Guava is a common tropical fruit which is round or oval in shape with light green to light yellow skin. It comes with tiny edible hard seeds at the center.
It is also known as Amrood in Hindi, Goyave in French, Guayaba in Spanish, and Guave in German. Due to its easy availability and the fruit being cheaper than most other fruits, Guava is many times called ‘a poor man’s fruit’ or ‘a poor man’s substitute for apple’.
However this seemingly humble and common fruit has considerable nutritional value. The medicinal properties of guava fruit, as well as that of it’s leaves have been recognized worldwide.
While you might be aware of the high vitamin C content in fruits like orange, it may come as a surprise to you that guava may contain about 4 times the amount of vitamin C contained in orange.
Besides its unmatched taste, guava is being recognized all over the world as one of the super fruits due to its myriad of health benefits.
How to eat guava
Guava fruit has a unique sweet odor and flavor and tastes best when enjoyed as a fresh raw fruit. It can also be used as an ingredient in juices, jellies, jams, ice creams, shakes, beverages etc.
Nothing can match the taste of guava sprinkled with a little bit salt, red chilli powder and black pepper. In India, guavas are many times sprinkled with Chaat Masala as well.
Nutritional information: Guava (100 g )
Guava fruits are super rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. To understand this better, take a look at their remarkable nutrient profile as per the United States Department of Agriculture.
Major health benefits of guava fruit and leaves
1. Eating guavas can boost immunity
Guava are quite rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to improve immunity and protects us from common infections.
2. Guavas can help in cancer prevention
Guava has good amount of antioxidants and flavonoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein etc. These help to neutralize free radicals in the body. Thus guava can be considered useful in preventing the growth of certain cancers, but this has not been proven by studies.
3. Guava fruit is good for diabetics
Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load(GL) are two commonly used parameters to evaluate the suitability of a food for diabetics. While GI is more about carbohydrate quality i.e. how fast it is broken into sugar, GL also takes into account the consumed carbohydrate quantity.
Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking of foods from 0 to 100 based on blood glucose levels after eating a definite quantity of carbohydrates. Guava has a glycemic index of 78 and since in general fruits with GI above 70 are considered to release sugar fast, you may at first look infer that the fruit is not diabetic friendly. However, guavas are low in carbohydrates and to meet the defined quantity of carbs used in the GI calculation, you would have to eat a very large serving of guavas. Since most people would limit themselves to 1-2 guavas only, the GI index value is not a true assessment.
On the other hand Glycemic Load (GL) which takes into account the serving size of a food has better correlation to the food’s suitability for diabetics as it gives a more accurate picture of the overall effect that the food product has on blood sugar levels. Guava has a glycemic load of 4 which is quite low and implies that consuming normal serving of guava would have little impact on blood glucose levels. A normal portion of guava thus is not only fine but beneficial for diabetics due to other attributes.
High fiber content in Guava is considered good for diabetics. The presence of antioxidants in guava is helpful to prevent nerve damage which may occur in those suffering from diabetes. The skin of the guava fruit is rather high in simple sugars like glucose and thus those with diabetes and with sugar levels not in control may consider to eat the fruit after peeling the skin. This is supported by a randomized controlled study to assess effect of guava in blood glucose and lipid profile in healthy human subjects which concluded that guava fruit without peel is more effective in lowering blood sugar.
4. Fiber in guava aids digestion
Guavas are rich in dietary fiber which is beneficial to the digestive system. Thus eating guavas may aid in maintaining healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Guava seeds either ingested whole or chewed, are also a rich source of dietary fiber and serve as excellent laxatives.
Guava has astringent qualities and being alkaline, it exhibits some anti microbial activity and is helpful in digestive problems like dysentery and diarrhea.
5. Weight-loss friendly
Being low in calories and due to their ability to regulate metabolism, guava is also helpful in weight reduction.
6. Good for Heart and helpful in managing Hypertension
Guava has almost the same potassium levels as bananas and thus helps to prevent sodium retention which keeps blood pressure in check. A randomized controlled study referred earlier for anti diabetic effects of Guava also found that guava fruit without peel is more effective in lowering serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDLc. It increases HDLc levels also. LDL cholesterol is considered the ‘bad’ cholesterol, because it contributes to fatty buildups in arteries (atherosclerosis). Plaque build up contributes to increase in blood pressure. HDL is called ‘good cholesterol’ as it helps to remove cholesterol from plaques and a greater value is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
7. Helps improve eyesight
Vitamin A & Vitamin C in Guava helps to keep the eyes healthy.
8. Guava is good for skin
The antioxidants prevent damage to skin and guava’s high water helps to keep the skin moist. Guavas also contain vitamin K, which plays a role to get rid of skin discoloration or dark circles on the skin.
9. Guavas are rich in folic acid
The folic acid (vitamin B-9) in guava plays an important role in cardiovascular and circulatory system. It is also known for reducing certain birth defects and may be helpful in fertility too.
10. Guava fruits & leaves help fight cold and coughs
A juice of raw guavas (immature) or a preparation made by boiling guava leaves is helpful in cough and colds as it disinfects the respiratory tract, throat and lungs and also lessens the formation of mucus.
Yes, you can eat guava seeds without any negative effects. In fact, people intentionally eat the seeds because they help with gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation, because there is a lot of dietary fiber in these seeds. They can help bulk up your stool and will pass through your system without any problem.
If you live in a tropical or subtropical region, growing your own guava tree actually isn’t that tough. Guava trees respond very well to mulch, so clear out a 2-3 inch space in the soil where you can plant the tree. Then, water the tree once a week and fertilize the tree once a month. Adding more mulch is required, but the tree should grow rather quickly. Thinning out excess branches can also promote more growth.
Guava fruit is rich in dietary fibers. It lowers the risks of developing type 2 diabetes and is considered good for diabetics as well. The presence of antioxidants in guava is helpful to prevent nerve damage which may occur in those suffering from diabetes. The skin of the guava fruit is rather high in simple sugars like glucose and those with sugar levels not in control may consider to eat the fruit after peeling the skin. A study indicated earlier concluded that Guava fruit without peel is more effective in lowering blood sugar.
Guava is a healthy food in moderate quantities and the time of day you eat is rather irrelevant. As a general precaution, any late night serving of guava should be small because its seeds are little difficult to digest and in some cases may cause a tummy ache and thus can interfere with sleep.
Guava, are more appealing when they are partially ripe. When choosing guavas, you should look for guavas which are more yellowish-green than light green. A completely yellow guava may be over ripened which leads to a loss of nutrients and taste. Also guavas unless refrigerated are perishable and more the ripened a guava is, the earlier it should be consumed.
Guava fruit has high nutritional value and provides vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and fiber to us. It has very delicious and unique taste and can be eaten raw or consumed in juice form. It can enjoyed during anytime of the year.
Eating guavas has a positive impact on all parts of our body like eyes, skin, throat and lungs. Wide range of benefits of guavas include reducing weight, aiding digestion, hypertension and list goes on.
Please share your thoughts with us on how you make this fruit part of your daily life in the comments below.
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