9 Nov 2013
Quince: symbol of love that brings health
Are you prepared for autumn's cold and wind? Quinces are the fruits that will help boost your immunity. These aromatic fruits contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as they are known from other various health benefits. They have not only antioxidant and anti-viral properties, but they are also recommended for people suffering from various diseases. Find out more details about nutritious quinces and discover fascinating facts about the fruits that are symbol of love and fertility.
Quince is a small tree that belongs to family of Rosaceae. Originally quince grows in South-west Asia, however, nowadays it can be found at much higher latitudes. Quince can be frequently met in European gardens as far north as Scotland.
Fruits are aromatic, golden-yellow and apple-shaped. They have dry and sour taste when eaten raw. Quince tastes the best when it is cooked and it is perfect for making jams.
Quinces are very popular in Greece and Portugal. Peel of this fruit is often used as well. It is baked and roasted or stewed and used as an addition to meat dishes. In the Middle East, delicious quince preservatives are eaten with lamb or in the tagine dish. The fruits are used to make wines that are usually sweet dessert wines. While in the Balkans, brandy is produced from quinces.
Culture and myths about quinces
It was believed that quince is the fruit of Forbidden tree from Garden of Eden. The other myth says this was the fruit that Paris gave Aphrodite, therefore it was thought quince is the fruit of Greek Aphrodite, as well as Roman Venus. Both of them were often painted and sculptured with quince in the right hand. In ancient Greece, quinces played vital role during weddings. People were throwing fruits into bridal chariots. These fruits were also served at the wedding feast. Later on, bride was eating quince to sweeten her breath before entering bedroom. Overall, quinces were known as a symbol of love and fertility.
Value of quinces
Quinces are extremely rich in many minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron, copper and sulphur. There is also plenty of vitamin C, pro-vitamin A and vitamin B complex. As a result of large amount of beneficial vitamins and minerals, quinces have various favorable effects on health. They improve immunity, as well as they support cold treatment. They protect cells from damage, as well as defend against cancers, as they are powerful antioxidants . Extract of quince is used as a treatment for diarrhea. It is beneficial for gastric ulcer as well, due to its anti-viral properties . What is more, regularly drinking juice improve digestion processes and lowers blood level of cholesterol. As they are rich in fiber, eating quinces is recommended for people who want to lose weight or maintain healthy body. Furthermore, high content of potassium beneficially affects blood pressure regulation . Quinces are thought to be good for asthma, anemia and cardiovascular disease.
Anti-inflammatory properties of quinces
Quinces have recently brought attention of scientists, due to its high content of polyphenols. Several studies have shown that their high consumption has protective effect against cancer and inflammatory disease. These beneficial characteristics of polyphenols have been attributed primarily to their antioxidant activity. Recently, effect of quince peel polyphenolic extract on inflammation has been examined. The study demonstrated 55% inhibition of inflammation . Quince polyphenols diminished the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines by inflamed macrophages and enhanced secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Many components of the peel have been presented as anti-inflammatory. These include catechin, rutin, hyparin and procyanidin. It has been concluded that quinces can be used as an alternative cost-effective product that help in preventing and treating inflammatory disorders. The extract evaluated in the research presents the advantage of being simply prepared from naturally occurring which could be marketed as nutraceuticals.
Properties of quinces
- Improve immunity
- Protect cells from damage
- Defend against cancer
- Inhibit inflammation
- Improve digestion
- Help to lose weight
- Treat diarrhea
- Lower blood cholesterol level
- Improve blood pressure regulation
- Improve functioning of blood vessel walls
- Reduce atherosclerosis
Anticancer properties of quince extracts
A high level of polyphenols in quince leaves brings another health-related benefit. Remarkable anti-proliferate activity against cancer has been observed. Quince leaves show a concentration-dependent inhibitory activity of colon cancer growth . They induce cell cycle arrest, promote selective cell death, as well as they reduce formation of new blood vessels supplying cancer with oxygen. The extract from quince fruits has properties similar to the characteristics of leave extract. On the other hand, seed extracts demonstrate strong anti-proliferative efficiency against renal cancer. Looking at these facts, quince extracts may serves as a very useful cancer chemotherapeutic agent.
Quinces and blood vessels health
Cardiovascular disease is a major public health problem nowadays. It is reported as a leading cause of death and disability in the world. It has been estimated that cardiovascular disease was cause of 17.3mln people deaths in 2008 worldwide, which means 30% of all deaths. Atherosclerosis is known to be one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease. Although cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins were used for several decades and are effective in preventing cardiovascular disorders, their usage is often limited because of their adverse effects.
Boiling quince leaves have been proposed as an alternative treatment. Recently published study focused on the importance of quince in atherosclerosis treatment and evaluated the effect of the quince leaves on biochemical markers such as lipid profiles, liver enzymes, and kidney function . Researchers have found that quince leaf extract can effectively reduce a high-fat diet-induced atherosclerosis. Level of blood cholesterol and triglycerides were significantly lower. However, quince was not able to prevent formation of atherosclerotic plaque. Functions of blood vessel walls have been shown to be improved.
It is believed that eating quince is good for maintaining the optimum health of an individual. Due to the high levels of phenolic compounds, quinces are more effective than the fruit and seeds in the promoting of health and are a useful and inexpensive source of bioactive elements. As it can be seen, quinces bring plenty of benefits for healthy people, as well as for people with various diseases. Therefore, it is worth to have a couple of jars of quince jam or juice.
- Silva BM, Andrade PB, Valentao P, Ferreres F, Seabra RM, Ferreira MA (2004) Quince (Cydonia oblonga Miller) fruit (pulp, peel, and seed) and Jam: antioxidant activity. J Agric Food Chem.: 52(15): 4705-12.
- Fattouch S, Caboni P, Coroneo V, Tuberoso CI, Angioni A, Dessi S, Marzouki N, Cabras P (2007) Antimicrobial activity of Tunisian quince (Cydonia oblonga Miller) pulp and peel polyphenolic extracts. J Agric Food Chem.: 55(3): 963-9.
- Oliveira AP, Costa RM, Magalhaes AS, Pereira JA, Carvalho M, Valentao P, Andrade PB, Silva BM. (2012) Targeted metabolites and biological activities of Cydonia oblonga Miller leaves. Food Research International: 46(2): 496-504.
- Essafi-Benkhadir K, Refai A, Riahi I, Fattouch S, Karoui H, Essafi M. (2012) Quince (Cydonia oblonga Miller) peel polyphenols modulate LPS-induced inflammation in human THP-1-derived macrophages through NF-κB, p38MAPK and Akt inhibition. Biochem Biophys Res Commun: 418(1): 180-5.
- Carvalho M, Silva BM, Silva R, Valentão P, Andrade PB, Bastos ML. (2010) First report on Cydonia oblonga Miller anticancer potential: differential antiproliferative effect against human kidney and colon cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem.: 58(6): 3366-70.
- Khademi F, Danesh B, Delazar A, Mohammad Nejad D, Ghorbani M, Soleimani Rad J. (2013) Effects of quince leaf extract on biochemical markers and coronary histopathological changes in rabbits. ARYA Atheroscler.: 9(4): 223-31.