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The Health Benefits of Guavas
The guava is believed to have originated in the area that is now Central America and Mexico. Spanish and Portuguese explorers introduced the guava to the East Indies and it soon became a popular crop in India and Asia.
In Taino (pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas) mythology, the spirits of the dead were believed to hide away during the day and come out at night to eat guavas.
Today the guava is a common fruit throughout tropical America, Asia and in the warmer parts of Africa, and is one of Mexico’s biggest fruit crops.
|Guavas, common, raw||Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
|Energy||68 kcal (285 kJ)|
|* Carbohydrates||14.32 g|
|Dietary fiber||5.4 g|
|* Fat||0.95 g|
|* Protein||2.55 g|
|* Vitamin A||624 IU|
|Carotene, beta||374 mcg|
|* Folate (Vit. B9)||49 mcg|
|* Vitamin C||228.3 mg|
|* Calcium||18 mg|
|* Magnesium||22 mg|
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.
A study from the Heart Research Laboratory in India demonstrated that people who ate five to nine guavas a day for three months reduced their cholesterol levels by 10 percent, triglycerides by 8 percent, and blood pressure by 9.0/8.0 mm Hg, while boosting their “good” cholesterol (HDL) by 8 percent.
Foods such as guavas that are high in pectins appear to lower the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood, perhaps by forming a gel in your stomach that sops up fats and keeps them from being absorbed by the body.
The anti-proliferative activity of guava leaf oil on mouth cancer is 4.37 times more potent than Vincristine, a cancer drug.
Guavas are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, and several studies support a reduction in prostate cancer risk associated with high lycopene consumption.
Lycopene also inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells. Studies in mice have shown that it suppresses breast tumors.
The anti cough activity of guava leaf extract has been evaluated in rats and guinea pigs. The results suggest that guava leaf extract is recommended as a cough remedy.
Essential oil guava leaf extracts have been tested and shown to inhibit the diarrhea causing bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli, and that the use of guava leaf extracts can be a feasible treatment in diarrhea cases where access to commercial antibiotics is restricted.
A randomized, double-blinded, clinical study performed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a phytodrug developed from guava leaves for the treatment of adult patients with acute diarrhea showed that the used guava product decreased the duration of abdominal pain in these patients.
The guava is an important medicinal plant in tropical and subtropical countries and is widely used in folk medicine. Many pharmacological studies have demonstrated the ability of this plant to exhibit anti diabetic activities, supporting its traditional uses.
Significant blood glucose lowering effects of guava leaf extract has been observed in a mouse study. The study results suggest that the guava leaf extract possesses anti diabetic effect in type 2 diabetes.
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14. Rosa Martha Pérez Gutiérrez, et al. Psidium guajava: A review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 117, Issue 1, 17 April 2008, Pages 1-27. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.01.025
15. Prabu GR, Gnanamani A, Sadulla S. Guaijaverin — a plant flavonoid as potential antiplaque agent against Streptococcus mutans. J Appl Microbiol. 2006 Aug;101(2):487-95. PMID: 16882158.
16. Oh WK, Lee CH, Lee MS, Bae EY, Sohn CB, Oh H, Kim BY, Ahn JS. Antidiabetic effects of extracts from Psidium guajava. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 15;96(3):411-5. PMID: 15619559. 17. Pranee Jaiarj, et al. Anticough and antimicrobial activities of Psidium guajava Linn. leaf extract. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 67, Issue 2, November 1999, Pages 203-212. doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00022-7 18. Xavier Lozoya, et al. Intestinal anti-spasmodic effect of a phytodrug of Psidium guajava folia in the treatment of acute diarrheic disease. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 83, Issues 1-2, November 2002, Pages 19-24. doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00185-X 19. Jonny Bowden. The 150 healthiest foods on earth.