Water apple is a bell-shaped edible berry fruit that has a unique taste. Aside from being a delicious-watery fruit it is a powerhouse of diverse health benefits.
A tropical tree, Syzygium samarangense grows to heights of 12-15 meters. While the tree is native to Malay Peninsula, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Greater Sunda Islands, it’s known to have roots in prehistoric times. In present times the tree is cultivated widely in tropical conditions. The flowers on this tree are 2.5-3.0 cm in diameter with numerous stamens and 4 petals.
Water apple which has significant water content has a taste similar to snow pear. The fruit has an aesthetically lingering aftertaste. When you take a bite off a water apple you realize the goodness of what it means to have a water-based fruit with a hint of sweetness. Water apples are also known as Wax Jambu, Java apple, wax apple, rose apple and Semarang-rose-apple. As the tree matures it yields a higher crop of water apples.
In good soil conditions a mature tree yields a crop of 700-800 water apples. As the fruit gets ripe the fruit begins to puff outwards developing a slight concavity on the underside in the middle forming the shape of a bell. The liquid-to-flesh ratio is often compared with watermelon. The color of water apples are red, white, reddish-pink, purple, pale green, crimson and black in a wild cultivar. In recent years the hybrid varieties of water apples coming from South East Asian countries are sought after for their sweet taste and large size.
Legend and Theories associated with Water Apples
The darker variety of water apples are referred to as ‘Black Diamond’ or Black Pearl’ while the white ones are referred to as ‘Pearls’. In fruit markets both varieties of water apples are available; however, white water apples are more expensive than the dark variety. The fruit is believed to be the fruit of pirates in the 1600s. The fruit was easily accessible on islands and were carried by pirates on their ship to quench thirst and hunger. Under moonlight, water apples would shine and sparkle like diamonds, and hence the name ‘black diamond’ for the darker variety.
The water apple is also associated with God’s creation of mankind. It is believed the Forbidden fruit eaten by Eve was actually a water apple. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil which God had commanded Adam and Eve not to eat from the Garden of Eden is theoretically believed to be the water apple. While the term ‘Forbidden Fruit’ metaphorically refers to procreation which is immoral or illegal, there are various interpretations pertaining to the term. Furthermore, the theories about Adam choking after taking a bite of the ‘forbidden fruit’ is attributed to reasoning of many experts because of a seed. The seed is believed to be that of a water apple and hence the prominent thyroid cartilage of the larynx among men called the ‘Adams Apple’.
While there are a lot of theories associated with water apples, the fruit is popular globally for its taste and health benefits. The fruit is loaded with nutrients required for good health. Water apples contain a range of minerals and vitamins. Water apple/rose apple is a fruit that is easy to digest and can be had any time of day. The fruit is a good source of magnesium, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorous, Niacin, protein and sodium among others. The fruit is easy to eat in hand without peeling skin.
Health Benefits of Water Apples
1. Treatment for Diarrhea
In South East Asia water apples are used as a home treatment for diarrhea. Flowers of water apples are astringent. A Flower-fruit concoction is used to stop bouts of diarrhea. The presence of tannins help dry watery secretions associated with diarrhea.
2. Excellent for People with Diabetes
Water apples have a diverse range of bioactive compounds that have the ability to lower blood sugar levels. According to research the presence of jambosine, an alkaloid helps stabilize sugar levels in diabetics.
3. Excellent Way to Detoxify
Water apples/rose apples have a complex mix of minerals and vitamins that help eliminate toxins in our body. Including water apples in your diet helps fight harmful toxins. This fruit is used in detoxification diets for its antioxidant properties.
4. Excellent for Weight Loss
Rose apples have excellent nutritional value. The fruit can be had as a health snack. A 100 gram serving of water apples gives a balanced amount of minerals, vitamins, protein, fat, carbohydrates and energy. After a tiring day or after a tiring workout having water apples as a snack is a great way to feel refreshed and get instant energy.
5. Excellent for bladder infections (UTI)
Individuals suffering from bladder infections should include water apples/rose apples in their diet. The fruit has a combination of chemical compounds that help flush out toxins through urine. Being a natural diuretic, it helps stimulate urine disposal or launch urine for individuals with bladder problems. Water apples are also used as a folk medicine for treatment of UTI. Furthermore, consuming water apples also prevents the formation of kidney stones by flushing toxins and keeping the bladder clean.
6. Keeps Skin Healthy and Slows Down Ageing
The secret recipe for glowing skin among many women in South East Asia is water apples. The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C which plays a vital role in keeping skin healthy. Consuming water apples regularly gives skin a natural glow and also prevents acne breakouts. 100 grams of rose apples provide 22.3 g or vitamin C. Regular consumption of water apples repairs damaged skin cells making skin firmer and preventing sagging and wrinkles thereby making you look younger and slowing down skin ageing.
7. Prevents Dehydration during Pregnancy
Expectant mothers get dehydrated rather frequently. During pregnancy women feel nausea and suffer from bouts of vomiting. The body gets dehydrated after a bout of vomiting. Eating water apples is an excellent way for pregnant women to keep hydrated. Furthermore, unlike most other fruits, water apples do not have a smell which makes it easy for pregnant women to consume without nausea. Water apples have vital mineral and vitamins that are required for women during pregnancy.
8. Good for Bone Health
Rose apples are an excellent source of calcium which plays a pivotal role in maintaining good bone health. A 100 gram serving of rose apples provides 29mg of calcium, which means eating this fruit daily gives you adequate calcium requirement and in the process makes bones stronger.
9. Excellent remedy for Coeliac Disease
Individuals suffering from Coeliac disease should include rose apples in their diet. Coeliac disease often affects the small intestine and causes gastrointestinal problems such as malabsorption, diarrhea, loss of appetite and abdominal distention. Water apples have antioxidants that help repair damaged stomach lining caused by coeliac disease.
10. Improves Immunity
Regular consumption of rose apples boosts immunity. With good immunity the body is able to fight infections. The combination of minerals and vitamins along with antioxidants present in water apples strengthen and improve the function of WBCs (white blood cells) that play an important role in protecting the body from infectious diseases.
Nutritional Value of Water Apples (Nutritional Value Per 100 grams)
Protein- O.60 g
Energy- 105 kj
Fat- 0.30 g
Carbohydrates- 5.70 g
Other Constituents (Cholestrol)- 0 g
(Nutritional Value source: USDA Nutrition Database)
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