Guavas or amrood is blessed with many nutrients by nature. Many of you may have tasted this mouth-watering treat, or have at least seen or heard about it. Guava is very common in Asian countries, but is increasingly available in the western world, particularly as more of its health benefits are revealed. It is a somewhat round or pear-shaped seasonal fruit, and is light green, yellow, or maroon in color on the outside when it is ripe. Guava also has white or maroon flesh and lots of small hard seeds enveloped in very soft, sweet pulp. Guava is termed as superfruits because of the presence of multiple health benefits nutrients-vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, copper, manganese, fibre, flavanoids, and other phytochemicals. It is surprising to know that guavas are having more vitamin C than oranges and more potassium than bananas. One guava contains 169 mg of vitamin C while an orange has only 69 mg. It is eaten raw (ripe or semi-ripe) or in the form of jams and jellies.
Brain Health: The tremendous positive benefits of guavas is the presence of B3 and B6 vitamins. B3 (also known as niacin) can increase blood flow and stimulates cognitive function. B6 is a great nutrient for brain and nerve function. Therefore, eating guava can help you increase brain function and sharpen you focus.
Diarrhea & Dysentery: Guava is very rich in astringents (compounds those make your gums feel tighter and fresh after you chew guava leaves or eat a raw guava or use some toothpaste) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Diabetes: An intake of guava can also help those patients who suffer from diabetes. The high level of dietary fiber in guava helps to regulate the absorption of sugar by the body, which decreases the chances of major spikes and drops in insulin and glucose in the body. Studies have shown that consuming guava can help prevent the appearance of type-2 diabetes.
Thyroid Health: Guavas are a good source for copper, which is an important part of regulating thyroid metabolism by helping to control hormone production and absorption. The thyroid gland is one of the most important glands in the body for regulating hormones and organ system function, so guava can help balance your health in many ways.
Eye Health: Even though, guavas are not as rich in Vitamin A as carrots, they still are still a very good source of the nutrient. Vitamin A helps keep your eyes in good condition, and also helps improve your vision. Night blindness is one of the diseases associated with a Vitamin A deficiency.
Good for pregnant mothers: Guavas contain Folic acid, or Vitamin B-9, which is recommended for pregnant mothers since it can help in developing the baby’s nervous system and protect the newborn from neurological disorders.
Helps you relax: Magnesium present in guavas helps in relaxing your nerves and muscles. In today’s stressful times, consuming a guava to combat stress and relax is certainly a good idea.
Selection and Storage
In the tropical region, guavas can be readily available year around. Red flesh variety such as “Thai maroon” flesh guavas are rich in nutrition than green-apple guavas. Oftentimes, the fruits are left to ripen on the tree to experience their intense, natural flavor. They can also be picked while green but mature, and later allowed to ripen at room temperature. Ripe guavas have a characteristic color and pleasant aroma.
In the stores, buy fresh fruits featuring intact skin without any cuts, bruises, or patches. Placing the fruit wrapped in a paper with a banana or apple will hasten their ripening process.
Mature, yet green fruits may be stored for two to five weeks under ideal, regulated temperature between 46°F and 55°F, and relative humidity of 85 to 95 percent. Over-ripe fruits may keep well inside the refrigerator only for few days.
Preparation and serving methods
Wash them in cold running water in order to remove any dust or insecticide residues. Fresh ripe guava is best enjoyed with its skin. Remove any floral remnants (sepals) at the apex, and then trim either ends with a sharp knife. It can be cubed, or sliced into, as in apples.
Here are some serving tips:
- Eat fresh guava as it is, to enjoy its natural flavor and unique taste.
- Guava fruit juice is a popular delicious drink in many parts.
- Sliced guava-cubes are a great addition to fruit salads.
- It is also often used in dessert preparations.
- The fruit is also extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, marmalade, etc.