The Many Health Benefits of Passion Fruit Consumption
Passion fruit, also known as Purple Granadillas, or by its scientific name Passiflora edulis, is a small egg-shaped tropical fruit with a wrinkled purple brown rind enclosing orange pulp flesh and edible covered seeds. It is consumed either raw or in juice form.
Native to South America, passion fruit was a staple diet item in the Aztec diet, and popular owing to its pleasant taste, appearance, and health benefits.
Passion Fruit Nutrition Facts: According to USDA estimates, a cup (236 grams) of raw passion fruit contains:
- 228 Calories
- 5.2 grams Proteins
- 55 grams Carbohydrates
- 1.6 grams Total Fat
- 24.5 grams Fiber
- 1,652 IU Vitamin A
- 70.8 mg Vitamin C
- 3.7 mg Iron
- 821 mg Potassium
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Sannse
One of the major health benefits of passion fruit is it aids digestion, and prevents many digestive-related diseases.
The high fiber content of passion fruit makes it a proven digestive stimulant. Most gastric problems come from food and waste particles attaching to the colon wall. Fiber attaches itself to such buildup, pulls it out, and thereby cleans the colon. This makes it easier for the body to digest food, helps alleviate many gastric ailments, and prevents the development of colon cancer.
Passion fruit also contains antioxidants, and is known for its anti-microbial activity. Such antioxidants kill harmful microbes and bacteria, improving digestion, and curing many digestive and gastric problems.
Passion fruit provides antioxidant food benefits. Consumption of passion fruit protects the body against heart attacks, strokes, and other heart diseases.
The high fiber and vitamin C found in passion fruit makes it a beneficial food for the heart. Fiber attaches itself to plaque, fat, and cholesterol build-up in the arteries, flushes it out, and thereby cleanses the arteries. Vitamin C aids in the repair of tissue, and strengthens the bones.
Passion fruit contains phenolic acids, flavonoids, and Vitamin A. They function as antioxidants and damage free radicals. Free radicals harden or damage cell walls, depriving them of vital nutrients. By damaging such free radicals, flavonoids and antioxidants protect arterial walls.
Passion fruit also contains plant sterols that lower cholesterol levels, and alkaloids that lower blood pressure.
Passion fruit contains the antioxidant antihistamine that blocks the inflammation-causing histamine, thereby reducing allergy and respiratory tract inflammations. This cures asthma, coughs, bronchitis, and whooping coughs.
A 2008 study in the journal Nutrition Research showed that fewer than 20 per cent of the subjects consuming passion fruit peel extracts still had wheeze as a clinical symptom of asthma.
Apart from aiding digestion, protecting the heart, and curing asthma, passion fruit has other health benefits.
- Passion fruit contains alkaloids, such as harman, that act as a mild sedative and induces sleep. This makes the fruit a natural mild sedative, and an effective aid for insomnia. The ancient Aztecs exploited this property to alleviate depression.
- The alkaloids in passion fruit ease certain menopausal problems.
- The high carbohydrate and simple sugar content contributes to improved athletic performance.
- The phenolic property of passion fruit causes damage to free radicals that cause skin and tissue damage, contributing to better skin, and vision
- Preliminary research at University of Florida indicates that flavanoids found in passion fruit juice inhibit the growth of cancer cells by killing such cells in vitro.
- Murray , Michael N.D.. The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods. New York: Atria Books, 2005.
- Chau, C. F., & Huang, Y. L. Characterization of Passion Fruit Seed Fibres- A Potential Fibre Source. Food Chemistry. Volume 85, Issue 2, April 2004, Pages 189-19. 4Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com
- Phytochemicals.info. Passion Fruit. Retrieved from https://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/passion-fruit.php