Miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum)
Miracle fruit, (Synsepalum dulcificum), also called miracle berry, evergreen shrub of the family Sapotaceae, grown for its mild fruits that make subsequently eaten sour foods taste sweet. The miracle fruit plant is native to tropical West Africa, where it is used locally to sweeten palm wine and other beverages. The unrelated sweet prayer plant (Thaumatococcus daniellii) is also known as miracle fruit for its similar ability to make sour foods taste sweet.
The miracle fruit plant grows as a dense shrub or small tree, usually not more than 5.5 metres (18 feet) in height in the wild and generally smaller when cultivated. The simple leaves are oval and tapering at the base with smooth margins and feature a waxy underside; they grow in spirelike clusters at the ends of small branches. The small white flowers give rise to red drupe fruits that are about 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 inches) in length. Plants typically begin producing fruit after three or four years and require acidic soil.
The Benefits of Miracle Fruit
Miracle fruit’s benefits lie in its ability to trick your tongue to change the flavor of your favorite foods. Using this strategy, it can help with:
• Weight Loss
Each miracle fruit berry contains only 1 calorie. In addition, you can take advantage of its taste-altering properties to modify the food you’re currently eating.
For example, you can remove sugar from sweet recipes such as key lime pie and strawberry shortcake. By removing sugar from your diet, you’re helping your body avoid gaining excess weight and improving your health in the long run.
Aside from helping you remove sugar from your food, miracle fruit itself may help improve your insulin sensitivity. In one study, researchers fed mice a fructose-rich diet for four weeks, and afterwards fed them miracle fruit three times a day for three days. After the study, the researchers noted that the mice had reversed their glucose-insulin index, suggesting that miracle fruit may help improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics.
Miracle fruit is suggested to have good antioxidant properties, which can help kill free radicals throughout your body. In one study, researchers identified 12 phenolics, along with other antioxidants, in miracle fruit. Most of the benefits come from its flesh, which has been found to inhibit the oxidation of the fatty acids in fish oil as well.