Guava is very common type of fruit in Asian countries, but is also readily available in western countries. The fruit is round or pear-shaped with light green, yellow or maroon skin and white or maroon flesh that contains many small, hard edible seeds. It is soft when ripe with a sweet, musky aroma and creamy in texture.
Apart from the distinctive flavor and fragrance, guava is actually a super fruit because of its numerous health-promoting qualities. Along with the fruit, the bark and leaves of guava trees also provide numerous health benefits.
Guava has a high content of vitamins C and A. In fact, one guava fruit contains 4 times more vitamin C than an average-size orange and 10 times more vitamin A than a lemon.
It also contains vitamins B2, E and K, fiber, calcium, copper, folate, iron, manganese, phosphorus and potassium. With all the nutrition that it provides, guava hardly contains any fats. Moreover, it isone of the least chemically treated and sprayed fruits.
In different cuisines, this fruit is used as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Guava juice is also a refreshing drink. You can also enjoy guava in sauces, candies, jams and jellies.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of guava and guava leaves.
1. Maintains Oral Health
Dental plaque is the principal factor in many oral health problems. The anti-plaque properties of guava leaves are effective in preventing and treating oral problems.
Herbalists recommend the use of tender leaves of guava (in paste form) to maintain oral hygiene. The leaves have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial properties that help reduce gum inflammation and leave your breath fresh and clean.
Plus, you can use guava leaves to cure toothaches, swollen gums and oral ulcers. You can also use the twigs of guava trees like a toothbrush or as a chewing stick for cleaning your teeth.
To maintain oral health, simply chew 1 or 2 tender guava leaves daily. You can also make a homemade mouthwash by boiling 5 to 6 tender guava leaves in water. Allow the solution to cool to a warm temperature and add some salt. Swish the mouthwash thoroughly around your mouth and teeth once or twice daily.
2. Improves Heart Health
According to a 1993 study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, regular guava fruit intake can help decrease blood pressure and blood lipids. This is due to its higher potassium, vitamin C and soluble fiber content. Potassium helps maintain a steady heartbeat and control high blood pressure, while vitamin C keeps the small blood vessels healthy.
In addition, the lycopene found in pink-fleshed guava helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people who eat this fruit on a regular basis.
Drinking guava leaf tea prepared by steeping the dried leaves in hot water helps lower total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) levels and triglycerides. This helps keep your heart and vascular system healthy.
3. Treats Diarrhea
Guava leaf tea may help inhibit diarrhea-causing bacteria. According to a 2008 study published in the Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo, guava leaf extract inhibits the growth of staphylococcus aureus bacteria, a common cause of diarrhea.
When suffering from diarrhea, drink guava leaf tea a few times a day. This tea will cause fewer stools, lessen abdominal pain, lessen watery stools and promote a quick recovery.
Guava fruit is also good for the digestive tract. Its antibacterial property helps clean the digestive tract, discouraging bacterial and microbial growth and its fiber content promotes digestion and proper excretion.
To prevent stomach-related problems, chew guava leaves or eat a raw guava daily.
4. Controls Diabetes
Chinese medicine has used guava for the treatment of diabetes for years. According to a 1983 study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, the hypoglycemic effect of guava juice is useful in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
The rich fiber content and low glycemic index of guava are extremely beneficial for diabetic people. While fiber helps regulate sugar levels, the low glycemic index inhibits a sudden spike in sugar levels.
Eating 1 to 2 guavas without the peel can be helpful in maintaining your blood sugar level. Those who are at risk of developing diabetes can help prevent it by drinking guava leaf tea. To make the tea:
- Dry the tender guava leaves and crush them into a powder.
- Add 1 tablespoon of crushed guava leaves to a cup of hot water.
- Cover and allow it to steep for 5 minutes, then strain it.
- Drink this tea once daily.
5. Improves Your Immunity
Due to its high vitamin C content, guava plays an important role in improving your immunity. Your immunity is your body’s defense mechanism that protects it from numerous diseases and infections. In addition, guava’s anti-inflammatory action and its ability to inhibit inflammatory molecules like prostaglandins help keep you disease free.
Eat 1 guava daily to develop resistance against common diseases like coughs, colds and the flu. You can also enjoy guava in smoothies or salads, or drink a cup of tea made from guava leaves daily.
6. Lowers Risk of Cancer
The anticancer or antitumor properties of guava come from the compounds like lycopene, quercetin, vitamin C and various polyphenols present in it. These compounds work as potent antioxidants that help neutralize free-radical damage in the body, which can cause cancer.
According to a 2010 study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, researchers concluded that guava extract could help reduce the size of prostate tumors. In fact, regular intake of guava extract can help reduce the incidence of prostate cancer in men.
Regular intake of guava can also help prevent other types of cancer, including breast, mouth, skin, stomach, colon and lung cancer.