Benefits of Guava fruit- The underrated Super food

 Benefits of Guava fruit- The underrated Super food

Yes, agree or not, guava is underrated. From time immemorial we have heard the proverb “An Apple in a day keeps the doctor away”……and our mothers have always tried to include apple in our diet ….boiled, juice, peeled and sliced, with skin and sliced….whenever given a chance. But have you ever heard mothers are insisting kids have guava? Probably not. But there are amazing health benefits of guava fruit. It’s more beneficial as compared to apple.

Guava is a sweet and delicious common tropical fruit cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions. This seasonal fruit, scientifically known as Psidium guajava, is round or pear-shaped. It is light green, yellow or maroon when it ripens. It has white or maroon flesh, depending on its type, and has small hard seeds enveloped in its soft, sweet pulp.

Guava fruit 1

Variety of guava available in different parts of tropical countries are –

1. Pink and red flesh variety – rich in carotenoids (the pigment gives red-pink color)

2. Yellow and white flesh variety – rich in chlorophyll and anthoxanthins (responsible for green and yellow-white color)

The specialty of guava is that increasing the shelf life of this fruit does not require excessive use of chemicals or pesticides as in the case of grapes, apple, and other “exotic” fruits. It is one of the least chemically treated and sprayed fruits. Multiple health benefits of guava can surely tag it as an Indian Super Fruit. But, exactly how? Let’s check.

Benefits of guava fruit

Do you have any health issue ….like controlling blood sugar levels or regulating blood pressure? Are you trying to lose extra weight? Working on strengthening the immune system, improving the digestive system? Frequently suffering from common cough and cold? ….. Guava can help you to fix it ALL. Yes, not kidding. Even if you are perfectly fine, still you must consider eating guava when in the season for maintaining your great health.(1,7)

A comparison of Nutrition Profile – Guava vs Apple (per 100 g)

Nutrients Guava Apple
Energy (Kcal) 51 59
Carbohydrate (g) 11.2 13.4
Protein (g) 0.9 g 0.2
Fat (g) 0.3 g 0.5
Fiber (g) 5.2 1.0
Calcium (mg) 10 10
Iron (mg) 0.27 0.6
Vitamin B 1 (mg) 0.03
Vitamin B 2 (mg) 0.03
Vitamin B 3 (mg) 0.4
Vitamin C (mg) 212 1
Potassium (mg) 91 75
Magnesium (mg) 24 7
Manganese 0.14 0.14

Reference – Nutritive value of Indian foods, ICMR,2016

The major health benefits of guava fruit come from its high content of –

  • vitamin C and phytochemicals
  • dietary fiber
Guava fruit 2

Health benefits of guava for its high vitamin C content

Guava is one of the richest sources of vitamin C after amla when eaten raw. White flesh guava contains more vitamin C than pink-fleshed guava. Guava is also rich in anthoxanthins, lycopene, quercetin, and various other polyphenols, volatile flavoring compounds.

Vitamin C content of a few common fruits

Common Fruits Vitamin C (mg) per 100 g
Apple 1
Grapes (pale green) 1
Guava 212
Mango (ripe) 16
Lime 63
Sweet Lime (mausambi) 50
Amla (Indian gooseberry) 600
Tomato (ripe) 27
Orange 30
Strawberry 52

Reference – Nutritive value of Indian foods, ICMR,2016

Eating one medium-sized guava will supply all your daily requirement of vitamin C which will provide the following health benefits –

1. Rich source of antioxidant –

You must have heard about antioxidants and free radicals. Thanks to advertisements of various cosmetic products. Do you know what they are?

Free radicals are formed in our body from our normal metabolic process and also due to exposure of drugs and environmental pollutants. These free radicals tend to attack and eventually damage the cell wall of our skin, artery, eye, brain, etc and leads to poor immunity, aging, cardiovascular disease, cataract, Alzheimer disease, etc.

Vitamin C, phytochemicals present in guava act as a natural antioxidant which means it can combine with such harmful free radicals and convert them to harmless substances that can be excreted from your body. That is why Vitamin C is also called as “free radical scavengers”.

Therefore the adequate regular supply of vitamin C ensures boosting your immunity, prevent aging – wrinkles in the skin, hair fall, etc, keep your eyes, heart, and brain health.(5, 6)

2. Great for skin, teeth, gum and bone health – Synthesize collagen

Collagen? What is that? I am sure you have heard of this term too and again thanks to advertisements. Collagen is a protein which acts as cementing material for cells and tissues. It binds our cells and tissues together. Collagen is important for strong bone, good teeth, healthy gum, good skin and for healing wound faster. Vitamin C is one of the most important factors to ensure the formation of collagen in your body.

Therefore if you are deficient in vitamin C, you might have experienced swollen gum, bleeding gum with little pressure applied, red to purple tiny pinpoint spots on the skin, weak bone and teeth, delayed wound healing, scurvy, etc. Are you experiencing such a condition? Start eating a guava every day and watch the progress.

3. Activate hormones and cure anemia

Vitamin C helps to activate hormones and also play a crucial role in iron metabolism. Data suggests almost half of our population mainly women are suffering from anemia. No matter how much of iron-rich foods you are eating daily until you ensure taking ample amount of vitamin C nothing can make the situation better. Yes, vitamin C helps to absorb iron in your body. Your uncontrolled hair fall, general weakness, breathlessness may be because of iron deficiency. Start eating well balanced natural foods along with guava without fail.

Read – 5 basic causes of anemia keeping you sick everyday

Guava fruit 3

4. Helps in fat break down – Synthesize carnitine

If you are struggling with weight loss, you may get interested here. Vitamin C is required to synthesize carnitine, an important compound which transport fatty acids (after digestion fat break down to fatty acids) to mitochondria for further breakdown and release energy. Now you must consider guava seriously.

5. Improve your mood – Synthesize neurotransmitter

Neurotransmitter? Again a jargon? Relax. Neurotransmitters are chemicals which regulate your brain-body communication and decide your mood. Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of norepinephrine and serotonin (the happy hormone). It helps relaxing nerves and muscles. Therefore adequate vitamin C supply is a must for a patient suffering from depression.

Read – Feed your mind right -A dietary guideline for depression

Health benefits of guava for its high dietary fiber content –

Guava is rich in dietary fiber and because of high fiber content, it has many health benefits. Dietary fiber is the portion of food which does not digest but eliminate from our body.

If you read the table below you will see Guava contain the highest dietary fiber among most other common fruits in the Indian diet. There are two types of fibers in nature – soluble and insoluble fiber. The insoluble fiber provides the structure of the cell wall of any food whereas soluble fiber is nothing but the cementing material which binds the cells and tissues to each other.

The dietary fiber content of a few common fruits

Common
Fruits
Total dietary fiber (g) per 100 g Insoluble dietary fiber (g) per 100 g Soluble dietary fiber (g) per 100 g
Apple 3.2 2.3 0.9
Guava 8.5 7.1 1.4
Banana 1.8 1.1 0.7
Mango (ripe) 2.0 1.0 1.0
Pomegranate 2.8 2.3 0.5
Sweet Lime (mausambi) 2.7 1.3 1.4
Grapes (pale
green)
1.2 0.8 0.4
Pineapple 2.8 2.3 0.5
Orange 1.1 0.6 0.5
Strawberry 2.3 1.6 0.7

Reference – Nutritive value of Indian foods, ICMR,2016

It’s funny, right? That we go crazy for fiber which doesn’t even get digested or absorbed but eliminate from our system. Then why fiber is so important? Being high in fiber, Guava provides the following health benefits –

Guava fruit 4

1. Impact on gastrointestinal (GI) tract

Even if you are 5 ft, your GI tract is 30 ft long – coiled inside you. Remember your 7th standard biology book- it starts from the mouth and ends at the anus. Fiber influence the health of your GI tract significantly. Follow the table below to understand it better-

Site Activity of dietary fiber
Mouth Stimulate saliva secretion, which helps to partially digest carbohydrate
while chewing food
Stomach Dilute contents and delays gastric emptying for which you don’t feel hungry often
Small Intestine Dilute contents and delays absorption of nutrients
Large Intestine Dilute contents and encourage growth of good bacteria, traps water
Stool Increase bulk and softens stool, harmful faecal matter gets eliminated from the body faster

Reference- Nutrition science by B. Srilaxmi, Revised second edition

2. Helps in preventing constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, piles, diverticulitis

The insoluble fiber in Guava increase the bulk of stool helps to soften the stool, reduce the colon transit time and decrease the intracolonic pressure.

Read – 4 steps for constipation treatment at home

3. May prevent cancer in the large intestine –

Guava contains 7.1 g of insoluble dietary fiber per 100 g which is highest among other common fruits. Insoluble dietary fiber changes the population gut microbes which helps to boost the immunity. It adds bulk with the undigested food, therefore, food residue remains in the colon for less time for carcinogen (cancer-producing substance) to get absorbed in the body. Beside this bulk and water of the feces may dilute the carcinogens to a non-toxic level.

4. May prevent coronary heart disease and gall stone –

The soluble fiber and potassium present in guava are also very effective. It helps to lower blood pressure by increasing the absorption of calcium and magnesium. It helps to lower total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. A study suggests, eating ripe guava before meals for 3 months helps to reduce blood pressure, total cholesterol and increase HDL- the good cholesterol. (2,3)

5. Controls diabetes-

The intake of guava can also help patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Chinese medicines have used guava for treating diabetes for years. The high level of soluble dietary fiber and low glycaemic index of guava, are effective in lowering blood glucose levels in the body. While fibre helps regulate sugar levels the low glycaemic index inhibits sudden spike in sugar levels. Guava fruit without peel is more effective for lowering blood sugar. (4)

Read – Enough of diabetic diet – lets focus on reversing diabetes

Helps in weight loss –

Guava is a safe food for weight loss diet. It is very low in calorie and high in dietary fiber which helps to keep one full for a longer period. It is perfect for a mid-morning or early evening snack.

Consider reading – Thinking of weight loss diet plan ? set your goal right

Guava fruit 6

How about the benefits of Guava Leaves?

Not the only guava, several studies suggests guava leaf extract also has multiple health benefits. Study suggests Guava leaf extract may help to –

  • reduce blood sugar level and can improve insulin response. Drinking guava leaf tea may help to moderate glucose absorption post-meal. (8,9)
  • provides an anticancer effect which can prevent and stop the growth of cancer cells. (10, 11)
  • reduce menstrual pain intensity. Results from a study suggest that taking supplements containing guava leaf extract may reduce menstrual cramps more efficiently than powerful some painkillers.(12)
  • benefit people with osteoarthritis. Guava leaves are full of analgesic and anti-inflammatory attributes that have been shown to alleviate arthritis pain.
  • relief cough and cold since it helps get rid of mucus and disinfects the respiratory tract, throat, and lungs, and inhibit microbial activity with its astringent properties.
  • relief from toothaches, heal swollen gums and oral ulcers. Herbalists recommend the use of tender guava leaves (in paste form) to maintain oral hygiene. The leaves have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-microbial properties that help reduce gum inflammation and keep breath fresh and clean.

How to add guava in the daily diet –

Vitamin C is one of the essential vitamins that you need regularly. But vitamin C is extremely delicate, it gets oxidized when exposed to heat and light for long.

Therefore, no juice, no jam/jelly – if you want to ensure all the health benefits then always pick the locally grown variety of guava and eat raw. You have teeth, so chew them well. You can make tasty guava jam at home for taste purpose but do not expect most of the benefits discussed above. Sprinkle a pinch of rock salt on top and enjoy one guava during breakfast or as a mid-morning or early evening snack.

If you are a health enthusiast, you can consider making guava tea or can chew one fresh leaf for the benefits.

Also Read – Top 10 healthy snacks ideas

Top 9 Healthy summer drink ideas

Guava fruit 7

Is eating guava is enough to cure health or to lose weight?

What do you think? Is it fair to put all the responsibility of cleaning your system on guava and continue to live an unhealthy lifestyle?

No food is enough to fix any of your health issue-weight loss/ diabetes/ high blood pressure/ poor gut health/ constipation etc- alone.

You need to sleep well for 7- 8 hrs, stay active throughout the day and engage in regular exercise. Eat good food- homemade and natural food. Cut down your attraction on any processed and packaged food. Now, have guava every day and feel the difference.

Consider reading – Why sleeping is so important? Consider reading this.

Read – Top 6 food advertisement fool you everyday

Bottom Line

We all enjoy a plateful of guavas sprinkled with rock salt on top. Undeniably, it is one fruit which has not got enough lauding and respect. Benefits of guava fruit are plenty. Guavas are incredibly delicious and packed with nutrients. This tropical fruit is low in calories, loaded with fiber, and packed with various vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. It also has got a high water content.

Studies also support the benefits of guava leaf extracts, which are taken as dietary supplements.Together, guava fruit and leaf extracts boost our health in many ways and we must start to take guava seriously.

Purbasha Chatterjee

About Purbasha Purbasha is M Sc. in Dietetics and Community Nutrition Management. While studying she has got real time experience of working with cancer patient in Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital, West Bengal. Also, have the experience to work as a trainee dietitian in Westbank Hospital. Apart from this she also has the exposure in the field of Community Nutrition. She has worked hand in hand with the community workers in CINI specifically for the betterment of pregnant, and lactating mothers and their children.

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