Your Guide to Guava

Nutritional Information and Health Benefits

Guava fruit
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With a surprising amount of fiber and a whole host of other beneficial nutrients, guava comes in a variety of species. In addition to common guava, there's also strawberry guava and pineapple guava or feijoa. 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. Known as a tropical fruit, guava's origin is uncertain although some texts list southern Mexico or Central America as its birthplace.

It can now be found worldwide in warm climates, whether dry or humid, but it cannot survive more than a short-lived frost.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Guava

According to the United States Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, the carbohydrates, fiber, and calories in different serving sizes of common, strawberry, and pineapple guava includes:

Serving SizeNet CarbohydrateFiberCalories
1/2 cup (82.5 grams) fresh, raw common guava11.8 grams effective (net) carbohydrate4.5 grams56
1 raw medium common guava, without seeds and skin (about 2 ounces or 55 grams)7.9 grams3 grams37
1/2 cup (122 grams) fresh, raw strawberry guava21.2 grams6.6 grams84
1 raw strawberry guava, without seeds and skin (about 6 grams)1 gram0.3 grams4
1/2 cup (205 grams) feijoa (pineapple guava), cut into 1/2" chunks31 grams13.1 grams125
1 raw (42 grams) feijoa (pineapple guava) without peel6.4 grams2.7 grams26

Glycemic Index

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. One scientific study of the glycemic index of guavas found it was around 33 for subjects with type 2 diabetes and 31 for healthy subjects, with no significant difference between the two groups.

For a reference, a glycemic index range of 0 to 55 is considered low.

Estimated Glycemic Load

The glycemic load takes into account both the food's glycemic index and the serving size. A glycemic load below 10 is considered to indicate that the serving size would have little effect on blood sugar or insulin.

The estimated glycemic load of guava is:

  • 1/2 cup guava: 4
  • 1 medium guava, including seeds and skin (about 2 ounces): 2

Health Benefits

Guavas are an excellent source of vitamin C, with one fruit providing over 200 percent of your daily requirement. They are also a very good source of vitamin A, folate, potassium, magnesium, and copper. Guavas contain good amounts of phytonutrients, including carotenoids and polyphenols, which can protect your cells from damage and may provide other health benefits. They're low-calorie and high fiber, so they make a great snack, especially if you're trying to lose weight.

One study on the health benefits of eating guava with and without the peel showed that the group of people who ate guava with the peel had decreased blood pressure and body mass index (BMI). However, the same group also had significantly increased fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.

The group that ate guava without the peel saw a significant decrease in BMI and blood pressure, as well as a significant decrease in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLc). These results point to the possibility that eating guava without its peel is healthier.

How to Eat Guava

After rinsing your entire guava under cold water, pat it dry with paper towels. Cut it in half and slice it with a serrated knife like you would apple slices. The peel is edible too if you so desire. Some people dip guava slices in salty condiments like soy sauce, sea salt, or even vinegar.

Strawberry guavas, which are usually about 2 to 4 cm 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 and they're often used in jams and jellies. Pineapple guava is also small and is usually scooped out of the rind, which is thicker than strawberry guava skin.

Selecting the Best Guava

To choose the best guava, buying it just as it ripens is key. Just before it becomes ripe, guava can be hard outside, gummy inside, and very astringent. A ripe guava has a sweet odor and should be soft. They can be round, pear-shaped, or ovoid and can grow to 2 to 4 inches. Colors of the flesh inside can vary from pink to yellow to red. As long as your guava doesn't have blemishes and is between a light green to yellow color, you have a good pick. A slight tinge of pink is a guava picked at its peak.

Storage

Guavas have a very short shelf life. As little as two days after a soft, ripe guava is bought, it could go bad. You can keep it refrigerated for several days after slicing it, but after that, it will go bad. You can also opt to freeze it and that will give you around eight months to enjoy it.

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