Miracle fruit is one of the common names of Synsepalum dulcificum, a shrub that is native to western Africa, where it has been in use for centuries. Miracle fruit has the ability to make sour food taste sweet, thanks to a compound called miraculin.
Miraculin is able to bind to the tongue’s taste buds, which blocks the receptors when the pH level of the mouth is neutral. However, when we eat sour fruit, the pH of the mouth drops, and miraculin is able to activate the sweet receptors while blocking the sour ones.
Aside from the novel aspects of miracle fruit, also known as miracle berry, sweet berry, and asaa, this fruit has a number of unique nutrients that can positively affect health. These small berries are the size of cherry tomatoes and each contains a single seed, roughly the size of a coffee bean. The berries are typically consumed raw and are actually tasteless when eaten alone, but can make sour foods taste sweet.
Thanks to the suggestion by the dietitians at Sylvester Cancer Center, we now carry Miracle Fruit at the grab-and-go market in Jackson Hall for patients who might be experiencing changes to their tastes or a metallic taste in their mouth due to treatment. Miracle Fruit has also been said to help patients with weight loss, diabetes, and some other health challenges. It’s also a fun way to get kids to eat healthier food.
These red berries contain a protein that binds to sweet taste receptors on your tongue causing many sour, acidic foods to taste sweet. The effects last 1-2 hours. The best way to test the effects is to eat the berry, then taste a lemon. You will experience a very sweet lemonade flavor.
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