Veggies and Fruit

Guide to Types and Benefits of Guava

yellowish guava fruit growing on a guava tree

Guava is a tropical fruit produced in Mexico, Columbia, and Venezuela. It is eaten fresh and made into refreshing beverages. Not just it tastes great, but it also provides a number of health benefits. Furthermore, its skin and leaves are used as medicine to treat several diseases.

Guava is one of those fruits that is sold in varying degrees of ripeness. For best taste, it is better to eat them within two days of getting ripe. Let’s discuss its types and benefits in detail.

Nutritional Value

100g of common raw guavas contain the following:

  • 68 calories
  • 8g water
  • 55g protein
  • 95g Total lipid (fat)
  • 39g ash
  • 32g carbohydrates
  • 4g total dietary fiber
  • 92g sugars
  • 18mg calcium
  • 26mg iron
  • 3mg vitamin C
  • 22mg magnesium

Data taken from USDA.

Guava’s Anatomy

  1. Plant

Guava is an evergreen, low-growing small tree that is only 8 to 10 meters high. Normally, guava plants grow in areas with a tropical or equatorial climate. But they can also grow well in the warm, savannah, sub-arid areas. In short, it can tolerate various soil conditions. However, it yields better results in rich soils that are high in organic matter.

  1. Leaves

Guava leaves are magical as they contain high levels of vitamin C and iron. A decoction of guava leaves works wonders in relieving cough and cold as it can help get rid of mucus. Moreover, it also disinfects the respiratory tract, lungs, and throat.

In short, the leaves of guava are way more beneficial than the fruit itself.

  1. Flowers

Flowers of guava are usually fragrant, white, and large. They are five-petaled flowers with multiple, long central stamens. Different types of guavas can have different flowers. For example, pineapple guava has red to pink stamens and white petals.

  1. Fruit

Fruit of guava may be round, ovoid or pear-shaped. It can be 3 to 10cm long and weigh around 50 to 200 grams. The fruit is green when young but turns whitish-yellow or faintly pink when properly ripe. Various varieties can differ in terms of seediness and flavor.

The fruit’s flesh may be white, red-pink, or yellow, depending on the cultivar. Its odor is strong, sweet, and musky, with sweet-tart taste. Moreover, guava fruits consist of numerous tiny, yellowish, semi-hard edible seeds, which are concentrated at their center. The seeds can range from 112 to 535. The quality and taste of guavas grown in cooler areas are often disappointing.

History

Native to Mexico, Central America, and north of South America, guavas were originally cultivated in tropical America. However, they are said to be improved in the West Indies. The Portuguese introduced guavas all around the Pacific at the start of the 16th century. They started from the pacific and reached the Philippines. A few years later, the Spaniards introduced this fruit to India.

The early Spanish travelers discovered strawberry guavas in the 1500s. Different records show that these fruits were widely grown in North Florida by Seminole Indians around the year 1816. With time, guavas became popular in different parts of the world. Since 1950, researchers are studying this fruit for the chemical identity of its constituents and its history in folk medicine.

Now, guavas are commercially cultivated on a large scale in Southeast Asia, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Florida, and Africa.

Types of Guavas

  1. Common Guava

The common or apple guava (scientifically named Psidiumguajava) bears the largest fruits of all the types. This is the one that you will generally see in your local supermarkets. Common guavas can weigh up to 1 pound and turns bright yellow when ripe.

Young common guava trees don’t survive temperature below 27° F. However, mature trees might regrow from their roots after a hard freeze. Apple guavas have a hard texture, making them an excellent addition to include on fruit platters as they are easy to slice.

  1. Guava Red Getas

These brittle red guavas have green to yellowish skin and pink flesh. They are oval-shaped and feel a little less sweet compared to common guavas. These guavas contain tannins, essential oils, acid oleanolat, quercetin, psidiolat acid, kratogolat acid, and vitamins.

  1. Strawberry Guavas

Strawberry guavas, also known as Psidiumcattleianum, have smaller leaves and fruits as compared to apple guavas. They have more of a shrub-like form and are dark red when ripe. They can be about 1.5 inches in diameter. Also, they are commonly more robust than apple guavas. They can survive temperatures as low as 23 degrees, with minimal damage.

Strawberry guavas can easily be eaten by hand.

  1. Beaumont

Harvested in Oahu, Beaumont guava trees produce fruit that is ideal for juicing. This one is an energetic plant that produces medium-sized fruit having pink, fairly sweet flesh.

These trees can bear fruit fall through winter and deliver fruit every single year. These fruits usually grow in various forms, sizes, and color. They can be pear-shaped from 3 to 15 centimeters long, and the skin might be greenish-white. When ripe, these guavas can become gentle as well as succulent.

  1. China White

China white guavas produce huge, white-fleshed, and green-skinned fruit. It has extremely fragrant flesh. You can consume this fruit unripe. This type of guavas is generally hard and energetic, producing fruit from September to December.

  1. Mexican Cream

As the name suggests, this particular variety is from Mexico. It has a fairly hot and spicy taste. It can weigh up to 8 ounces and has colored flesh & aromatic yellow skin. Its trees can produce fruit throughout fall and winter.

  1. Pineapple Guava

Pineapple guavas, also known as Feijoasellowiana, are more robust than most other varieties. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 15°F or even lower. They have a distinctive flavor, as the name suggests. Furthermore, they are a popular landscape plant in California. Unlike other species, this particular variety of guavas requires a second plant for cross-pollination.

Moreover, the flowers of pineapple guavas are very showy and edible, making them an attractive garnish for desserts and salads.

  1. Lemon Guava

Lemon guavas, as the name suggests, are much smaller than the other varieties. They have a distinct taste that is tangier than citrusy. They have yellowish flesh with a mixture of both lemon and guava in its flavor.

  1. Red Malaysian

These medium-sized variant of guavas are bright red-colored. They are a rich source of vitamins A, C and E. Therefore, we can say that these guavas have exceptional antioxidant properties linked to them.

Benefits of Guavas

  • Great Antioxidant Properties

Guavas are loaded with phytochemicals and vitamins, and therefore they have impressive antioxidant quality. Free radicals are free-roaming particles in our bloodstream that combine with healthy cells. This causes them to put oxidative stress over the walls of the cell, in turn damaging them.

The best thing about guavas is that they can help lower the concentration of these free radicals due to their magical antioxidant properties. In addition to this, guavas can reduce the risk of diseases like cancer.

  • Good for Digestion

Guavas also contain a good amount of dietary fiber that helps in boosting digestion. One guava can provide you with 3 grams of dietary fiber. What fiber does is add to the bulk of your stool that stimulates bowel movement and lowers the risk of ingestion.

On the other hand, as fiber is harder to digest, this enables our stomach to apply more effort, which in turn increases the body’s metabolism.

  • Lowers Blood Pressure

If you or someone you love is a victim of high blood pressure, consuming guavas can surely help. Whatever food we eat usually has a certain amount of sodium. Although minimal consumption doesn’t affect us, heavy and unregulated consumption of sodium can result in various side effects. For instance, it can result in the contraction of the inner blood vessel walls in your body, which might further increase blood pressure.

Guavas, being rich in several vitamins and minerals, can help counteract the effects of high sodium levels in your bloodstream. The minerals present in guavas have a certain dilating effect on your blood vessels that can help maintain healthy blood pressure.

  • Aids in Weight Loss

If you want to lose some pounds from your body weight, then fiber-loaded guavas are an excellent choice. Apart from benefiting your digestive system, the fiber content of this fruit can also help when it comes to effective weight loss. Since fiber takes a longer time to get digested, it can make you feel full for long. Hence, preventing you from craving and overeating.

Moreover, as already mentioned above, fiber enables our digestive system to put more effort into digesting fiber content, increasing the body’s metabolism that results in the effective burning of more calories.

  • Protects You from Viral Infection

If your body is low on vitamin C, then it is more prone to infections. Therefore, consuming guavas can help build a strong immune system as they are rich in vitamin C. This is the most superior benefit of this fruit due to which it was preferred in various medicinal traditions during ancient times.

If you have caught a viral infection, such as cough and cold, then you can eat guavas to help disinfect your body parts that have been attacked by foreign pathogens. Hence, lowering the risk of contracting any form of viral infection.

  • Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Guavas are an excellent fruit to help prevent the development of diabetes and lower blood sugar levels. Although this fruit is densely packed with nutrients, its low glycemic index can work wonders. In addition to that, the high fiber content of guavas can slow down the digestion that, in turn, slows down the absorption of sugar by the blood. This gives the pancreas enough time for the secretion of an adequate amount of insulin.

  • Helps You Deal with Stress

If you are stressed and depressed about anything, guava might help. It is packed with essential minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. Magnesium is known for relaxing your muscles and nerves. As guavas are great for relaxing your muscles, they can also aid in dealing with stress and hence prevent sleeplessness.

  • Improves Your Oral Health

Not just the fruit, but its leaves can also do wonders on your health. Guava leaves are known for their excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. These properties make them great for both oral and skin health. Moreover, its leaves can aid in reducing plaque formation and disinfecting teeth.

  • Promote Skin Health

The presence of vitamins and antioxidant properties of guavas don’t just help in the prevention of damage induced by free radicals but also help with the protection of your skin cells. Hence, improving your skin’s health. Moreover, as guavas are loaded with vitamin C, they can assist in increasing the water retention capacity of skin cells, hence keeping them healthy and moisturized.

If you are dealing with early-onset wrinkles or acne problem, then guava leaves can help. They can aid you in reducing the signs of aging and treatment of acne too. You can make a concoction using guava leaves and use it as you would use green tea.

  • Regulates Thyroid Metabolism

Guavas are an excellent source of copper, which is deemed important for regulating thyroid metabolism. This is done by controlling hormone production and absorption. The thyroid is one of the most important glands in our body that can regulate hormones and organ system function. Therefore, guavas can help balance your health in several ways.

Read more here.

  • Prevent Fatty Buildup in Arteries

Due to anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of guava leaves, they can help in fighting against atherogenesis. These leaves can prevent an enzyme that is responsible for the onset of atherogenesis.

Tips for Using Guavas

  • You can eat them raw when mature and ripe, straight from their trees. However, they are preferred deseeded and served sliced.
  • In South Africa, guavas are mixed with cornmeal and various other ingredients to make breakfast-food.
  • You can make guava dumplings by using ripe guavas, margarine, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and ground cinnamon (optional).
  • Guava sauce can be made using guava pulp, onions, vinegar, chopped chili, garlic, ground pepper, ground cloves, sugar, and salt.
  • You can preserve whole guava fruit or in slices in vinegar. Also, guava chutney can be made.
  • You can make guava syrup at home and use it on waffles, milkshakes, puddings, and ice-cream.
  • Guava jams and jellies.
  • Oil from guava seeds is used in salad dressings.

Tips to Buying Guavas

  • Go for rounded or oval-shaped guavas. This shape proves that there are no abnormalities in the fruit itself.
  • Before purchasing guavas, make sure to check if their exterior is moderately ripe. Go for the ones that are yellow, white, or reddish.
  • Make sure there are no damages on the rind of guavas as they show signs of over-ripeness.
  • They should not be soft and subtle. Ensure they are firm and hard to press.

Tips for Storing Guavas

  • Ensure to keep guavas at room temperature or away from the sun until the fruit is ripe. When it is gentle to touch, you will know that it’s ripe.
  • Place guavas in an air-tight, zip-lock plastic bag to keep them fresh for a long time.
  • If guavas have attained its ripeness or they have been in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, you should freeze them as soon as possible.
  • You can cut guava into chunks or make its puree and freeze. Frozen guava could be preserved in the freezer for ten to twelve months.

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