Guava is a green-coloured tropical fruit that comes in two main varieties—one having a yellow-white flesh and the other pink-red in colour.
Depending on the area of cultivation, the shape of the guava fruit varies from round to apple- or pear-shaped.
The pulp of a medium sized guava will easily contain about 100 – 120 seeds that are tiny and white-yellow in colour. Select varieties of the fruit such as those from Indonesia and Nagpur are also seedless.
Health benefits of Guava
- It is high in vitamin C and helps maintain gum and teeth health. It also helps strengthen immunity and treat scurvy. The content of vitamin C in guava is 228mg/100g of the fruit, which is almost five times that in an orange.
- The rind is rich in anti-oxidants, particularly lycopene. This anti-oxidant helps protect against cancers of the cervix and prostate and also has anti-ageing properties. Eating guava is also helps improve skin texture and that’s why its extracts are commonly used in cosmetics.
- Its pulp contains generous doses of vitamin A in the form of carotenoids. It is also effective in raising haemoglobin levels because of its iron and folate content.
- The pulp also contains potassium, lending it blood pressure- and cholesterol-lowering properties. It’s also good for nerve health. If you suffer from frequent cramps, nerve twitching or calf pain, make sure you include guava in your diet.
- It’s a good fruit to eat if you’re suffering from diarrhoea or constipation. That’s because its skin has high quality fibre and the pulp helps easy passage of stools.
- It is low in calories, fats and sugar content. This gives you one more fruit option to snack on if you are weight-conscious.
- If you’ve bitten into a firm, partially ripe guava, you’re probably familiar with the peculiar feeling it leaves in your mouth. That’s because it has astringent properties that are good for teeth and gums—the reason why its extracts are used in preparing herbal toothpaste.
- It’s not just the fruit that has all the goodness. Extracts from the guava leaves are gaining immense popularity in recent times. Known to have potent anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, they are used to treat diabetes and aid weight loss. Studies have shown that the leaf extract also has a protective action on the liver.
- Dried and powdered guava leaves are used to treat psoriasis, eczema and sun burns. They are also an important ingredient in herbal tea preparations.
When you buy
You can’t go too wrong when shopping for guavas. Choose the ones with the pink pulp as they are more delicious and have tender seeds.
Prefer guavas that are soft and appear spotless. It’s easy to tell if the fruit is ripe enough for consuming by the peculiar strong aroma that it emanates. But ripe guavas have a shelf-life of only 2 – 3 days; so make sure you consume in time.
Go easy on guavas if you’re prone to ulcers or anal fissures as the seeds of guava are edible but not easily digested.
Drink it, eat it
Guava is used in cakes, jelly, sorbets, jams, pies, sauces and pickles. You can even eat it sliced and sprinkled with salt and powdered red chilli. Or try these delicious recipes…
Guava pineorange punch
- Guava juice: 100ml
- Pineapple juice: 50ml
- Orange juice: 50ml
- Sugar: 1tsp
A pinch of salt. Mix in a shaker. Serve chilled with a lime wedge.
- Guava juice: 150ml
- Ginger juice: 2tsp
- Lemon juice: 2tsp
- Sugar: to taste
- Soda: 100ml
Mix together. Serve chilled.
Tangy guava vegetable
- Ripe guavas: 2 or 3
- Asafoetida [hing]: 1/4tsp
- Cumin [jeera] seed: 1/2tsp
- Red chilli powder: 1tsp
- Dried mango powder [amchur]: 1tsp
- Salt: to taste
- Oil: ½ tbsp
Heat oil in a pan and add asafoetida and cumin seeds, allow to crackle. Add the diced guava, sprinkle all spices and salt. Toss the mixture and allow to cook for five minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander.
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