Guava (Latin name Psidium guajava) is a tropical crunchy fruit and possesses myriads of health benefits. It has a unique flavor and fragrance and a distinctive taste. Both the fruit and the guava leaves are edible. However, it is a lesser-known fact, that apart from the fruit, guava’s leaves and barks also possess health-improving properties. Leaves are usually boiled into an herbal tea. In Mexico, some communities used the flesh of the fruit for healing wounds because of its analgesic, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The best thing about this magical fruit is that several studies have reported it to be one of the least chemically treated and sprayed fruits. It is a powerhouse of several vitamins and minerals. And that is not all; it also comprises Vitamins B2, E, and K, Calcium (Ca), antioxidants, Folate, Fiber, Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Potassium (K), Manganese (Mn), and Phosphorus (P).
Guava fruit, leaves, and barks are used to treat diarrhea, constipation, reduce high blood glucose levels, reduce high BP, lower risk of malignancy, and many other medical conditions.
Why is some guava fruit pink in color while others are white?
Pink guavas comprise Lycopene, a naturally occurring red carotenoid pigment that gives them their characteristic color. In white guavas, lycopene is absent.
Some facts about Guava fruit
- There are few guava varieties in which seeds are totally absent
- Guava has 100 to 500 miniature seeds inside them that are of edible quality
- Guava is s ‘super-fruit because it contains around 4 times more fiber than a pineapple and 4 times more vitamin C than an orange
- Guava has glossy, dark green leaves that are elliptical or oval in shape.
- Guava starts to produce fruit about 2 to 8 years after planting.
- Guava has smooth, rust-colored bark that’s sometimes used for decorative purposes.
Nutrition Facts – Guava fruit
According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), 100 grams (g) of raw guava fruit comprises of:
- Calories – 68
- Vitamin A – 12% (624 international units of vitamin A)
- Vitamin C – 380% (228.3 mg)
- Sugars – 8.92 grams
- Carbohydrates – 14.32 grams
- Potassium – 417 mg
- Dietary fiber – 5.4 grams
- Vitamin B-6 – 5%
- Magnesium – 5%
- Fats – 0.95 grams
- Protein – 2.6 grams
Health benefits of Guava fruit
Guava fruit is rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C safeguards your body from pathogenic agents and several infections. It boosts and strengthens the immune system and also plays a key role in keeping your eyes healthy. It’s also reported that guava fruit has antimicrobial benefits which aid in killing off harmful bacterial and viral agents that can result in infections.
Because of its rich vitamin C content, the guava fruit also safeguards against viral infections thereby preventing cough and cold. Guava fruit juice or decoction of fruit’s leaves efficiently eliminates infectious agents and builds up mucus due to cough and cold and disinfects the throat, lungs, and the entire respiratory tract.
May aid in reducing high blood sugar levels
Guava fruit is low on the GI (Glycemic Index) which makes it a diabetes-friendly fruit. While the low GI inhibits a sudden increase in blood sugar levels, the fiber content ensures the regulation of diabetic conditions. If it is eaten without the peel, it regulates blood sugar, improves blood pressure and serum lipid parameters.
May boost heart health
Potassium and soluble fiber-rich guava fruit are beneficial for improving heart health. Guava leaf extract is effective in lowering ‘bad’ Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and in increasing ‘good’ High-density lipoprotein cholesterol thereby maintaining blood pressure.
Since high levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure increase the risks of heart failure or stroke, consuming guava leaf extract could contribute valuable benefits.
Lowers risk of malignancy (Cancer)
Guava fruit is rich in vitamin C and polyphenols like lycopene, gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, kaempferol, quercetin, and luteolin. These serve as potent antioxidants that inhibit the growth of any malignant cells by neutralizing free radicals generated in the body.
The fruit is also beneficial in lowering the risks of prostate cancer in males and breast cancer cells in females because of being rich in lycopene (the most powerful antioxidant present in guava fruit).
Guava fruit acts as an efficient laxative being rich in dietary fiber and this characteristic makes it extremely beneficial for gut health. It is effective in improving bowel movements and preventing the problem of constipation. The fruit when eaten along with seeds offers roughage to your and facilitates the smooth evacuation of the bowels.
May help relieve painful symptoms of menstruation
Guava leaf extract helps reduce the symptoms of dysmenorrhea (Cramps and pelvic pain with menstruation) common in women. It is also helpful in alleviating uterine cramps.
Supports Your Microbiome
Rich in potassium and fiber, regular consumption of guava juice helps detox the gut and supports your microbiome. The acidic properties of guava and antioxidants like vitamin A and C eliminate all the toxins and waste products from the stomach and flush out impurities.
Stimulates cognitive function and improves and stimulates brain health
Guavas are rich in vitamin B-3 (niacin acid) and vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) respectively which give your brainpower a boost. Both these nutrients relax the brain nerves, boost cognitive function and enhance blood circulation to the central nervous system.
The potassium content present in the guava fruit aids in stimulating the central nervous system’s electrical conductivity, which is of paramount significance for enhancing thinking as well as recalling capacity.
Nourishes the skin and can be helpful in addressing skin ailments like scurvy
The Vitamin E content, the antioxidants, and astringents present in the guava fruit nourish the skin and helps to address the issue of ailments like scurvy. The antioxidants and vitamin C content also aid in protecting the skin from sun damage slows the aging process and helps in the prevention of wrinkles.
Guava is power-packed with vitamin A which serves as a booster for vision health. Vitamin A content in Guava fruit slows down the progress of the disease in which there is vision loss (macular degeneration). It also aids in slowing down the clouding that builds in the lens of the eye that results in negatively affecting the normal vision (medically termed as a cataract).
Maintains oral health
Leaves of guava fruit are magical for preventing any oral health issues. The leaves possess anti-plaque properties due to which fight infection and kill mouth germs. They are also anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-analgesic.
These properties help in alleviating gum inflammation and also cleanse and refresh your breath. Additionally, guava leaves also serve as a remedy for toothaches, mouth ulcers, and swelling in the gums. Two tender guava leaves if chewed daily, will work wonders for improving oral health. Mouthwash can also be made using guava leaves.
Guava fruit provides women with essential nutrients during pregnancy
Guava fruit is very beneficial for pregnant women as it offers them essential vitamins and nutrients like vitamin B-9 or folic acid (iron). Folic acid aids in making the baby’s nervous system strong and safeguards the fetus from any neurological disorders.
Guava fruit is very good for skin health
Antioxidants (like carotene and lycopene) and vitamins present in the guava fruit and the leaves are very good for skin health. They prevent wrinkles, treat acne, dark spots and pimples, spider veins, rosacea, and splotches, and slow down the aging process improves complexion by infusing it with freshness and radiance.
Antioxidants aid in neutralizing free radicals (oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons) that can cause damage to the skin cells. The vitamin C in guava makes the loose skin firmer by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. Some other benefits include;
- Improves skin complexion
- Helps tone up and tighten the facial muscles because of its astringent properties
- Protects from harmful UV rays
- It works as a natural skin toner
- Hydrates your skin (since they are made of percent water)
- It removes blackheads and itchiness
Rinsing skin every day using a concoction made of raw guava leaves and fruits improves skin health. Even the seeds of the guava fruits serve as amazing exfoliators that eliminate dead cells and other impurities, offering an even skin tone.
It arrests hair loss
Nutrients present in guava fruit (fiber, potassium, vitamins A, B, and C, copper, manganese, phytochemicals, and flavonoids) are good for hair health and aid in arresting hair loss. These nutrients deeply nourish your hair roots, aid in building hair strands, and in strengthening the scalp making them stronger.
Guava fruit also regulates thyroid health
Guava is rich in copper (Cu). Copper stimulates the release of the thyroxine hormone T4 and inhibits the over absorption of thyroxine hormone T4 in the blood tissues by maintaining the body’s calcium levels. By controlling hormone production and absorption, the Copper in guava fruit regulates the functioning of the thyroid and organ system function.
Guava also comprises potassium (K) and powerful anti-inflammatory agents that aid in enhancing thyroid functioning. Guava fruit being rich in fiber and containing fewer fats also supports weight loss and reduces fatigue.
How to Eat Guava?
Munch it whole or slice it
Guava fruit can be munched as a whole or even cut into slices and a delicious treat can be made out of it. The scoops of the fruit seasoned with salt, sugar, and soy sauce also can be eaten as a savory.
A Guava smoothie with a spritz of lime juice makes it a great punch drink. The juice is especially delicious as it keeps you hydrated especially during the sweltering summer heat. Potassium and Vitamin C present in the juice constantly disinfect the gut keeping it healthy.
Do the salsa
Chunky cubes of guava fruit mixed with honey and lime juice and tossed in some cilantro can be served as a salad with chips or relish. It makes great salsa.
Read the tea leaves
Guava tea leaves contain unique antioxidants that serve as a remedy to several ailments. The leaves are boiled in water and you can add sugar, honey, or even stevia (a calorie-free sweetener) for enhancing the tea flavor.
Guava fruit is used in making pies and jams because the fruit is power-packed with pectin (a thickening compound used in jellies and jams). The fruit in jams is great on toasts, with meat or in wraps.
The Bottom Line
Guava fruit is truly a magical fruit from its health benefits perspective. The fruit is unique with a distinct aroma and is incredibly delicious and rich in nutrients that are vital for good health.
It has the least amount of sugar in comparison to other fruits like apples, pear, grapes, etc. It makes for a very filling snack and therefore you do not overeat and satisfy the appetite very easily. As a result, it aids in weight control.
The tropical fruit is anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial and antioxidant-rich. It is low in calories, rich in fiber, and an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Together, guava fruit, bark, seeds, and leaf extracts aid in improving heart health, boosting digestion, and making the immune system strong in addition to other health benefits.