By Nirmala M. Pieris Gauva (Psidium guajava) Sinhala, pera, Tamil, koyya is a member of the family Myrtaceae. The trees thrive mostly in the wet and intermediate zones in Sri Lanka and the fruits are available year round. Gauva fruits are round, ovoid or pear shaped depending on the species. The size can vary from [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Goodness of gauva


By Nirmala M. Pieris
Gauva (Psidium guajava) Sinhala, pera, Tamil, koyya is a member of the family Myrtaceae. The trees thrive mostly in the wet and intermediate zones in Sri Lanka and the fruits are available year round. Gauva fruits are round, ovoid or pear shaped depending on the species. The size can vary from the small red variety or ‘cheena pera’ to the size of a large apple or pear. The main varieties in Sri Lanka are the Bangkok Giant, Horana Red, Horana white, Pubudu and Kanthi (a dwarf variety).

The skin is green before maturity but becomes yellow or maroon or remains green when ripe. The flesh colour varies depending on the cultivar and may be white, pink, yellow, or red with a sweet tart taste. Ripe fruits have a fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp. Each fruit contains numerous tiny, semi-hard edible seeds, concentrated especially at its centre.

When selecting the fruit, always go for the ones that are bruise-free. During ripening, the fruit will yield softly to gentle pressure from the thumb and will continue to ripen at room temperature. The fruit is nicest when semi-ripe because they are crunchy.
Fresh guava is the best to eat to enjoy its natural flavour and unique taste. However, guava juice is popular and can be used in fruit punch, cocktails and sorbets. Guava cubes are a great addition to fruit salads and is also used in the preparation of achcharu, one of Sri Lanka’s popular snacks. The fruit is extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, and jams. Moreover, guava makes a nice fruity ice cream and is good in both sweet and savoury sauces. Try caramelized guava as a topping for a soufflé pudding or a savoury guava sauce with grilled steak, chicken or fish. You will be more than surprised.

Nutritional benefits
Guava is an extraordinarily rich source of vitamin C. The flesh just underneath its outer thick skin contains exceptionally higher levels of vitamin C than its inner creamy pulp.The fruit is low in calories, fats and digestible carbohydrates. The pink variety of the fruit is a very good source of vitamin A, and antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and cryptoxanthin. Gauva is also an excellent source of soluble dietary fibre and folate and a moderate source of B complex vitamins and vitamins E and K and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and manganese.Trace levels of copper and iron are also present.

They are moreover well known for their high pectin content. Gauva is often labelled as “super fruit” because it contains 4 times more vitamin C than orange, 3 times more proteins and 4 times more fibre than pineapple and slightly more potassium than banana. The pink guava contains twice as much lycopene as tomato.

Boosts immunity
As guava is one of the richest sources of vitamin C, it helps improve immunity and is a great way to ward off colds and other viral infections.

Lowers risk of cancer
Lycopene, quercetin and vitamin C and other polyphenols in the fruit act as potent antioxidants that scavenge cancer causing harmful free radicals generated in the body preventing the growth of cancer cells.

Good for eye sight
The high content of vitamin A in the fruit improves vision health and slows down the appearance of cataracts and macular degeneration. It even improves eyesight once it has begun to degrade.

Maintains brain health
Yet another positive benefit of guava is the presence of vitamins B3 and B6. Vitamin B3 encourages brain health and promotes blood circulation, while vitamin B6 is an important nutrient that enhances brain function.

Recommended during pregnancy
Guava is a good natural cure for morning sickness in pregnancy. As guava is loaded with vitamins, folates and calcium, it is extremely beneficial to pregnant women.

Improves skin
Gauva is a good source of vitamin K that helps get rid of skin discoloration, dark circles, redness and acne irritation. Vitamins A and C and antioxidants in the fruit will keep your skin glowing and lessen signs of wrinkles and fine lines.

Supports use of Vitamins
Manganese in guava is an enzyme activator and helps in absorbing vitamins and nutrients from food.

Helps weight loss
Guava helps weight loss by controlling metabolism. Ironically it also helps weight gain in lean people due to the wealth of nutrients that regulates metabolism and promotes correct absorption.

Regulates blood pressure
Gauva being fibre rich and hypoglycemic in nature helps reduce cholesterol in the blood thereby maintaining the fluidity and reducing blood pressure. It also improves the sodium and potassium balance of the body thus regulating blood pressure.

The high level of dietary fibre in guava and the low glycemic index scales down the ingestion of sugar in your body and ensures that sugar levels are regulated.

Relieves constipation
Being one of the richest sources of dietary fibre as well as its seeds being an excellent laxative, guava promotes healthy bowel movements, which in turn helps in treating as well as preventing piles.

Great stress buster
The Magnesium in the fruit helps relax nerves and muscles. So after a hard workout or a long work day a guava is certainly what you need to combat stress.

Keeps Thyroid healthy
Copper, present in trace amounts plays a vital role in thyroid metabolism especially in hormone production and ingestion.

Good for diarrhoea and dysentery
The astringents in guava makes it particularly useful during diarrhoea. These astringents contain antibacterial and disinfectant properties, which are highly beneficial in combating microbial growth during dysentery.

Promotes digestion
Guava contains pectin that helps in promoting digestion and improving appetite. The fibre content is also helpful in preventing indigestion problems.

Benefits hair
As guava is a powerhouse of nutrients it is beneficial for healthy hair growth and also combats hair loss.
So, have you had your guava today? If not, it is time to start as the health benefits of the fruit are too good to ignore.


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