Want to boost your health? Try wood apple

Wood fruit or bael. Picture credit: flickr.com/ Hafiz Issadeen

It is not as commonly found as other fruits. Secondly, its flesh has a rather unique smell and taste, somewhat like ripe tamarind. But the fact is that wood apple is a very nutritious fruit and is often used.
 
The common name for wood apple is bael in India and it is also known as elephant apple, monkey fruit, curd fruit and kathbel.
 
An analysis from the University of Agricultural Sciences (Bengaluru) and published in the Indian Journal of Science said that wood apple has crude fibre, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, sodium, potassium, manganese and Vitamin C among others. Therefore, this fruit definitely qualifies as a superfood.
 
DH lists a few health benefits of wood apple:
 
Energy boost:
Instead of an energy drink, wood apple juice will do just fine as well. The juice can also improve organ activity and metabolism too.
Also, it is high in protein and can help in muscle repair as well.  
More importantly, the juice is well known in India as a good way to beat the summer heat and can reduce flatulence.
 
Blood purification:
A small quantity of wood apple juice with warm water is known to help in purifying the blood and help in removal of toxins. This, in turn, has the effect of reducing the load on the liver and kidneys.

Additionally, thanks to wood apple being a good source of Vitamin C, it can help improve the immune system. This helps in fighting off infections.

The presence of ample amounts of Vitamin C in the fruit can keep scurvy at bay.
 
Blood sugar control:
It is not just the fruit, but also other parts of the tree that have medicinal properties. For instance, the bark has something called Feronia gum, which can balance sugar levels in the blood by adjusting glucose and insulin levels.
 
Good for digestion:
Drinking wood apple juice has several benefits for the stomach and digestive system. It helps in curing digestive problems like dysentery and diarrhoea.

It is also known to be a good remedy for constipation and helps relieve discomfort. It also has laxative properties.
 
Apart from the above, it is beneficial for kidney and liver health because it can remove toxins. It can also relieve us of the common cold, a sore throat, cough and also help with the treatment of ear pain.
 
How to consume wood apple:
The flesh of the fruit can be eaten as it is. But if the flesh is sour, a bit of jaggery/ honey can be mixed.
 
The pulp must be blended with jaggery in a food processor. A bit of water can be added. Then, pepper and cardamom powder can be added to make a refreshing drink.
 
In some parts of the subcontinent, the pulp is mixed well with sugar, salt and chillies to make a tasty snack. This is a popular street food recipe.
 
Apart from the above, wood apple pulp can be used to make chutneys and jams.

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