Passion fruit, popularly grown in the tropical belt, is a native of Brazil but is grown in Colombia, the Caribbean, Australia, Africa and some areas of the southern United States. In the 16th Century, Spanish catholic missionaries adopted the flower of the passion fruit as a symbol of the death of Christ.
The passion fruit is a colorful egg-shaped fruit with numerous small, black seeds that are surrounded by deep orange-colored sacs. These sacs contain the juice that’s the edible part of the fruit. The characteristic flavor and aroma makes it a refreshing tropical fruit.
Passion fruit is cultivated in native as well as non-native areas because of the beauty of its flowers and the high demand for the fruit.
Types of Passion Fruit
Passion fruit is a member of the Passifloraceae family and is a close relative to violets. There are more than 500 species in this family and more than 50 of them are edible. But only two varieties — purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis
) and yellow passion fruit
) — are grown commercially. The purple variety is generally sold as fresh fruit and is grown only in small quantities while the yellow variety is used for producing juice and juice concentrate. Fruit of the yellow passion fruit is deep yellow and similar in shape but slightly longer than the purple passion fruit.
Health Benefits of Passion Fruit
Both the yellow and purple varieties have numerous health benefits. Passion fruit has citric and malic acid, which makes it taste acidic. Nearly 15% of the fruit is made of sugars like glucose, sucrose, fructose and the combination of these sugars with the acids give a unique taste and acts as a preservative. The fruit is rich in anti-oxidants and phytochemicals, which possess numerous health benefits for overall health as well as specific disease conditions. Improves Digestive and Intestinal Health:
Passion fruit is a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble dietary fiber
improves bowel motility and prevents constipation. The fiber lowers the pH and ammonia in caecum, a pouch connected to the junction of the small and large intestines making it a favorable for the intestinal bacteria to aid in digestion. The extract from the peel of the yellow variety may protect against diverticular disorders.Relieves Asthma:
Regular consumption of a supplement made up of the peel extract of passion fruit decreased the symptoms of asthma
, including reduction in the prevalence of sputum, cough and breathlessness. Anti-Tumor Activity:
The juice extract of the yellow variety exhibits anti-cancer properties owing to its anti-oxidant properties. Passion fruit contains anthocyanins, a group of pigments which gives color to the fruit and reduces the formation of tumors. The skin of the fruit and the layer inside it contains lycopene, an antioxidant of the family of carotenoids.Reduces Edema and Inflammation:
Various phytochemicals like tannins, flavonoids, saponins and triterpenoid steroids are present in the aqueous and methanolic extracts of the leaves of Passiflora edulis. The anti-inflammatory effect of these extracts was studied in Wistar rats in which edema and inflammation reduced at a dosage of 100 mg/kg and the aqueous extract showed a reduction in inflammation at a dosage of 200 mg/kg.Improves Cardiac Health By Lowering Cholesterol:
Passion fruit, though a rich source of lycopene is hardly reviewed. Unlike other carotenoids, lycopene cannot be transformed into vitamin A in the body but the antioxidant action has beneficial effects on the incidence of cardiovascular diseases
. Antioxidants present in passion fruit prevent accumulation of cholesterol and other substances in the blood vessels, which causes plaque formation and artery blockages.Improves Cardiac Health:
Passion fruit is a good source of potassium (348 mg in per 100 grams of fruit). Consumption of adequate amount of potassium in the diet is extremely critical for proper functioning of the heart as low potassium levels can affect the functioning of the heart, leading to arrhythmias or irregular heart beat.Fights Fungal Infection
: Passiflin (Pe-AFP1), a dimeric protein in the seeds of the purple variety, possesses anti-fungal properties. Pe-AFP1 displays an inhibitory effect against various filamentous fungi and can be used as anti-fungal products. Excellent Food Source for Iron Deficiency:
Among fruits, passion fruit is one of the best sources of iron (3.78 mg of iron in a serving size of 1 cup) and also a rich source of Vitamin C (70.8 mg of Vitamin C in a serving size of 1 cup). In the diet, absorption of dietary iron by the body increases to a great extent when iron is consumed along with Vitamin C. Passion fruit is a rich source of both iron and Vitamin C. Consumption of passion fruit can reduce iron-deficiency anemia
to a great extent.Improves Vision:
Vitamin A produces rhodopsin (or visual purple), which helps the eyes to adjust in the dark and aiding in dim light vision. Passion fruit is rich in vitamin A and is readily used by the eyes, thereby improving vision. Useful in Anti-anxiety and Insomnia Treatment:
Researches on rodents and humans show that the aqueous extract of Passiflora edulis possess hypnotic and sedative properties. The aqueous extract of the yellow and purple variety plant were extracted and shows to possess anti-anxiety and sedative effects on Swiss albino mice. The Flavonoids may be responsible for reducing the effects of anxiety at low dosages and sedative effects at high dosages.
Passion Fruit Recipe
Passion Fruit Mango LassiIngredients:
- 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and seeded
- 3 ripe passion fruit, pulp removed and strained
- 1 Tbsp ginger extract
- 250ml plain yogurt
- 250ml milk
- ¼ cup honey
- Juice of ½ a lime
- Pinch of cardamom
- Ice cubes
- Scoop out the pulp from the passion fruit. Discard the seeds. Strain the pulp through a sieve into a small bowl.
- Add the ginger extract into the passion fruit.
- Blend chopped mango, passion fruit pulp, yogurt, milk, honey, lime juice and ice. Add a pinch of cardamom and serve chill.
- Grab a passion fruit before going to bed; it has somniferous properties, which help you go to sleep.
- Phytochemicals in passion fruit juice inhibit cancer cell growth.
- Passion fruit contains plant sterols, which help in lowering the levels of cholesterol.
- Extract of passion fruit leaves is a remedy for digestive discomforts and is used as a liver tonic.
- Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and certain minerals vital for hair growth are abundant in passion fruit juice.
- Passion fruit seed oil is beneficial on both hair and skin. The vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus and high essential fatty acids make it an extremely healing and nourishing for the skin and hair.