Guava: Evidence-Based Health Benefit

Guava is an important fruit crop of the tropical and subtropical regions and is native to America. In India, it has been cultivated since the early 17th century and til today India is one of the major guavas producing countries in the world.

Guava fruit is round, globular or pear-shaped ranging from 3-15 cm in length. The outer skin of the immature fruit is green in color and it turns green to yellow or pink when ripe.

The flesh is a granular pulp and the inside is soft pulp with many small hard seeds. The inner flesh may be white, pink, yellow or red in color.

Guavas have a musky odor, which can also be pungent. The outer skin of guava is soft and completely edible, while the inner flesh is soft and has a creamy texture.

In other words, this is one of those fruits that are fully edible. Ripe guava is an excellent ingredient for preparing salads and puddings. (1)

What is Guava?

Guava is a fruit of Psidium guajava plant. It belongs to the Myrtaceae (myrtles) family and Psidium L. (guava) genus. Mainly, this fruit is sweet in taste and contains small seeds in its pulp. Based on different varieties, the color fruit pulp can be white or pink.

Health Benefits of Guava

The most important health benefits of Guava are given below:

It Is Highly Nutritious

Guava is also called a super fruit because of its high nutritive value. This fruit is rich in dietary fiber and pectin and it is also loaded with the goodness of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, copper, and manganese. Furthermore, guava is a fair source of calcium, phosphorus, and iron.

Guava is one of the best and economical sources of vitamin C and it has four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange. Studies have also found that guava ranks third in vitamin C content after Barbados cherry and amla.

Besides this, guava also contains carotenoids, flavonoids and other antioxidant substances that help in the management and treatment of degenerative diseases. Hence, guava is considered a poor man’s apple of tropical and sub-tropical countries. (2)

Beneficial for Individuals with Diabetes Mellitus

Daily consumption of guava is beneficial for individuals with diabetes mellitus because it helps in blood glucose control, improves insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin resistance.

One interesting study observed a drop in the blood glucose levels after guava fruit supplementation without peels. Such a hypoglycemic effect could be due to the high dietary fiber content in guava fruit pulp.

Pectin, dietary fiber in guava improves glucose tolerance by delaying the intestinal absorption of glucose.

Alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates into simple glucose during digestion is inhibited by healthy compounds present in guava. This delays the quick formation of glucose in the blood. Hence, consumption of guava prevents a spike in the blood glucose levels.

Guava pulp is also a rich source of compounds; strictinin, isostrictinin, and pedunculagin, which have been used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus by improving insulin sensitivity.

Because guava is rich in magnesium. It favors the entry of glucose in the muscles and cells and reduces blood glucose levels.

Hence, people with diabetes mellitus can safely add medium-sized ripe guava to their daily diet. (3, 4)

Guava Consumption Improves Blood Lipid Profile

Guava is a rich source of dietary fiber, which helps in keeping the blood total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control.

When guava is eaten, the dietary fiber present in it enters the body, binds to bile acid and excretes it out of the body. Now, bile acid is required by the body for the digestion of fat. To produce this bile acid, the body uses cholesterol, which is present in the body.

Because cholesterol is being used for the synthesis of bile acid, its concentration in the blood decreases and hence, the overall blood cholesterol level is reduced.

Thus, guava can be added to a low fat, nutritious diet as a part of a mid-morning or mid-evening snack. (5)

Helps in The Management of Hypertension

Control of high blood pressure reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. Guava is an incredible source of potassium, a mineral that reduces the negative effects of sodium on blood pressure.

Potassium helps in the widening of the arteries and ensures smooth blood flow throughout the body.

Besides this, vitamin C in guava is crucial for maintaining the health of the inner lining of the blood vessels. This again allows blood to flow easily and smoothly all throughout the body and reduces the risk of heart diseases too. (6)

Anti-Bacterial Activity of Guava

Flavonoids are healthy plant compounds present in guava that are responsible for the fruit’s anti-bacterial action.

Studies have found that guava is effective at inhibiting the activity of pathogens that contaminate foods and beverages and cause foodborne illnesses.

These flavonoids reduce the multiplication of bacteria in the body and decrease the bacterial population. They further prevent adherence of bacteria to the healthy cells of the body.

Hence, guava fruit extracts and guava leaves are effective ways to safeguard against foodborne pathogens, especially those that cause diarrhea. (7)

Guava Intake Improves Oral Health

Healthy plant compounds present in guava have the ability to inhibit the growth of common oral flora. Guava consumption is an effective way to maintain oral health and keep oral infections at bay.

Tannins, terpenoids, phenols, flavonoids and essential oils in guava inhibit the activity, growth and multiplication of Streptococcus mutan, a chief and pioneer micro-organism responsible for most of the dental infections.

The bioactive substances in guava further enhance oral hygiene by reducing inflammation of the gums and presence of dental plaque. Guava prevents the adhesion of oral pathogenic bacteria to the tooth surface.

Oxidative stress also leads to poor oral health. Because guava is an excellent source of natural antioxidants, it fights oxidative stress and prevents deterioration of oral health. (8, 9)

Different Ways to Eat Guava

  • You can always eat the fruit fresh, with or without the peel. The choice is entirely yours. Wash it properly and cut it into thin slices or wedges. Some people even like to sprinkle some salt and red chili powder on cut guava pieces. Addition of salt may lead to oxidation of nutrients present in guava. Hence, it is advised to enjoy the natural flavor of guava without the addition of salt or chili powder to it.
  • Some kids and even adults like to dip the guava pieces in peanut butter, almond butter, caramel sauce or fruit jams.
  • Guava jelly is another interesting idea for all guava lovers. Top your pancakes or waffles with pieces of guava jelly.
  • Guava juice is also added to cocktails or a fruit punch.
  • Guava marinades, glazes and jams are some other popular guava recipes.
  • Boiled, tender guava pieces are added to various cake and dessert preparations.
  • Make a healthy fruit salad and enhance its nutritive value by adding fresh guava pieces to it.
  • A poached pink guava ice cream is a perfect dessert for a hot summer day.

Who Should Eat Guava?

  • Any healthy individual, free from clinical conditions can enjoy fresh guava on a regular basis. However, individuals should keep in mind to eat just one-two fresh guavas daily and not to go overboard on it.
  • Individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus can eat one medium-sized guava as a part of their mid-morning or mid-evening snack. Make sure you eat one whole fruit at a time and do not consume 2-3 fruits at one go.
  • Studies have also found that guava is safe and effective for individuals with high blood pressure and altered lipid profile. Hence, such individuals too can enjoy this fruit safely.
  • Being a rich source of antioxidants, daily consumption of guava may be effective at reducing the burden of degenerative diseases, where oxidative stress plays a pivotal role. Guava can boost the immune system, fight oxidative stress and hence, reduce the risk of diseases.
  • The vitamin C requirement during tuberculosis increases. Thus, such individuals are advised to eat at least one guava on a daily basis to get their daily dose of vitamin C. Because this fruit is highly nutritious and inexpensive, individuals in the low-income group with tuberculosis can easily improve their health by adding guava to their diet.
  • Guava also improves oral hygiene and enhances oral health. Therefore, for better dental health, add fresh guava to your diet. If you already have dental plaques or inflammation of the gums, prefer the whole guava over guava-based desserts.
  • Consumption of guava can also solve gut issues like constipation. Therefore, eating guava can soften hard stools and also help in easy passage of stools.

Who Should Not Eat Guava?

  • Guava should not be consumed when a person has diarrhea. Because this fruit is rich in fiber that helps in the softening of the stools, consuming it during diarrhea can further increase the stool frequency and worsen the condition.
  • Overconsumption of guava may also cause bloating and flatulence. Hence, limit your intake of guava to just one per day.
  • If you have any health condition where you need to limit your intake of dietary fiber or potassium, then guava may not be the right fruit option for you.

How Much Guava Pulp Can I Eat in a Day?

  • It is recommended to eat two fresh fruits per day. Therefore, you can consume a maximum two guavas per day, but at different hours of the day. Do not eat two guavas at one go.
  • It is best to eat any fruit as a part of a mid-morning or mid-evening snack.

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