraculin binds to the sweet taste receptors of the tongue, thereby bringing about an improved sensation of taste.7
7. Acts As A Substitute To Sugar
The miraculin present in the berries is naturally sweet and could act as an effective substitute for sugar. If you’re following going on a sugar-free diet or are planning to monitor your intake of sugar, you can replace added sugar or artificial sweeteners with miraculin. In fact, miraculin is actually used as an artificial sweetener in Japan!8
The most interesting property of the miracle fruit is, of course, its unique taste. Try this berry to experience the explosion of taste in your mouth and derive its benefits!
|↑1||Njoku, Njideka E., Collins N. Ubbaonu, Serah O. Alagbaoso, Chioma N. Eluchie, and Munachiso C. Umelo. “Amino acid profile and oxidizable vitamin content of Synsepalum dulcificum berry (miracle fruit) pulp.” Food science & nutrition 3, no. 3 (2015): 252-256.|
|↑2||Johnston, Carol S. “Strategies for healthy weight loss: from vitamin C to the glycemic response.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 24, no. 3 (2005): 158-165.|
|↑3||Chen, Chang‐Chih, I‐Min Liu, and Juei‐Tang Cheng. “Improvement of insulin resistance by miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) in fructose‐rich chow‐fed rats.” Phytotherapy Research 20, no. 11 (2006): 987-992.|
|↑4||Ströhle, A., and Andreas Hahn. “Vitamin C and immune function.” Medizinische Monatsschrift fur Pharmazeuten 32, no. 2 (2009): 49-54.|
|↑5||Shi, Yeu-Ching, Kai-Sian Lin, Yi-Fen Jhai, Bao-Hong Lee, Yifan Han, Zhibin Cui, Wei-Hsuan Hsu, and She-Ching Wu. “Miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) exhibits as a novel anti-hyperuricaemia agent.” Molecules 21, no. 2 (2016): 140.|
|↑6||Chacón, Jaime Ricardo Laguna. “Miracle Fruit-Miracle Berry (Synsepalum Dulcificum Daniell)-Basic Aspects for Contextualization.” Journal of Investment and Management 4, no. 6 (2015): 330-333.|
|↑7||Synsepalum dulcificum. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.|
|↑8||Miracle Fruit. Plant Palette, University of Illinois.|