Guava

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Guava fruits can vary in shape from round, ovoid to the pear shape. They can be from 2 to 4 inches long. There are many varieties of guavas and they differ in flavour. The seeds are numerous but edible in the good varieties.

A guava tastes best when it is just ripe. The flesh is sweet, soft and creamy. The flesh is usually white but can be pink, yellow or red. The rind is edible. A ripe guava has a sweet, musky odour. The flavour is a like a cross between a strawberry and a lemon. In shape it resembles an apple or a pear and is sometimes referred to as the poor man's apple.

The guava is native to the the tropics. Its generic name is derived from the Greek word “psidion”, which is the name of the pomegranate.

The place of origin of the guava is unknown but it is believed to be somewhere in the region that extends from southern Mexico to Central America and the West Indies. Spanish and Portugese colonizers carried it to the East Indies. It is widely grown in Asia, Africa, Egypt and Mexico.

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[edit] Health Benefits

Guavas contain compounds that help to control blood pressure, lower cholesterol, battle diabetes and fight cancer.

It is commonly believed that eating an orange or other citrus fruits is more beneficial to health than eating any other kind of fruit. However, one guava has 165 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, while one orange has a mere 69mg. The guava is also an excellent source of beta carotene, lycopene, potassium and soluble fiber.

Guavas are very rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants act against the "free radicals" which damage cells and can cause cancer, diabetes and coronary disease.

Guava also control blood pressure and cholesterol. This is probably because of the high potassium content found in guavas. Potassium a mineral that is essential for electrical reactions in the body, including your heart. It also keeps the heartbeat steady, and it assists the kidneys in removing waste.

The guava's cholesterol lowering effect may be due to its soluble fiber content. The soluble fiber forms a gel that binds cholesterol and carries it out of the body.

A guava leaf decoction is taken to relieve colds and bronchitis. The roots, bark, leaves and immature fruits, because of their astringency, are commonly used to halt gastroenteritis, diarrhea, dysentery and vomiting in cholera patients. For more, see Article on Guavas

The guava was used in ancient Chinese medicine to treat diabetes for a very long time. Recent studies have now proven that it lowers blood sugar. It may be a natural way to help prevent diabetes.

[edit] Did You Know?

  • Scientists in India have come to the conclusion that guavas consumed with the skin can actually raise blood sugar levels almost immediately. For people suffering from diabetes, it is best to peel off the skin.
  • Guavas have three times as much Vitamin C as oranges!
  • The main pollinator of the guava is the honeybee.
  • The seed count of the guava varies from 112 to 535.
  • Seedless guavas are due to the low fertility of pollen grains.

[edit] Selection and Storage

Select fruit that is slightly soft and gives way to gentle pressure. The fruit should be free from blemishes and soft spots. Guavas that are green can be stored for a week. But fruit that has begun to yellow will ripen and rot very quickly and cannot be stored for long. The guavas that are used for making juice are the ones with pink flesh and hard inedible seeds.

Ripe guavas can be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Unripe guavas should be stored at room temperature till they ripen. If ripe guavas are stored at room temperature they will rot within a day or two.

[edit] Food Uses

Raw guavas can be eaten fresh or served seeded and served sliced as a dessert. They also taste excellent in salads.

Guavas can also be made into guava cheese, guava jelly and guava juice. Guavas are used in icecreams, for making syrups, in milkshakes and in many puddings and desserts. They can also be used to make jams, pies and cakes.

[edit] Cosmetic Uses

Guava is very rich in Vitamin A, B & C and is very useful in products used for anti-aging skin care as it helps prevent the oxidation process of the cell. The extract of the guava leaf is used in many skin whitening products.

[edit] Folkoric Medicinal Uses

  • Aromatic bath: Use warm decoction of leaves.
  • Diarrhea: Boil for 15 minutes 4 to 6 tablespoons of chopped leaves in 18 ounces of water. Strain and cool. Drink 1/4 of the decoction every 3-4 hours.
  • Toothache: Chew 3 young leaves and put into the tooth cavity;
  • Gum swelling: Chew the leaves; or use the leaf decoction as mouthwash 3 times daily.
  • Toothache: Chew but do not swallow fresh leaves.
  • Skin ulcers, wounds, pruritic or infected skin patches: Apply decoction of leaves or unripe fruit as wash or the leaf poultice on the wound or use the decoction for wound cleansing. It is also popularly used for the wound healing of circumcision wounds.
  • Nosebleeds: Densely roll the leaves and place into the nostril cavity.
  • Vaginal wash: Because of antiseptic properties, warm decoction of leaves as vaginal wash (after childbirth) or douche.

[edit] References

  • About Guavas
  • Guavas
  • Health Benefits of Guavas