The potential health benefits of guava are many and include its ability to help control blood sugar levels, regulate blood pressure, and provide relief from diarrhea. It further helps strengthen the immune system and digestive system. It also aids in weight loss, improves the skin, provides relief from cough and cold, dysentery, and scurvy.
Due to the unique and high concentrations of minerals and vitamins, guava can also help increase energy.
What is Guava?
Guava is a sweet and delicious fruit cultivated in tropical climates. This seasonal fruit, scientifically known as Psidium guajava, is round or pear-shaped. It is light green, yellow or maroon in color when it ripens. It has white or maroon flesh, depending on its type, and has small hard seeds enveloped in its soft, sweet pulp.
The common types of guava include apple guava, yellow-fruited cherry guava, strawberry guava, and red apple guava. Guava is mostly eaten raw (when ripe or semi-ripe) or consumed in the form of juice, jams, and jellies.
Guava is believed to have originated in Mexico or Central America. It is now very popular in Asian countries and is also increasingly available in American countries, particularly after its health benefits have been revealed. Some say it has a floral taste, a cross between a pear and a strawberry.
What makes it special 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. Guava leaves also have many benefits as noted above, are used to make guava leaf tea and guava leaf juice.
Guava Nutrition Facts
This popular fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients. As per USDA National Nutrient Database, guava is a good source of energy, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The guava fruit contains vitamin C, A, E, B-vitamins, as well as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and zinc.
Health Benefits of Guava
The traditional adage says, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” in Europe and America. Given the plentiful benefits of guava, the phrase can be probably changed to “a few guavas in the season keep the doctor away for the whole year,” in their native tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Let us look at the most important health benefits of this tropical fruit.
The naturally high content of vitamin C in guavas, four times higher than that found in oranges, helps boost the immune system. According to a study published in 2006, the antioxidants in the fruit help defend the body against the proliferation of free radicals in the body, which are one of the main causes of serious conditions like cancer and heart diseases.
The intake of guava can also help patients suffering from diabetes. It contains a high level of dietary fiber, which has a beneficial effect on lowering blood glucose levels in the body. Recent studies in animal models have shown that consuming it may help prevent the risk of type-2 diabetes; however, more research is needed to confirm the entire scope of its benefits.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Research published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that guava helped reduce LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure in study participants. The fruit, being very rich in fiber and hypoglycemic in nature, was also beneficial in helping to reduce blood pressure.
Improves Thyroid Health
Guava isa good source of copper, a mineral important for regulating metabolism by helping to control hormone production and absorption. The thyroid hormones play a significant role in energy regulation and metabolism in the body.
As mentioned, guavas contain 4 times more vitamin C than oranges (oranges are often heralded as the absolute best source of this vitamin, but guavas beat them out!). According to a 2003 study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, the deficiency of vitamin C can cause scurvy; the only known remedy for this dangerous disease is an adequate intake of vitamin C.
Eliminates Diarrhea & Dysentery
Guava has properties that are thought to help against a number of digestive disorders like diarrhea and dysentery. Whether you chew on its leaves or eat the raw fruit, the astringent qualities add substance to loose bowels and reduce the symptoms of diarrhea. These astringents are alkaline in nature and have disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties, thus helping against dysentery by inhibiting microbial growth and removing extra mucus from the intestines. Furthermore, other nutrients such as vitamin C, carotenoids and potassium, strengthen the digestive system while simultaneously disinfecting it. The fruit is also beneficial in cases of gastroenteritis for similar reasons to those stated above.
Guava is one of the richest sources of dietary fiber amongst fruits, and its seeds serve as excellent laxatives. These two properties help the formation of healthy bowel movements, aid in retaining water in the body and keep your intestinal tract in top-notch health. It is said that constipation can lead to 72 different types of ailments, so any dietary source to relieve constipation is certainly beneficial! Your overall health is affected undeniably by proper digestion, and more importantly, by proper excretion. Frequent consumption of this delicious fruit can ensure both.
Improves Brain Health
Another tremendous benefit of guava is the presence of B vitamins, B3 and B6. Vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) can increase blood flow and stimulates cognitive function, whereas vitamin B6 is a nutrient correlated with brain and nerve function.
Relief from Cough & Cold
Research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology on the anticough and antimicrobial activities of guava leaf extract, states that it is very helpful in providing relief from cold and cough. Juice of raw and immature guavas, or a decoction of its leaves, is very helpful in relieving coughs and colds by reducing mucus, disinfecting the respiratory tract, throat, and lungs, and inhibiting microbial activity with its astringent properties.
Guava is one of the richest sources of vitamin C and iron among fruits – both of which are nutrients effective in preventing or lessening colds and viral infections. In some areas of India, the ripened fruit is roasted and used as a remedy against extreme cases of a cough, cold, and congestion. The ripe fruit should be avoided by people who are suffering from cough and cold, as it can exacerbate the problem. Also, avoid drinking water immediately after eating the fruit as it can lead to a sore throat.
Guava is very helpful for people wanting to lose weight without compromising their intake of vital proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is high in roughage (fiber), has no cholesterol and contains a low number of digestible carbohydrates. This combination makes a filling snack that satisfies the appetite very easily.
Guava, especially the raw one, has far less sugar as compared to apples, oranges, grapes, and many other fruits. Add it to your lunch and you will not feel hungry until evening. Ironically, it can also help lean and skinny people to gain weight. This is probably due to its wealth of nutrients, which regulates the metabolism and promotes proper absorption of nutrients.
Guavas can improve the health of your skin and help you avoid skin problems. This is chiefly due to the abundance of astringents available in the fruit (more astringents are present in the immature variety). The skin can benefit from either eating the fruits or by rinsing your skin with a decoction of its immature fruit and leaves. It will tone and tighten the area of loosened skin where it is applied. The rich antioxidants and detoxifying properties are also thought to help keep skin glowing and free from signs of premature aging, wrinkles, and other dermal disorders.
Guava is a good source of vitamin A, well known as abooster for vision health. It can help slow down the appearance of cataracts, macular degeneration, and improve the overall health of the eyes. It helps protect the cells in your eyes and can also slow the deterioration of eyesight.
Reduces Oxidative Stress
Guava juice is rich in vitamin C and a number of other important phytonutrients that can help reduce and even eliminate free radicals, slowing down oxidative stress in the body. It is a very popular beverage in tropical and subtropical regions.
Apart from the fruit, the leaves also have many benefits. The juice of guava leaves has been known to provide relief from toothaches, heal swollen gums and oral ulcers.