December 16, 2021

What Is Soursop?

Should you make room for soursop (aka guanabana) in your diet?

A piece of soursop, a fruit native to South America

The internet loves superfoods and health trends — the more exotic, the better (acai, anyone?). Enter soursop, the latest fruit that’s creating a big buzz.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Officially known as Annona muricata, soursop is native to South America and a fruit of many names. You might also hear it called guanabana, graviola or custard apple. On the outside, the fruit resembles an oversized avocado — if the avocado were covered with prickly spikes.

Despite its tough exterior, soursop is sweet at heart. Its white pulp is smooth and creamy with large black seeds. People sometimes compare its sweet-tart flavor to a blend of strawberries and apples.

Dietitian Alexis Supan, RD, explains what you should know about this trending tropical treat.

Soursop nutrition facts

Like many fruits, soursop is a healthy source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. One cup (about 225 grams) of raw soursop contains:

  • Calories: 148.
  • Protein: 2.25 grams.
  • Dietary fiber: 7.42 grams.
  • Carbs: 37.8 grams.
  • Sugars: 30 grams.

Besides fiber, the fruit is a good source of nutrients:

  • Vitamin C.
  • Potassium.
  • Magnesium.

Soursop is also high in antioxidants, substances that protect cells from damage. Antioxidant-rich diets may help protect against diseases like heart disease or cancer.

Potential soursop health benefits

Traditional healers have long used soursop for medicinal purposes. They use many parts of the plant — including the fruit, leaves and stems — to treat a variety of illnesses. Soursop may help:

  • Prevent and fight cancer.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Kill bacteria.

But there’s a big caveat to those claims, says Supan. Medical researchers have only just begun studying the health benefits of soursop, so we don’t yet have scientific data on the plant’s health-boosting properties.

Can soursop really help fight cancer?

There’s some evidence that extracts from the plant’s leaves could kill cancer cells or fight inflammation. But slow your roll: Those findings came from test-tube and animal studies, which often involved huge doses of extracts from soursop leaves.

“Keep in mind that there haven’t been any human studies, so it’s too soon to tell if there are any benefits,” Supan says.

Possible side effects of soursop

You can find soursop extracts and teas for sale, but those products aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And there are reasons to be wary, Supan warns. Soursop can be toxic in large doses, causing symptoms that resemble those of Parkinson’s disease, including:

  • Rigid muscles.
  • Personality changes.
  • Slowness of movement.
  • Problems with eye movement.
  • Problems with gait and balance.

The compounds found in extracts and teas can also interfere with medications such as high blood pressure and diabetes treatments. “I’d advise staying away from soursop extracts and teas,” she says. “You don’t want to play scientist with your health.”

How to eat soursop

While you should probably steer clear of soursop extract or teas, there’s no reason not to eat it. “As far as the fruit goes, go to town!” Supan says.

Soursop can be hard to come by in the U.S., but you might be able to find it in specialty grocery stores (like Latin American and Caribbean markets). If you can track down fresh soursop, Supan recommends enjoying it in its pure form.


“Soursop has a great creamy texture and tropical taste that’s delicious eaten raw,” she says. “But spit out the seeds since they’re toxic.”

And remember that it’s a big fruit with plenty of natural sugars. “One fruit can have 70 or 80 grams of sugar, so you don’t necessarily want to eat an entire fruit at once — especially if you’re concerned about your sugar intake,” notes Supan.

Pro tip: Eat half now and freeze the rest to use in smoothies later. Its tropical flavor blends seamlessly with other tropical fruits, like mangoes, papayas and pineapples.

Like most trendy superfoods, soursop isn’t a miracle cure-all, though. But it’s a tasty tropical treat and a good source of nutrients. If you’re lucky enough to find a store with soursop for sale, give the sweet, creamy fruit a try. Tell them the internet sent you.

Related Articles

person juicing fruits and vegetables
November 2, 2023
What You’re Losing When You’re Juicing

Juicing removes beneficial fiber from fruits and veggies and raises your blood sugar

bitter melon
July 23, 2023
The Health Benefits of Bitter Melon

From managing blood sugar to lowering cholesterol, this fruit is a jack-of-all-trades

Mango salsa in small wooden bowl with chips in background.
July 2, 2023
Mango-licious: The Top 6 Health Benefits of Mango

A mango a day may help keep hunger and bloating away

A white bowl placed on a wooden table filled with dried dates for snacking.
June 18, 2023
The Sweet Health Benefits of Dates

From improving gut health to helping with childbirth, dates are a nutritional powerhouse

Dried Jujube fruit overflowing a white bowl on a wooden table.
May 25, 2023
What We Know (and Don’t Yet Know) About Jujube Fruit’s Benefits

Jujube is nutritionally dense, but research is limited

Tamarind pods displayed on brown plate on a wooden table, with one pod torn open showing fruit inside.
May 8, 2023
Why Tamarind Just Might Be Your New Favorite Fruit

With a sweet, tangy flavor, tamarind is super versatile and high in antioxidants

fruit spring rolls
April 17, 2023
Recipe: Fruit Salad Spring Rolls

A fun, fruity twist makes for a delicious and healthy dessert

breakfast pizza with strawberries
April 3, 2023
Recipe: 5-Minute Breakfast Fruit ‘Pizza’

Who doesn’t love pizza for breakfast?!

Trending Topics

White bowls full of pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and various kinds of nuts
25 Magnesium-Rich Foods You Should Be Eating

A healthy diet can easily meet your body’s important demands for magnesium

Woman feeling for heart rate in neck on run outside, smartwatch and earbuds
Heart Rate Zones Explained

A super high heart rate means you’re burning more than fat

Spoonful of farro salad with tomato
What To Eat If You’ve Been Diagnosed With Prediabetes

Type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable with these dietary changes