Wood apple, also known as Elephant Apple or Indian Bael fruit, is a tropical fruit native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The fruit is round and has a hard shell with a woody texture, hence the name. The outer shell is rough and has a greenish-yellow color, which turns brown as the fruit ripens. Inside the hard shell, there is a soft, aromatic pulp that is orange or yellow in color, enclosing numerous seeds.
The wood apple has a distinctive flavor that can be described as a combination of sweet, sour, and astringent. It has a strong fragrance and a slightly gritty texture. The pulp of this fruit is often consumed after deseeding, as a fresh fruit or used in various culinary preparations.
Nutritional Profile of Wood Apple
100 grams of Wood Apple/Bael Fruit contains:
Calories: 120 cal
Protein: 3.5 g
Carbs: 20.8 g
Fiber: 4.6 g
Calcium: 190 mg
Phosphorus: 230 mg
Wood apple is known for its high fiber content, making it beneficial for digestive health. The consumption of wood apple can also help alleviate digestive issues like indigestion and bloating. It is also rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and flavonoids, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. The vitamin C content in wood apple contributes to its immune-boosting properties.
Wood apple has a low glycemic index, which means it causes a slower and steadier rise in blood sugar levels compared to high-glycemic-index foods. This makes it suitable for individuals with diabetes.
7 Health Benefits of Consuming Wood Apple
Wood Apple offers numerous health benefits due to its high fiber content, antioxidant properties, immune-boosting effects, and potential for managing blood sugar levels. Here are some of them:
1. Ayurvedic Uses
For centuries, Indian traditional science or Ayurveda have used wood apple or bael fruit due to its effective medicinal properties. It can be called a superfood because according to various studies, different parts of the wood apple tree, including the fruit pulp, leaves, and roots, are used in various remedies and herbal formulations in ayurveda.
2. Improves Digestion
Wood apple is known for its beneficial effects on the digestive system. It is commonly used to treat digestive disorders such as dysentery, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. According to studies the antispasmodic properties in fruit helps soothe the gastrointestinal tract and relieve symptoms of indigestion. It is also an excellent natural remedy for constipation.
3. Enhances Skin Health
The pulp of a wood apple contains a good amount of water, which can help hydrate the skin. Adequate hydration is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and preventing dryness and flakiness. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and calm irritated skin. It can be beneficial for conditions like acne, eczema, and dermatitis.
4. Manages Asthma
Wood apple is believed to have a soothing effect on the respiratory system. It may help in relaxing the bronchial muscles and easing breathing difficulties. This can provide some relief during asthma attacks. However, it’s important to note that asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that requires medical attention and should be managed under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
5. Aids Reproductive Health
Wood apple is considered to have uterine stimulant properties, which may help regulate and normalize the menstrual cycle. It is believed to help balance hormones and support a healthy menstrual flow. It is also known to have hormonal balancing properties, which may help address hormonal imbalances that can affect reproductive health. It is believed to support the proper functioning of the endocrine system and promote hormonal equilibrium.
6. Supports Immune System
Wood apple is rich in vitamin C. According to studies this vitamin is a potent antioxidant that helps boost the immune system. It aids in fighting off infections, reducing the duration of illnesses, and promoting overall health.
7. Diabetes Management
Wood apple is considered to be a low glycemic index fruit. It has a glycemic index of 38, which means it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. It may help in managing diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels.
Wood Apple, or Bael, offers numerous health benefits in Ayurveda. It aids digestion, improves skin health, manages asthma symptoms, supports reproductive health, boosts the immune system, and helps manage diabetes due to its fiber, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties.
Recipes with Wood Apple
Wood Apple Chutney
3 Wood apples – cut and scoop pulp out
100 g Jaggery
1 tsp Sugar
2 tsp water
1 Elaichi seed
2 half chilli
1/2 tsp fresh ginger
1/2 tsp black salt
½ tsp dry roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp salt
50 g fresh coriander leaves
1 lime squeezed
In a Kadai/ Wok – heat the Jaggery, sugar and water – just melt the mixture and stir well
Add the seeds of the Elaichi
Switch off the stove
Cool the mixture
Add the Wood Apple Pulp and fresh ginger to the jaggery and sugar mixture
Next add all the dry spice powders
Squeeze the lime
Add the fresh coriander leaves
Mix all together and the chutney is ready
For presentation, you can serve the chutney in the shell of the wood apple!
Wood Apple Chaat
2 Wood Apples – cut and scoop out pulp
2 green chillies
1 bunch Coriander
1 Tbsp Lime juice
1/2 tsp Chaat masala
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp jaggery
Salt to taste
Put all ingredients into a mortar pestle and pulp it,
Serve on a plate and enjoy!
Side Effects of Consuming Wood Apple
Most individuals can consume wood apple without any adverse effects. However, if you have any underlying medical conditions or concerns, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating wood apple into your diet to ensure its suitability for you. Here are some of the side effects that may affect you upon consumption of Wood Apple:
1. Allergic Reactions
Some individuals may be allergic to wood apple. Allergic reactions can manifest as itching, hives, rashes, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming wood apple, discontinue its use and seek medical attention.
2. Gastrointestinal Discomfort
Yes, wood apple is known to relieve gastrointestinal discomfort. But, moderate consumption of this fruit is advisable. Eating excessive amounts of wood apple can lead to discomfort such as bloating, gas, or an upset stomach.
3. Medicinal Interaction
Wood apple may interact with certain medications. If you are taking any medications, especially those that affect blood sugar levels, blood pressure, or blood clotting, consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating wood apple into your diet to avoid any potential interactions.
While wood apple is known to help relieve constipation due to its fiber content, consuming excessive amounts or not drinking enough water can lead to opposite effects and exacerbate constipation. Ensure that you drink an adequate amount of water when consuming wood apple to prevent constipation.
5. Blood Sugar Control
Although wood apple has a low glycemic index and may be beneficial for managing diabetes, it is still important for individuals with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly when consuming wood apple to ensure it fits into their overall dietary plan.
Wood apple is generally safe for consumption, but it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional if you have underlying medical conditions or concerns. Possible side effects include allergic reactions, gastrointestinal discomfort, medicinal interactions, constipation, and the need for blood sugar monitoring in individuals with diabetes. Discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and seek medical attention. Moderate consumption and adequate hydration are recommended.
Wood apple has a unique flavour of sweet, sour and tangy; perfect for those side accompaniments like chutneys or even our street style chaat – as we all crave for those umami flavours, and luckily a local fruit like wood apple has it all. Moreover, its brimming with nutrients from fibre, protein Vit C, to plenty of micro and trace elements, which only makes consuming wood apples a sweeter deal
Since it’s a winter fruit, make the most of it when it’s in season and get that boost of nourishment your body needs, especially in the cold season.
Wood Apple or Indian Bael is experiencing growing popularity due to its numerous health benefits and traditional use in Ayurveda. As more people seek natural and holistic approaches to health and well-being, wood apple is gaining recognition for its potential therapeutic properties. Its rich nutritional profile, digestive benefits, skin health advantages, and immune-boosting effects contribute to its rising popularity.
By incorporating wood apple into your life, you can potentially experience the benefits associated with this fruit and explore its traditional wisdom. Embracing natural remedies and holistic approaches to health can contribute to overall well-being and a deeper connection with nature’s offerings.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is wood apple good for diabetes?
Wood apple can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes due to its low glycemic index, which means it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. However, it’s important to monitor blood sugar levels and consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating wood apple into your diet to ensure it fits into your overall diabetes management plan.
2. How to know wood apple is ripe?
A ripe wood apple typically has a yellow or brownish outer skin that feels slightly soft when pressed. The fruit will also emit a sweet and pleasant aroma when it is ripe.
3. Is it safe to drink wood apple juice during pregnancy?
Wood apple juice is generally considered safe to consume during pregnancy. However, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet during pregnancy to ensure the safety and suitability for you and your baby.
4. How to make wood apple juice?
To make wood apple juice, start by breaking open the ripe wood apple fruit and scooping out the flesh. Blend the flesh with some water in a blender or use a juicer to extract the juice. You can strain the juice to remove any fibrous bits if desired. Optionally, you can add some sweetener like honey or jaggery to taste.
5. Can we eat wood apple during a fast?
In some religious fasts, wood apple is allowed to be consumed. However, it’s important to follow the specific guidelines and restrictions of the fast you are observing. Consult with religious or spiritual authorities to determine if wood apple is permitted during your particular fasting practice.
The Versatile Vila (Wood Apple) with Special reference to Siddha Medicine
Role of antispasmodics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome
Vitamin C and Immune Function
Bioactive Compounds of Wood Apple (Limonia acidissima L.)
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