Passion fruit or Passiflora edulis is a fruit cultivated in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. It is highly appreciated for its sweet and juicy pulp. This is in addition to its numerous health benefits on the human body which include boosting immunity, improving vision, lowering blood pressure, relieving constipation, preventing cancer, and aiding digestive function.
Botanical name: Passiflora edulis
Other names: Passionfruit, grenadille, maracuja, parcha
Passion fruit is the fruit of Passiflora edulis, a tree of the botanical family Passifloraceae. The fruit varies in color, from purple to yellow, and has a gelatinous pulp that is filled with black seeds. The pulp is juicy with a slightly acidic flavor.
- Just as most other fruits, passion fruit can be consumed raw. In most countries, the fruit is available in both fresh and tinned forms. It can be added to fruit salads, used as toppings on ice creams, and used as a flavoring for cheese cakes.
- Passion fruits are also popularly used in juice making all over the world.
- In terms of healing, passion fruit also has some history of use in medicine. Both the fruit and dry plant have been used in folk healing for several decades. Due to its analgesic properties, it is used to relieve aches in the body, such as stomach and muscle pain. The pectin in this fruit gives it antitussive properties, which is the basis for its use in relieving cough.
- Sugars – Passion fruit contains a considerable amount of sugars, about 11% of its total content, which constitutes mainly glucose, fructose and saccharose.
- Proteins – The passion fruit is one of the richest fresh fruits in protein, having about 2.2% of proteins.
- Vitamins – This wonderful fruit contains significant amounts of riboflavin, pyridoxine, provitamin A and vitamin E. It also contains vitamin C, in such an amount that it supplies nearly half of the recommended dietary allowance for this vitamin in just a 100 gram serving.
- Minerals – Iron is the mineral that stands out most in passion fruit. It is one of the most richest fresh-fruit source of iron. Its iron content surpasses that of egg and is close to the amount you get in meat. Other minerals present in passion fruit in reasonable quantities include phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.
- Fiber – Passion fruit is one of the richest fruit sources of fiber. Just 100 gram of this fruit provides up to 10.4 g of dietary fiber. That’s nearly half of the daily recommended intake for fiber.
7 Benefits and medicinal uses of passion fruit
- Prevents iron-deficiency anemia
- Relieves constipation
- Aids digestion
- Improves vision or eye sight
- Lowers blood pressure
- Prevents canccer
- Boosts immunity
Passion fruit consumption may be very beneficial for those suffering from iron-deficiency anemia. This is due to its richness in iron and vitamin C. As already known, iron is involved in the production of red blood cells, while vitamin C facilitates its absorption into the body.
Passion fruit is a very rich source of dietary fiber. Fiber has been proven to have laxative effects in the digestive system; an action that facilitates bowel movement. It stimulates peristaltic action of the gut in moving stool down the colon, and also adds bulk to feces. All these help in relieving constipation.
In general, passion fruit has a stimulating effect to the digestive system. It addition to its laxative effect, it also helps protect the lining of the intestine. The rich fiber content of this fruit stimulates the production of digestive enzymes, which are required to break down food particles for assimilation. The same fiber content can also favor the growth of beneficial gut flora. All these actions aid the proper functioning of the digestive system.
By taking just one passion fruit a day, you can boost the overall functioning of your digestive system.
The vitamin A content of passion fruit can help improve eye sight. Its deficiency has been proven to cause night blindness, which can characterized by difficulties in seeing under dim lights. Vitamin A has also been linked with the prevention of macular degeneration of the retina and cataracts.
Lowers blood pressure
Thankfully, passion fruit is poor in sodium, a mineral that can raise blood pressure in no time. That’s not all! On the other hand, it contains significant amounts of potassium, a mineral that can lower blood pressure. In addition to lowering blood pressure, potassium also relaxes the tension on our arteries, and reduces our risk for cardiovascular disorders.
Passion fruits contains polyphenols, which have been proven by numerous scientific experiments to assist in the prevention and treatment of cancer (1). Moreover, passion fruit is rich in other antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and flavonoids. These antioxidants help prevent cancer by fighting the activities of free radicals, whose interaction with body cells might lead to cancerous growths.
Just a cup of passion fruit provides more than the daily recommended intake for vitamin C. Of course, you can easily prepare a juice from this wonderful fruit to make easy its intake. As already known, vitamin C helps boost the body’s immunity against invading foreign microorganism such as bacteria and viruses that can cause diseases. It does this by stimulating the production of white blood cells which are the primary defense tools in our bodies; just like the soldiers who protect our cities.