Health Benefits of Guava: The Queen of Fruits
Guavas are a favourite for many due to its combination of sweet and sour flavour and are often referred to as the “Queen of Fruits”. From being a quick snack to being used as a food ingredient, guava is widely consumed across the world. Read on to know about the amazing health benefits of guava!
Guava has various names in India like, “amrood” in Hindi, “peru” in Gujarati and “peyara” in Bengali. The Guava is one of the most important tropical fruits of India due to its hardy and prolific nature, which helps them to grow in most states. Different parts of the guava plant have different medicinal properties which include anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties.
The guava is native to Mexico, Central and South America. Around 1520, Europeans discovered guavas in the Caribbean and carried them to Florida. Early Spanish and Portuguese colonizers, carried guavas from the New World to the East Indies. It was the Portuguese explorers who introduced guavas in Goa, India. Guavas are grown all year round in India, except for the month of May and June. Guavas are also cultivated in Punjab, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Did You Know?
– Fresh guavas have 3 to 6 times more vitamin C than oranges and almost 20 times more than bananas
– Guava tree can start bearing fruits within 2 years of planting and can live up to 40 years
– In the Philippines, ripe guavas are used for adding flavour to a soup called “sinigang”
– “Guavaween” is a traditional fundraising event, held every year during October in central Florida to celebrate the advent of guava
– Guava is the fifth most important fruit crop in India, with an annual production of 1.68 million tonnes from 0.19 million hectares of land
Indian Guava Varieties
Some important varieties of Guava include ‘Lucknow 49’, ‘Allahabad Surkha’ and ‘Allahabad Safeda’. The fruits of Lucknow 49 are large, round in shape and has a white pulp, which tastes sweet and tasty. On the other hand, the Harijha variety, which is popular in Bihar are medium to large in size, very sweet and have a long shelf life. Allahabad Safedas are round in shape and the skin is smooth. The flesh is white, soft and has a pleasant flavour. On the other hand, Allahabad Surkha is a variety with uniform pink fruits with deep pink flesh. Other than these, there are various other varieties of guavas that grow in India.
Guavas contain a good amount of dietary fibers which improves digestion. The fruit is also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and flavonoids which confers antioxidant properties. Other nutrients include B vitamins, vitamin K and potassium.
Health Benefits of Guava
Let us look closely at some of the major health benefits of guava!
According to various test-tube and animal studies, guava extract has anti-cancer effects on our body. It has the capability to prevent or even stop the growth of cancerous cells. This is due to the presence of high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging cells in the body, which is one of the main causes of cancer. It also contains lycopene, a strong antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Vitamin C present in guava prevents the risk of infections by keeping the immune system healthy. Excessive free radical production negatively affects the immune cells of the body. Thus, the antioxidant activity of vitamin C helps protect the immune system against free radical damage.
Guavas are an excellent source of dietary fibers, which acts as a laxative that promotes proper bowel movements. Dietary fiber also stimulates healthy bowel movements by absorbing and holding back water in the intestine along with cleaning the intestine.
Guavas contain dietary fibers that aid in managing diabetes. Dietary fibers help reduce sugar absorption inside the body. This helps in blood sugar regulation. Guavas also have a low glycemic index that further prevents blood sugar spikes.
Aids Weight Loss
Guavas help in weight loss by regulating your metabolism. It makes for a very filling snack that can satisfy your appetite very easily. Raw guava also has far less sugar as compared to apples, oranges, grapes, and other fruits. Sugar adds excess “empty” calories which can lead to weight gain.
Guavas contain a good amount of Vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining eye health. It slows down the occurrence of cataracts and macular degeneration. It not only prevents degradation of eyesight but even improves eyesight.
Improves brain function
Guavas contain vitamin B3 and vitamin B6, which plays an important role in enhancing brain function. Vitamin B3 also increases the blood flow and stimulates cognitive function. On the other hand, vitamin B6 is a great nutrient that helps improve brain and nerve function.
How can You Include Guava in your Daily Life?
We typically eat guava raw. In India, people love eating it with a little bit of salt and pepper or with a mix of spices. Guava tree bark decoction and poultice is used as an astringent in the treatment of ulcer wounds as well as diarrhoea. Additionally, guava root decoction is useful in treating coughs, stomach ache, dysentery, toothaches, indigestion and constipation. Guavas also have a great commercial value and are popularly used to make candies, jams, jellies and ice lollies.
Many of us love having our favourite “Pulse” candy. Did you know that they make them using guavas? Although guavas are not indigenous to the country, they have become an important part of the Indian diet due to their various properties, taste and ease of growing.
Let’s have a look at the various ways in which guava benefits you!
- Guava has a high level of pectin. When you heat it together with sugar, it causes a thickening which is useful for making candies, jellies, jams and marmalades.
- Due to its sweet and sour flavour, you can use it to prepare sauces and dips.
- You can add guava to salads or eat them raw to lose weight as they are rich in B vitamins and low in calories.
- You can also eat pieces of guava tossed in a pan with chopped garlic, onions, sweet or hot peppers and exotic spices.
- Make your own facial by mixing crushed guava and egg yolk. Apply it all over the face and rinse off after 10 minutes. This will diminish dark spots and under eye circles while tightening skin pores.
- Make a fine paste using guava and apply it on your face. Wash it off after 10 minutes. This will remove sun tan from your face and will also reduce skin damage.
Now that you know about the health benefits of guava, include them in your daily diet for a nutritious and healthy life. Let us know how you like to use guava in the comment box below!
Disclaimer: There are no major side-effects of guava but people who cannot digest dietary fibers easily might experience intestinal gas and bloating after eating guavas.
100g of Guava provides 68 calories. Carbohydrates – 14g (Dietary Fiber – 5g, Sugar – 9g), Protein – 2.6g, Fat – 1g (Saturated fat- 0.3g, PUFA – 0.4g, MUFA – 0.1g), Sodium – 2mg, Potassium – 417mg
And percentage daily value of Vitamin A – 12%, Vitamin C – 380%, Iron – 1%, Magnesium – 5%, Calcium – 1%, Vitamin B6 – 5% (based on a 2,000 calorie diet).