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27 Fruits And Vegetables Naturally Rich In Malic Acid

| Reviewed By Karthika Thirugnanam

Malic acid is a naturally produced compound by the human body when sugar or carbohydrates break down into energy. However, the compound is also naturally available in several fruits and vegetables.

Malic acid is not a much-known compound but it is equally effective as citric acid. In many fruits and vegetables, malic acid holds the top position. It provides tart, sour or bitter taste to these foods.

Many pharmaceutical companies manufacture malic acid supplements to boost sports performance, treat kidney stones and prevent dry mouth. Malic acid is also used by cosmetic industries to make creams and lotions which can reduce ageing signs, treat acne, remove dead skins and promote skin hydration. Take a look at foods which are naturally rich in malic acid.

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Fruits Rich In Malic Acid

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1. Apple

Malic acid is the major organic acid in apples compared to citric acid and tartaric acid. A study says that malic acid in the fruit accounts for around 90 per cent of the total organic acids. Citric acid exists in apples but in a very low concentration. [1]

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2. Watermelon

In a study, it was found that the juicy and fleshy portion of a watermelon is naturally rich in malic acid. The study was conducted on both the red flesh and orange-yellow flesh watermelons. [2]

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3. Banana

Naturally ripened bananas contain malic acid as a principal acid. Other organic acids such as citric and oxalic acid are also present but in low concentration. This essential compound occurs in soluble form in banana, like potassium or sodium salts. [3]

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4. Lemon

Though citric acid is the predominant acid in lemon, malic acid is also found in the fruit in good quantity. In a study, the pulp and leaves of lemon have shown the presence of malic acid along with other compounds such as amino acids and sugars. [4]

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5. Guava

According to the Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, guava is rich in malic acid and other organic acids such as ascorbic, glycolic and citric acids. The presence of malic acid along with other acids in guava is responsiblefor its tart flavour and low pH value. [5]

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6. Blackberry

It is a delicious edible fruit rich in multiple nutrients. A study conducted on 52 varieties of blackberries showed that the malic acid content of the fruit ranges between 5.2 to 35.3 per cent of the total acids, which is around 280 mg in 100 gm. [6]

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7. Apricot

Apricot is a round and yellow plum-like fruit that has a tartness similar to plums. A study based on food survey values shows the top 40 plants rich in malic acid, ranked apricot at sixth position with 2.2 per cent of the acid. [7]

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8. Plum

A plum is a nutritious fruit and an excellent source of antioxidants, multiple vitamins and minerals. A study published in journal Foods says that in a ripe fresh of plum, malic acid is found in bulk out of all the organic acids. Quinic acid is also found in large quantity in the fruit. [8]

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9. Cherry

This small red fruit is good for the heart, bones and gout prevention. A study says that malic acid in cherry plays a very important role in giving sweetness and sourness to the fruit, whereas glucose plays a small role in the overall taste of the fruit. [9]

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10. Kiwi

This green flesh fruit is famous for its sweet and tangy taste. Berry species are rich in sugars, phenolic compounds and organic acids. The major organic acids in berries are malic and citric acids. Kiwi is high in organic acids along with red gooseberry and black current. [10]

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11. Grapes

This fruit of multiple colours is good for eyes, heart and skin. It is used in the making of jams, wine, grape juice, vinegar and jellies. A study says that L-malic acid and tartaric acid are the primary organic acids found in grape juice. [11]

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12. Mango

This seasonal fruit has a high nutritional profile due to the presence of organic acids, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. A study says that the primary organic acids found in the fruit are malic acid and citric acid which are responsible for its acidity. [12]

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13. Lychee

Lychee or litchi is a subtropical fruit mainly cultivated in Asian countries. It has a unique flavour, tart taste and multiple health benefits. The malic acid in the fruit pulp is found in abundance along with other organic acids such as tartaric acid and ascorbic acid. [13]

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14. Orange

According to SCURTI and DE PLATO, malic acid and citric acid are the most available organic acids found in an orange. These acids help in determining the acidity of the fruit. Other acids like tartaric and benzoic acids were also reported. [14]

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15. Peach

A peach is a juicy, small, soft and fleshy fruit found mainly in the mountain regions such as the Himalayas and Jammu and Kashmir. A study says that ripe peach is a good source of malic acid which has potential health benefits for humans. [15]

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16. Pear

Pear, commonly known as ‘nashpati' is an antioxidant-rich fruit famous for supporting weight loss and diabetes management. A study says that malic acid, as well as citric acid, are the primary organic acids in the fruit as they help in determining the taste of the fruit. [16]

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17. Strawberry

Malic acid along with citric acid and ellagic acid in fresh strawberry are responsible for its acidic-like taste. A study says that in strawberry, the sum of malic acid and citric acid make for the total count of organic acids in the fruit. [17]

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18. Pineapple

Ripe pineapple contains high levels of malic acids. A study shows that pineapple contains 33 per cent of malic acid, along with other acids like citric acid and ascorbic acid, that gives the fruit a sour taste. [18]

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19. Gooseberry

Gooseberry, also known as ‘amla' is famous for its antioxidant content and anticancer effects. The fruit contains 10-13 mg of malic acid per 100 grams of the fruit. Malic acid, along with citric acid and shikimic acid, are responsible for the tart and sour characteristics of the fruit. [19]

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20. Raspberry

The sourness of malic acid helps in clearing dead skin cells and preventing dry mouth by making more saliva. Raspberry is a rich source of dietary fibre and organic acids such as malic acid, oxalic acid and fumaric acid. [20]

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Vegetables Rich In Malic Acid

21. Broccoli

Primary metabolites in broccoli include organic acids, carotenoids, vitamin E, vitamin K, phenols and other essential nutrients. Broccoli is a natural source of malic acid that helps in energy production, fighting muscle fatigue and increasing endurance.

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22. Potato

Fresh potatoes are a good source of malic acid and the concentration of the acid decreases as the vegetable ripens. [21] This gluten-free food is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

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23. Pea

Peas are rich in malic, citric and lactic acid. 100 g of peas contain about 7.4 mg of malic acid. When peas are cooked, the concentration of these acids spikes up, especially when cooked without water.

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24. Beans

Beans are legumes which are a rich source of fibre and vitamin B. They help manage blood glucose and improving cholesterol levels in the body. A study shows that beans contain 98.9 per cent of malic acid when determined by liquid chromatography with a UV-visible detector. [22]

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25. Carrot

Carrot is a good source of potassium, vitamin A, D and B6. Juice made from this vegetable also ranks among the most popular juices for its health benefits. A study based on the nutrition profile of carrot juice says that L-malic acid is the primary organic acid in the juice compared to citric acid, which is 5-10-fold less than the prior. [23]

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26. Tomato

The organic acids and sugar in tomato are responsible for its flavour and breeding traits. Unripe tomato contains more amount of malic acid while the concentration of the compound changes as the fruit ripens. [24]

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27. Corn

The malic acid in corn is present in adequate amount, that ranges from 0.8-1.8 per cent. Other acids such as oxalic and citric acid are also present but in a small concentration. A study says that organic acids in corn increase if the plant is grown with nitrate substrate. [25]

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Common FAQs

1. Is malic acid bad for you?

Intake of fruits and vegetables naturally rich in malic acid is good for health as it helps in reducing ageing signs, preventing calcium-based kidney stones and relieving pain and tenderness. Malic acid is bad when taken in the form of supplements as it may cause skin and eye irritation.

2. Where is malic acid found?

Fruits like apple and vegetables like carrots are the natural sources of malic acid. It is also produced in our body when carbohydrates are broken down for energy. Other foods such as yoghurt, wine, fruit-flavoured drinks, chewing gums and pickles also contain malic acid.

3. Is malic acid a sugar?

No, malic acid is a type of organic acid which is believed to improve the overall health in humans by fighting against infections and improving immune response.

4. Does malic acid damage teeth?

Eating fruits and vegetables rich in malic acid is good for oral health as it helps remove stains on the teeth, massages gums and prevents cavities and periodontitis. Malic acid added as an acidulant in beverages and fortified drinks can erode the enamel as they also contain sugar and other chemicals.

5. How much malic acid can you take?

The therapeutically safe amount of malic acid to be taken in a day is 1200-2800 milligram. It is good to consult a medical expert before starting on malic acid supplements as they may interfere with certain prescription drugs.

Karthika ThirugnanamClinical Nutritionist and Dietitian
MS, RDN (USA)
Karthika Thirugnanam
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