Huay: characteristics and benefits of this fruit

In recent years, images have appeared viral on social networks in which an exotic type of fruit appears, accompanied by messages in which they claim that this fruit is 10,000 times more potent than radiation therapy or that they have a miraculous property.

One of the protagonists of this type of image was Huay, a bittersweet and fleshy fruit native to Central and South America.

Anti-infective and anti-cancer properties have been attributed to it, reaching the space of more than one medium.

How true is this? Does this fruit really have healing properties? Here in this article we will explain what Huay is, what are its properties and what it may have to do with oncological diseases.

    What is Huay?

    Huay is a fruit well known in several countries. Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, El Salvador … are just a few names of the many places where this fruit can be obtained as a regular product in fruit stores. The names with which this food has been baptized are various: Guaya, mamoncillo, quenepa, chupalotes, güevillos and many others that refer to what they look like.

    The word “Huay” probably comes from the Nahuatl word “hueyona”, Composed of “hue-i”, “gran” and “yona-catl”, “pulp”.

    This fruit grows on the crown of the tree of the same name (Melicoccus bijugatus), in branches that can reach about 10 centimeters. The tree can reach heights of up to 30 meters. The fruit consists of a drupe covered with a green skin, the inside houses the bittersweet flesh and seeds, which take up most of the edible part. In itself, the Huay resembles a species of peach about 2 to 4 cm in diameter.

    Benefits of this fruit

    Since pre-Columbian times, the Huay fruit has been attributed immune properties and is believed to fight the problems associated with the entry of bacteria and viruses into the body. Additionally, the acids possessed by the fruit have been linked to benefits for pregnant women, contributing to protein production and increasing fetal defenses.

    It helps protect the epithelium from harmful factorsJust like smoking (although it does not reverse the damage caused by smoking). Additionally, it has been linked to the prevention of kidney discomfort.

    Fruits are an important source of nutrients such as iron, phosphorus, vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12 and C., It could therefore play a beneficial role in the fight against urinary and bronchial ailments, such as fever and cold. Frequent consumption can be an important source of vitamins, as well as minerals, essential amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic.

      Uses and consumption

      The huaya it is used both as food and as a natural remedy, In addition to being able to use the wood of the tree as a material for making furniture.

      In the field of food, the Huay it can be found in cans, fruit juices, consumed fresh or also fermented to make drinks like Huay beer or the brandy of this fruit. Huay’s bone can also be eaten if it is roasted.

      The leaves of this plant are attributed antiparasitic properties, in addition to acting as a natural insecticide and as a repellent against bats.

      When it comes to natural remedies, Huay leaf is credited with the ability to calm nerves and improve symptoms of fever. Its infusion is used to fight against infections of the neck if it is used in rinsing, And fruit syrup is used to combat diarrhea.

      Risks

      No side effects have been found associated with Huay, nor may they be toxic, but it is. it may involve certain risks both for the collection and the consumption of the fruit.

      Because this fruit knocks down the tallest of the 30-meter trees, there aren’t a few people who, without having the right professional climbing skills or the right equipment, have tried to climb to the top of the tree. This involves the risk of falling and breaking a bone or, in the worst case, of dying.

      The main risk of consuming the fruit is that by having a seed of considerable size inside, it can be drained during ingestion of the fruit and clog the larynx causing suffocation, especially in young children.

      Relationship to cancer

      In recent years, the image of this fruit has been widely shared on social media with the claim that it cures cancer or is 10,000 times more potent than chemotherapy. These claims, in addition to being a terrible lack of respect for people with cancer and the professionals who care for them, are false, there are no studies to date that confirm this.

      This does not mean that the fruit itself does not have beneficial health properties. In 2012, Cornell University of New York conducted a study in which they discovered certain gastrointestinal benefits caused by Huay. However, consuming Huay itself may indirectly prevent cancer, as diets high in fruits and vegetables have been shown to be a protective factor against cancer.

      What should be clear is that Huay, although it may have an effect on the development of cancer, it does not replace the treatments used to fight this type of disease.

      The possible preventative effects against cancer may be due to the fact that this fruit activates the immune system, preventing infections from occurring in the body. In addition, it has been linked to better epithelial health in the face of unhealthy habits like smoking, which could also be beneficial in the face of the appearance of carcinogens.

      It has also been hypothesized to have certain nutrients capable of inhibiting the proliferation and growth of cancer cells, however, this it is neither insured nor confirmed.

      It should be noted that this is not the first time that a fruit or other type of plant, because the mere fact of being a vegetable must be inherently good for any type of disease and especially cancer, without having sufficient evidence to prove it. To give a few examples: broccoli, coffee, pomegranates, plums, peaches, oregano …

      Returning to the same point as before, that no clear evidence has been found that all of these vegetables and fruits are potent anticancer drugs does not mean that they do not influence disease prevention, only that they are not. miraculous treatments and do not seem to be going to be.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Bystrom, LM (2012) Potential health effects of Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq. fruits: phytochemical, chemotaxononomic and ethnobotany research. 83 (2). 266-271.

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