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Discover the Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Naranjilla (Lulo), the Exotic Fruit with Unique Tangy Flavor

What Is Naranjilla?

Naranjilla, also known as Lulo is a citrus-like fruit that is native to the northwest part of South America. The fruit has a unique tangy yet delicious flavor. The ripened fruit has a dark orange hue with a leathery and smooth rind. Naranjilla is known by various names. In Colombia, it is known as Lulo, in Panama, it is accepted by the name Ecuador (and also in some parts of the U.S.). The fruit is also nicknamed Colombian fruit.

However, the scientific name of Naranjilla is Solanum quitoense. This fruit is sometimes compared with the flavor of pineapple, and also at times with a combination of rhubarb and lime. Different cultivars in different countries have different tastes, and also different concentrations of nutrients. Naranjilla juice is a famous healthy drink, however, the green color of the fruit juice might surprise some individuals.(1, 2)

Although now Naranjilla is in great demand all over the world because of its unique and exotic flavor and health benefits, mass cultivation is not possible because it is susceptible to bruising, and insects/diseases. So, naranjilla remains a small-scale crop that has low levels of export.(3)

Naranjilla is highly nutritious and packed with various essential nutrients and organic compounds and is thus, extremely healthy to be added to your daily diet. Let us read below to explore more about the nutritional profile of naranjilla and its health benefits.

Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Naranjilla (Lulo)

Nutritional Value Of Naranjilla

Naranjilla or Lulo contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, niacin, folate, thiamine, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, sodium, potassium, and also dietary fiber. Additionally, the fruit also has protein, carbohydrates, and sugar. Naranjilla also possesses antioxidant properties, although the exact antioxidant compounds are not properly studied.(4) 

120 gram-serving of Naranjilla contains the following nutrients.

Calories: 23

Total Fat: 0.3 gram

Total Carbohydrates: 7.1 gram

Dietary Fiber: 1.3 gram

Sugar: 4.5 gram

Protein: 0.5 gram

Calcium: 9.6 gram

Iron: 0.4 gram

Potassium: 240 grams

Vitamin A: 33.60 mcg

Thiamine: 0.054 mcg

Riboflavin: 0 mg

Niacin: 1.740 mg

Pantothenic acid: 0.264 mg

Vitamin B6: 0.128 mg

Folate: 3.60 mcg

Folic acid: 0 mcg

Vitamin C: 3.8 mg

Vitamin E: 0.90 mg

Vitamin K: 17.5 mcg

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Naranjilla (Lulo)

  1. Naranjilla Boosts Immunity

    Being rich in Vitamin A and vitamin C, naranjilla can boost your immunity. Vitamin C acts as a natural antioxidant to clear out free radicals from your body. This can also stimulate the production of WBCs, which helps to fight against infectious diseases and other pathogens.(5)

  2. It Is Good For Digestion

    Naranjilla comprises pepsin, which is a type of fiber and is extremely beneficial for the digestive tract. It is great for your gastrointestinal tract and can help eliminate bloating, constipation, cramping, and other severe problems like gastric ulcers.(6)

  3. Naranjilla Can Reduce Cholesterol

    Another health benefit of Naranjilla is that it can help in eliminating bad cholesterol or LDL from the body. This becomes possible because of the dietary fiber found in the fruit. In addition to this, the rich content of various vitamins and minerals can improve the functioning of your cardiovascular system and reduce the chances of developing serious conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.(7)

  4. Naranjilla Can Increase Circulation

    Naranjilla contains a fair amount of iron and this mineral plays a crucial role in various functions of the body. One of the most important functions of iron is that it benefits in improving the flow of oxygen through the body to different organs.

    When iron is scarce in the body, many of the bodily organs will lack the oxygen that they require to work at their best. Improving circulation through the body has also a positive impact on cell repair and regeneration, and also strengthens hair follicles.

  5. Liver Health Benefits Of Naranjilla

    Naranjilla has been generally used in traditional medicine as a diuretic substance. It means the fruit can help urination. Naranjilla can cleanse the kidney of excess toxins, eliminate excess salts, and water, and relieve stress on the liver. Usually, diuretic substances are used by people who look for weight loss or for those who look to detoxify their body and blood from toxins.(8)

  6. Naranjilla Has Anti-Cancer Properties

    Naranjilla possesses anti-cancer properties. A study conducted in 2016 and published in the “Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences” looked upon the anticancer potential of seven Brazilian fruits, including naranjilla has found that methanol extracts from the fruits could inhibit the growth of the tumor. However, more research is still required to prove the anti-cancer properties.(9)

  7. It Is Good At Relieving Stress

    Naranjilla fruit is connected with hormonal changes in the body that can reduce stress, improve mood, and also help people with insomnia and restless sleep disorders.

  8. Bone Health Benefits Of Naranjilla

    Everyone needs to have strong bones. Fruits like naranjilla or lulo are known to significantly improve bone density and prevent conditions, such as osteoporosis, and also arthritis as we age. This could be possible because the fruit contains a rich amount of minerals like calcium, phosphorous, and iron.(10)

  9. Skin Health Benefits Of Naranjilla

    Naranjilla can also play an important role in improving your skin health. The vitamin C content found in the fruit plays a major role in the development of collagen, and this helps in skin elasticity and also smoothens the skin.

  10. Eye Health Benefits Of Naranjilla

    The carotenoids present in the fruit, like vitamin A and beta-carotene help to neutralize the free radicals causing oxidative stress in specific ocular cells, including macula lutea. This reduces the chances of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other vision problems.(11, 12)

How To Eat Niranjilla?

You can eat this amazingly delicious and healthy fruit in various ways. Some of the ways to eat naranjilla are listed below.

  • Eat it raw by cutting the fruits
  • The fruit can also be added to yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
  • It can also be used to prepare jam or jelly.
  • It can also be used as an ingredient in many desserts like cakes.

Take Away

With so many health benefits to offer, naranjilla becomes one of the healthiest fruits that can be added to your daily healthy diet. The best thing about this fruit usually, it is safe and has no major side effects. However, it is always advisable to have the fruit in moderate amounts. Also, consider consulting with a dietician to know more about the benefits.


  1. Van den Eynden, V., Cueva, E. & Cabrera, O. Wild foods from Southern Ecuador. Econ Bot 57, 576–603 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1663/0013-0001(2003)057[0576:WFFSE]2.0.CO;2
  2. Anne-Laure Gancel, Pascaline Alter, Claudie Dhuique-Mayer, Jenny Ruales, and Fabrice Vaillant. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2008 56 (24), 11890-11899 DOI: 10.1021/jf801515p
  3. Heiser, C.B. Ethnobotany of the Naranjilla (Solanum quitoense) and its relatives. Econ Bot 39, 4–11 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02861168
  4. Food Data Central. (2018) Naranjilla (Lulo) Pulp, Frozen, Unsweetened (SR Legacy, 167790). U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA). FoodData Central (usda.gov)
  5. Dennis Jr, F.G., Herner, R.C. and Camacho, S. (1985). NARANJILLA: A POTENTIAL CASH CROP FOR THE SMALL FARMER IN LATIN AMERICA*. Acta Hortic. 158, 475-481 DOI:10.17660/ActaHortic.1985.158.55 https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1985.158.55
  6. Lim, T.K. (2013). Solanum quitoense. In: Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-5628-1_46
  7. Calderon. J C, Jaimes L C, Hernandez E G, Villanova B G (2011 Aug), ‘Antioxidant capacity, phenolic content, and vitamin C in pulp, peel, and seed from 24 exotic fruits from Colombia.’ Food Research International. v. 44(7), pp 2047-2053. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2010.11.003
  8. Margoth Suarez, Carmenza Duque (1991). ‘Volatile constitutenst of lulo (Solanum vestissimum D.) fruit. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. v. 39(8), pp. 1498-1500. DOI: 10.1021/jf00008a026
  9. Bagattoli PC, Cipriani DC, Mariano LN, Correa M, Wagner TM, Noldin VF, Filho VC, Niero R. Phytochemical, Antioxidant and Anticancer Activities of Extracts of Seven Fruits Found in the Southern Brazilian Flora. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2016 Jan-Feb;78(1):34-40. doi: 10.4103/0250-474x.180239. PMID: 27168679; PMCID: PMC4852573.
  10. Vasco C, Ruales J, Eldin A. K. (2008). ‘Total phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity of major fruits from Ecuador.’ Food Chemistry. (2008. Dec. 15). v. 111(4), pp. 816-823. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2008.04.054
  11. Holden JM, Eldridge AL, Beecher GR, Buzzard IM, Bhagwat S, Davis CS, et al. Carotenoid content of US foods: an update of the database. J. Food Comp. Anal. 1999; 12: 169-96.
  12. Snodderly DM. Evidence for protection against age-related macular degeneration by carotenoids and antioxidant vitamins. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1995; 62: 1448S-61S.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 14, 2023

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