The guava is native to the Caribbean. Its skin is thin, light yellow and blushed with pink. A ripe guava softens to the touch. Guavas emit a strong, sweet, pungent fragrance. The flesh is white, red or salmon-colored and flavor ranges from strawberry to lemon to tropical.
Guavas like other tropical fruits should not be refrigerated unless over ripe. The seeds of a guava can be eaten and the taste is often described as a cross between pears and strawberries.
Health Benefits of Guava
– 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.
Eyesight: Guavas are extremely good sources of vitamin-A, which is well known as a booster for vision health. It can help slow down the appearance of cataracts, macular degeneration, and general health of the eyes. It can not only prevent degradation of eyesight, but even an improvement in eyesight once it has begun to degrade.
Cancer Prevention: One of the most celebrated and important benefits of adding guava to your diet is its ability to inhibit the growth and metastasis of cancerous cells. There have been numerous studies done in recent years on guava’s effects primarily on prostate cancer, breast cancer, and oral cancers. Guava leaf oil is extremely successful as an anti-proliferative substance, and has actually been shown to be more effective than some leading modern medicines in reducing cancerous growth. Guavas are also rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to be wildly successful in reducing prostate cancer risk. That same antioxidant has also shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, although further human trials need to be done.
Finally, the naturally high levels of vitamin-C in guavas, which are four times higher than the levels found in oranges (the traditional vitamin-C powerhouse), provides the immune system a huge boost in antioxidants. Antioxidants are the major lines of defense against the proliferation of free radicals in the body, which are one of the main causes of serious conditions like cancer and heart disease. Therefore, adding guava to your diet has numerous ways in which it helps you stay health and cancer-free.