Discover 3 impressive benefits of guava
Lately, it seems that more and more natural health experts, integrative doctors, and in-the-know nutritionists are using the “S” word (“superfood”) to describe guava. Like papaya, mango, starfruit, and pineapple, guava is a tropical fruit with a growing reputation for delivering health benefits. But does guava live up to its good press? The answer seems to be “yes.”
Botanically known as Psidium guajava, guava fruit is packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Let’s look at three ways the tasty guava can support health and well-being.
Fiber-rich guava can promote gut health and regulate blood sugar
A single guava fruit provides 12 percent of the daily recommended intake of dietary fiber for adults, which allows it to support regular elimination. In fact, guava has been used extensively in herbal healing for treating digestive upsets and easing both diarrhea and constipation.
In a 2017 scientific review, the authors noted that guava extract had been shown to help inhibit the growth of pathogens - such as E. coli and Salmonella - that can cause diarrhea. In addition, guava’s high vitamin C and vitamin A content may help boost the immune system. Guava may also help support a weight loss journey. With a 100-gram serving containing a modest 68 calories, guava fruit makes a satisfying, nutritious snack that may help to reduce food cravings and binge eating.
Despite its naturally sweet taste, guava has a low glycemic index and is believed to improve insulin resistance and promote healthy blood sugar levels. Although its natural sweetness and juiciness might make guava feel like a “decadent” treat or self-indulgence, this fruit actually gets a thumbs-up for its excellent nutritional profile.
Support a healthy heart with guava
Guava fruit is a good source of potassium, an important mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure. (In addition, scientists have learned that compounds in guava inhibit a specific enzyme related to high blood pressure - in much the same way as ACE inhibitors prescribed to control hypertension. Pretty impressive!)
Research has supported the ability of guava to promote heart health. In a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology involving participants with high blood pressure, the scientists found that eating ripe guava fruit before a meal caused the volunteers’ blood pressure to drop by a surprising 9 points while significantly increasing levels of healthy HDL cholesterol.
In a 2019 study published in Nutrients, researchers credited lycopene - an antioxidant plant pigment found in pink and red guava fruit - with the ability to lower fats in the blood and reduce markers of harmful oxidative stress. And in an additional study involving participants with metabolic disease, researchers found that those with higher blood levels of lycopene had a 39 percent lower risk of dying prematurely than those with lower levels.
Clearly, guava fruit has “all the right stuff” to help keep your arteries clear and your heart ticking happily along!
Guava fruit can nourish and protect skin
Vitamin C is necessary for the body’s collagen production, which is essential for firm, supple skin. And guava offers it up in spades. A 100-gram serving of fresh, raw guava delivers 228 mg of vitamin C, more than double the recommended daily amount. In addition, liquid-rich guava can help you stay well hydrated, another “gift” to a healthy complexion.
Antioxidants in guava may even help shield skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays in sunlight. So while you should never count on it to take the place of sunscreen, it turns out that eating lycopene-rich guava fruit may offer some protection against sunburn.
In one intriguing study, daily dietary intake of lycopene helped reduce skin redness after sun exposure - by up to 50 percent! With 5.2 mg of lycopene in a 100-gram serving, guava fruit is right behind tomatoes - and ahead of watermelon and papayas - as a dietary source of lycopene.
It’s easy to incorporate guava into fruit medleys, sauces, and smoothies
Guava fruit has whitish, yellow, or pinkish flesh, depending on the type. The flavor, which is delicate and moderately sweet, is often likened to that of a pear. The most common variety is the “lemon” guava, also known as “apple” guava. But if it’s lycopene content you’re after, opt for “tropical pink” or “red Malaysian” guavas.
Ripe guava should “give” slightly when squeezed. Wash the fruit well, then simply slice it as you would a cantaloupe. Don’t worry about the tiny white seeds within, as they are edible.
(Pro tip: While guava fruit is packed with health-sustaining “goodies,” its beneficial constituents appear to be even more concentrated in the leaves - which are rich in gallic acid and catechin, the same healthful compounds as are found in green tea, You may find guava leaf extracts and guava leaf teas at your local health store or online. As always, check with your integrative doctor before supplementing).
Give guava a starring role in a summer tropical fruit medley, along with papayas, mangos, starfruit, coconut, and pineapple. Guava can also be made into jellies and jams and used in marinades for seafood, beef, and poultry. Of course, you can always juice your guavas or blend them into your favorite smoothie.
Succulent guava makes a sensational addition to your healthy diet.
Sources for this article include: