Guavas are a tasty fruit with green skin and a light pinkish flesh with small seeds that originated from an area thought to extend from Mexico, Central America or northern South America throughout the Caribbean region. Archaeological sites in Peru yielded evidence of guava cultivation as early as 2500 BC. It is often referred to as superfood because of its beneficial nutrients. Guavas are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, with moderate levels of folic acid. Low in food energy per typical serving, and with few essential nutrients, a single common guava (P. guajava) fruit contains 257% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C. Nutrient content varies across guava species. Although the strawberry guava (P. littorale var. cattleianum) has only 39% of the vitamin C in common varieties, its content in a 100 gram serving (90 mg) still provides 100% of the DV. With this in mind, it is a good idea to make this fruit a part of your daily diet. If you still have doubts, make sure you check out the list below!
The Best Health Advantages of Guava
Betters the health of the skin
The antioxidants from guava are known to fight off radical damage, premature skin aging, wrinkles, fine lines, and numerous other skin-related issues. "Guava's vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which is protective against damage by free radicals and is essential for the creation of collagen, which provides structural support for your skin and nails," says Ella Davar, R.D., C.D.N., an integrative nutritionist in New York City. One study from the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) also suggests that tropical guava leaf extract may even be beneficial in treating acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Enhances the eyesight
The vitamin A in guava has the ability to better your eyesight, keep the retinal tissues safe, and alleviate night time blindness. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, daily intake of vitamins A and C (both found in guava) supports eye health. Vitamin C, in particular, slows the progression of age-related macular degeneration and subsequent vision loss.
Keeps the heart safe
Guava leaves have the power to reduce the bad cholesterol, balance the blood sugar levels, and thus prevent the chance for cardiovascular issues.
Fights off diabetes
To improve your blood sugar levels, opt for an infusion made from guava leaves! "Diets high in fiber decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes by slowing down gastric emptying and intestinal absorption of glucose, which helps to control blood sugar levels and prevent spikes," says Davar. Additionally, guava leaf extract may improve hypoglycemia and glucose metabolism in those with type 2 diabetes, per a study published in Phytotherapy Research. The study showed that type 2 diabetic rats who had long-term feedings of either the aqueous or ethanol extract of guava leaves had significantly reduced blood sugar levels, and increased insulin levels.
Makes the immunity stronger
The vitamin C in guavas will help you boost the immunity and prevent a variety of health problems. A 2011 study from the NLM of half a million people aged 50 to 71 years old, showed that dietary fiber lowered the risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases by 24 to 56 percent in men and 34 to 59 percent in women.
In Mexico, and parts of Africa, Asia, and Central America, guava leaf extract has historically been used "as folk medicine […] due to its pharmacologic activities," reports the International Journal of Phytomedicine and Phytotherapy. The journal highlights the antibacterial properties in the guava leaf that reduce the growth of bacteria and are often used to treat coughs, swollen gums, and act as an anti-viral agent to prevent an infection.
In addition, guava fruits' high concentration of vitamin C has been shown to enhance iron absorption. It captures non-heme iron and stores it in a form that is easily absorbed by your body.
Guavas will not only treat diarrhea, but will also better the digestive processes and maintain optimal hydration. If you often face issues like diarrhea, constipation, or have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Davar recommends guava as a high-fiber option to mitigate gastrointestinal issues and optimize digestion. She says the dietary fiber in guava contributes to a healthy gut microbiome. The microbiome in your gut balances healthy and unhealthy microbes in your intestines, which controls digestion, weight gain, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and even immunity, she adds.
Destroys cancerous cells
Due to their ability to neutralize damage from free radicals, guavas are highly recommendable for the prevention of cancer cell proliferation. Research has suggested that the properties in guava leaves might act as possible prevention and treatment of some cancers. One study in the International Journal of Medicine suggests that lycopene-rich extracts obtained from red guava fruit can induce apoptosis (or the body's natural process of killing cells) in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers. Another study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) explains how dietary fiber, abundant in guava fruit, decreases the risk of developing colon cancer by "reducing digestion and absorption of macronutrients, and decreasing the contact time of carcinogens with the intestinal lumen."
A third study published by the American Association for Cancer Research determined that some properties of guava leaves can block signals in the body that lead to the development of tumors. So, while there's no proof that drinking guava leaf tea will prevent cancer, it's not a bad way to start or end your day regardless. (Plus, the health benefits of tea will definitely convince you to brew a pot.)
Good for the oral health
Guavas have strong antibacterial characteristics that will enhance the elimination of plaque and relieve gingivitis. They are also beneficial for the treatment of toothache.
Aids in Weight Loss
So often, when you're in the thick of a new diet, the only low-calorie options are bland and devoid of nutrients, but not guava. It's a perfect healthy snack because it's low in calories and packed with flavor and nutrients. Fresh fruit like guava contains high amounts of dietary fiber—especially pectin—a soluble fiber that can help you to feel full and regulates the digestive system, moving waste through the body quickly and encouraging elimination. When a sweet craving hits, guava is a naturally satisfying, healthy alternative to typical sugar-sweetened treats, and provides a variety of health benefits.
Supports Reproductive Health
Vitamin C and folate are two naturally-occurring nutrients found in guava that are important for fetal development during pregnancy. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), folate, a B-vitamin, allows your cells to divide and helps your body create DNA and genetic material for the fetus. During pregnancy, folic acid is critical for preventing neural tube defects in babies. The recommended dietary allowance is about 400-600 mcg per day. For reference, one guava fruit contains 27 mcg (micrograms) of folate, according to the USDA. While guava should not be the sole source of folate in your diet, it could be a great addition to the folate in a prenatal vitamin.
Below is an easy smoothie recipe that is packed with an abundance of nutrients and flavour.
Pomegranate and Guava Smoothie
Total time: Approximately 5-10 minutes
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup frozen raspberries (or fresh)
1 guava (medium)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup ice
Peel and cube guava. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (approx 2 minutes). Enjoy!
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