Some of the health benefits of velvet apples include their ability to improve heart health, increase circulation, treat gastrointestinal disorders, clear skin irritation, build strong bones, detoxify the body, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and relieve respiratory distress.
What are Velvet Apples?
Velvet apple, also known as Butter Fruit, Mabolo, and Kamagong, is a fruit native to the Philippines with the scientific name Diospyros blancoi. It is closely related to persimmons, and is characterized by having a fine, velvety fur on the skin, from which the common name is derived.
The fruit is typically reddish-brown in color, and while it is edible, with creamy, soft flesh, the smell of velvet apples is considered by many people to be unpleasant, commonly compared to the smell of cat feces or rotten cheese. This has resulted in another name, “Caca de chat”. The fruit is also found in Sri Lanka, and actually grows quite fast, producing fruit in as little as 7 years from a seedling.
Nutritional Value of Velvet Apples
As a culinary dish, it is either eaten raw, like normal apples, but is also included in various dessert dishes and in certain beverages. Despite the unpleasant smell, people still turn to velvet apples because of its high nutrient content that can be very beneficial for a variety of health issues. Velvet apples are rich sources of various vitamins, minerals, and essential organic compounds, including dietary fiber, protein, potassium, iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and the B-family vitamins.
Health Benefits of Velvet Apples
The high potassium content in velvet apples means that the fruit can function as a vasodilator, which relaxes the blood vessels, reduces stress on the cardiovascular system, and lowers blood pressure. The dietary fiber content can also lower cholesterol, so these two elements combined can greatly reduce atherosclerosis, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
The significant iron content in velvet apples boosts the red blood cell count in the body, increasing oxygenation of important tissues and muscle groups, stimulating the growth of hair, speeding up the healing process of cells, and boosting metabolic efficiency.
Treat Respiratory Conditions
In traditional medicine, velvet apples have been commonly used to relieve coughs, chest congestion, and asthma, possibly due to the high content of vitamins and minerals, which also act to improve the immune system.
The high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A boost the immune system of the body by acting as antioxidants, eliminating damaging free radicals that can mutate or kill healthy cells. These two vitamins prevent premature aging, chronic diseases, stimulate cellular development and growth, and increase the health and appearance of the skin.
The dietary fiber in velvet apples helps to ease the passage of food through the digestive tract, thereby eliminating constipation and other gastrointestinal issues. In traditional medicines of the Philippines, velvet apples were relied on to cure dysentery and diarrhea, which is perhaps its most common application in human health.
When topically applied or consumed, the pulp of velvet apples has shown remarkable ability to reduce inflammation and irritation on the skin, and is often turned to in alternative medicine as the fastest way to heal skin conditions and burns. Furthermore, velvet apple pulp and juice are applied to snakebites and other toxic incursions in the body, neutralizing toxins and helping to reduce the effects of these issues.