By: Marlene Affeld ~
It’s guava season here on the Big Island of Hawaii. Enjoy!
What if I told you there was a super-fruit that could help you lose weight, decrease your cancer risk, help the body fight infection, keep your heart healthy, eliminate constipation, aid digestion, heal wounds, cure toothaches, protect the prostate, control diabetes, make your teeth whiter, fight dental problems such as toothaches, decay and gum disease, and turns back the clock on aging?
That’s right, I’m talking about guavas! The amazing health benefits of guava fruit are appreciated worldwide. Not only does guava help in the treatment of a plethora of medical conditions, it is a treasure trove of nutrition; a taste pleaser that does wonders for the body.
A Sweet Storehouse Of Nutrition
High in vitamin C, Vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, electrolytes, dietary fiber, and imbued with great taste; it is no wonder guava is considered a superfruit. Did you know that the edible rind of the guava fruit contains more than 5 times as much vitamin C as an orange?
What makes guava so special is that commercial cultivation of the fruit does not require excessive applications of toxic chemicals. Unlike the chemicals pesticides used in the cultivation of apples, grapes and other exotic fruits, guavas are one of the least chemically treated and sprayed fruits.
A Most Flavorful Fruit
Because of its wide distribution around the world, the origin of the guava is unknown. Guavas are plentiful in Africa as well as Central and South America, India and Asia. However, the sweetest and most flavorful guavas flourish in the fertile volcanic soil of the Hawaiian Islands. Favorite varieties are the lemon, apple and strawberry guava. The apple guava is the most recognized guava as it is grown commercially and traded in the international market.
If you live in Hawaii, guavas are abundant in the wild; touched only by the sunshine and washed by the rain. You can’t get any more organic than that! There is nothing sweeter than the delicate taste of wild ripe guavas picked sun-ripened, fresh from the tree.
The wonder fruit grows on evergreen trees that reach heights of 15-to 30 feet at maturity in the wild. The thin profile tree produces clouds of fragrant white flowers, followed by firm green orbs that mature to a golden yellow flavorful fruit when ripe.
The inside of the guava fruit is soft, pale pink to deep red and incredibly sweet. Each fruit contains from 100- to- 500 tiny seeds. The mouth-watering flavor is akin to a perfectly ripe pear. Once you have tasted a sun-ripen guava and enjoyed its lemony fragrance, you too will call guavas one of your favorite tropical fruits.
Fresh Is Best
Green guavas are firm and hard. When ripe, guavas are golden yellow and soft to the touch. Guavas can be eaten fresh or consumed in the form of juices, syrups or jellies. Consuming fresh guavas provides a great deal more health benefits as the whole fruit contains the fiber. Juicing removes the fiber. Unfortunately, guavas are highly perishable and do not ship well.
Unless you have a guava tree in your backyard you will have to settle for pure bottled guava juice, available from health food stores and specialty markets. Concentrate dried guava powder is also available and makes a great addition to sauces, deserts and protein smoothies. Add powered guava to chilled coconut water for a freshening tropical drink. A shot of island tropical rum can be added for a flavorful cocktail. Serve over crushed ice, garnish with a slice of pineapple and a sprig of fresh mint.
Guava Benefits In Pregnancy
Guava is a true super-fruit for pregnant women and the unborn. It’s the folic acid that helps to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus that is most beneficial to baby. The fiber contained in guava prevents constipation and hemorrhoids that are a major problem for many women during pregnancy. Many women also have difficulty maintaining equilibrium in blood pressure during pregnancy. Management of blood pressure is crucial to prevent miscarriages and premature births. The remarkable nutritional components contained in guava fruits helps regulate blood pressure.
If you are pregnant and have yet to taste a guava, these are some of the best reasons for adding guava to your diet now.
Guavas And Weight Loss
Because guavas are a low-calorie, cholesterol free, no indigestible carbohydrate fruit, it helps satisfy hunger pangs for an extended period of time, thereby assisting in weight reduction and the control of diabetes. The sweet tropical fruit presents a subtle acidic sweet taste that rapidly intensifies as you eat your way into the center. Don’t let the seeds or rind deter you; the entire fruit is tasty and edible. Here in Hawaii, locals enjoy fresh guava slices sprinkled with sea salt and a little chill powder.
Guavas are considered the best fruit source of the powerful phytonutrient, Lycopene. Medical research studies show that this antioxidant prevents the growth of cancerous cell, especially those in the breasts, lungs and prostate.
Brighter, Whiter, Healthier Teeth
A decoction of guava leaves seeped in boiling water relieves toothache and painful gums while it helps brighten and whiten teeth. If you have a sore throat, a gargle with the solution helps relieve throat discomfort. Ingredients contained in both the fruit and the leaves protect teeth and gums and therefore are an important ingredient in many popular toothpastes and mouth rinses. Chewing a couple of fresh leaves or eating a guava also freshens the breath.
Powerful Pain Relief
All the medicinal benefits of the guava fruit are present in the deep-green leaves of the guava tree. Potent chemicals concentrated in the leaves such as carotenoids, polyphenoids, tannins and flavonoids. Guava leaves are packed with antioxidants as well as a host of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents and beneficial tannins making fresh guava leaves an effective pain reliever. Due to its host of medical benefits, guava leaf supplements are now available in the form of capsules or as guava leaf tea.
Guava Calms Stomach And Intestinal Distress
Botanists believe the guava to be native to Mexico and Central America where they have been a traditional herbal cure for diarrhea amongst the Indian Tribes of the Amazon. Mature fresh guava leaves are chewed as a remedy for diarrhea and stomach discomfort.
Drug.com reports that guava leaves contain beneficial triterpenes, phenols and flavonoids and are a rich source of quercetin, a natural antioxidant. Because guava also presents strong antimicrobial and antispasmodic properties, it is especially useful for treating diarrhea.
The Smoothest Skin
The benefits of guava leaves when applied to skin disorders are quite remarkable. Acne blemishes and blackheads adversely affect the appearance of our skin. A concoction of guava leaves has proved effective in eliminating these unpleasant conditions. Guava leaves contain antiseptic properties that destroy acne-causing bacteria. For a rejuvenating facial mask, mix 2-to-3 tablespoons of dried guava powder with just enough warm water to form a thick paste. Apply to forehead, nose, cheeks and chin and allow paste to dry. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry. If fresh guavas are available, blend both the leaves and fruit in a food processor and use as a facial mask instead of the powder. Used as an abrasive scrub, ground guava leaves are helpful in clearing clogged pores and removing blackheads. Apply the guava paste mask three times a week until the irritation and inflammation heal.
The antioxidant properties found in guava leaves destroy the free radicals that damage skin. A decoction of mature guava leaves (steep a handful in boiling water and cool) can protect your skin from aging as well as help improve skin tone and texture. Make up a fresh batch weekly; store unused portion in the refrigerator. Apply twice daily with sterile cotton balls saturated in the healing liquid. This same decoction can be applied to contact irritations or as an instant pain relieving remedy for insect stings and bites. Guava leaves contain allergy-blocking compounds to relieve irritation and antiseptic properties to promote healing.
A Hair Loss Treatment That Works
If you are losing hair due to illness, stress or heredity, boil a batch of guava leaves in water until the water turns dark. Cool. Apply the liquid to the scalp as a rinse after shampooing. Allow the liquid to remain on the scalp for several minutes, and then rinse with cool water and towel dry. Apply the liquid twice a week until normal hair growth is restored.
Add Guavas To Your Diet
On the mainland, the traditional adage says that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” while here in the Hawaiian Islands, locals advise “a few guavas in season keeps the doctor away for a whole year.”
Remember to always check with your healthcare provider before taking supplements or making radical changes in your daily diet.