Guavas are often one of those fruits that grow so easily in people's gardens in warmer climates that they are not always grown commercially except perhaps for canning or juicing. You are more likely to find these pink or yellow fruits (roughly the size of a lemon) in gourmet, Indian or Hispanic markets rather than the produce aisle of your regular supermarket.
Lycopene and guavas
Guavas have lots of health benefits but top of the list is lycopene – one of the strongest antioxidants you can find. Include plenty of lycopene in your diet and you could be going a long way to block the growth of lung and breast cancer cells as well as preventing heart disease. Men also benefit with a much lower risk of developing prostrate cancer. The humble guava has 50% more lycopene in a single fruit than a tomato.
And there is more
- Rich in dietary fiber, the guava contains about 9 grams per cup, helping to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Would you believe that there is more fiber in a guava than that in an apple, apricot, banana and nectarine combined? Its seeds, if ingested whole or chewed, serve as excellent laxatives. A high fiber diet has also been linked to a lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as hemorrhoids and fissures.
- Guavas are also a great source of vitamin C but as exposure to air and sunlight will diminish their levels of this important vitamin, make sure to store guavas in a cool dark place and not out in the fruit bowl. Guavas contain five times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges.
- Guavas are very good sources of vitamin A, the nutrient best known for preserving and improving eyesight.
- Rich in folate, guavas can also provide fertility-promoting properties.
- As one cup of guava is packed with almost the same potassium as bananas, it can be an important factor in regulating blood pressure by reversing the role of sodium in unbalancing normal blood pressure.
- Guavas are a good source of copper (a trace mineral which plays a role in thyroid metabolism especially in hormone production and absorption) as well as manganese to activate the enzymes.
- Magnesium is one of the essential minerals which needs to be obtained from food as the body cannot make them. Eating guavas with its high magnesium content can therefore can help relax the nerves and muscles.
- We all need plenty of brain food to help promote our brain health. The B group of vitamins play a vital role in this function and guavas are rich in both vitamin B3 and B6. Vitamin B3 stimulates brain function and promotes blood flow, while vitamin B6 is an important nutrient for brain and nerve function.
- Eating guavas regularly is good news for our skin because of their vitamin E, helping us to maintain healthy skin through their antioxidant properties.
- The astringents in guavas are good for binding up loose bowel movements in diarrhea because they have disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties.
The list of health benefits for guavas goes on and on, so take my word for it and should you have the chance to sample some guavas yourself, grab the opportunity and see if they can become a lifetime habit.
And just in case you are wondering, they do taste good too!