Health Benefits Of Kumquats - Fruits In Winter (Part-1)
Kumquats Can Be Eaten As A Whole Along With The Peel
Kumquat - the fruit
Kumquat or cumquat is a small, oval fruit, being approximately the size and shape of an olive. It closely resembles an orange in appearance, but is the only citrus fruit that can be eaten with the skin.
Kumquats belong to the plant family Rutaceae and genus fortunella, named after the botanist Robert fortune who brought them to Europe.
The short trees or shrubs that bear this fruit are 8-15 feet tall, with dark green glossy leaves and white flowers. Depending on size, the kumquat tree can produce hundreds or even thousands of fruits every year.
This plant symbolizes good fortune in Asian countries, and can be grown as an ornamental plant or used in bonsai. It can also be given as a gift during the lunar new year.
The plant is a native to South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, now grown in different parts of the world.
The different varieties of kumquats include the following :
- Round or Marumi kumquat - This variety is mainly used to make jellies and marmalade. The golden-yellow fruit can be eaten as such or cooked. Its peel is sweet, and the center has a sour and tangy taste.
- Oval or Nagami kumquats - The fruit ripens in mid- to late winter.
- Jiangsu or Fukushu kumquats
Kumquats are much hardier than their other citrus relatives. Though they grow well in hot summer, but can withstand frost down to minus temperatures without injury.
The trees enter into a period of winter dormancy so profound that they will remain intact through several weeks until the arrival of warm weather, when they would give out new shoots and bear the bloom.
They are not grown from the seed but from rootstock of another plant.
Kumquats can be used to make candied snacks.
Culinary Uses Of Kumquats
Kumquat peel contains an essential oil that is responsible for its rich aroma. This oil is composed of limonene (93%), alpha pinene, monoterpenes, and sesquiterpenes such as alpha burgamotene,and caryophyllene.
The fruit is used to make candies, preserves, jellies, and marmalade. It can be sliced and tossed into salads, used as a garnish for cocktail beverages, and can also be added to Green tea or Black tea, either hot or cold.
When at a fruit market, choose kumquats that are firm and not soft, plump, bright, and with no blemishes.
This fruit can be stored at room temperature for a few days or up to two weeks in a refrigerator.
Health Benefits Of Kumquats
Kumquats can be eaten as a whole along with the peel. The skin has a sweet flavor with a sour center. When both are eaten together, they produce an unusual and refreshing flavor.
Counting on calories, 100 gms of fruit provides 71 calories. This fruit is an incredibly rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Around 100 gms of whole kumquats provide 17% of daily recommended level of fiber, being composed of tanins, pectin, hemicellulsoe and other complex carbs.
It is packed with polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidants, such as carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Its main health benefits include the following :
1. Improve Digestion
Kumquats have a high content of insoluble dietary fiber that cannot get absorbed in the intestines, but cleans them, and keeps them moving. It helps eliminate constipation, gas, bloating, cramps, and improves absorption of nutrients.
2. Prevent diabetes
The fiber contained in kumquats regulates and reduces glucose absorption from intestines, helps to improve glucose balance, optimize insulin levels, and prevents people from developing the disease.
3. Improve Immunity
Kumquats have a very high content of vitamin-C, with 100 gms of fruit providing 47.9 mg of vitamin-C (which is 73% Recommended Daily Allowance). This vitamin-C increases the activity of immune system, and keeps the body protected from harmful microbes and the infections caused by them.
4. Cure For Sore Throat
Kumquats are preserved in salt or sugar in a glass jar. Over time, all the juice from the fruit is diffused into the salt. A few salted kumquats, mixed with a few few teaspoons of juice, taken along with hot water, make a perfect remedy for sore throat.
5. Skin Benefits
Kumquats are loaded with vitamins-A, C, E, are also a rich source of B-complex vitamins - thiamine (B1), niacin (B3), pyridoxine(B6), folate (B9), and pantothenic acid, that act as co-factors for metabolism, are rich in anti oxidants (free radical scavengers). They protect the skin from sun induced damage, reduce precancerous skin lesions, age spots, roughness, wrinkles, and improve the texture of skin.
6. Vision Boosters
This fruit contains vitamin-A and carotene derivatives beta carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein, that reduce oxidation stress on macular cells of retina to slow the progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration and development of Cataract.
7. Build Strong Bones
Kumquats are a modest source of minerals calcium, manganese, selenium, and zinc. These, along with viatmin-C improve healing process and build strong bones.
8. Provide Instant Energy
Carbohydrates contained in these fruits provide instant energy and improve the stamina. This prevents fatigue, as it replenishes the energy reserves in highly active individuals. The B-complex vitamins also speed up the metabolic reactions and provide energy.
9. Assist In Losing Body Weight
High in fiber and water content, low in calories, and a source of healthy carbohydrates, this fruit is ideal for weight loss. The high fiber content promotes early satiety, makes us eat less, and still stay healthy.
10. Hair And Teeth Benefits
Vitamin-C, antioxidants, and minerals present in kumquats improve the quality, texture, and strength of hair. They contain Calcium, Potassium, and vitamin-C that build strong teeth and prevent bleeding gums.
11. Anti cancer Effects
Being loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins, it prevents cancer formation.
12. Improve Cardio Vascular Health
The high fiber content of kumquats helps reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It contains good amount of potassium that aids in reducing blood pressure, and antioxidants and flavonoids that improve blood flow to the brain and reduce the incidence of stroke and myocardial infarction (heart attack).
13. Anti-inflammatory Effect
Vitamins-A and C, along with antioxidants and tanins contained in kumquats prevent inflammation, reduce hardening of arteries, and also prevent arthritis.
14. Antiaging Effect
Vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients present in these fruits reduce free radical damage and delay the aging process.
15. Increased Production Of Blood
Kumquats contain minerals iron, manganese, magnesium, and copper that along with B-complex and C-vitamins increase production of red blood cells. This improves blood hemoglobin levels and prevents anemia.
16. Speed up the Healing Process
These fruits contain zinc and vitamin-C that make the wounds to heal faster and protect them from getting infected.