Guava fruits are picked from tropical trees. They are usually oval in shape with light green or yellow skin and contain edible seeds. Guava leaves are used as herbal tea and leaf extract as a supplement.
Guava fruits are nutrient-rich with antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fibre among others. It is a traditional remedy for a range of health conditions with research backing up a number of the claims. Here are the benefits of guava fruit and leaves.
1. May help lower blood sugar levels
Evidence suggests that guavas can improve blood sugar control. One study found that drinking guava leaf tea lowered blood sugar levels after a meal. Another study found that drinking tea reduced blood sugar levels after a meal by more than 10% for people with type 2 diabetes.
Guava is rich in fibre and has a low glycemic index which prevents the development of diabetes in the body.
2. May boost heart health
Guavas protect the heart in a number of ways. The high levels of antioxidants and vitamins in guava leaves may help protect your heart from damage by free radicals.
Extract from the guava leaves has also been linked to lower blood pressure, a decrease in bad cholesterol, and an increase in good cholesterol. High blood pressure and high levels of bad cholesterol have been linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke.
It’s not just the leaves too. One study found that eating ripe guava before meals caused a decrease in blood pressure, a decrease in bad cholesterol, and an increase in good cholesterol.
3. Reduce menstrual cramps
Taking supplements containing guava leaf extract may reduce menstrual cramps. It acts as a natural painkiller and reduces pain intensity. In studies, guavas pain-killing effect was found to be more powerful than some pain killers. The leaf extract is also thought to relieve uterine cramps.
4. Aids in digestion and treating diarrhoea
Guava fruits are rich in fibre which is great for regulating bowel movements and relieving constipation. The leaves offer similar digestive benefits as well, reducing the intensity and duration of diarrhoea. The leaf extract is antimicrobial which means it can neutralize harmful microbes in the gut that cause diarrhoea.
Guava leaf tea is a traditional remedy for diarrhoea in many parts of the world.
5. Protect the immune system and boosts immunity
Guava fruits are rich in vitamin C, containing four times as much vitamin C as oranges. Vitamin C helps in improving immunity and protecting the body against infections and pathogens. It is so rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and Lycopene making it one of the top-most anti-oxidant foods.
Vitamin C being a natural immunity booster that fights off infections due to its antimicrobial properties is one of the reasons guavas can be used to ward off flu. Though it has not been proven to prevent the common cold and flu, it has been shown to reduce the duration.
6. May aid in weight loss
Guavas are a weight-loss-friendly food. Unlike other low-calorie snacks, they are sweet and packed with vitamins and minerals so you don’t lose out on important nutrients. It also helps that the fruits are high in fibre giving the feeling of fullness for a longer duration.
7. May have an anti-cancer effect
One of the main causes of cancer is the growth of free radicals and guava has high enough levels of powerful antioxidants to prevent free radicals from damaging cells.
One test-tube study found that guava leaf oil was four times more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than certain cancer drugs. While this is good news, scientists still need to conduct clinical trials in humans to better understand the potential of these guava compounds to combat cancer.
8. Improve skin quality
Vitamin C and good skin go hand in hand. It provides radiance to the skin with the antioxidants’ anti-ageing properties leading to reduced fine lines and wrinkles. Guava leaf extracts are also commendable in treating acne because of their antimicrobial effect.
Some research in animals suggests that guava leaf extract may benefit people with osteoarthritis. The effect has not been confirmed in humans though.
10. Relaxes the body
Guava has stress-busting qualities. Its magnesium content helps to relax the nerves and muscles. Eating guavas after workouts and tiring exhausting activities soothes the body and rejuvenates lost energy.
Guavas have been used as a traditional remedy for headaches, colds, arthritis, indigestion, constipation and diarrhoea, malarial fever, cardiac weakness, seizures and convulsions, toothache, and intoxication. Maybe our ancestors were onto something.
Here’s hoping you are convinced to add a lot more guava to your diet.
Check out other fruits with great benefits – baobab, passion fruit, papaya, apples, mangoes, bananas, lemon, avocados and pineapples. Let’s not forget about berries also Lifestyle: The Benefits Of Berries And Some Of The Important Berries To Eat