The guava is believed to have originated in an area extending from southern Mexico into Central America. Since 1526, it has been common throughout all warm areas of tropical America, the West Indies, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. It was introduced to Florida in 1847 and was brought from there to the East Indies and Guam. It is likely that it spread from those regions to Asia and Africa. It was introduced to Hawaii in the early 19th century and is now common throughout the Pacific islands.
A guava is the sweet fruit of the guava tree, which grows in tropical regions of America and Asia. The genus consists of about 100 small trees and shrubs, with the Psidium guajava species being the most cultivated for food. The fruit can be eaten raw or used to flavor drinks, desserts, and sauces.
The plant grows in the form of either shallow-rooted shrubs or trees up to 33 feet (10.05 meters) in height. The leaves are green and leathery. In addition to fruit, the tree also bears fragrant white or pink flowers with four or five petals.
Guava trees need warm climates. They do best in areas with full sun. The fruit may be round, ovoid, or pear shaped and is 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) in diameter. Its thin skin is bright yellow in color, sometimes tinged with red. The flesh is white or orange-pink depending on the variety, and contains many small, hard seeds. The guava is characterized by a strong, sweet odor.
The guava is rich in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as beta carotene.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.95 g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber||5.4 g||14%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.451 mg||9%|
|Vitamin A||624 IU||21%|
|Vitamin C||228 mg||396%|
|Vitamin E||0.73 mg||5%|
|Vitamin K||2.6 µg||2%|
AGEING: Ageing is the most common problem in our busy life. Ageing is mostly caused to natural factor like increase in age. But due to pollution, UV radiation and smoke ageing process has been stimulated at an early age and it is faster than natural. The main cause of ageing is free radical produced in our body due to high oxidative stress caused due to pollution. But antioxidants have proven to destroy these free radicals to slow the ageing process.
ANTITUMOR PROPERTY: Guava contains high amount of lycopene (5204 microgram) which is carotenoid phytonutrients. Lycopene has an anti-tumor property. Lycopene protects from oxygen free radicals as it actively fights to neutralize it. So eating guava will help to fight prostate cancer.
CONSTIPATION: Guava is one of the riches sources of dietary fiber. Its seeds, if ingested whole or chewed, serve as excellent laxatives. These two properties of guava help forming bowels, retaining water and clean your intestines and excretory system thoroughly. It is said that single constipation can lead to seventy two types of ailments. It is absolutely true. Every way to your total health goes through proper digestion and more importantly, proper excretion. Guava ensures both of these.
COUGH & COLD: Juice of raw and immature guavas or decoction of guava-leaves is very helpful in giving relief in cough and cold by loosening cough, reducing mucus, disinfecting the respiratory tract, throat and lungs and inhibiting microbial activity due to its astringent properties. Guava is one of richest in vitamin-C and iron which are proven to be preventive against cold and viral infections. In some areas in India, roasted ripe guava is used as a remedy against extreme cases of cough and cold and congestion.
DIABETES: Guava contains good amount of dietary fiber. It is found that eating fiber rich food to reduce sugar spikes in diabetes patient.
DIARRHEA & DYSENTERY: Guava is very rich in astringents which binds up loose bowels in diarrhea. These astringents are alkaline in nature and have disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties, thus help cure dysentery by inhibiting microbial growth and removing extra mucus from the intestines. Further, other nutrients in guava, such as vitamin-C, Carotenoids and potassium strengthens and tones up the digestive system and disinfect it. Guava is also beneficial in gastroenteritis due to reasons stated above. E
EYE HEALTH: Guava contains good amount of Vitamin A. As Vitamin A is antioxidants, so it becomes highly preferred food to be consumed to improve eye health. Due to high antioxidants guava protect eyes from free radicals. Also it effective to prevent retinal damage caused due to free radicals. Thus it improves eye vision and protect from cataract or macular degeneration.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Guava helps reduce cholesterol in blood and prevents it from thickening, thereby maintaining fluidity of blood and reducing blood pressure. Studies have shown that food stuffs which lack fiber (such a refined flour) add to blood pressure, due to quick conversion to sugar. Guava, being very rich in fiber and hypoglycemic in nature, helps reduce blood pressure.
IMMUNITY: Guava is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It contains 228 mg of Vitamin C which is equal to 338% of RDA required in the daily diet. With a high amount of Vitamin C, it is an antioxidants that increases the immune system function. It increases immunity to protect against common diseases like cough, cold and flu. It also increases immune system function to protect from infections.
INCREASE BLOOD PRODUCTION: Guava contains vitamins like Vitamin E, K, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6 and minerals like copper, manganese and magnesium which are important for blood formation. Also due to rich Vitamin C, guava increases body capacity to absorb iron.
MAINTAIN BLOOD PRESSURE: Guava contains good amount of potassium. Potassium is required to maintain sodium level. Also high potassium is required to maintain fluid level i.e. to balance electrolyte. Thus it helps to maintain high blood pressure, and it reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.
PROTECT FROM CANCER: Guava is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients and flavonoid that make it highly beneficial to protect from cancer. Guava contains high amount of Vitamin C which protects from oxygen free radicals. Free radicals are produced due to oxidative stress. These free radicals damage DNA of cells which turns it into a cancer cell. But antioxidants neutralize these free radicals and acts as a shield to protect DNA from free radicals. Also it contains high amount of lycopene which have anti-tumor property. As we know the main cause of cancer is free radicals and damage caused to DNA of cells. Guava contains antioxidants that protect from free radicals and lycopene prevents tumor growth. So with both these nutrient guava becomes healthiest food to prevent cancer. Lycopene is effective to protect from prostate cancer. Guava is effective to protect from colon, breast, mouth, skin, stomach, oral cavity and lung cancer.
SCURVY: Guava can outdo many other fruits, including orange and other citrus fruits, when it comes to concentration of vitamin-C, whose deficiency causes scurvy and which is the only remedy to it. It contains five times the vitamin-C in oranges.
SKIN CARE: Guavas can help improve your skin texture and avoid skin problems more than the best of beauty creams or skin toner gels can do. This is chiefly due to the abundance of astringents in its fruits (more in immature ones) and in leaves. You can benefit from it either by eating the fruits (this help tighten your muscles apart from your skin) or by washing your skin with the decoction of its immature fruits and leaves. It will tone up and tighten the loosened skin. In addition to the astringents, guava is very-very rich in vitamin-A, B, C and potassium which are very good anti oxidants and detoxifiers and keep your skin glowing and free from aging, wrinkles and other disorders.
WEIGHT LOSS: Guava is very helpful for those who want to lose weight without compromising with their intake of proteins, vitamins and fiber. Guava, being very high in roughage and very rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals, but with no cholesterol and less digestible carbohydrates, is very filling and satisfies appetite very easily. Just have a medium sized guava in the lunch and you will not feel hungry till night. But ironically, it helps gaining weight in lean and thin people. This is probably due to its richness in nutrients, which keeps your metabolism right helping proper absorption of nutrients.
HOW TO SELECT AND STORE
Selection: Guavas are available in different varieties such as the Chinese Guava, Strawberry, Lemon, Apple and Mountain Guava. In tropical regions, they are available all the year round.
On ripening, the skin of the guavas generally turns from green to yellow, their flesh softens and they develop a fragrant fruity aroma. While purchasing guavas, make sure that you choose fresh fruits with their skins intact without any cuts, bruises or patches. Your choice of guava also depends upon the variety that you are buying. If you are buying pink guavas, choose the ones that are firm and devoid of soft spots. Their skin should be green with a yellow tinge. While buying white Thai guavas, make sure that they are free from blemishes or soft spots and their skin should be bright green in color, like a Granny Smith apple. Overly soft guavas or the ones with soft spots or discoloration should be avoided.
When the guavas are picked from the tree, they are mature but not ripe. In other words, though the fruit has reached its optimum size and shape, the starches present in it have not been converted into sugar. These starches will get converted into sugar after a few days which will cause the fruit to soften and emit a wonderful guava fragrance. Ripe guavas generally have a characteristic color and aroma.
Storage: Guavas can be stored at room temperature for a few days. Mature but green guavas can last for 2 to 5 weeks when kept at a regulated temperature between 46F and 55F and relative humidity of 85% to 95%. To hasten ripening, the guava can be kept wrapped in a paper with a banana or apple.
Fully ripe guavas can be refrigerated for a few days. Pink and white guavas yield to gentle pressure if they are ripe. Ripe guavas can be kept in plastic bag or container and refrigerated for a few days. It is advisable to use them within a day or two. Unripe guavas can be stored in a plastic container or bag and can last for about two weeks.
Freezing the guavas can make them last longer, even up to a year. To freeze a guava, cut it and place it in a freezer container. Cover it with light simple syrup and provide a little extra space in the container for expansion.
HOW TO PREPARE
Guava is a nutritious fruit with edible seeds and skin. There are several varieties available, each one having a unique flavor and aroma. Before proceeding to eat guavas, it is necessary to wash them in cold running water to remove any dust and insecticide residues. The floral ends and remnants i.e. sepals should be removed and the tips ends should be cut with a sharp knife.
Guavas can then be cubed or sliced like an apple and should be eaten with their skin as the edible rind contains abundant amounts of vitamin C. Even the seeds can be eaten; and are very tasty and crunchy. Besides being eaten raw, guavas are often cooked to eliminate their strong odor as some people do not like it.
HOW TO ENJOY
There are countless recipes for the use of guava in pies, cakes, puddings, jellies, and chutneys, and the fruit may even be dehydrated and powdered to flavor ice cream.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Guava juice and nectar are refreshing drinks and are often used as an ingredient in cold or frozen drinks.
2. Due to its unique flavor, guavas are often used to make jelly. They have a high content of pectin, a chemical substance that helps jelly to set. The juice from half ripe guavas can be combined with hibiscus flowers or low pectin fruits to make jelly. Guavas are also used in butters, jams, marmalades and preserves.
3. Fresh guavas can be cubes and added to other tropical fruits in a salad. Guavas can also be used with cheeses. Another way to eat a guava is to simply cut it in half and sprinkle with a little lemon juice; and eat the flesh and seeds with a spoon, discarding the skin.
4. You can prepare a delicious salad by combining roasted guava with feta cheese. For this purpose, cut the guavas into thin round slices and marinate them with some chopped parsley, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black pepper and salt.
- USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Fruit Is Needed Daily?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Guavas, Common, Raw
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid
- Linus Pauling Institute: Folic Acid
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Lycopene