The African pear popularly called UBE in Nigeria, ATANGAS or I”ATANGAS in Gabon, NSAFOU/SAFOU in Angola and DR-Congo is native to Africa particularly the tropical forests. It is the fruit of a tree whose scientific name is Dascroides Edulis; the tree could be grown in plantations or could grow widely in the forest reaching heights of between 12 and 40 metres.
The fruit has an indigo coloured covering over a greenish pulp and a firm seed inside; in shape the fruit varies from oblong to cylindrical, measures 7cm in length and about 3cm in diameter.
The African pear has the following nutrients:
a. Carbohydrates (fibres, sugar); particularly the cover
b. Fat—the oil in the pulp which is mainly unsaturated fat, no cholesterol.
c. Vitamins—C, B1, B6, Folate, Niacin
d. Minerals—-Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron and Zinc
The health benefits of the African pear are due to these nutrients
The African pear is easily prepared for eating by putting it in hot water or on hot surface for about 4-5 minutes , it must be washed thoroughly first with water and soap followed by salt water and finally potable water. For maximum satisfaction; eat it with corn, both are usually in season together.
1. Helps to Maintain a Health skin
African pear is high in vitamin C , an antioxidant. This vitamin works to fend off cell damage from free radicals. Consequently, it helps to improve the texture of our skin, makes it smoother and reduces wrinkles.
2. Promotes the health of the heart
African pear contains plenty of soluble fibre; high intake of soluble fibre reduces absorption of cholesterol and bile acid (which are also rich in cholesterol) from the small intestines, thereby reducing blood cholesterol level. When soluble fibres are broken down by bacteria in the intestines, some fatty acids released are said to reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering blood cholesterol, fibres help too reduce the risk of heart disease.
African pear also contains plenty of potassium which helps to prevent irregular heart beat and to reduce risk of stroke.
3. Fights against cancer
Africa pear is rich in fibres; many studies in the last three decades have shown a link between increased fibre in-take and a decrease in colon cancer. This could be due to the fibre itself or the nutrients that are usually in fibre-rich foods such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and essential fatty acid. Daily consumption of Ube when in season is highly recommended as a snack.
4. Strengthens our bones
African pear contains a lot of calcium and phosphorus; minerals found mainly in the bones and teeth of our body. We should endeavour to eat enough African Pear when in season to ensure strong bones, proper growth and good teeth development. We will also prevent stiff joint and bone pain.
5. Prevents constipation
African pear as said earlier is rich in fibre which adds bulk to stool, making bowel movement easier. Insoluble fibre does this better. When plenty of fibre is consumed, the stool is large and soft, this stimulates the muscles of the intestines to contract, pushing out the stool (faeces) without the individual straining himself.
With little fibre in the food, the stool is usually small and hard and therefore requires force to come out. Regular straining during the passage of faeces can lead to piles (haemorrhoids) and other conditions such as pouches (diverticulosis) in the large intestines. Piles can lead to anaemia due to bleeding.
6. Improves Immunity
African pear contains a lot of Vitamin C (more than oranges and lemon) which is required for the promotion of cell integrity in our body. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant which fights against free radicals that damage our cells. It is therefore said to increase our resistance to diseases.