Guava Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Guava

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Guava is the fruit of a small tree that is grown in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, and the southern United States. Known as a tropical fruit, guava's origin is uncertain although many list southern Mexico or Central America as its birthplace.

Guava can now be found worldwide in many grocery stores, although availability may vary with the seasons. This sweet fruit provides a healthy dose of fiber and other nutrients. If you're looking to add more interesting fruits to your diet, guava is a smart choice.

Guava Nutrition Facts

The USDA provides the following nutrition information for 1 cup (165g) of guava.

  • Calories: 112
  • Fat: 1.6g
  • Sodium: 3.3mg
  • Carbohydrates: 23.6g
  • Fiber: 8.9g
  • Sugars: 14.7g
  • Protein: 4.2g

Carbs

A full 1-cup serving of guava provides 112 calories and over 23 grams of carbohydrate. Most of the carbs come from naturally occurring sugar (14.7g) but you'll also benefit from almost 9 grams of fiber. There is no starch in guava.

One scientific study of the glycemic index of guava found it was around 33 for subjects with type 2 diabetes and 31 for healthy subjects, with no significant difference between the two groups. The glycemic index indicates how much a specific food raises your blood sugar level in comparison to pure glucose, which has a glycemic index ranking of 100. With a GI in the 30s, guava is considered a low-glycemic food.

Fats

There is just a small amount of fat in guava. A cup of the fruit provides just 1.6 grams of poly- and mono-unsaturated fats.

Protein

For a fruit, guava is relatively high in protein, providing over 4 grams per serving.

Vitamins and Minerals

As with many tropical fruits, guava is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also high in folate and in beta carotene, which the body partially converts to vitamin A. Guava is a good source of potassium and provides smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals.

Health Benefits

Increasing your fruit intake with varieties like guava can provide a range of health benefits.

Aids Cell Protection and Repair

Guavas contain phytonutrients, including carotenoids and polyphenols, and the vitamin C in guava acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body.

Antioxidants can help protect or delay your body's cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Our bodies make free radicals but we are also exposed to toxins in our environment. Experts believe this damage may lead to inflammation and disease.

Promotes Skin Health

The vitamin C in guava is responsible for the production of collagen, the main protein in your skin. Vitamin C provides antioxidant benefits to your skin and protects against age-related skin decline and UV-induced photodamage.

Authors of a research review published in a 2017 issue of Nutrients noted that healthy skin is positively associated with higher fruit and vegetable intake in a number of studies. Although they note that the active component in the fruit and vegetables responsible for the observed benefit can't be specifically identified, they note that vitamin C availability in the fruits and veggies may be a factor.

Supports Weight Control

Weight loss and weight management experts often advise the inclusion of more fruits and vegetables in our diets. Fruits like guava provide important vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories and also provide fiber which can help boost satiety.

In one limited study on the health benefits of eating guava, a group of 14 women and 31 men showed a decreased body mass index (BMI) after eating guava with or without the peel. However, little information about the participants' diet was discussed in the published report.It's important to note that there are no super foods when it comes to weight loss. Losing weight cannot be reliant on one food source.

Promotes Better Heart Health

Another good reason to include fruits like guava in your diet is that there is significant evidence that eating more fruits and vegetables provides heart-healthy benefits.

In one large meta-analysis published in a 2017 issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology, scientists evaluated a wide body of research to understand more about the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and improved cardiovascular health. They determined that there was substantial evidence to support an intake of fruits and veggies of 200 to 800 grams per day for a significant reduction in your risk for cardiovascular disease. That's about a half pound to two pounds of produce per day.

May Aid Disease Prevention

The same study that evaluated cardiovascular benefits also evaluated how eating more fruits and vegetables might impact your risk for cancer and mortality. The threshold was lower for this outcome. They found that increasing your intake up to 600 grams per day (1.3 pounds) of fruits and vegetables may help to decrease your risk for cancer.

The researchers went on to say that "an estimated 5.6 and 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide in 2013 may be attributable to a fruit and vegetable intake below 500 and 800 grams per day, respectively, if the observed associations are causal." Since fruit consumption carries few (if any) side effects for most people, the findings offer a good reason to include more fruit, like guava, in your diet.

Allergies

While there are reports of allergic reactions to other tropical fruits like mango, there are very limited reports of guava allergy in the published medical literature. In the one published account, it is not clear that guava was the cause of a potential reaction.

If you suspect an allergy to guava or experience a reaction after eating the fruit, seek the advice of your healthcare provider.

Varieties

The common guava has a light green or yellow skin, with flesh that ranges from white to pink or red to a deep salmon color. They can be round, pear-shaped, or ovoid and can grow to 2 to 4 inches.

In addition to the common guava, other varieties are also available in some parts of the world. You might find wild strawberry guava in some markets. Some studies have shown that wild strawberry guavas (Psidium cattleianum) possess better antimicrobial activity than common guavas. And you might also see a fruit called pineapple guava (sometimes called feijoa), but this fruit is not technically guava, though it's related.

When It’s Best

Guava is a winter fruit and is harvested in late November through April. You should try to buy guava just as it ripens. Immediately before it becomes ripe, guava can be hard, gummy inside, and very astringent. Ripe guava has a sweet odor and should be soft.

To choose the best guava, look for a fruit that doesn't have blemishes and is between a light green to yellow color. A slight tinge of pink means that guava was picked at its peak.

Storage and Food Safety

Guavas have a very short shelf life. Keep the fruit at room temperature after you bring it home from the store. As little as two days after a soft, ripe guava is purchased, it is likely to go bad

Once you've sliced the fruit, you can keep it refrigerated, but only for a few days. You can also freeze guava. Slice it or cube it and keep it in air-tight freezer bags for up to eight months.

How to Prepare

After rinsing guava under cold water, pat it dry with paper towels. Cut it in half and slice it like you would slice an apple. The peel is edible if you desire.

Strawberry guavas, which are usually about 2 to 4 centimeters in diameter, can be eaten straight from the tree if you're growing them. Some people like to eat just the flesh without the thin skin. They are often used in jams and jellies.

Some people dip guava slices in salty condiments like soy sauce, sea salt, or even vinegar. But the fruit is also delicious fresh, added to salads, or in salsa. Guava makes a great addition to smoothies or cold beverages and can make a sweet topping for oats or porridge.

Recipes

Healthy Guava Recipes to Try

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Article Sources
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