Guava is a fruit of the guava tree which grows in tropical climate. It is said to have originated in South of Mexico from where it spread to the warm climates of North and South America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean Islands.
The fruit is small in size, roundish or ovoid with a red-tinged yellow skin. The interior is whitish or orange/pink in colour with little hard seeds and therefore it has a gritty feel if eaten raw out-of-hand.
It could be eaten raw out-of-hand, cut into slices, canned, dried and sprinkled on ice cream/ cake or blended into smoothie; the last appears in my opinion to be best.
A guava has the following nutrients:
a. Carbohydrates (fibres, sugar); particularly the cover
c. Vitamins—C (228.3mg/100g) and A (624IU/100g)
d. Minerals—-Calcium (18mg/100g)/Magnesium (22mg/100g)/Potassium (417mg/100g)/ Phosphorus (40mg/100g).
The health benefits of the guava are due to these nutrients
Guava if consumed regularly while in season;
1. Helps to Maintain a Healthy skin
Guava is very high in vitamin C, an antioxidant. This vitamin works to fend off cell damage from free radicals. Consequently, it helps to improve the texture of our skin, makes it smoother and reduces wrinkles.
2. Promotes the health of the heart
Guava contains plenty of soluble fibre, more than most other fruits such as oranges and watermelon. High intake of soluble fibre reduces absorption of cholesterol and bile acid (which are also rich in cholesterol) from the small intestines, thereby reducing blood cholesterol level.
When soluble fibres are broken down by bacteria in the intestines, some fatty acids released are said to reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering blood cholesterol, fibres help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Guava also contains plenty of potassium (more than most other tropical fruits) which helps to prevent irregular heart beat and to reduce risk of stroke.
3. Fights against cancer
As said earlier, guava is very rich in fibres; many studies in the last three decades have shown a link between increased fibre in-take and a decrease in colon cancer. This could be due to the fibre itself or the nutrients that are usually in fibre-rich foods such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and essential fatty acid. Daily consumption of guava while in season is highly recommended.
4. Strengthens our bones
Guava also contains a lot of calcium and phosphorus; minerals found mainly in the bones and teeth of our body. We should endeavour to eat enough guavas when in season to ensure strong bones, proper growth and good teeth development. We will also prevent stiff joint and bone pain.
5. Prevents constipation
Guava, as said earlier, is rich in fibre which adds bulk to stool, making bowel movement easier. Insoluble fibre does this better.
When plenty of fibre is consumed, the stool is large and soft, this stimulates the muscles of the intestines to contract, pushing out the stool (faeces) without the individual straining himself.
With little fibre in the food, the stool is usually small and hard and therefore requires force to come out. Regular straining during the passage of faeces can lead to piles (haemorrhoids) and other conditions such as pouches (diverticulosis) in the large intestines. Piles can lead to anaemia due to bleeding.
6. Improves Immunity
Guava contains a lot of Vitamin C as shown above (more than oranges and lemon) which is required for the promotion of cell integrity in our body. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant which fights against free radicals that damage our cells. It is therefore said to increase our resistance to diseases.
7. Improve eye health
Guava contains a lot of vitamin A (624 IU in every 100grams of guava) which slows down the degeneration of certain parts of the eyes; this could occur with age leading to a condition called Age-Related–Macula-