NUTRITION SPOTLIGHT: Guava
Guava is a tropical fruit with a unique flavor and rich nutritional profile. Its outer skin is usually light green, yellow or maroon when ripe. The soft sweet pulp of guava is either white or maroon with small hard seeds encased within it.
Considering its health promoting benefits, guavas can be considered as a “super fruit”. Originally believed to have originated from the warm tropics of south America and commonly cultivated in Asian countries , this super fruit is now cultivated in Ghana as a cash crop.
- Vitamin A – The guava fruit is a very good source of vitamin A and carotenoids. Guava provides 12% of our daily vitamin A needs whereas an apple provides only 1% of our daily needs.
- Vitamin C – Again in comparison with apple which provides only 8% of daily needs whiles guavas provide a whopping 328% of daily vitamin C needs. The pulp right underneath the peel of the fruit contains the highest amount of the nutrient.
- Potassium- Fresh guava fruit is a very rich source of potassium. It contains more potassium than other fruits like banana per 100g. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
- Lycopene – Many studies suggest that eating lycopene-rich foods may be linked to reduced risk of cancer, prostate enlargement, heart disease, and age-related eye disorders. 100 g of pink guava fruit provides 5204 µg of lycopene, nearly twice the amount in tomato. (Tomatoes have been promoted as an excellent source of lycopene).
- Fiber – significant source of soluble fibers; pectin and mucilage. Soluble fibers are known to greatly regulate blood sugar levels and also ward off many disease conditions. Individuals with high blood cholesterol levels have recorded significantly improved lipid profiles after 3 months intake of high soluble fiber foods.
- Hypertension – The blood pressure lowering effect of guava can be associated to its significant amount of potassium and niacin.
- High cholesterol – Guava has a cholesterol lowering effect due to its significant amounts of soluble fiber.
- Eye health – Macular degeneration and cataract development can be slowed or prevented by the frequent intake of the super fruit guava mainly due to its rich content of the antioxidant vitamin A.
- Boost immune system – Guavas have been found to boost the body’s defenses against infections due to its outstandingly high antioxidant reserves. Vitamin C is known to boost the defenses of white blood cells; lycopene in the pink pulp of guava is also known to protect the skin from damage by the sun.
- Nicotine addiction – High vitamin C levels in guava helps with neutralizing nicotine in the body.