Bael fruit is also popular by the name of Bengal quince, stone apple, or wood apple. In some parts of the world, bael is called elephant apple because it is one of the most favorite food of the elephants. It gets the name wood apple because of its hard wooden shell. It is a round-shaped hard-skinned fruit, with a mushy and soft pulp within. It possesses a peachy aroma. The taste of the fruit is somewhat sweetish sour.
Bael tree along with bael fruit and bael leaves are considered to be highly sacred. Bael leaves are even considered as an offering to Lord Shiva.
You can prepare the sharbat easily at home all by yourself. First, you need to take ripe bael fruits. Then you will remove the pulp and mash it nicely. After that strain the mixture and then add sugar or jaggery to enhance the taste of the sharbat.
The sharbat besides being tasty is also related to a lot of health benefits. The list of health benefits attributed to wood apples is mainly due to the presence of nutrients, vitamins, and organic compounds, including tannins, calcium, phosphorous, fiber, protein, and iron.
Here is a list of some of the health benefits bael sharbat has to offer-
Helps to Prevent Bacteria-Induced Diarrhoea
Bael owing to the the presence of so many nutrients in it and to the compounds extracted from bael fruit demonstrate powerful use as an agent in fighting off dangerous bacteria. The bacteria majorly responsible for gastrointestinal related ailment, namely the Shigella dysenteriae binds to cells in the colon, causing diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain. Young children, old people and people with a weak immune system are particularly vulnerable to shigella infection. According to some studies, the presence of lectins, which is a constituent element in bael sharbat, shigella becomes less powerful and is its ability to stick to the colon cells is also reduced to a certain level, thus providing protection against the infection.
Helps to Fight off Skin Infections
Besides the antibacterial properties, the extracts from bael fruit, roots, and leaves possess antifungal and antiviral abilities as well. Particularly, the Bael leaf oil helps stop the action of common types of fungus that infect the skin. In the same manner it offers protection against several bacterial strains also, including those responsible for staph infections. Thus with all these benefits to count on, bael fruit can be considered useful alternative for fighting skin infections.
Helps to Protect the Stomach
As mentioned earlier, bael fruit is useful to maintain good gastrointestinal health. According to studies, compounds extracted from the seeds of bael fruit helps reduce the volumes of gastric juices released in the stomach and to reduce acidity in animals. Additionally, both methanolic and aqueous extracts from the seeds of bael help and promote the healing from ulcers. In addition to this, constituents of the leaves of bael fruit also provide antioxidant protection against damage that radiation does to the gastrointestinal tract. This can help improve the health and quality of life for people who are undergoing radiation treatment for cancer.
May Help to Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Constituents of the fruit of bael plant contain fair amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants have the ability to remove the free radicals, especially nitric oxide and 1, 1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), mainly responsible for cancer cell growths in the body. There are various forms of cancer are caused by the damage done to cells by free radicals. Thus it may help reduce some of the overall damage that increases cancer risk over time, but can not be taken as the sole treatment of cancer.
May Help with Diabetes Management
The stem bark of bael fruit is claimed to have one of the antioxidants, namely the umbelliferone β-D-galactopyranoside (UFG). According to studies of its impact on diabetic rats, it resulted in significantly decreased plasma insulin levels and fasting blood glucose. UFG is also claimed to produce anti-inflammatory effects.
With so many benefits to reap, one must consume a fair portion of bael, atleast in summers.