Passion fruit…the name is misleading as it is not the kind of fruit that is known to evoke any passion or even impact on any emotion when eaten, but takes its name from the curious shape of its flower. This versatile exotic fruit got its name from the South American Catholic missionaries, who believed that each [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Get a dose of healthy Passion


Passion fruit…the name is misleading as it is not the kind of fruit that is known to evoke any passion or even impact on any emotion when eaten, but takes its name from the curious shape of its flower. This versatile exotic fruit got its name from the South American Catholic missionaries, who believed that each part of the blossom symbolises an aspect of the passion of Christ.

Over five hundred cultivated types of the fruit exist; however, only two main types, the purple and yellow varieties, are widely cultivated. Passiflora edulis as it is botanically known belongs to the family Passifloraceae, in the genus; Passiflora.

The fruit that is round to oval in shape about 4 to 8 centimetres in diameter has a tough outer leathery shell with a yellowish orange pulp inside. The pulp comprises many tiny juice sacs, each with a crunchy black seed in the centre. Yellow fruits are generally larger than the purple varieties, but the pulp of the purple fruit is less acid, richer in flavour, and has a higher proportion of pulp. The pulp produces an exquisitely tart juice which when diluted and sweetened is rich and delicious.

When purchasing the fruit always go for the large, heavy fruits. Once ripe, the skin wrinkles and though old-looking, it does not mean the fruit is rotten, it is sweetest at this stage. Once ripe, the fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Though the fruit is generally juiced or eaten fresh, it’s highly aromatic pulp can add flavour to sauces, dressings, jams, jellies, smoothies, cocktails, ice cream and pie fillings. Try spooning the pulp over yoghurt to make a colourful treat or add to mixed green salads or fruit salads for an exquisite taste. You can even top chicken, fish, or pork with a spoonful of passion fruit for a change. It is also great when blended with the juices of other fruits such as mango, pineapple and orange.

Nutritional value

Nutrition-wise, this refreshing fruit has much to offer, containing significant amounts of vitamins C and A with 100 grams of the fruit providing about 50% and 40% respectively of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Riboflavin and niacin are also contained in lower amounts. Significant amounts of the electrolyte potassium and minerals iron, phosphorous and copper are present in the fruit. When eaten with the seeds, it is an excellent source of dietary fibre.

Boosts immune system
The immune strengthening property of passion fruit is due to the presence of vitamin C, carotene, and cryptoxanthin. These compounds act as antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals from the body and neutralize them before they can harm organ systems and result in conditions like cancer, heart disease or premature aging. Further, vitamin C stimulates the activity of white blood cells and the rest of the immune defence system, thereby providing protection from common illnesses and serious diseases simultaneously.

Source of anti-carcinogenic activity
Passion fruit is also a powerful source of anti-carcinogenic activity with the antioxidants in the fruit eliminating free radicals, which are known for mutating the DNA of healthy cells into cancerous ones. The vitamin A, various flavonoids, and phenolic compounds in the fruit have also been linked to anti-cancer properties, particularly in terms of oral and lung cancers.

Improves eye and skin wellbeing
The vitamin A in the fruit is furthermore linked to improvements in eye health, including the prevention of macular degeneration, cataracts, and night blindness. The high antioxidant content of passion fruit is helpful in reducing wrinkles, and the vitamin A in the fruit specifically functions to boost the health and richness of the skin to keep it hydrated and glowing.

Facilitates digestive health
Passion fruits are a strong source of fibre both in the pulp and the rind and acts as a bulk laxative moving food through the digestive system and reducing exposure time of the colon to any toxins. It can also reduce signs of constipation by regulating bowel movements, scrubs the blood vessels clean of excess cholesterol and can even contribute towards preventing gastrointestinal conditions such as colorectal cancer.

Promotes blood flow
The high potassium content in the fruit relaxes the tension of blood vessels and promotes increased blood flow. This reduces the strain on the heart and increases overall cardiovascular health. Potassium is also required to maintain a good fluid balance of the cells in the body. Movement between membranes is often allowed only through potassium-regulated channels, so right amounts of potassium are of extreme importance.

Improves circulation
In combination with the contributory properties of potassium in the fruit the high iron and copper content can make a significant impact on blood circulation. Iron and copper are both essential components of red blood cell production. So once the red blood cell count increases and the vessels are dilated, healthy oxygenated blood can flow freely stimulating the metabolic activity in all organ systems.

Increases bone strength
Since passion fruit is a rich source of minerals it is an important fruit for increasing bone mineral density and bone strength. Thus it can contribute towards alleviating the symptoms of osteoporosis and the associated pain and inflammation that occurs when bones deteriorate with age and activity.

Helps with insomnia
An almost unknown advantage of passion fruit is the presence of the alkaloid harman in the juice and leaves which has a mild sedative effect and has been connected to a reduction in insomnia and nervous anxiety which can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. So next time you lie tossing and turning in bed, instead of a glass of hot milk, try passion fruit.
So…….. make it a point to add this delicious and nourishing fruit to your menu; it will not only jazz up your meals but will also give your heart a healthy flourish and keep your cells functioning tickety-boo.

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.