How This Helps

Even if you haven't tried or heard of a quince before, you might be surprised to know that it's filled with different healthy nutrients. It's particularly famous for its vitamin C, copper, iron, zinc, potassium, and fiber content, all of which can bring a variety of benefits to your health in digestive health, blood pressure care, weight management, and boosting your immune system. What's not to like?

What is Quince?

It is quite likely that you have never heard the name of a quince fruit before. So what is a quince? Well known for having a unique flavor, quince looks like it is a cross between both pears and apples. A ripe quince fruit has a color similar to that of a golden apple. Quince is not a new fruit that has just come into existence. In fact, the cultivation of this fruit can be traced back all the way to ancient Rome and Greece. Quince is popular in the Mediterranean countries as being a symbol of fertility and love. However, over the years, their popularity has gone down significantly, and not many people are aware of this delicious and healthy fruit anymore. Read on to learn more about the quince fruit - a secret fall food that has many health benefits.

See: Boost your immune system with Ayurveda

Quince fruit nutritional facts

Nutritional Value of Quince Fruit

The fall fruit quince grows in a similar manner like pears and apples. However, unlike apples and pears, quince fruit is known to have even more health benefits due to the high amount of fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals. This makes quince highly nutritious. As per the nutritional data of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, here is the nutritional profile of one 3.2 ounces (92 grams) quince fruit:[1]

•        Total Calories: 52

•        Carbohydrates: 14 grams 

•        Protein: 0.3 grams

•        Fiber: 1.75 grams

•        Fat: 0 grams

•        Vitamin C: Provides 15% of the daily required value

•        Vitamin B6: 2% of the daily required value

•        Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 1.5% of the daily required value

•        Iron: 3.6% of the daily required value

•        Copper: 13% of the daily required value

•        Magnesium: 2% of the daily required value

•        Potassium: 4% of the daily required value

Looking at the high nutritional content of the quince fruit, one can see that just one ounce of quince can supply very high amounts of copper and vitamin C, along with B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and iron in smaller amounts. 

The most significant benefit of the quince fruit is that it is low in calories and has zero fat. This makes it a great fruit for those who are trying to lose weight.[2] 

See: Foods to avoid when constipated

Quince health benefits

Quince has many potential health benefits:

- Quince is a potent antioxidant

Experts believe that most of the benefits of quince fruit are due to the supply of antioxidants associated with quince. Antioxidants are known to have many health benefits for the body, such as reducing inflammation, protecting the cells against damage by the free radicals, and also reducing metabolic stress.[3, 4]

A study tried to evaluate the antioxidant properties of Chinese quince and apples to determine which fruit had more potent antioxidant properties. The study found that the Chinese quince had much higher antioxidant benefits, along with many other benefits for the gastrointestinal tract and blood vessels.[5]

Research also shows that some of the antioxidant compounds present in quinces, such as flavonols, may help protect against heart disease and even lower inflammation within the body.[6]

- Quince can help relieve digestive issues 

For many years, quinces have been used in many traditional medicines for treating several types of digestive issues.[7] An animal study carried out on rats discovered that extract and juice of quince fruit dramatically reduced the damage to intestinal tissue in rats with ulcerative colitis.[8] However, extensive human studies are needed to show that quince can benefit in inflammatory bowel diseases.

At the same time, early research shows that some of the plant compounds found in quinces can help treat and also prevent stomach ulcers. 

An animal study in rats found that quince extract can protect against stomach ulcers caused by alcohol abuse.[9] Other research has also found that quince juice can help prevent the growth of H. pylori bacteria, which is known to be a major cause of stomach ulcers.[7]

- Quince for boosting the immune system

Initial studies show that the quince fruit can boost the functioning of your immune system. Many test-tube studies have found that quince has strong anti-bacterial properties that help prevent the 'out-of-control' growth of harmful bacteria such as S. aureus and E.coli. Furthermore, if you look at the nutritional properties of quince, one quince contains nearly 15 percent of the amount of vitamin C you require daily. The body requires vitamin C to maintain a healthy and functioning immune system.[1, 7, 10]

See: Broccoli Nutrition & Health Benefits Diabetes, Cancer, Heart

Challenges of having a quince

Even though the quince fruit is rich in nutrients, it comes with its challenges. It has a very tough and spongy flesh, which is very difficult to cut into pieces. Even a fully ripened quince does not taste too good when eaten raw. If you want to enjoy the quince fruit, you will need to cut it up and cook it. You will know it's cooked when the quince fruit turns from a yellowish-white color to a deep, light pink color. Adding a little water and sugar, or even wine can turn the quince fruit into a delicious delicacy to have. 

It is possible to have the quince fruit just as you have cooked it, pouring it over yogurt, baking it into a tart, turning it into a jam or marmalade, and you can even make a sweet and spicy paste out of it that goes quite well with cheese. Many people love making desserts and sorbets out of quince as well.

See: Low Sugar Diet Plan to Control Blood Pressure and Obesity

Precautions & side effects

There is not enough information to know if quince is safe for medicinal use. The seeds contain cyanide, which strongly suggests that quince seeds might not be safe. Not enough is known about the use of quince during pregnancy and breast-feeding. It may be wise to be safe and avoid its use.

See: Keto diet benefits for weight loss, diabetes & PCOS

Summary

The quince fruit, though still relatively unknown, is an ancient fruit that hails from the Mediterranean countries. It is known for its unique flavor, and it offers many health benefits, including boosting your immune system, helping in treating digestive disorders, allergies, and many other conditions. Nevertheless, more research is still needed to prove these benefits of quince. Even though the quince fruit is not as popular as pears and apples, remember that they can only be consumed once they are cooked. It is an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and calcium. It is also low in calories, contains zero fat, and high in nutrients. At the same time, quinces are rich in antioxidants, fibers, and many essential vitamins and minerals. So the next time you are wondering about what is quince, think about going a step further and trying out this nutritious fruit for yourself.

See: Ayurvedic Approach to Gut Health & Constipation

References

1. 2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 March 2020].

2. Sharma, R., Joshi, V.K., and Rana, J.C., 2011. Nutritional composition & processed products of quince (Cydonia oblonga Mill.).

3. Griffiths, K., Aggarwal, B.B., Singh, R.B., Buttar, H.S., Wilson, D., and De Meester, F., 2016. Food antioxidants and their anti-inflammatory properties: a potential role in cardiovascular diseases and cancer prevention. Diseases, 4(3), p.28.

4. Silva, B.M., Andrade, P.B., Valentão, P., Ferreres, F., Seabra, R.M., and Ferreira, M.A., 2004. Quince (Cydonia oblonga Miller) fruit (pulp, peel, & seed) and jam: antioxidant activity. Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, 52(15), pp.4705-4712.

5. Hamauzu, Y., Inno, T., Kume, C., Irie, M. and Hiramatsu, K., 2006. Antioxidant and anti ulcerative properties of phenolics from Chinese quince, quince, and apple fruits. Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, 54(3), pp.765-772.

6. Panche, A.N., Diwan, A.D., and Chandra, S.R., 2016. Flavonoids: an overview. Journal of nutritional science, 5.

7. Ashraf, M.U., Muhammad, G., Hussain, M.A., and Bukhari, S.N., 2016. Cydonia oblonga M., a medicinal plant rich in phytonutrients for pharmaceuticals. Frontiers in pharmacology, 7, p.163.

8. Minaiyan, M., Ghannadi, A., Etemad, M., and Mahzouni, P., 2012. A study of the effects of Cydonia oblonga Miller (Quince) on TNBS-induced ulcerative colitis in rats. Research in pharmaceutical sciences, 7(2), p.103.

9. Hamauzu, Y., Inno, T., Kume, C., Irie, M., and Hiramatsu, K., 2006. Antioxidant and anti ulcerative properties of phenolics from Chinese quince, quince, and apple fruits. Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, 54(3), pp.765-772.

10. Carr, A.C., and Maggini, S., 2017. Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients

See: Yoga For Digestion & Gut Health

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