Guava is one of the most common tropical fruits cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The common guava is a small tree belonging to the Myrtle family, which is native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Northern South America. In 2016, India was the largest cultivator of guavas, with 41% of the world total. The guava tree or shrub is a slow-growing plant that requires the planting of two plants for cross-pollination. The tree is cold and hardy and can survive up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and is also tolerant of saltwater. Bees and hummingbirds visit the fruit's red and yellow flowers, and the pollination visits result in the production of a heavy set of fruits. The guava fruit is classified as a berry by most botanists, and it grows in clusters with individual berries in sizes just under one inch.
The most common species of guava which is consumed is the "apple guava" (Psidium guajava). The fruit is cultivated and mainly consumed by humans, and many animals and birds consume it as well, and the birds readily disperse the seeds in their droppings. In Hawaii, the strawberry guava has become aggressively cultivated and consumed in a mass which almost on the verge of extinction to more than a hundred other plant species.
By contrast, many guava species have become rare because of habitat destruction. This means that the natural habitat itself has become incapable of supporting its native species. The Jamaican guava is already extinct. Guava wood is also used for smoking the meat in Hawaii and is used for barbecue competitions across the United States. In Cuba and Mexico, the leaves are used for barbecues as well. The guava tree or shrub which grows slowly and requires the planting of two plants for cross-pollination.
Guava fruits are usually 4 to 12 centimeters (1.6 to 4.7 in) long and are round or oval depending on their respective species. They possess a strong and typical fragrance similar to a lemon rind but is comparatively less sharp. The fruit's outer skin may be rough and often comes with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between the species, the skin can be of any thickness and is usually green before maturity, but maybe yellow, maroon, or green when ripe. The pulp inside may be sweet or sour and off-white, known as "white" guavas, to deep pink, known as "red" guavas. Again, depending on species, the seeds in the guava's central pulp vary in number and toughness.
The trunk may be branched at the tree's base, and they drop low to the ground. The plant consists of oval or elliptical leaves, smooth on the upper surface, and hairy on the lower surface. Guava produces solitary white flowers and berry fruit. The fruit is oval and green to yellow. The inner part of the flesh's fruit can be white, yellow, pink, or red, depending on the species' type. Guava can reach grow up to 10 meters in height and lives for approximately 40 years. Guava may also be referred to as common guava, and its origin is unknown, although it grows native in parts of tropical America.
The guava tree is best grown in partial shade in highly acidic soils. The plants are virtually free of disease, and the fruit is usually harvested by shaking off the mature guava when the color change occurs. The fruits are collected onto sheets or tarps and stored in a refrigerator for up to a week and can be peeled and eaten as fresh fruit or even as a dessert, or in salads. If the fruit is dipped into diluted lemon juice, the color of the pulp will be bright.
History of Guava
Guavas originated from an area that was thought to extend from Mexico, Central America, or northern South America throughout the Caribbean region. Archaeological sites in Peru provided evidence of guava cultivation as early as 2500 BC. Guava was adopted as a crop in subtropical and tropical Asia and the southern United States (from Tennessee and North Carolina south, west, and Hawaii), tropical Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Guavas were introduced in Florida, the US, in the 19th century and are extensively grown there as far north as Sarasota, Chipley, Waldo, and Fort Pierce. However, they are a primary host of the Caribbean fruit fly. The fruits must be protected against infestation in Florida areas where this insect is mainly present.
Guavas are cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries. Many different species are grown commercially. Apple guava and its cultivars are commonly traded internationally. Guavas also grow in southwestern Europe, specifically in the Costa Del Sol in Malaga, situated in Spain and in Greece, where guavas have been commercially grown since the middle of the 20th century proliferate as cultivars. Mature trees of most species are fairly cold and hardy and can survive temperatures slightly colder than 25 °F (−4 °C) for short periods of time. Still, younger plants will likely freeze to the ground if the temperature is not suitable for it.
Most home growers are quite interested in cultivating guavas in subtropical areas because it is one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors. When grown from seed, guava trees can bear fruit in two years and can continue to do so for the next forty years. The fruit is commercially made into puddings, pies, juices, and jellies and is a rich source of Vitamin A and C. it also constitutes many beneficial minerals. The guava is grown commercially in Florida and California, and in many southern forests, the shrub has become naturalized and is commonly mistaken as a native historical plant.
Benefits of Guava
It has been proven that guavas are an excellent source of dietary fiber and consuming this fruit aid in healthy bowel movements and also prevent constipation. It is said that consuming only one guava itself contributes to 12% to your daily intake of fiber. The extract which can be taken out of the leaves of the guava fruit also benefits digestive health. Studies suggest that it reduces the intensity and duration of diarrhea. Guava leaf extract is also antimicrobial. This means that it can neutralize harmful microbes in the gut, which is responsible for diarrhea. In other words, the antimicrobial activity, which is present in the guava, can delay gastric emptying by reducing gut mobility.
We know that diarrhea is usually a symptom of bowel infection, which can be caused by a virus such as a norovirus or a rotavirus. Or even by bacteria, which are often picked up from contaminated food and water. These infections can sometimes also be caught while traveling abroad or anywhere, particularly to areas with poor public hygiene standards. This is known as travelers' diarrhea. Diarrhea can also result from anxiety, food allergy, medication, or a long-term condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
In ayurvedic terms, diarrhea is known as Atisar. This occurs mainly due to improper food, water, toxins, mental stress, and a weak digestive fire, also known as "agnimandya." All these factors are responsible for disrupting the vata. When the vata is disrupted, it brings fluid in the intestines from different body tissues, and this is mixed in the stool, causing it to be loose and watery. This is called diarrhea. Guavas is an effective food in managing diarrhea because of its vata balancing property. It can also be used as a food supplement when the individual is going through such an ailment. The fruit can thicken the loose stool and reduce diarrhea's intensity, which is mainly because of its Kashaya (astringent) property.
Take one guava
Remove the seeds
It is recommended to drink one glass of water after eating the guava.
Consume the fruit once or twice a day to manage diarrhea
Obesity is a complicated disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Other than being a cosmetic concern, obesity contributes to many other health ailments such as an increased risk of other diseases related to the heart, diabetes, high blood pressure, and specific types of cancer. There are many reasons why some people have difficulty avoiding obesity. Usually, obesity results from a combination of inherited factors that are combined with the environment and personal diet, lifestyle, and exercise choices. Dietary changes increased physical activity, and behavior changes can help an obese individual lose weight. Prescribed medications and weight-loss programs are additional options for treating obesity. Guavas are quite beneficial for managing obesity because its leaves constitute catechin. This property does not only burns fat but also controls the blood glucose level. Guavas help to prevent the development of diabetes, especially type 2, since it is a consequent along with developing obesity. The guava leaves also consist of an active compound called quercetin. This compound inhibits fat cell formation.
Guavas are fruits that are filled with proteins and good quality fiber. Both protein and fiber take a long time to digest, which helps in keeping the individual full for a longer period of time. This prevents the individual from indulging in other fatty foods. The high fiber content found in guavas helps in regulating the metabolism. Guavas, especially those that aren't fully ripe, have far less sugar than other fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, and other fruits. Guavas are also rich in dietary fiber and fulfill about 12% of your daily recommended intake of fiber, making it an excellent fruit for preventing stomach problems. Guavas can be eaten and consumed in any form; it also aids in improved bowel movement and enhances healthy digestion. A healthy digestion further helps a healthy weight loss.
According to Ayurveda, an increase in weight is usually due to unhealthy food habits and lifestyle, which eventually leads to weak digestion. This increases the accumulation of ama, which is the toxins that remain in the body due to improper digestion and thus causing an imbalance in meda dhatu. Guavas greatly improve the digestive fire or “agnimandya” and reduce ama because it can correct the metabolism and control weight.
Take one guava
Remove all the seeds
It is recommended to drink a glass of water after consuming the guava.
Consume the fruit once or twice a day for desired results
Cholesterol is the waxy substance that is found in the body. Although it helps in building healthy cells, too much cholesterol contributes to many health risks such as heart disease. With high cholesterol, an individual can develop fatty deposits in the blood vessels. These deposits grow and make it extremely difficult for enough blood to flow in the blood vessels. These very deposits can sometimes break, causing clots that lead to heart attacks or strokes. High cholesterol can be inherited, but it is usually the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices. To treat this ailment, one must exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
Guava has a number of health benefits. It is because of its rich content of vitamin C and fiber, especially the soluble fiber, also known as pectin. The dietary fiber or pectin has proved to lower the cholesterol by using the bile acids to bind it in the body and help remove the body's cholesterol. This natural cleansing process is good to reduce the levels of blood serum LDL. Consumption is simple. Guava can be eaten raw. It can also be made into a tasty juice, smoothie, or dessert.
When cholesterol is left uncontrolled, it can be quite dangerous to the health of the body. It can lead to more serious problems, which include stroke and heart attack. It is highly recommended then to take an effective supplement to lower cholesterol. As the alternative to medications with chemical content, an individual can add guavas into their diet. It is easy to find and to process it and can be consumed in any form.
According to Ayurveda, high cholesterol is due to an imbalance of pachakagni, also known as the digestive fire. When digestion is impaired at the tissue level, the body produces excess waste products or ama, also known as the toxins which remain in the body due to improper digestion. Guavas can correct the digestive fire and reduce ama as it boosts metabolism, thus helping in controlling high cholesterol levels.
Take one guava
Remove its seeds
Drink a glass of water after consuming the fruit
Consume this fruit once or twice a day to control high levels of cholesterol.
The contraction of tubular viscera causes colic pain. Bowel constriction or narrowing and contraction of any tubular viscera in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis result in severe colic pain in adults. Colicky pain or gut rot is sharp and stabbing cramps. Cramping pain lasts for a few minutes, and the cycle of pain is repeated every few minutes. Colicky pain may or may not be associated with other symptoms. Other symptoms could be diarrhea,constipation, nausea, or even vomiting. For infants, colic is usually referred to as uncontrollable crying, which lasts for several hours or weeks on end for no known reason.
Guavas are beneficial in managing colic. Colic pain related to spasms and guavas have antispasmodic activity. Guavas inhibit the calcium ion channels and can reduce the contraction of smooth muscles in the abdomen.
According to Ayurveda, guavas contribute greatly to individuals going through such an ailment. When guavas are consumed along with food, it helps to manage colic pain. Colic pain begins in the abdomen and often travels to the groin region. Ayurveda mentions that vata may be responsible for colic pain in the colon, making it extremely difficult to pass stool. Regularly consuming guava helps relieve colic pain and pass the gas easily, mainly because of its vata balancing property.
Take a guava
Make sure to remove all the seeds.
Drink a glass of water after consuming the guava
Eat it once or twice a day to manage colic pain.
Precautions to take while consuming guavas.
Breastfeeding: consuming guavas are like safe when eaten as food. However, there is not enough reliable evidence to know whether guavas are safe to use as a medicine when pregnant or breastfeeding. It is highly recommended to consult with your healthcare professional before adding this food to your diet.
Eczema: the extract which is found in the leaves of the guava fruit might make eczema worse. Since the guava leaves contain chemicals that can cause skin irritation, especially in people who already have skin related problems like eczema, it is recommended to use the leaves with caution and consult a healthcare professional before using it.
Diabetes: Guavas might lower an individual's blood sugar, so it is advised to monitor your blood sugar levels while consuming this fruit strictly.
How to use guavas
a. Take 1-2 Guava capsules.
b. Swallow it with water after lunch and dinner.
a. Take ¼-½ Guava leaf powder.
b. Mix it with water and honey.
c. drink it after lunch and dinner.
a. Take 2-3 teaspoon of Guava syrup and mix it with water.
b. Drink it after lunch and dinner.
a. Wash and chop 2 Guavas.
b. Blend with ½ cup of water.
c. Strain the Guava puree and add more water to reduce the consistency if required.
d. Add a bit of lime, salt, and honey.
e. Serve cold.
a. Add a few Guava leaves in a pan filled with water
b. Add 1 cinnamon stick, some mulethi powder, and cardamom in it.
c. Let it boil on medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
d. Strain the mixture and serve hot.
Can guavas be consumed on an empty stomach?
Since guavas are citrus fruit, it contains loads of fiber, which slows down digestion and increases acid production. Therefore, it is advisable not to consume guavas on an empty stomach.
According to Ayurveda, guavas should not be consumed on an empty stomach, especially when the individual's digestive system is not good. This is mainly because the fruit has a guru (heavy) nature and takes quite a bit of time to digest.
How do you make a paste out of Guavas?
Take a couple of guavas
Wash and peel them
Cut the fruits in half and scoop out the seeds.
Soak the seeds in a cup of water
Take the guavas and put them in a pan filled with water.
Let it boil on medium heat.
Bring the heat to low and let it simmer till the guavas become soft.
Drain the water from the seeds which were kept to soak and add it to the cooked guavas. Make sure the seeds are discarded.
Keep stirring to avoid burning.
By using a colander, strain the pulp of guavas and add an equal amount of sugar to it.
Let it simmer on low flame till the puree forms a paste-like consistency.
Make sure you let it completely cool before using it.
Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How is guava juice beneficial to health?
Since guava juice is rich in antioxidants and lycopene, which is the natural pigment present in the fruits, it can destroy free radicals present in the body and help in preventing cell damage and aging. It is also rich in fiber, thus making improving constipation. Guavas also consist of an antidiabetic activity which helps in regulating blood sugar levels.
From an ayurvedic perspective, guava juice helps to manage ailments such as constipation because of its rechana property. This is also known as the laxative property. It greatly contributes to improving the bowel movements and in smooth removal of the stool.
Is guava recommended to consume during a fever?
Yes, guavas can be consumed during fevers because it has an antipyretic activity, which helps in lowering the temperature in case of a fever. Fevers usually occur due to an imbalance of pitta dosha, and guavas can help to manage fever because of its pitta balancing property.