A series of tests on Indian fruits, including Himalayan apples and pomegranates, bananas from the south, grapes from Maharashtra, found the guava, a poor man’s fruit in India, to be the ultimate super food with the highest concentration of antioxidants which protects against cell damage which ages skin and can cause cancer. Guava is very common in India and other Asian countries. It is a good looking pear shaped or round shaped seasonal fruit, light green or yellow in colour from outside when ripe, with white or maroon flesh and lots of small hard seeds enveloping very soft and sweet pulp. It is eaten raw (ripe or semi-ripe) or in form of jams and jellies. This attractive fruit is a real storehouse of nutrients. If it is “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” in Europe and Americas, it must be “a few guavas in the season keep the doctor away for the whole year” in the Indian subcontinent and places where guavas grow. Its scientific name is Psidium Guajava. The fruit is loaded with Vitamin A, B-Complex, iron, calcium, phosphorus, folate, and fibre. Coupled with all these nutrients, guavas are also low in calories and fat. Besides, the ripe fruit is a rich source of antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols.
► The fruit is very rich source of soluble dietary fibre (5.4 g per 100 g of fruit, about 14 per cent of DRA), which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fibre content helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxins as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
► Guava fruit is an excellent source of antioxidant Vitamin C. 100 g fresh fruit provides 228 mg of this vitamin, more than three times the DRI (daily-recommended intake). Outer thick rind contains exceptionally higher levels of Vitamin C than central pulp.
► Scientific studies have shown that regular consumption of fruits rich in Vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge cancer causing harmful free radicals from the body. Further, the vitamin is required for collagen synthesis within the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the human body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones.
► The fruit is a very good source of Vitamin A, and flavonoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and cryptoxanthin. The compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for optimum health. Further, Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in carotene is known to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
► 100 g of pink guava fruit provides 5204 µg of lycopene, nearly twice the amount that in tomatoes (100 g tomato contains 2573 µg of lycopene). Studies suggest that lycopene in pink guavas prevents skin damage from UV rays and offers protection from prostate cancer.
► Fresh fruit is a very rich source of potassium. It contains more potassium than other fruits like banana. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
► Further, the fruit is also a moderate source of B-Complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin, Vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamins E and K, as well as minerals like magnesium, copper, and manganese. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells.
By Sudhanshu Jain