Indian jujube, also known as ber, desert apple or Indian plum is a tropical/subtropical fruit. It has a smooth, thin but tough, yellowish to reddish, flesh white, subacid to sweet taste depending upon the ripeness level. Ber is low in calories and is a rich source of ascorbic acid, essential minerals and carbohydrates.
- Ber fruit has a high nutritive value, a rich source of vitamin C, A and B complex, and in minerals like calcium, potassium, Bromium and rubidium.
- It contains 17% carbohydrates, 0.8% protein, 0.07% fat, 0.76-1.8% iron, 0.02 mg/100g carotene and thiamine, 0.7-0.9 mg /100g niacin , 65-76 mg/100g ascorbic acid, 1.3g/100 gm fibre.
- It is rich in phenolic compounds, and the main dominating fatty acids are medium-chain fatty acids which are good for health. Also, in comparison to other fruits, carotenes are found in appreciable amounts.
- Besides their nutritional importance, they have great antioxidant activity and medicinal properties too. Its seeds, roots and stem have medicinal uses to treat acute ailments.
- Ber fruit is richer in protein, phosphorus, calcium, carotene, vitamin C than an apple.
- It has more phosphorus, iron, and vitamin C than oranges.
Jujube fruit is considered sacred to Lord Shiva in India. Ripe ber fruits are mostly consumed raw or stewed, and the raw ones are low in salt. The dehydrated dried ber is ground to powder. Fresh ber can be processed into various products: fruit, jams, bars, syrups, squashes, etc.
Any changes in nutritional composition during growth and maturation?
The ascorbic acid increases as the fruit ripen, and so do the carotenoids. Also, ripening increases the total sugars, reducing sugars, non reducing sugars, mineral content increases fat, and protein decreases.
Whereas, pH decreases with maturity, and so does the phenolic acid.
- Excellent source of antioxidants
There are several antioxidant compounds, primarily flavonoids, polysaccharides and high levels of vitamin C that act as an antioxidant, which helps prevent and reverse damage caused by excess free radicals, which majorly contribute to severe chronic conditions.
- May improve sleep
These are widely used as an alternative medicine to improve sleep quality, and the unique antioxidants are responsible for these effects.
- May boost immunity
They help boost immunity due to potent antioxidant and vitamin C properties.
- May improve digestion
The extracts from the fruit and fibre content may help improve digestion as it may strengthen the lining of stomach and intestines, which decreases the risk of damage from harmful bacterias which can enter in your gut.
- May help purify the blood
The fruit contains saponin and alkaloids that work together in cleaning the blood.
To conclude, jujube fruits are nutritious and offer good health, therefore, should be included in the diet.