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Wood apple or bael fruit is known for its health benefits in many parts of the country. In fact, since 2000 BC, the fruit is being used in India as a remedy for several health problems. It is often used for important religious rituals and is also eaten and cherished by many. But, is it safe to eat wood apple during pregnancy? Well, we shall discuss that in the article below. Read on to know more about wood apple, its health benefits and effects of eating the fruit during pregnancy.
What Is Wood Apple or Bael Fruit?
Scientifically known as Aegle marmelos, wood apple is a fruit with a hard-brown shell and a rough exterior with a soft pulpy core. The pulp is brown in colour, has numerous small, crunchy, white-coloured, edible seeds, a strong, pungent smell and is usually meaty in texture. Wood apple is also recognised with other names such as Bengal quince, bilwa, stone apple and bael.
Nutritional Facts of Wood Apple
Wood apple is rich in nutrients and is considered an energy food by many. It has high levels of fibre and potassium, which makes it a great fruit to have. However, for pregnant women, we recommend you talk to your gynaecologist to confirm if your health permits you to eat the fruit.
Here’s the nutritional content per 100 grams of wood apple:
|Nutrients||Amount (100 grams)|
Source: National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR
Let’s now take a look at the health benefits wood apple has to offer.
Health Benefits of Wood Apple for Pregnant Women
Is it safe to eat wood apple during pregnancy? To answer this, we must look into its health benefits before judging whether or not it is safe to have the fruit when pregnant. We would like to reiterate that you must seek medical advice to confirm if you can eat the fruit.
1. Balances the Level of Fluids in the Body
Wood apple contains potassium which is essential for balancing the level of fluids in the body. During pregnancy, it is essential to keep the level of fluids and electrolytes in your body under control. Since the blood volume expands during this time, electrolytes become essential for the body. Potassium also helps in sending nerve impulses, and in the event of muscle contraction, it can also prevent cramps in the body.
2. Aids Digestion
Another common problem that crops up during pregnancy is indigestion. As the foetus grows in size, it gradually begins to exert pressure on your digestive system. When eaten in moderation, the fibre content in wood apple can aid digestion.
3. Fights Constipation
One common digestion-related issue pregnant women experience is constipation. Wood apple has a high fibre content which makes it easy to digest and can provide relief from constipation.
4. Fights Infections
Wood apple extracts are said to have strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties which help fight against infections in the body. Eating extracts from the fruit in moderation can help you fight several infections.
5. Other Health Benefits
Wood apple has plant and chemical compounds like flavonoids and coumarins, which can reduce blood pressure, inflammation and also help treat asthma. Wood apple can also help cure gastric ulcers and help manage blood cholesterol levels during pregnancy.
Although wood apple has some benefits, it also has some side effects that you should be aware of. Check them out before you pick that fruit to eat during pregnancy.
Side Effects of Having Wood Apple During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a very crucial period in a woman’s life, and surprisingly, foods that are beneficial otherwise are often considered to be risky during pregnancy as they might pose a threat to the mother as well as the baby. Some of the risks associated with consuming wood apple during pregnancy are as follows:
- The wood apple fruit contains tannins and if consumed for a long period of time, may lead to miscarriages in pregnant women.
- As much as the fruit is recommended for those who are troubled with indigestion, consuming it in large amounts can make the digestive system go completely haywire with side effects like gas, bloating, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
There is a lot of debate over whether it is safe to consume wood apple during pregnancy. While the fruit has some health benefits, some studies have proven that is can be risky for some mothers-to-be. It is, therefore, safer to consult a doctor before consuming wood apple during pregnancy.
Also Read: Eating Apple During Pregnancy