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The Incredible Health and Fitness Benefits of Strawberry Guava

The Incredible Health and Fitness Benefits of Strawberry Guava

The Incredible Health and Fitness Benefits of Strawberry Guava

Strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) is a small red fruit with a sweet, tart flavor. While not as popular as other fruits, strawberry guava provides some powerful health benefits that make it worth adding to your diet.

An Introduction to Strawberry Guava

Strawberry guava goes by many different names, including Cattley guava, cherry guava, Chinese guava and purple guava. It is native to the Americas but is now grown in warm regions around the world.

These small round fruits have a deep red color that resembles a strawberry, hence the name “strawberry guava.” Their flavor is a complex sweet and sour that is reminiscent of both strawberries and lemons.

Strawberry guavas have a whitish center that contains an edible set of seeds. They can be eaten raw or used to make jams, jellies, smoothies, juice, desserts and even savory sauces.

This unique tropical fruit is low in calories but high in vitamin C, lycopene and antioxidants. Studies have linked strawberry guava consumption to a variety of health benefits, particularly for heart health, digestion, weight loss and immunity.

Nutrition Facts

One cup of strawberry guava (around 8 fruits) contains:

Strawberry guavas are packed with vitamin C, containing over 6 times the recommended daily amount in just one cup. They also provide fiber, vitamins A, E and K, copper, potassium, folate, thiamin and niacin.

But one of their most beneficial attributes is their high antioxidant content.

The Unique Flavor and Fragrance

The most distinguishing characteristic of the strawberry guava is it’s sweet yet citrusy flavor. When ripe, the soft flesh offers flavors reminiscent of a strawberry mixed with lemon and guava. The balance of sweetness and tartness makes this fruit unique from other tropical choices.

In addition to it’s taste, the strawberry guava delivers an exceptionally sweet and strong fruity aroma. You’ll know these ruby red berries are ready to eat just by their wonderfully fragranced scent alone. Both the fruit’s tangy flavor and sweet smell make it a consumer favorite whether eaten raw or processed into jams, juices or desserts.

Powerful Antioxidants and Polyphenols

Antioxidants are compounds that counteract oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. Getting enough antioxidants from healthy foods is important for reducing the risk of many diseases.

The vibrant red flesh and seeds of strawberry guava are loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols that give them amazing health properties. Some of these include:

Vitamin C: Strawberry guavas contain 4-5 times more vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C boosts immunity, fights disease and infection, supports collagen production for youthful skin and acts as a powerful antioxidant.

Lycopene: This antioxidant is what gives strawberry guavas their red color. Studies show lycopene lowers risk of cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration.

Gallic acid: This polyphenol antioxidant has anti-tumor, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity. Gallic acid from strawberry guava can help protect against oxidative stress diseases.

Ellagic acid: This polyphenol has cardioprotective, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Ellagic acid has the ability to combat cell mutations that can lead to chronic disease over time.

Flavonoids: These polyphenols have neuroprotective benefits that reduce inflammation and free radical damage in the brain. The high flavonoid content makes strawberry guava great for brain health.

Benefits of Strawberry Guava for Health and Fitness

Research has uncovered an array of health benefits from eating strawberry guavas:

1. Supports Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Luckily, eating strawberry guavas can improve several major risk factors for heart disease.

In one study, drinking strawberry guava juice for 12 weeks lowered:

It also increased “good” HDL cholesterol by 13.9%. The participants had higher total antioxidant capacity and fewer free radicals in their bodies after drinking the guava juice.

The powerful antioxidants in strawberry guavas – like vitamin C, lycopene, flavonoids and ellagic acid – prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and damaging artery walls. These polyphenols also relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.

By improving your cholesterol profile and blood pressure, strawberry guavas boost heart health and lower risk of heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis.

2. Aids With Weight Loss

Strawberry guava can help with reaching or maintaining a healthy weight in several ways:

So enjoy some strawberry guava if you’re seeking healthy strategies for losing or managing weight!

3. Supports Digestive Health

The high fiber content of strawberry guavas promotes good digestion and regularity. Fiber adds bulk to stool and reduces transit time in the intestines, keeping your digestive system healthy.

Because they contain compounds that relax the intestinal tract, strawberry guavas are also useful for overcoming constipation and symptoms of IBS.

What’s more, eating strawberry guavas may even help protect stomach health. Extracts from these fruits inhibited the growth of H. pylori bacteria – one of the main causes of gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancer.

4. Boosts Immunity

With 628% the RDI for vitamin C in just one cup, strawberry guavas are one of the richest natural sources of immune-boosting vitamin C.

Vitamin C stimulates production of white blood cells, antibodies and cytokines to keep your immune system strong against pathogens, viruses and chronic illness.

On top of vitamin C, strawberry guavas contain antioxidant polyphenols that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress on the immune system. The antioxidants protect your cells from free radical damage that can lower immunity.

Enjoying strawberry guavas is the tastiest way to fight colds, flu and infections while lowering susceptibility to serious health conditions down the road.

5. Fights Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is at the root of nearly all modern disease, accelerating aging and deterioration of body systems. Luckily, the antioxidants and polyphenols in strawberry guava can help fight this process.

The flavonoids, gallic acid, quercetin, vitamin C and other compounds in strawberry guava have potent anti-inflammatory properties.

By lowering inflammatory markers like COX-2, NF-kB and cytokines, strawberry guavas help alleviate joint pain, brain fog, digestive issues and other inflammation-driven symptoms.

6. Supports Brain Health

Oxidative stress and inflammation are two main drivers of age-related neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The high antioxidant content of strawberry guavas can help protect the brain. The polyphenols in strawberry guava can activate cellular pathways involved in learning and memory while lowering proteins that cause neural plaque buildup.

Animal studies also show improved cognitive function and less oxidative damage in the brains of those fed strawberry guava.

7. Protects Vision Health

Free radicals and inflammation also gradually damage the eyes, contributing to age-related vision issues like cataracts and macular degeneration.

The carotenoids, vitamin C and other antioxidants in strawberry guava can help defend the eyes against this oxidative damage and deterioration over time.

One of the most beneficial compounds for vision is the carotenoid lycopene. Responsible for the red pigment of strawberry guava, lycopene guards against macular degeneration – the world’s leading cause of permanent eye damage and blindness.

8. Anti-Cancer Activity

Many experimental studies have demonstrated anti-cancer abilities from compounds in strawberry guava:

While more human research is needed, the anti-cancer abilities of strawberry guava make it a potentially therapeutic addition to an anti-cancer diet.

9. Antimicrobial Properties

Certain compounds in strawberry guava also have antimicrobial activity for fighting infections.

Studies demonstrate guava leaf and fruit extracts are effective at killing bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Shigella flexneri, Yersinia enterocolitica and Vibrio cholera.

Research also shows guava has anti-parasitic, antifungal and antiviral abilities against common infectious pathogens like malaria, candida albicans and herpes simplex viruses.

10. Improves Exercise Performance

Diet plays a key role in athletic performance – providing energy, stamina and ability to recover. As a nutrient-dense fruit, strawberry guava makes an excellent pre or post workout snack.

Strawberry guavas help improve exercise performance in a few key ways:

Next time you’re headed to the gym or need some fuel for an outdoor adventure, bring along some strawberry guavas!

Tips for Using Strawberry Guava

When buying strawberry guava, look for fruits that have reddish skin with just a hint of light green. They should feel heavy for their size and yield slightly to pressure.

Ripe guavas can be stored at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Before eating them raw, you’ll want to cut each fruit in half and scoop out the center pulp and edible seeds with a spoon. The outer skin and inner white membrane are too hard and bitter to enjoyable eat.

Here are some delicious ways to enjoy strawberry guavas:

So don’t miss out on this unique and nutritious fruit – add strawberry guava to your diet today!

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

Strawberry guava is considered safe for most people when eaten in normal food amounts. However, there are some considerations:

Allergies – Strawberry guava contains nickel, which can trigger reactions in those with nickel sensitivity or allergy. Notice any rashes, swelling, breathing issues or digestive upset after eating them.

Medications – Compounds in guava affect metabolism of some medications broken down by the liver. Speak with your doctor about possible interactions.

Blood sugar – Guava may lower blood sugar levels. Those taking diabetes medications should monitor glucose closely and adjust dosage if needed.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding – Not enough research exists on guava consumption during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Check with your doctor to confirm it’s safe for you.

In moderation, strawberry guava poses little risk of side effects for most healthy individuals. But any sudden or adverse reactions warrant cutting back intake.

Availability and Cultivation

The strawberry guava grows well in tropical climates with moderate humidity and rainfall. When cultivated, growers often propagate new shrubs via cuttings to ensure consistent fruit quality and yield. However, strawberry guava trees also readily reseed themselves.

Though it originated from the American tropics, this fruit is now grown commercially in many tropical parts of the world. Beyond it’s native growing region, you can find strawberry guavas from growers in countries like Egypt, India, China, Thailand, Australia and more.

When ripe between March and July, growers can harvest dozens to hundreds of pounds of fruit from a single strawberry guava tree. Thanks to an extended harvest season and high yield, it makes an economically important crop throughout the tropics.

Selecting Ripe, Fresh Berries

When selecting fresh strawberry guavas, choose fruits that have an even, deep red color. Avoid any with brown spots or blemishes, which indicate overripe or damaged berries. The fruits should feel firm yet have a slight give when gently squeezed.

For the sweetest flavor and aroma, allow your chosen strawberry guavas to fully ripen at room temperature. Place unripe guavas out on a counter or table and check them daily until their reddish exterior becomes a uniform ruby red. At this peak of ripeness, the enticing fruit offers it’s balanced sweet-tart taste and heavenly fragrance.

Popular Uses

Thanks to it’s sweet strawberry-like flavor, the strawberry guava has many culinary uses once ripe. People around the globe enjoy eating these petite fruits fresh, raw and unaccompanied as a healthy snack or dessert. However, home cooks also utilize strawberry guavas in numerous recipes:

Jams and Jellies

When cooked into preserves, the balanced sweet-sour profile of strawberry guava makes an exceptionally tasty jam or jelly. Spread it onto toast, pancakes or biscuits for a unique tropical twist. You can also use strawberry guava jelly or jam to fill pastries like tarts, cupcakes, cookies and more.

Juices and Smoothies

After extracting the juice from fresh strawberry guavas, you can drink it straight or blended into smoothies. The bright citrus notes pair nicely with orange juice. Or create a tropical smoothie with the addition of mango, banana, coconut milk or pineapple juice.

Sauces

Cook down fresh strawberry guavas into a sweet and tangy sauce perfect for desserts. Drizzle the sauce over ice cream, cheesecake, pound cake or flan. For a savory sauce, add herbs and spices to pour over meat or fish.

Baked Goods

Chopped strawberry guavas can be folded into cake, muffin, scone and bread batters before baking. Or top finished desserts and pastries with freshly sliced berries or a strawberry guava glaze. The pretty red fruits baked into treats add eye-catching color and tropical flavor.

Salads and Salsas

Toss sliced strawberry guavas into fruit or green salads for a flavorful accent. Or blend the diced fruits into unique salsas to accompany fish, chicken, pork or chips. Mix in ingredients like onion, tomato, cilantro, jalapeño, avocado or citrus juice to complement the distinct sweet-tart taste.

FAQs

What does a strawberry guava taste like?

Strawberry guavas have a sweet, yet tart flavor that resembles a mix of strawberries and citrus fruits like lemons and guavas. They offer a balance of sweetness and acidity.

Where does strawberry guava grow?

This fruit grows naturally in tropical and subtropical climates of the Americas, including Central America, Mexico and parts of the Caribbean. It is now also cultivated in tropical regions of countries like India, Egypt, China, Australia and others.

What is the difference between strawberry guava and cherry guava?

While related fruits, cherry and strawberry guavas come from different species of guava trees. The main difference is in their taste – strawberry guavas offer a more citrusy, tart flavor similar to strawberries. Cherry guavas taste very sweet, reminiscent of cherries.

Can you eat the skin/rind of a strawberry guava?

Yes! The outer skin and rind of strawberry guavas is completely edible. The ripened exterior turns a deep red shade. You’ll want to wash it first, but the nutritious skin can be consumed along with the tasty white flesh and seeds inside.

How do you know when a strawberry guava is ripe?

Look for strawberry guavas with an even, uniform deep red color across their round or oval shape. Ripe fruits should feel firm yet have a slight give, much like an avocado. Avoid any with brown spots or blemishes which indicate rot, damage or overripeness.

Can you grow a strawberry guava from seed?

Yes, the small edible seeds can be used to propagate new strawberry guava trees. Remove the seeds from a ripe fruit and plant them soon after in a suitable potting mix. Keep soil moist and provide warm growing conditions. Seedlings will emerge in a few weeks.

What climate does a strawberry guava tree prefer?

This tropical fruiting tree thrives best in climates that do not have frost or freezing weather and range between 50-80°F year-round. They prefer a humid environment with well-drained yet constantly moist soil. Growing them in containers allows moving strawberry guavas indoors during cold snaps.

The Takeaway

Beyond it’s unique sweet-tart tropical flavor, strawberry guava provides an abundance of nutritional and medicinal benefits. These small red fruits are packed with antioxidant polyphenols that fight disease, inflammation and premature aging.

Research shows that regularly consuming strawberry guavas can boost cardiovascular health, enhance digestion, aid weight loss, strengthen immunity and even fight cancer. Their versatility also makes them easy to enjoy in smoothies, salads, baked goods and more.

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