Guavas Psidium guajava are tropical fruits with yellowish-green skins that are indigenous to Central America. Guava was first sold in the market in Florida in 1847 and between 1948 and 1969. It is believed that the fruit was introduced in India by the Portuguese in the early 17th century. The fruit is considered to be a powerhouse of health being a rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, manganese, and antioxidants. Guavas are also low in calories and rich in protein and fiber. Minerals like zinc, calcium, and iron are present in smaller quantities as well. The seeds and rind of the fruit are supposed to be just as nutritious as the flesh of the fruit.
One major threat to the growth of this fruit is that a sudden dip in temperature can cause guava trees to die.
Nutritional facts about guava
Guavas are said to be great for boosting immunity in general. Apart from that they help manage diabetes and promote good heart health. They are also said to help with weight loss, and to have anti-aging properties. Guavas are also said to help with different types of cancer.
Guava is called the queen of all fruits because of its medical properties and capabilities. Guava is a great source of vitamin C and fibers that act as antioxidants. These antioxidants have are very helpful in reducing or stopping harmful effects related to oxidation.
Given below are some nutritional facts about guava:
- Guava contains 21% vitamin A that helps brighten up your skin and maintains mucous membranes.
- It contains 20% folate that works well for pregnant women and prevents neural tube damage.
- Lycopene found in pink colored guavas are good for protecting skin against ultraviolet rays (UV) and also prevents prostate cancer.
- Guavas have higher potassium content than bananas and this helps regulate high blood pressure.
- Guavas also contain Vitamin B5 which makes up for 9% of the daily recommended intake and Vitamin B6 enough for 8% of the daily recommended intake.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of raw guava fruit contain:
- 68 calories
- 14.32 g of carbohydrates
- 8.92 g of sugars
- 18 g of calcium
- 0.95 g of fat
- 2.55 g of protein
- 5.4 g of dietary fiber
- 22 g of magnesium (6% of the daily recommended intake)
- 40 g phosphorous (6% of the daily recommended intake)
- 417 mg of potassium (9% of the daily recommended intake)
- 228.3 mg of vitamin C (275% of the daily recommended intake)
- 624 international units of vitamin A
Guavas are generally eaten fresh. They can be consumed raw, or made into beverages.
Guava has great medicinal benefits, but it must be consumed within the limit. Guava contains fructose, which may be harmful to your health if consumed in large quantities. Consuming large numbers of guavas has also been associated with cough and common cold, as well as could cause acidity.
Health benefits of Guava
- Helps manage blood-sugar: Guava has a high content of fiber and glycemic index that helps prevent the development of diabetes. Fiber content regulates blood sugar levels from spiking, while higher glycemic index also restricts the blood sugar from spiking. Guava leaf extract has properties that improve blood sugar levels and help long-term blood sugar control. It also helps manage insulin resistance. It has been seen that drinking guava leaf tea after meals reduces blood sugar spikes by moderating the absorption of glucose. The leaves also inhibit several enzymes that convert carbohydrates into glucose during digestion, which would be useful for people with type-2 diabetes mellitus.
- Helps regulate blood-pressure: Consuming guava leaf extract may help lower high blood pressure. A 2016 test tube study found that the extract had an anti-hypertensive effect in rat tissues, which means that it may have the potential to reduce blood pressure. This effect may be due to the leaf extract’s antioxidant properties. Antioxidants may lower blood pressure by helping to expand blood vessels.
The magnesium present in the fruit helps to relax the muscles and nerves, as well as blood vessels of the body. Guava is certainly helpful to relax the muscles, combat stress and give the system a good energy boost.
- Boosts immunity: Guavas are one of the richest food sources of vitamin C. As a matter of fact, one guava provides about double the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. This is almost twice the amount one would get from eating an orange. This is one of the major health benefits of guava. Level of vitamin C in the body is inversely proportional to the risk of infection and illnesses. It is also said to have an anti-microbial effect, and helps kill microorganisms that are harmful to the body.
- Lowers risk of cancer: Guava leaf extract has been shown to have an anticancer effect. Test-tube and animal studies show that guava extract can prevent and even stop the growth of cancer cells. This is likely due to the high levels of powerful antioxidants that prevent free radicals from damaging cells, which has been noted to be one of the main causes of cancer. One test-tube study published by NIH found that guava leaf oil was four times more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than certain cancer drugs.
- Good for skin: The antioxidants present in guava might help protect the skin from damage and slow down its aging process, thus preventing the formation of wrinkles. Guava leaf extract may even help treat acne when applied directly to your skin. Test-tube studies have found that guava leaf extract is effective at killing acne-causing bacteria — likely due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Helps with digestive health: Guavas are an excellent source of dietary fiber, therefore, eating more guavas may aid healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation. Just one guava can provide 12% of the recommended daily intake of fiber. Additionally, guava leaf extract may benefit digestive health. Studies suggest that it may reduce the intensity and duration of diarrhea. Several studies have also shown that guava leaf extract is antimicrobial. This means that it can neutralize harmful microbes in your gut that can cause diarrhea
- Helps with heart health: Many scientists believe that the high levels of antioxidants and vitamins in guava leaves may help protect your heart from damage by free radicals. The higher levels of potassium and soluble fiber in guavas are also thought to contribute to improved heart health. Guava leaf extract has been linked to lower blood pressure, a decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol, and a rise in “good” HDL cholesterol. Since high blood pressure and high levels of LDL cholesterol are linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke, taking guava leaf extract could lead to valuable benefits.
- Helps with weight loss: With only 37 calories in one fruit and 12% of the recommended daily fiber intake, guavas are a filling, low-calorie snack. Unlike some other low-calorie snacks, they are packed with vitamins and minerals so the body doesn’t lose out on important nutrients. Guavas are full of fiber and low in calories, meaning that they may help feel full and aid weight loss. Guava leaf extract also has the capacity to inhibit different enzymes that convert carbohydrates into glucose, thereby promoting weight loss.
- Helps manage symptoms of menstruation: Many women experience dysmenorrhea — painful symptoms of menstruation, such as stomach cramps. However, there is some evidence that guava leaf extract may reduce the pain intensity of menstrual cramps. A study conducted by NIH involving 197 women who experienced painful symptoms found that taking 6 mg of guava leaf extract daily resulted in reduced pain intensity. It appeared to be even more powerful than some painkillers. This is a very handy health benefit of guava.
Recipe for making guava tea
Since guava leaf has many health benefits as discussed in the article above, it is a good idea to consume the extract a few times a week. However, since consuming the direct extract might not taste great, given below is a simple recipe for making tea out of guava leaves. The following recipe serves one.
- Wash four big fresh guava leaves thoroughly.
- Heat one cup of water in a pan and add guava leaves to it.
- Let it boil for five to eight minutes.
- Strain the leaves out and squeeze half a lemon into the water.
- Add some honey as per taste.
- Mix it well.