Guavas Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
The guava, also called the apple of the tropics, is native to Central America. Mature guava fruits possess outstanding nutritional value and are recommended as part of the daily diet.
The guava fruit is one of the most nutritive fruits from the tropics. They are rich in tannins, phenols, triterpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, saponins, carotenoids, lectins, fatty acids, fiber, and vitamins. The fruit is higher, for example, in vitamin C than lemons and contains appreciable amounts of vitamin A, B1 , B2 , niacin (B3 ), and pantothenic acid (B5 ). It also contains a fair amount of phosphorous, calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium.
Nutritional Value of Guavas
Guavas are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, with moderate levels of folic acid. Low in food energy per typical serving, and with few essential nutrients, a single common guava fruit contains 253% of the Daily Value for vitamin C. Nutrient content varies across guava cultivars. Although the strawberry guava has only 39% of the vitamin C of common varieties, its content in a 100 gram serving (90 mg) still provides 100% of the DV.
In a 100-gram reference amount, raw guava supplies 68 calories, 14.3 g carbohydrate, 2.55 g protein, 0.95 g fat, 5.4 g dietary fiber, 624 IU vitamin A, 228 mg vitamin C, 2.6 mcg vitamin K, 49 mcg folate, 417 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 0.26 mg iron, and 18 mg calcium.
Guava seed oil, which may be used for culinary or cosmetic products, is a source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, zinc, and selenium, and is particularly rich in linoleic acid.
Raw Guavas Nutrition Facts Label
Health Benefits of Guavas
Guava fruits and other plant parts can play an important role for human health, having complementary and overlapping mechanisms of action, which include modulation of detoxification enzymes, stimulation of the immune system, reduction of platelet aggregation, modulation of cholesterol synthesis and hormone metabolism, control of blood pressure, as well as antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant effects.
Along with other fruits and vegetables, the guava fruit is a good source of antioxidants that may be more effective and economical than supplements in protecting the body against oxidative damage under different conditions. These compounds help to retard aging processes and to reduce the incidence of degenerative diseases such as arthritis, arteriosclerosis, cancer, inflammation, heart disease, and brain dysfunction. In this sense, epidemiologic data support the association between a high intake of fruits and a low risk of chronic diseases.
In guava, changes in the epicarp and the endocarp colors are visualized in phase with the appearance of carotenoids and anthocyanins, with β-carotene, lycopene, and polyphenols being the most abundant metabolites. Another compound such as vitamin C is also increased during the maturity process. This follows the breakdown of starch to glucose, which is then used in the biosynthesis of ascorbic acid. Guava fruit is a moderate source of the B-complex vitamins as well as of vitamin E and K. More importantly are the high levels of vitamins A and C, both with high antioxidant capacity. This capacity is further increased by the presence of polyphenols such as tannins, phenolics, and flavonoids.
Both enzymatic and non-enzymatic components of the antioxidant defense system prevent radical formation or remove radicals before damage can occur, repair oxidative damage, eliminate damaged molecules, and prevent mutations. The non-enzymatic antioxidant activity from vegetal origins mainly consists of water-soluble antioxidant compounds like ascorbate and polyphenols, most of which are flavonoids, and lipid-soluble antioxidants such as carotenoids and tocopherols.
The guava fruit is an excellent source of carotenes, including β-carotene with provitamin A activity. Some benefits are associated with vitamin A intervention in the formation of bone and soft tissue and mucous membranes; pigment generation necessary for the functioning of the retina such as retinoic acid; and participation in the processes of reproduction and lactation. Diets supplemented with β-carotene and lycopene may effectively counteract the risk of many chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart diseases, and together with other carotenoids, can act as a free radical scavenger. Also, the lipophilic antioxidant activity of β-carotene is associated with the ability to induce protection against ionizing radiation, a-singlet oxygen neutralizing capacity, and a peroxyl radical neutralizing capacity. Lycopene is also considered to have high resistance potential to diseases such as prostate cancer, arteriosclerosis, and skin damage from UV rays.
The most abundant antioxidants in fruits are ascorbic acid and polyphenols, the latter one considered a more potent antioxidant than vitamins C and E. Guava has a higher content of vitamin C, with its major concentration in the fruit peel. Vitamin C and polyphenols are important substances contributing to human health. Among other benefits, the vitamin is required for collagen synthesis, the main structural protein in the human body needed for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. The intake of vitamin C prevents scurvy and contributes to resistance against infectious agents. Vitamin C also helps to prevent DNA damage caused by free radicals and reduces their harmful effects on plasma lipoproteins. Epidemiological studies on antioxidant effects suggest that a daily dose of 150 mg of vitamin C, preferably in association with other vitamins, might help to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
guavas are rich in fibers. From soluble dietary fibers, pectin isolated from different fruits including guava has beneficial effects on human health. Evidence suggests that adequate intake of dietary fiber avoids constipation, coronary heart disease, fluctuation of blood glucose and insulin levels, and cancer. One major component of soluble fibers among other soluble polysaccharides is pectin, which is metabolized in the small intestine through bacterial enzymes into products that contribute to maintaining the colonic microflora and thus aids digestion.
Guava contains more potassium than other fruits like banana on a weight basis. A high content of soluble fiber together with potassium, the major mineral constituent of this fruit, have the capacity to reduce blood pressure, to decrease total cholesterol levels and triglycerides, and to increase "good" HDL cholesterol. The fluid balance in the body, vital for all life processes, is maintained largely by sodium, potassium, and chloride. This balance is regulated by charged sodium and chloride ions in the extracellular fluid and potassium in the intracellular fluid, and by some other electrolytes across cell membranes. Tight control is critical for normal muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, heart function, and blood pressure control. Potassium also acts as cofactors for certain enzymes.