Guavas are tropical trees originating in Central America. The trees are oval in shape with light green or yellow skin and contain edible seeds. What’s more, guava leaves are used as a herbal tea and the leaf extract as a supplement. Guava fruits are amazingly rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. This remarkable nutrient content gives them many health benefits.
Besides its unique flavour and fragrance, guava has been hailed as one of the super fruits due to the numerous health benefits it offers. It indeed is a powerhouse of nutrients. This humble fruit is extraordinarily rich in vitamin C, lycopene and antioxidants that are beneficial for skin,
Here are 8 evidence-based health benefits of guava fruits and leaves
1) May help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Some evidence suggests that guava can improve blood sugar control. Several test-tube and animal studies found that guava leaf extract improved blood sugar levels, long-term blood sugar control and insulin. This is good news for people with diabetes or those at risk. A few studies involving humans have also shown impressive results. One study in 19 people noted that drinking guava leaf tea lowered blood sugar levels after a meal. The effects lasted up to two hours. Another study in 20 people with type 2 diabetes found that drinking guava leaf tea reduced blood sugar levels after a meal by more than 10%.
2) May Boost Heart Health
Guavas can help boost heart health in a number of ways. Many scientists believe that the high levels of antioxidants and vitamins in guava leaves may help protect your heart from damage by free radicals. The higher levels of potassium and soluble fiber in guavas are also thought to contribute to improved heart health. Additionally, guava leaf extract has been linked to lower blood pressure, a decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol, and a rise in “good” HDL cholesterol. Since high blood pressure and high levels of LDL cholesterol are linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke, taking guava leaf extract could lead to valuable benefits. What’s more, the fruit may have benefits for heart health as well. A 12-week study in 120 people found that eating ripe guava before meals caused an overall decrease in blood pressure by 8-9 points, a reduction in total cholesterol by 9.9% and an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol by 8%.
3) May help relieve Painful Symptoms of Menstruation
Many women experience dysmenorrhea, painful symptoms of menstruation, such as stomach cramps. However, there is some evidence that guava leaf extract may reduce the pain intensity of menstrual cramps. A study of 197 women who experienced painful symptoms found that taking 6 mg of guava leaf extract daily resulted in reduced pain intensity. It appeared to be even more powerful than some painkillers. Guava leaf extract is also thought to help relieve uterine cramps.
4) May Benefit your Digestive System
Guavas are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Therefore, eating more guavas may aid healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation. Just one guava can provide 12% of your recommended daily intake of fiber. Additionally guava leaf extract may benefit digestive health. Studies suggest that it may reduce the intensity and duration of diarrhea. Several studies have also shown that guava leaf extract is antimicrobial. This means that it can neutralize harmful microbes in your gut that can cause diarrhea.
5) May Aid Weight Loss
Guavas are a weight-loss-friendly food. With only 37 calories in one fruit and 12% of your recommended daily fiber intake, they are a filling, low-calorie snack. Unlike some other low-calorie snacks, they are packed with vitamins and minerals – so you are not losing out on important nutrients.
6) May have an Anti-cancer Effect
Guava leaf extract has been shown to have an anti-cancer effect. Test-tube and animal studies show that guava extract can prevent and even stop the growth of cancer cells. This is likely due to the high levels of powerful antioxidants that prevent free radicals from damaging cells, one of the main causes of cancer. One test-tube study found that guava leaf oil was four times more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than certain cancer drugs.
7) May help Boost your Immunity
Low levels of Vitamin C are linked to an increased risk of infections and illness. Guavas are a fantastic way to get this nutrient, as they’re one of the richest food sources of Vitamin C. In fact, one guava provides about double the Reference Daily Intake for Vitamin C. This is almost twice the amount you would get from eating an orange. Guava is also linked to antimicrobial benefits. This means that it helps kill off bad bacteria and viruses that can lead to infections. Because Vitamin C can easily be flushed out of your body, it’s important to regularly get enough through your diet.
8) Eating guavas may be Good for your Skin
The wide range of vitamins and antioxidants packed into guava may work wonders for your skin. Its antioxidants may protect your skin from damage, which can slow down its aging process, helping prevent wrinkles. What’s more, guava leaf extract may even help treat acne when applied directly to your skin. One test-tube found that guava leaf extract was effective in killing acne-causing bacteria – likely due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Prepare Guava Leaf Tea
A) With fresh guava leaves
– take six guava leaves
– wash the leaves thoroughly
– boil the leaves with about 1 liter of water
– after boiling for about 10 minutes, pour the water and filter to remove any piece of leaf
– it is ready to drink
– you may add a little honey as a sweetener
B) With dried guava leaves
– dry some young guava leaves under a shade
– crush them into powder after you dry them
– add one tablespoonful of powdered guava leaves to one cup of hot water to brew
– allow it brew for about 5 minutes
– you may take this once a day
Contributed by HE Prof Colin O Jarrett
Senior News Editor