Over time, humans have come to rely on fruits as a source of food. Fruits have attained a height of importance and have been incorporated into healthy diets globally. They are an essential source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and antibiotics. Research has also shown that a high intake of fruits has healthy effects on the body. Fruits also tend to be naturally sweet and low in calories—little wonder why more and more people are turning to fruits as part of their daily meals. In Africa, fruits are eaten by many people, and there are a variety of African fruits available—both the native fruits and the imported ones.
So, what fruits do Africans eat? There is a long list of fruits eaten by Africans—these include:
- White star apple
- Miracle fruit
- Avocado pear
- Passion fruit
- Mango, etc.
Africans grow plenty of fruits and still import fruits from other continents for consumption. So you can see that Africans eat a lot of fruits. And for your needs, this article will present to you the ten most popular fruits that Africans eat—their uses, health benefits, etc. And if you’re also looking to know the actual African fruits that are native to Africa, we’ve covered that aspect in this piece too. Read on to learn more.
10 Popular Fruits that Africans Eat
1. White Star Apple (Chrysophyllum Albidum)
Also known as Agbalumo in the western part of Nigeria and Udara in the Eastern region, the white star apple is a forest fruit that grows mostly in tropical areas and found mainly in west Africa. This fruit has dark yellowish skin, and it is mostly cultivated in Nigeria, Uganda, Niger Republic, Cameroun, and Cote d’Ivoire. White star apple is not only sweet but also low in calories with many health benefits. It is rich in calcium and vitamin C. It is also used in herbal medicine to treat malaria and used to aid weight loss.
2. African Mango (Irvingia Gabonensis)
This particular fruit is very common and loved all over Africa. It originated from Cameroon and has been given many names like wild mango, bush mango, dika, etc. Irvingia Gabonensis naturally grows in the humid forest zone from Angola, Congo, DR Congo, Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire. It is also planted in southern Cameroon, Ghana, and Togo.
African mango is packed with a lot of health benefits. It is effective for the treatment of diabetics and obesity. It can also be used to make jelly, jam, juice, and in some cases, wine.
3. Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum Dulcificum)
Miracle fruit is known by different names such as miracle berry, miraculous berry, etc. It is a plant that grows majorly in west Africa. This plant is popular for its berries, which, when eaten, makes other acidic fruits taste nice. This taste modifying effect is produced by Miraculin, a glycoprotein that is found in the fruit. It has been used by local tribes in Africa to sweeten generally acidic diets for centuries now.
It has been speculated that miracle fruit can be used in the treatment of diabetes and specific taste disturbance.
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4. Avocado Pear (Persea Americana)
The avocado pear is a fruit gotten from the avocado tree that is said to have originated from South-Central Mexico. It mostly grows in the tropical and Mediterranean climate. Avocadoes take different shapes depending on the climate in which they grow. The African Avocado pear tends to be a bit rounder due to climatic differences. This fruit has a soft, creamy texture and has a high percentage of healthy fat for a balanced diet. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
5. Pineapple (Ananas Comosus)
Pineapple is a tropical fruit that is known for its delicious taste and juice. This fruit is native to South America and has been grown there for many centuries. Pineapple cultivation is mostly found in tropical regions and can be found in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.
Pineapples can help boost your immune system and aid digestion. They are also rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes that help fight diseases.
6. Kei Apple (Dovyalis Caffra)
The Kei apple originated from Southern Africa, specifically the Kei River area, and shares resemblance with a small apple. It also named Kai apple, Kau apple, amongst many other names. During its ripening stage, the green skin of the Kei apple turns yellow-orange.
The fruit is tasty when ripe and eaten raw but can be sprinkled with sugar to tone down its acidity. They can also be turned into jam, used as desserts, and can also be pickled. The Kei apple is rich in vitamin C and amino acid. It also contains 15 unique antioxidants and has antibiotic properties.
7. Banana (Musa)
Banana is another favorite fruit for Africans. It is an edible fruit that grows in different parts of the world. The fruit takes different sizes and colors depending on the region, but they are mostly long and curved.
Most African countries grow bananas, but Ghana, Cameron, and Cote d’Ivoire are the major producers of bananas—including Nigeria, whose farmers are producing bananas in large quantities in recent times. Africans are said to consume more bananas than anywhere else in the world.
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Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps manage blood pressure. It also helps preserve memory through an amino acid called tryptophan.
8. Passion Fruit (Passiflora Edulis)
Passion fruit is a healthy tropical fruit that is steadily gaining popularity globally. It is liked in Africa for its soft and delicious nature. Passion fruit originated from Brazil, Paraguay, and Northern Argentina. In the 1920s, Kenya started cultivating passion fruit for commercial juice processing and is now the largest supplier of the fruit to the European market.
Other African countries that grow this fruit include; Zambia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. When ripe, the fruit turns dark purple with a juicy interior with many seeds. It can be eaten, juiced to add flavor to other juice,
9. Baobab Fruit (Adansonia)
Baobab fruit is native to Arabia, Madagascar, Australia, and certain parts of Africa. The baobab fruit contains tartaric acid and vitamin C, which can be gotten directly from the fruit or leeched in water. It also contains a high amount of fiber, magnesium, potassium. All these vitamins and essential minerals can help boost the immune system.
The baobab tree where the fruit is gotten is notable in Africa, and many traditional African customs revolve around it. It grows in 32 different African countries.
10. Pawpaw (Papaya)
Pawpaw is a fruit that is enjoyed all over the world for its sweetness and also popular in Africa. It is native to Mexico and South America. The fruit is oval-shaped, with a hard green exterior that softens when ripe. It contains vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, which can guard against cholesterol build up in the arteries. The amount of Vitamin C the fruit contains also helps to boost the immune system and protect the body from diseases. It is cultivated in South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria.
What Fruits Are Native to Africa?
We’ve discussed (above)—the popular fruits that Africans eat. For clarity, it is worth mention that some of the fruits discussed above are not native to Africa; that is, they’re not grown in Africa but imported from other continents of the world. If you’re curious to know the fruits that are native to Africa, below is a list of these fruits:
- African Mango
- African or Bush Pear (Dacryodes Edulis)
- Kei Apple
- Whit Star Apple
- African Custard-apple (Annona Senegalensis)
Obviously, this is not all with the fruits that are native to Africa, but definitely, these are the most popular fruits that are indigenous to Africa.
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By now, you should know some of the popular fruits that Africans eat and those that are actually grown in Africa. If you are looking to incorporate new fruits into your diet, you can have your pick among the fruits above. They are not just sweet and juicy; they are also packed with lots of health benefits for the body.