From Skin To Heart Health: HealthifyMe

Guavas are tropical trees native to Central America that produce oval-shaped fruits with light green or yellow skin and edible seeds. The guava fruit can be white, pink, or even red in hue, though the kind with white or pale green flesh is the one that is the most common. Vitamin C, fibre, potassium, and antioxidants are all remarkably abundant in guava fruits. Although guava leaves receive less attention than fruits, they are nonetheless beneficial medicinally. 

Nutritional Profile of Guava

Here is the nutritional value of one common, raw guava (about 55 g) without refuse. Refuse refers to the peel and seeds.

  • Calories: 37.4 kcal
  • Water: 44.4 g
  • Protein: 1.4 g
  • Fibre: 2.97 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.86 g
  • Fat: 0.522 g
  • Potassium: 229 mg
  • Calcium: 9.9 mg
  • Vitamin C: 125 mg
  • Folate: 27 µg
  • Beta carotene: 206 µg
  • Vitamin K: 1.43 µg
  • Lycopene: 2860 µg

Types of Guava 

When considering the types of Guava, not much is known. Typically, one type predominates in a specific region. The guavas you encounter are usually locally grown. There are primarily two types of guava trees: one thrives in colder climates, growing up to 12 feet in height, and the other prospers in warmer climates, reaching heights of up to 20 feet.

Two different types of guava available are:

Red and Pink Varieties of Guava

Usually called dessert guavas, they typically taste sweet and appear to be pink in colour. This breed is readily available. They are of high quality, so the cost is also high.

Yellow and White Coloured Guavas 

This variety tastes acidic and mild without any fragrance. The inner portion is pale white or yellow, and the skin looks light green when ripe. This variety is more readily available than the other one and has a lower cost. 

Summary

Guava trees mostly come in two varieties: one that can reach 12 feet in colder areas and another that can reach up to 20 feet in warmer climates. Guavas that are red or pink are of superior quality and have a sweet flavour. Guavas with yellow and white colours have a mild, acidic flavour without any fragrance. This kind costs less and is easier to find. Despite having different varieties, they do not differ much in their nutritional profile. 

Benefits of Guava

Here are the benefits of the fruits as well as the leaves of guava:

Reduce Stress and Cramps

Guava contains B vitamins and magnesium, which have a calming effect on the body, helping to alleviate stress and relax muscles and nerves. For women, guava leaf tea can provide relief from menstrual cramps by helping to balance reproductive hormones.

The B vitamins and magnesium in guava help calm the nervous system, reducing stress and muscle tension. Guava leaf tea’s impact on menstrual cramps is due to its hormone-balancing properties.

Since guava leaf helps improve the imbalance in reproductive hormones of both males and females, it also helps females get relief from menstrual cramps. A study shows that women who consumed guava leaf tea experienced low-intensity menstrual cramps as opposed to what they experienced before consuming guava leaf tea.

Repair and Protection of Cells

Guavas are rich in antioxidants like polyphenols, carotenoids, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C, which combat harmful free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an imbalance between the production of free radicals (highly reactive molecules) and the body’s ability to neutralise them. Free radicals can damage cells, proteins, and DNA, contributing to ageing and various diseases, including cancer. 

Guava’s antioxidants act as defenders against these free radicals, helping to maintain cell health and reduce the risk of oxidative stress-related health issues.

Aids in Weight Loss

Guava is a low-calorie fruit with abundant nutrients. It helps in keeping one full after consumption due to the enormous fibre content. Since the whole fruit is edible, the peel gives satiety and helps to minimise total calorie intake, ultimately aiding in weight loss.

Good for Skin

Guava is one of the richest sources of vitamin C. This vitamin in guava, along with other phytonutrients present, is responsible for collagen production. Collagen gives elasticity to the skin. Guava extract also protects the skin from harmful UV rays and provides antioxidants which protect the skin from ageing, pollution, and oxidative stress.

Guava leaves have even more vitamin C than fruit (since in leaves, there is less moisture content than fruits, and nutrients are more concentrated). The rich vitamin C content helps support collagen synthesis, skin health, and immune function and protects from degenerative diseases.

Good for Heart 

Guava has sodium, potassium, selenium, zinc and B vitamins. All these together help in regulating blood pressure and keeping the heart healthy. It enables the body to maintain a balance and regulates blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension. These even increase high-density lipoprotein, which is HDL, the good cholesterol and lower low-density lipoprotein, LDL, which is bad cholesterol.

Quercetin found in guava leaf improves vasodilation. It, in turn, improves blood circulation and keeps the heart healthy. Potassium, found in guava leaf, helps maintain blood pressure. People who consumed guava leaf tea managed their blood pressure better than people who did not. 

Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Guava is a low glycemic index fruit, and it helps control blood sugar spikes. It has fibre, which is beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels. It also contains good levels of magnesium, which help in preventing insulin resistance and managing diabetes. 

Guava leaf extracts show anti-glycemic effects, which help in controlling blood sugar levels. It improves insulin resistance and prevents blood sugar spikes. 

Suitable for Pregnancy and Fertility

Guava, with its nutrient-rich profile, including folic acid and B vitamins, supports reproductive health by creating an ideal environment for conception and early foetal development. During pregnancy, these nutrients play a crucial role in neural tube development and overall fetal health, meeting the increased nutritional needs of expectant mothers. In the Postpartum period, guava continues to be beneficial, aiding in the mother’s recovery and well-being by providing essential nutrients like folic acid.

Guava leaf contains compounds like αpinene, Limonene, β-Pinene, Isopropyl alcohol, Caryophyllene, β-Bisabolene, Menthol, and Terpinyl Acetate, as well as Oleanolic acid; these compounds are responsible for enhancing fertility in males and females.  

Better Digestion

Guava, with its mild acidic content, is easy on the stomach, making it an ideal choice for those with sensitive digestive systems. The acidity of a particular food can significantly impact digestion. When we consume highly acidic foods, it can disrupt the natural pH balance in our stomach, making it excessively acidic. This acidic environment can lead to discomfort, heartburn, and acid reflux, as it puts additional strain on the lower oesophagal sphincter. On the other hand, mildly acidic or alkaline foods, like guava, are gentler on the stomach, helping to maintain a more balanced pH level. It can alleviate digestive issues and promote smoother digestion, reducing the risk of acid-related discomfort.

The fruit’s reasonable soluble fibre content promotes regular bowel movements and nourishes the beneficial probiotic flora in the gut, aiding in digestion. The gentle acidity of guava can help balance the pH levels in the stomach, preventing issues like acid reflux and indigestion that often arise from highly acidic foods, thus contributing to overall digestive comfort.

Ensures Good Vision

Guava has reasonable amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene, which ensures good eyesight. Moreover, vitamin C also helps to maintain good vision due to its antioxidant properties. 

Summary

Guava leaf helps to balance out both male and female imbalanced reproductive hormones. Moreover, it eases the pain of menstrual cramps. Polyphenols, carotenoids, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C are among the phytonutrients found in guavas that function as potent antioxidants. Guavas are an excellent option for a weight-loss diet because of their high fibre and water content, which induce satiety. Even more vitamin C is present in guava leaves than in fruit, which promotes collagen formation and improves skin health. Additionally, positive benefits of decreasing blood sugar are shown by guava leaf and fruit extract. Guavas are rich in potassium, sodium, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins, which support heart health and blood pressure regulation. Expecting mothers benefit from guava’s folic acid and B vitamins. 

Ways to Eat Guava for its Health Benefits

Guava is a versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in various ways to reap its numerous health benefits. Whether you prefer it fresh and raw or incorporated into delicious recipes, there are plenty of options to explore. Here are some ways to include guava in your diet for maximum health advantages:

Fresh and Raw

Peel and Slice: Wash a ripe guava and slice it into bite-sized pieces. Enjoy it as a nutritious snack, or add it to fruit salads.

Guava Smoothie

Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • Ripe guava: 1 chopped
  • Yoghurt: 75 g
  • Honey: 1 tsp (optional)
  • Ice cubes: 4-5 (optional)

Method of Preparation

  • Combine the chopped guava, yoghurt, and honey (if desired) in a blender.
  • Add ice cubes if you prefer a colder smoothie.
  • Blend until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.
  • Pour into a glass and enjoy a refreshing guava smoothie.

Guava Salad

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • Ripe guava: 2 (diced)
  • Cucumber: 1 (peeled and diced)
  • Onion: ¼ thinly sliced
  • Fresh mint leaves: 2 tbsp, chopped
  • Lemon juice: 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method of Preparation

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the diced guava, cucumber, red onion, and fresh mint leaves.
  • Drizzle lemon juice over the mixture and gently toss to combine.
  • Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
  • Allow it to sit for a few minutes to let the flavours meld, and then serve your guava salad.

Guava Chutney

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • Ripe guava: 2, peeled and diced
  • Red chilli: 1, chopped (adjust to taste)
  • Salt: ½ tsp
  • Cumin seeds: ½ tsp

Method of Preparation

  • In a saucepan, combine the diced guava, chopped red chilli, salt, and cumin seeds.
  • Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the guava softens and the mixture thickens (about 10-15 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer the guava chutney to a serving dish and refrigerate until ready to use. It pairs wonderfully with snacks or as a condiment.

These are just a few delicious ways to incorporate guava into your diet. Whether you prefer it fresh and simple or as part of a flavorful recipe, guava is a nutritious addition to your meals that can contribute to your overall well-being. Enjoy the taste and health benefits of this tropical fruit in various ways!

Potential Side Effects of Guava and Who Should Avoid Them

Guava is generally considered safe and beneficial for most individuals when consumed in moderation. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects, and certain groups of people should exercise caution or avoid guava and its products altogether.

Digestive Issues: While guava is a fibre-rich fruit that can promote healthy digestion, excessive consumption may lead to digestive discomfort, such as constipation. It’s essential to maintain a balanced intake to prevent such issues.

Allergic Reactions: Although rare, some individuals may develop allergies to certain chemicals in guava. Allergic reactions can vary from mild discomfort to more severe health concerns. If you experience unusual symptoms after consuming guava, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

Chemical Risks: Beyond the fruit itself, chemicals used to store guavas can pose health risks. These chemicals may lead to various infections if ingested. To minimise any potential risks, it’s crucial to wash guavas thoroughly before consumption.

Precautions

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: While guavas are generally safe, exercise caution with supplements containing guava leaf extract, which are not FDA-approved. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their healthcare provider before incorporating such supplements into their diet.

Individuals with Skin Conditions: Guava fruit and leaves contain chemicals that may irritate the skin, particularly in individuals with pre-existing skin conditions like eczema. Those with skin disorders should approach guava consumption with care or consider avoiding it to prevent exacerbating their condition.

Pre-diabetic or Diabetic Patients: Guava leaves have blood sugar-lowering properties. For individuals with pre-diabetes or diabetes, consuming guava leaf extract may enhance the effects of prescribed diabetes medications, potentially causing blood sugar levels to drop below the healthy range. Individuals in this category should monitor their blood sugar closely and consult a healthcare professional before using guava leaf extract.

Summary

Guava is a nutritious fruit with numerous health benefits, but it’s essential to consume it in moderation to avoid digestive discomfort. While side effects are rare, allergic reactions can occur in some individuals. Additionally, precautions should be taken by pregnant and breastfeeding women, those with skin conditions, and individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes, as guava consumption or guava leaf extract may affect them differently. Always consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about including guava in your diet.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Guava seeds – a source of dietary fibre and healthy fats are often overlooked, but they can be used in various ways to add a unique and nutritious element to your diet. Below are some key suggestions:-

Blend guava seeds into your smoothies. They add a slight crunch and are a good source of dietary fibre. When blended they aren’t noticeable but will provide added nutrition. 

When combined with water guava seeds create a chia – seed like gel. This gel can be used as a thickening agent in recipes such as puddings or even as an egg substitute in vegan baking. 

Add Guava seeds as a garnish for desserts or fruit salads. They add an interesting texture and a touch of guava flavour.

The Final Word

Guava, the tropical fruit, has more to it than just its surface. Its leaves are also beneficial and edible. Both play a significant role in combating various degenerative diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and hormonal imbalances. But don’t forget to consider potential risks as well, particularly if you have allergies or are on medication. 

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the nutritional benefits of guava?

A. Guava has immense nutritional benefits. It is a low glycemic index fruit, and it helps control blood sugar spikes. It has fibre, which is beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels. It also contains good levels of magnesium, which help in preventing insulin resistance and manage diabetes. This fibre content even aids in weight loss and weight maintenance. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, which also have a range of other health benefits.

Q. Is guava a good source of vitamin C?

A. Yes, guava is a wealthy source of Vitamin C. It promotes collagen synthesis, which in turn helps in achieving more elasticity in the skin.

Q. Can guava help boost the immune system?

A. Yes, guava has four times the vitamin C found in oranges. Due to this high vitamin C content, eating guava will help your body fight infections and pathogens.

Q. Does guava have cancer-fighting properties?

A. Yes, guava is abundant in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help lower degenerative disease risk. The antioxidants have free radical scavenging properties, hence lowering the risk of tumours and cancer.

Q. How can guava aid in digestion and gut health?

A. Guava is not very acidic. It has reasonable amounts of soluble fibre, which helps to keep regular bowel movements. The fibre in guava helps the probiotic flora in the gut and keeps it healthy.

Q. Is guava helpful for weight management or weight loss?

A. Guava is a low-calorie fruit with abundant nutrients. It helps in keeping one full after consumption due to the enormous fibre content. Since the whole fruit is edible, with the peel, it gives early satiety and may even lead to weight loss.

Q. What role does guava play in heart health?

A. Guava has sodium, potassium, selenium, zinc and B vitamins. All these together help in regulating blood pressure and keeping the heart healthy. It enables the body to maintain a balance and regulates blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension. These even increase high-density lipoprotein, which is HDL, the good cholesterol and lower low-density lipoprotein, LDL, which is bad cholesterol.

Q. Can guava help manage diabetes?

A. Yes, because of its low glycemic index, guavas can help prevent blood sugar spikes. Because of its fibre content, it helps regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, it has a high magnesium content, which helps to avoid diabetes and insulin resistance.

Q. Does guava promote skin health?

A. Guava is one the richest sources of vitamin C. This vitamin in guava, along with other phytonutrients present, is responsible for collagen production. Collagen gives elasticity to the skin. Guava protects the skin from harmful UV rays and provides antioxidants which protect the skin from ageing, pollution, oxidative stress, etc.

Q. Is guava beneficial for eye health?

A. Yes, guava has reasonable amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Moreover, vitamin C also helps to maintain good vision due to its antioxidant properties.

Q. How does guava contribute to hair health?

A. Guava is one the richest sources of vitamin C. This vitamin in guava, along with other phytonutrients present, is responsible for collagen production. Enhanced collagen synthesis helps in strengthening the hair follicles, repairing damaged hair and reducing hair fall.

Q. Can guava leaves be used for medicinal purposes?

A. Yes, guava leaves can be used for medicinal purposes. Guava leaf extracts have shown anti-glycemic effects. It improves insulin resistance and prevents blood sugar spikes. Quercetin found in guava leaf also improves vasodilation. Potassium, found in guava leaf, helps maintain blood pressure. People who consumed guava leaf tea managed their blood pressure better than people who did not.

Q. What are the potential side effects or precautions with guava consumption?

A. There are no severe side effects of guava until and unless one has an allergy and it does not suit a person. In the case of older people, seeds of the guava fruit can be troublesome for them. Seeds can get stuck in their teeth or dentures and may cause them pain.

Q. Are there different varieties of guava with unique benefits?

A. There are two different varieties of guava. Red and pink varieties of guava are usually called dessert guavas, which generally taste sweet and appear to be pink in colour. This breed is readily available. They are of high quality, so the cost is also high. Yellow and white coloured guavas taste acidic and mild without any fragrance. The inner portion is pale white or yellow, and the skin looks light green when ripe. This variety is more readily available than the other one and is lower cost.

Q. How can guava be incorporated into a healthy diet?

A. Add guava daily by slicing it like any other fruit, topping it up with one’s favourite oatmeal or yoghurt, adding it to a smoothie bowl or making a fruit salad with other favourite fruits.

Research Sources

Data by the US department of agriculture on Guava

Guava (Psidium guajava L.) Leaves: Nutritional Composition, Phytochemical Profile, and Health-Promoting Bioactivities

A short review on a Nutritional Fruit: Guava

Effect of Guava in Blood Glucose and Lipid Profile in Healthy Human Subjects: A Randomized Controlled Study

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