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8 Emerging Health Benefits of Quince (And How to Eat It)

Health + Wellness
syaber / iStock / Getty Images

By Ansley Hill, RD, LD

Quince (Cydonia oblonga) is an ancient fruit native to various parts of Asia and the Mediterranean.


Its cultivation can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, where it served as a symbol of love and fertility. Although considerably less common today, quinces are close relatives of popular fruits like apples and pears (1Trusted Source).

They've been used in folk medicine for decades, but scientific research on their benefits is still in the early stages (2Trusted Source).

Here are 9 emerging health benefits of quince, plus a few simple tips for including it in your diet.

1. Rich in Nutrients

Quinces contain fiber and several essential vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to almost any diet.

A single, 3.2-ounce (92-gram) quince provides the following (3):

  • Calories: 52
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0.3 grams
  • Carbs: 14 grams
  • Fiber: 1.75 grams
  • Vitamin C: 15% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 1.5% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 2% of the DV
  • Copper: 13% of the DV
  • Iron: 3.6% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 2% of the DV

As you can see, this fruit supplies moderate amounts of vitamin C and copper, plus small amounts of B vitamins, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

While not extraordinarily rich in any specific compound, quinces offer a wide array of nutrients for very few calories.

Summary

Quinces are low in calories and boast a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious fruit.

2. Contain Potent Antioxidants

Many of the benefits associated with quinces can be attributed to the fruit's rich supply of antioxidants.

Antioxidants reduce metabolic stress, lower inflammation, and protect your cells against damage by free radicals, which are unstable molecules (4Trusted Source).

Some research suggests that some antioxidants in quinces, including flavonols like quercetin and kaempferol, reduce inflammation and safeguard against chronic illnesses like heart disease (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

Summary

Quinces offer a rich supply of antioxidants, which may reduce metabolic stress and inflammation while protecting your cells from free radical damage.

3. May Help Manage Pregnancy-Induced Nausea

Some of the most common symptoms during early pregnancy are nausea and vomiting.

Some research indicates that quinces may help relieve these symptoms.

One study in 76 pregnant women noted that 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of quince syrup was significantly more effective than 20 mg of vitamin B6 at reducing pregnancy-induced nausea (7Trusted Source).

Although these results are promising, more research is needed.

Summary

A recent study found quince syrup to be significantly more effective than vitamin B6 at reducing pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Still, more studies are necessary.

4. May Relieve Digestive Issues

Quinces have long been used in traditional and folk medicine to treat a variety of digestive disorders (2Trusted Source).

Recent research suggests that quince extract may protect gut tissue against damage related to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis.

In a study in rats with ulcerative colitis, those given quince extract and juice had significantly reduced colon tissue damage, compared with the control group (8Trusted Source).

Still, human studies are needed.

Summary

Though human research is necessary, an animal study suggests that quinces may protect against gut damage associated with IBD.

5. May Treat Stomach Ulcers

Early research suggests that plant compounds in quinces may help prevent and treat stomach ulcers.

In a test-tube study, quince juice inhibited the growth of H. pylori, a bacterium known to cause stomach ulcers (2Trusted Source).

Meanwhile, a study in rats found that quince extract protected against alcohol-induced stomach ulcers (9Trusted Source).

Although these results are encouraging, additional research is needed.

Summary

Test-tube and animal research indicates that quinces may safeguard against stomach ulcers, but human studies are needed.

6. May Reduce Acid Reflux Symptoms

Several studies suggest that quince syrup may help manage symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly known as acid reflux.

A 7-week study in 80 children with acid reflux found that supplementing with quince syrup daily was as effective as medication that's traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of this condition (10Trusted Source).

In a study in 137 pregnant women, a 10-mg dose of quince syrup taken after meals was likewise shown to be as effective as traditional medication at relieving acid reflux symptoms (11Trusted Source).

Additionally, in a 4-week study in 96 children with acid reflux, using quince concentrate alongside traditional medication improved symptoms — such as vomiting, food aversion, burping, and abdominal pain — to a greater extent than taking the medication alone (12Trusted Source).

Nonetheless, more studies are needed.

Summary

A handful of studies suggest that quince syrup is as effective as traditional medications used to manage acid reflux symptoms.

7. May Protect Against Certain Allergic Reactions


Quinces may alleviate various allergy symptoms by suppressing the activity of certain immune cells responsible for allergic reactions (2Trusted Source).

Gencydo, a commercial allergy medication, combines lemon juice and quince fruit extract. A few small studies support its ability to prevent and treat mild allergic reactions, such as runny nose and asthma (2Trusted Source).

Additionally, mice studies note that quince fruit and seed extracts may prevent and treat artificially induced allergic dermatitis. Yet, it remains unclear whether they would have the same effect in people (2Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

While some experts speculate that quince products may be a safe alternative to traditional allergy medications, more research is needed.

Summary

Compounds in quince may fight common, mild allergic reactions like inflamed skin, runny nose, and asthma. However, further studies are needed.

8. May Support Proper Immune Function

Quinces may support your immune system.

Several test-tube studies reveal it has antibacterial properties that may help prevent the overgrowth of certain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and S. aureus (2Trusted Source).

Additionally, a single quince packs 15% of the DV for vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy, functioning immune system (3, 14Trusted Source).

One fruit likewise provides 6–8% of the daily recommendation for fiber. Adequate fiber intake supports the healthy bacteria living in your digestive tract, collectively known as the gut microbiome (3, 15Trusted Source).

Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome may reduce inflammation and improve resistance to infections from harmful bacteria in your digestive tract (15Trusted Source).

Summary

Quinces contain vitamin C and fiber, two nutrients that support a healthy immune system. They may also have antibacterial properties.

How to Eat Them

Unlike more popular fruits, quinces are rarely eaten raw. Even when ripe, raw quinces have very a tough flesh and sour, astringent flavor.

Thus, most quince lovers agree that the fruit is best eaten cooked.

After slicing a quince, place it in a pot with water and a small amount of sugar, letting it simmer until the flesh softens. You can also experiment with adding spices like vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and star anise.

You can eat cooked quince on its own or use it to top oatmeal, yogurt, or roasted pork. It also makes a delicious addition to fruit tarts and pies.

What's more, you can make quince jam. However, you should be mindful of the sugar content, as jam tends to be high in added sugar and easy to overeat.

Summary

Because of their tough flesh and sour flavor, quinces are best eaten cooked. You can use cooked quince to top oatmeal, yogurt, or roasted meats.

The Bottom Line

Quinces are an ancient fruit with a unique flavor and several potential benefits.

They may help treat digestive disorders, allergies, and high blood sugar, though more research is needed.

Unlike other fruits, quinces aren't eaten raw. Instead, they're best cooked or turned into jam.

If you're interested in spicing up your fruit routine, give quinces a try.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

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