Guava certainly is the “Fruit in the News”. Besides its much proven health benefits, the fruit is being discussed lately because of its high antioxidant levels. Guava (Psidium guajava
L.) has always been a very important fruit crop of India. It has always gained great respect because of its –
high nutritive value,
low economic value,
pleasant aroma, and
Guava has the second highest content of vitamin C, next to Amla. It is also very high in the soluble fiber pectin. A guava weighing 100g (approx a medium sized guava) would contain 260mg vitamin C (recommended intake is 40mg per day) and 8.5g of dietary fiber (recommended intake is 25g to 30g per day). Guava is also rich in carotenoids and potassium. The nutrient content of fruit differs with the cultivar, stage of maturity and season. Guava is in the true sense a super food.
Apart from the fruit, guava leaves also have an array of qualities which are healing and curative. Guava leaf is antibacterial in nature. Studies conducted in the past have proven the leaves to be helpful in diabetes.
They help regulate blood glucose levels. Guava leaves could also be consumed like any other cooked green leafy vegetable or juice. This would bring nutrition on the platter absolutely free of cost.
An epidemiological study was conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, to know the antioxidant properties of different fruits. The study included only those fruits that are easily available in the Indian market and are commonly consumed by maximum Indians. The fruits were guava, pine-apple, Indian plum, mango (ripe), apple, chiku, watermelon, custard apple, grapes (green), orange, papaya (ripe), pomegranate, sweet lime and banana.
The results showed that out of the 14 fresh fruits, mango and guava were found to be the richest in antioxidants. Anti-oxidant property of guava was found to be 496mg / 100g, which is said to be sufficient to get rid of free radicals present in the body. The antioxidant activity of the fruits in the study ranged from as high as 496mg / 100g in guava to as low as 22mg / 100g in pineapple.
Free radicals hasten ageing and could be responsible for cancer and many other degenerative disorders. So, the main objective behind the study was to know the antioxidant properties in naturally occurring fruits that could fight against free radicals.
The study has brought forth the benefit of the natural occurring antioxidants in lowering the risk of degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis. Dr Sreeramulu, from the endocrinology and metabolism division of the National Institute of Nutrition’s and the lead author of this study, stated that “Natural antioxidants have attracted considerable interest among nutritionists, food manufacturers and consumers because of their presumed safety and potential therapeutic value”.
Dr Sreeramulu highlighted the importance of the findings saying that “even the commonly available guava can enrich the Indian diet”. He also added that “We usually believe expensive fruits are the richest source of nutrition. But our extensive research shows that fruits that are rich in antioxidants help scavenge free radicals that destroy tissues."
The Indian plum, the custard apple and India’s beloved mangoes, all came after guava in antioxidant richness.
The study also found that while there is a presence of antioxidant concentrations of just under 500mg per 100g in guava, 330mg in plum and 135mg in pomegranate, apples have a quarter of the antioxidants compared with guava and bananas have a tiny fraction with 30mg per 100g.
Other benefits that this Indian superfood provides are as follows:1. It slows diarrhea and loose bowels
. Guava and guava leaves are very rich in astringents. Astringents are compounds that make the gums feel tighter. These astringents are alkaline in nature and bind up loose bowels. They also have disinfectant and antibacterial properties and thus are helpful for the stomach and intestines by assisting in inhibiting microbial growth.2. It relieves cold and cough
. Guava and guava juice also help in giving relief from cough and cold as they contain antioxidants and also disinfect the respiratory system.3. It allows healthy digestion and bowel movement
. Guava is one of the best sources of soluble fiber. The seeds serve as a natural laxative. It is a boon for the mankind as they are excellent in maintaining the stomach health. 4. It helps control diabetes and blood pressure
. Guava is hypoglycemic in nature and also helps to control blood pressure when consumed on regular basis. 5. It helps maintain healthy and glowing skin.
The abundance of astringents in the fruit and leaves helps tighten the muscles. The skin could also be washed by its decoction to give a bright and clean look.6. It helps in fat reduction
. Guava is a one of the best fruits to consume, especially for a person on a weight loss regime. It is highly satiating and satisfying. Having just a medium sized guava can take care of hunger for next three hours easily.
It’s best to eat the whole raw fruit. But guava has a tendency to mix and merge with other flavors and create a delightful new taste, so, it could be used to prepare vegetables, cocktails, floats, punches and desserts.
A guava a day would definitely keep the doctor away. For super health and super energy make sure not to miss eating the guava when it is in season.