Fruit from Heaven
In rural Northern Vietnam many homes are decorated with trellises laden with vines that spiral up toward the sky. The fruit begins as a green cantaloupe-like fruit that eventually ripens into a brilliant dark red-orange. The vines are very easy to grow but the ripe fruit is only available seasonally. It is known affectionately as “Fruit from Heaven” because of the way it grows and its impressive health benefits. It is said to promote health, vitality and longevity.
Super Antioxidant Properties
Lycopene is the red pigment that gives the gac fruit and others such as watermelon, pink grapefruit and tomatoes their color. It has been shown to have excellent antioxidants effects and helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer. Studies show that men with high amounts of lycopene in their body fat were 50% less likely to suffer from heart attacks. (Lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient.) A completely ripe gac fruit at its deepest color intensity provides about 70 times more lycopene in a commercial tomato.
Lycopene is not naturally produced by the body so it must be included in the diet. Since it is fat soluble, it must be eaten along with some form of dietary fat to be absorbed by the body. Studies showed that eating foods high in lycopene can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 34%. It also helps to lower blood pressure and balance low blood sugar and hyperglycemia.
As an antioxidant, lycopene scavenges for “free radicals” in the body caused by stress, body metabolism and environmental toxins that attack healthy cells and instigate aging-related diseases, heart disease and cancer. It also helps to disarm the free radicals responsible for instigating osteoporosis and UV skin damage. It has been suggested that lycopene helps to improve fertility in men. It is recommended that foods containing lycopene such as gac fruit are consumed daily for the antioxidant health benefits.