A fruit which is not so good looking but loaded with essential nutrients…!
Yes, we are talking about bael fruit, or in Hindi, it is called bilwa. It is a sweet, aromatic fruit that grows on the bael tree. Bael is also known as the tree of Lord Shiva is of sacred value in India.
Bael or wood apple that goes with the botanical name Aegle marmelos is a middle-sized tree with slender branches, pale brown bark that often oozes edible gum. It is also an important medicinal plant with several uses in traditional medicine. All parts- root, leaf, trunk, fruit, and seeds of bael are beneficial in treating various diseases. The raw fruits look greenish-grey, while the woody exterior turns yellow upon ripening.
Nutritional facts of bael
Bael is an uncommon but nutritious fruit. This fruit is rich in-
- Vitamins – vitamin C, beta carotene, and vitamin B-complex.
- Minerals – potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron
- Dietary fibers
Health benefits of bael fruit
1: Management of bacteria-induced diarrhea and cholera
Bael fruit has ant-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties that help reduce diarrhea. Tannins present in bael help in fighting against the infection called shigellosis that causes diarrhea and cholera.
Young children, travelers, and people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to Shigella infection. Some studies suggest that consuming ripe bael may control cholera and diarrhea.
2: Good for digestion
Bael is the best fruit for all digestive problems that have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties. Its magical juice may control gastric ulcers caused due to the imbalance of mucosa and levels of oxidative stress in the gastric tract. It also has laxative properties that prevent constipation.
3: Reduces cholesterol
Bael juice helps in cholesterol control and also reduces blood cholesterol levels. It is a cardio-protective fruit that is rich in antioxidants that reduces the risk of heart diseases.
4: Help in diabetes management
The bark and branches of bael are rich with a compound-Feronia gum that reduces the elevated blood glucose level. In Ayurveda, bael is an essential remedy for diabetes. Bael stimulates the pancreas and helps them to produce insulin that controls sugar levels in the blood.
5: Prevent skin infections
Due to the presence of anti-bacterial, anti-fungus, and anti-inflammatory properties of bael, it is an excellent remedy for skin infections. Bael leaf oil inhibits common types of fungus that infect the skin. It can also be beneficial for skin rash and itchy bumps.
6: Act as a blood purifier
It is a blood purifier because it is rich in minerals that help flush all toxins from the body. It is a natural detoxifying agent and thus, prevents kidney and liver dysfunctions.
7: Help in scurvy
Bael is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that help control your symptoms of scurvy. Scurvy can cause a deficiency of Vitamin C in the body resulting in sore arms and legs and weakness. Bael juice is a good source of vitamins and cures this disease.
8: May reduce cancer risk
Extract from bael fruit contains antioxidants with the ability to scavenge for free radicals. Those free radicles may beneficial to reduce the cancer risk. The study suggests that consumption of this juice regularly prevents or cures breast cancer.
Bael juice is a powerhouse of vitamin C and antioxidants that boost immunity. Drinking a bael juice during monsoons will help in preventing infections due to bacteria and viruses.
10: Stimulate milk production in nursing mother
Daily consumption of bael may stimulate the production of prolactin and corticoids. It turns to induces galactagogue action and thereby helps in improving lactation and the quality of breast milk. For good results, drink bael juice with dry ginger powder and jaggery by the infant mothers.
How to make bael juice?
It is a traditional recipe commonly found in the households of North Eastern India, especially during summers.
Take bael fruit, wash it and break the hard shell from all around. Once it broke, remove the pulp in a bowl. Mash the pulp till it softens and strain the mixture to remove any solid particles or impurities. You can add chilled milk, cardamom powder, jaggery, and black salt to the bael pulp if you want.
Bael recipes to try
Now that you understand the benefits of bael. Let’s look at some easy bael recipe ideas you can try out:
- Bael Smoothie – Mix the pulp of 3 bael fruit with jaggery (country sugar), cardamon and some water (as per preference). Regular consumption can help with bowel movements while being delicious and refreshing.
- Bael Mojito – Perfect for a summer’s day, blend 1 bael with sugar to taste, black pepper, black salt, a squeeze of lemon and ice cubes.
- Bael Chutney – A sticky, flavourful spread for snacks or flatbreads like parathas, make this chutney by combining 12 baels with brown sugar, black salt, cumin seeds, black pepper powder, fennel, regular salt and a hint of red chilli powder. Reduce over medium-low heat till you have a thick, paste-like consistency.
- Bael Jam – For a sweeter version of the previous recipe, use only ingredients; bael, sugar and lemon juice. Follow the same instructions and reduce till you have an easily spreadable jam.
- Bael Flavoured Lassi – With the added benefit of curd, this concoction will make you feel fresh while being a boon for your digestion. Blend 1 bael fruit with water (3 cups), curd (½ cup), sugar or honey to taste, half a teaspoon chaat masala powder and optionally top each glass off with an ice cube.
Get all the benefits of bael with these tasty recipes. Don’t be afraid to venture outside your comfort zone, while bael juice recipes may be easy, there are so many other ways to consume this fruit!
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Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.