Unravelling health benefits of a tropical wonder Bael fruit
The Bael fruit, Aegle marmelos, is an unsung hero in the fruit family. It is a native of Southeast Asia but is also common in Sri Lanka, India and thrives well in warm climes. Ajith Kumar, Principal Consultant of Ayush Singapore, bats for this humble fruit. When summer sets in it is the king of fruits (Mango) that fills the mind and haunts the memories of the people, and not the Bael which is almost ubiquitous in any tropical country. “Popularly, it is called wood apple (although it hardly resembles a normal apple), smilingly says Mr. Ajith.
He describes the fruit as one which is a rich source of fibre, calcium and vitamins (A & B2). He says that the fragrant fruits of summer are sought after and people refrain from this due to its pungent smell. “This is one of the best fruit that can cool your body in summer,” highlights Mr. Ajith, ayurvedic specialist, at Ayush Singapore. “People will begin to relish the Bael fruit as and when they realise the health benefits it offers,” says Mr. Ajith, confidently.
The Bael Fruit as described by the Ayurvedic consultant:
The rind of the fruit is woody and yellow. The pulp is soft and mushy. The aroma of the fruit is heady and it is either liked or most disliked (depending on the person). It also tastes sweet, tangy and musky at the same time.
States Mr. Ajith Kumar: The Bael has numerous health benefits. Let me list out a few:
Bael, natural digestive tonic: If you have any gut issues, then Bael fruit juice is just for you, assures Mr. Ajith. “Being rich in tannins, it is ideal for indigestion and diarrhoea. Its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties aid digestion,” points out the Ayurvedic specialist. The juice cools your body, kindles your appetite, and relieves fatigue.
Bowel movements are made easy due to the rich fibre in it, elaborates the consultant of Ayurveda. It prevents constipation and also aids in relieving symptoms of digestive disorders like diarrhoea, indigestion, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Antimicrobial Properties: Bael fruit has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that may help combat various infections caused by bacteria, fungi, and parasites. “It is believed to be effective against certain strains of bacteria like Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus,” points out the Ayurvedic consultant.
Rich in Antioxidants: Mr. Ajith reveals that this fruit is rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and flavonoids. These compounds help protect the body against damage caused by harmful free radicals, thereby reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Immune System Support: The Bael fruit contains vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system. Adequate intake of vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system, protects against infections, and aids in faster recovery from illnesses, explicates Mr. Ajith Kumar.
Respiratory Health: The specialist of Ayurveda further describes the Bael fruit as one which has good respiratory benefits. “It may help relieve symptoms associated with respiratory conditions like cough, cold, bronchitis, and asthma. Its expectorant properties can help expel mucus from the respiratory tract, providing relief from congestion,” he says.
Side Effects of Bael Fruit
We should never rule out side effects of any fruit or vegetable, clarifies Mr. Ajith Kumar. It is always best to find out if it suits you. He throws light on some of the side effects:
Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to bael fruit, says the specialist of Ayurveda. Symptoms can range from mild skin rashes and itching to more severe reactions such as swelling of the face, lips, or throat. If you are allergic to bael fruit, it is best to avoid consuming it.
Blood Sugar Control: Ajith Kumar of Ayush Singapore reveals that the Bael fruit has a natural sweetness and contains carbohydrates, so individuals with diabetes should consume it in moderation. It is advisable to monitor blood sugar levels when incorporating bael fruit into the diet, he advises.
Interference with Medications: Bael fruit may interact with certain medications, warns the Ayurvedic specialist. For example, it can enhance the effects of anti-diabetic medications, leading to low blood sugar levels. If you are taking any medications, especially for diabetes or blood sugar control, consult your healthcare provider before adding bael fruit to your diet, says the specialist.
Constipation (Excessive Consumption): While bael fruit can relieve constipation when consumed in moderate amounts, excessive intake may have the opposite effect and lead to constipation or digestive discomfort. It is important to consume it in moderation and drink enough water to prevent dehydration, cautions the Ayurvedic consultant.
It is worth noting that individual reactions may vary, and it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietician. This aspect is very important, especially if you already have glucose intolerance or if you suffer from any health condition, concludes the Principal Consultant, Ayush Singapore.