As unbearable as tropical summers can be, you can usually trust nature to come up with effective, and often delicious, ways to beat the heat. Found largely in and around the coastal regions in India, the palm fruit or ‘ice-apple’ goes by many names across the country, from tadgola in Marathi and nongu in Tamil to taal shaansh in Bengali.
Native to the Indian subcontinent, the palm fruit is a summer staple and can be found through the months of May to September. Characterized by its tan-colored skin that conceals a translucent, jelly-like fruit filled with refreshing ‘coconutty’ water, the benefits of tadgola make it a perfect thirst quencher during the hottest months. Here are 5 reasons to dig into the palm fruit this summer.
Palm fruits are loaded with minerals like sodium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium, as well as traces of zinc and iron, which can help keep your salt and electrolyte balance in check, especially in summers where we lose a lot of water through sweat. The potassium content further helps in flushing out liver toxins. Besides, the fruit also contains small doses of Vitamins A, B and C and virtually no traces of fat, making it ideal for those on a diet.
The benefits of tadgola also extend to your immunity and metabolism. Traditionally, the palm fruit has been recommended for treating digestive ailments and constipation. Women in their early and middle stages of pregnancy are encouraged to eat it, for it eases minor stomach ailments that often crop up, besides helping control nausea. Adding palm fruit to the diet is also known to alleviate some of the skin irritation caused during chicken pox. It’s also believed to keep away prickly heat and summer acne.
Though low in calories, ice apples are known for their glucose content that can help keep energy levels up even in draining heat. Not only does it help prevent dehydration, but also fights heat-related fatigue, and allows you to keep going for longer. Interestingly, neera or the sap from the palm trunk that is extracted early morning is also another popular summer drink, and a great energy-boosting option for the season. Being higher in calories, however, it’s not recommended for those on a diet.
Rich in phytochemicals
As a source of the phytochemical anthocyanin, palm fruit is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Among other things, they are known to slow down the effects of aging, lower risk of heart disease, cancer, reduce mortality from cardiovascular diseases, and prevent arterial clotting.
Nutritionists and health experts these days recommend going back to local foods and flavors in our bid to eat healthy. Indigenous produce is better equipped than supplements and health foods to fulfill specific nutritional requirements that are often dictated by geography and local climate. The palm fruit is no exception. If you’ve never tried it or left the taste behind somewhere in your childhood, now’s a good time to welcome this delicious fruit back into your life.
Main Image: Binit Vasa