FoodGuava, the superfruit: benefits for heart health, diabetes control, and potential cancer-fighting properties

Guava, the superfruit: benefits for heart health, diabetes control, and potential cancer-fighting properties

Images source: © Adobe Stock

3:30 PM EST, January 14, 2024

The common guava is a plant from the myrtle family originating from the Caribbean, the northern region of South America, and Central America. Sometimes it is also known by other names such as guava, guava, or Lydia. Today, guava is cultivated in many tropical countries. It can grow up to 32 feet high, is resistant to weather changes, and requires minimal care. You can identify it by its white flowers with yellow stamens emitting a delicate scent.

What does guava taste like and how to eat it?

The edible fruits of the common guava have a pear-like, oval shape and range from 1 to 4 inches long. Initially green, they ripen over time and turn yellow. The flesh is yellowish, white, or pink and has a distinctive smell- similar to a grapefruit. The taste carries a noticeable hint of bitterness. The fruit also contains numerous seeds, which can be eaten as well.

In the US, guava is considered an exotic fruit, but it can be found in stores, especially during summer. For example, Guava can be eaten raw or processed into juice or stewed fruit. It enhances salads, desserts, cakes, and chilled cheesecakes. Cut into thicker slices, it can serve as a unique appetizer. Guava contains a lot of pectin, which makes it ideal for making jellies and jams.

How healthy is guava? Health benefits of guava

Guava fruits are exceptionally rich in vitamin C—containing up to 700 mg per 100 g, which is significantly more than citrus fruits. They are also a valuable source of potassium (over 680 mg per 100 g, which is more than bananas). They also offer folic acid and a range of vitamins such as A, PP, B1, B2, B6, and E. Additionally, regular consumption of guava fruit supplies the body with essential elements for proper functioning, such as iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium. Guava is also an excellent source of fiber (over 5 g per 100 g), which aids the functioning of the digestive tract helps prevent constipation, and ensures regular bowel movements.

Due to these ingredients, guava benefits the functioning of the heart and circulatory system and can lower high cholesterol. Special attention should be drawn to the slimming capabilities of guava fruits—they help regulate blood sugar levels and limit fat absorption. The guava plant leaves, from which you can make tea, are also valuable. Above all, however, guava fits into the category of functional food, which provides the body with energy and nutrients and has a beneficial impact on improving health and well-being and reducing the risk of disease.

The connection between guava and diabetes

Several studies (mainly conducted on animals) suggest that the extract from guava leaves has antidiabetic properties—it lowers the glucose level in the blood, contributes to better long-term control of blood sugar, and may lower insulin resistance. However, the number of clinical studies investigating this involving humans is limited. Yet, two studies have demonstrated that drinking tea from guava leaves can lower post-meal blood glucose levels in patients with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. An improvement in insulin resistance indicators and long-term diabetes control (HbA1c) was also observed. Importantly, the tea from guava leaves did not cause any interaction with the medications taken for diabetes.

Anticancer properties of guava

Studies published in the "Life" journal at the beginning of 2023 reveal that extracts from various parts of the guava plant have anticancer effects on various human cancer cell lines and in animal models. The extracts showed a beneficial effect on cells of prostate, breast, bile duct, lung, colon, ovary, kidney, and skin cancer.

Guava© Pixabay
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