Boost Your Health with Nature's Antioxidant Powerhouse- Chalta
Elephant apples are commonly found from the retreating monsoon months of September to the winter month of January. Named aptly, this fruit is a favourite of elephants, growing mostly across the forests of the Northeast, in particular Assam and Meghalaya; they are also found further down in West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka. It is highly nutritious and has a lot of health benefits, with numerous ways to prepare and consume it. 

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Packed with antioxidants and immune-boosting properties, elephant apples are a superfood fruit. The large fruit resembles an elongated green apple and can weigh up to 5 kilogrammes. It grows directly from the trunk of the elephant tree, also known as the elephant apple tree, which reaches heights of over 100 feet. Within its thick green skin lies soft, sweet white flesh with a texture like banana or papaya. The elephant fruit has a subtle flavour that is not overwhelming like some tropical fruits. Here are some of the health benefits of elephant apples:
1. Rejuvenates Ageing Skin
A treasure trove of three antioxidants - vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids; chalta fruits facilitate collagen synthesis to maintain the elasticity of the skin.
2. Boosts Vitality and Vigour
Loaded with calories, B-complex vitamins, proteins and healthy fats, elephant apples ensure high energy levels to maintain good metabolism, elevated brain operations, as well as enhanced stamina for physical activities. 
3. Remedies Kidney Disorders
Just a few slices of a ripe elephant apple or chalta fruit juice with breakfast is a fantastic detox drink to cleanse the body from within and a great way to flush out toxins accumulated in the system, due to its umpteen powerful antioxidants.
4. Treats Hypertension Symptoms
Eating a small portion of chalta fruits with meals vastly lowers high blood pressure, regulates heartbeat, thereby promoting heart health and serving as a potent cardio-tonic. Chalta, being naturally low in cholesterol apart from possessing ample potassium, is an ideal remedy for those with hypertension.  
5. Touted to Alleviate Anxiety and Depression
The host of phytonutrients in chalta fruits, including sterols, saponins and tannins contain prominent neurotransmitter-modulating properties, which adjust neuronal signalling in the brain and normalise central nervous system function.
6. Enhances Eyesight
The ripe chalta fruits which display a distinct tart taste abound in vitamin A as well as the carotenoid antioxidants – lutein and zeaxanthin. These pivotal nutrients strengthen the lens and retina for clear sharp vision, besides fostering the healthy development of optic tissues.
7. Remedies Diarrhoea  
The bark extracts and fruits of elephant apple exude a viscous nectar i.e., resin element that contains profuse amounts of tannins – a powerful phytonutrient.
8. Soothes Sore Throat
Infused with generous quantities of antimicrobial and antioxidant constituents, chalta fruits work wonders in alleviating common respiratory complaints of cough, cold and sore throat.

How to Consume Elephant Apples
Being a wild fruit, chalta is an underrated gem that is yet to make it to mainstream Indian cuisine. When selecting an elephant apple to eat, choose fruits that are green to light green in colour as they will be the ripest and sweet. Fully ripe fruits will be yellowish-green in colour. Here are some suggestions for eating the fruit:
• One of the simplest ways to enjoy elephant apples is to eat them raw. Wash the skin thoroughly, and then cut the fruit in half lengthwise. Scoop out the sweet, soft pulp inside with a spoon. The texture is similar to a banana or papaya. You can also peel elephant apples if you find the skin too thick. 
• Elephant apple juice is a refreshing and healthy beverage. Chop the fruit and put it in a blender; blend it with a small amount of water or milk until smooth. Strain the juice to remove any fibres or seeds. Add sugar or honey to sweeten, as desired. Other fruits like mango or pineapple can also be added to enhance the flavour.
• Chalta pulp makes for a delicious topping. Scoop the pulp out of halved or sliced elephant apples and mash it lightly with a fork. Spread this on toast, pancakes, oatmeal, or yoghurt. You can also add the pulp to smoothies.
• For a sweet treat, make elephant apple jam. Peel and chop the fruit, then cook it with sugar and lemon juice until thickened. Pour into sterilised jars and refrigerate. Enjoy on bread or use to fill tarts, cakes, or pastries. 
• Pickled elephant apples are another tasty preserve option. Chutneys are also a popular way of consuming them, many households in Assam and West Bengal cook chopped chalta with spices, sugar in a thick concoction that is eaten after meals. 
Elephant apples are a wild fruit with immense nutritional value that deserves more recognition. Their antioxidant properties and health benefits make them a superfood that can easily be incorporated into our diets. With their versatility in recipes, chalta is a delicious addition to any meal that can boost immunity, fight disease, and improve overall well-being. As awareness grows about this unique tropical fruit, hopefully it will gain more popularity.