Today I decided to try something different for a change. I had an instant urge to try something sweet, healthy and unusual, so I headed to the nearest green market. Grapefruits, mangos, watermelons, I just love the smell of fresh fruits and not to mention the enormous health benefits that each one of them has on our overall health.
However, I was immediately drawn to something which looked like a tropical fruit and I have to admit I have never seen it before or it haven`t caught my eye yet. The lady who works on the market knows me well and I started chatting with her about this fruit. It is usually known by the name passion fruit and I was appalled by the enormous nutritional value of this mysterious fruit. I decided to do an additional research at home.
Getting to know granadilla
Scientific name: Passiflora edulis
Other names: Passion fruit, Yellow Passion fruit, Purple Granadilla, Granadilla
I started to dig a little deeper and information started flowing from everywhere. The granadilla (we will use this name further in this article) or the passion fruit, is actually a subtropical fruit which grows in the wild regions of South America, probably originates in Paraguay. Its name origin, passion fruit is rather religious than romantic.
The Spanish missionaries started using this term for the granadilla because of its flower which reminded them of the Passion and the crucifixion of Christ. However, in a more modern time, when we cut open the passion fruit, we have little left to our imagination, the crucifixion is the last thing on our minds and we start questioning the aphrodisiacal properties of the granadilla.
It grows climbing on anything it can grapple around. This plant has a short life, from 5 to 7 years, but if it holds on something very strong it can reach up to 20 ft. The granadilla`s flowers are extremely fragrant and appealing, reminding us of passion and desire.
Hard on the inside, but juicy and sweet on the outside. Seducing aroma and a sweet, tart taste, this mysterious fruit will blow your mind. When I first tasted it, I wasn`t sure if I was in love with it or hated it. But as you can guess, I loved it!
Health benefits from granadilla
You will be surprised by the number of health benefits which this plant provides. Some of which are the prevention from cancer growth, the fluid balance in your body, boosting your immune system and those being only a few of the benefits.
Prevents cancer: Granadilla is full with antioxidants which play an enormous role in the elimination of the free radicals. It also contains anti-cancer genic compounds such as vitamin A, flavonoids and phenolic compounds, especially important in terms of lung and oral cancer.
Boosts the immune system: This property is due to the presence of carotene, vitamin C and cryptoxanthin. In fact, passion fruit or granadilla, provides our body with more than a 100 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C.
All of these compounds, also known as antioxidants, as we previously mentioned, are extremely important in eliminating free radicals and preventing them from harming the body. Vitamin C is a well-known vitamin, especially as a protector of the body from flues and viruses, as well as foreign bodies which attach our organism. This property of boosting the immune system wasn`t well known until modern times, but nowadays granadilla is used as a substitute for medicines and immune boosting pills.
Rich in vitamin A: Besides the presence of vitamin C, granadilla is also rich in vitamin A which is famous for improving eye health, such as cataracts, night blindness and prevents muscular degeneration. Vitamin A is also famous for improving and promoting skin health, such as reducing wrinkles and enriching the skin structure. Keep your sight sharp and your skin glowing and hydrated.
Regulates blood pressure: Granadilla is a great source of potassium, which is a crucial mineral in our body. It promotes increased blood flow and relaxes the tension of blood vessels. Moreover, it maintains a proper fluid balance of the cells and improves and promotes cardiovascular health. It`s very important to keep our body loaded with vitamins and minerals and passion fruit will provide you with all of the needed compounds.
Improves digestive health: Granadilla is a great source of soluble fiber (both in the rind and in the pulp), which we all know how important it is for proper bowel movement. A single serving provides the human body with 98% fiber of the recommended daily dose. Passion fruits help the food digest better and prevents the toxins from accumulating in the colon. It helps with constipation, it cleans the blood vessels from excess cholesterol and prevents from colorectal cancer.
Rich in minerals: Besides the presence of potassium, granadilla is full with iron and copper, which are crucial components of the red blood cell production. A healthy blood flow is a crucial key to the proper functioning of the whole body.
Nutritional value of granadilla in a nutshell
The list of health benefits is enormous, granadilla is rich both in vitamins and minerals including flavonoids, iron, potassium, fiber, magnesium, protein, phosphorus, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin A, riboflavin and copper. Due to the high percentage of vitamins and minerals, granadilla results in great source of healthy compounds which are crucial in your everyday diet.
How to eat passion fruit?
Here are some tips on how to purchase and eat this delicious granadilla. Follow the steps:
Step 1: Always focus on buying fresh fruit, and if the peel is wrinkled that means that the fruit is older, but edible.
Step 2: Pay attention to the peel color of the fruit, always select passion fruits with purple, yellow or orange color. If the fruit is green that means it`s not ripe yet. If the fruit has green spots that means it will be less juicy and sweet.
Step 3: Cut the passion fruit into half and with a spoon, scoop out the fruit and seeds. The seeds are crunchy, but the membrane between the peel and the seeds is tart, so you may want to use sugar before eating.
Ways to use passion fruit
If you are eating the passion fruit plain, then the above mentioned steps will work the magic. However, if you are eager to experiment or to enrich your smoothies, then here are some suggestions on passion fruit consumption.
- Passion fruit juice: add the seeds and the pulp in a blender together with guava, lemon, carrots and oranges. Mix with apple juice or another fruit juice, if you want to get some consistency. Extremely delicious beverage full with healthy components!
- You can also add the passion fruit in a small saucepan, add some cream and sugar and heat it for several minutes. Add the mixture in a bowl and eat it while hot.
- Use passion fruit juice as a substitute for lemon juice. Both fruits work well with the same types of food, however passion fruit will give your meals a special taste.
- You can add passion fruit juice to yogurt and ice cream, it will intensify the taste and flavor.
- Add the passion fruit over main courses or add it to sauces. Passion fruit goes perfectly with pork and fish.
Nutritional value of passion fruit:
|See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:
Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis), Fresh,
Nutritive Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.70 g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber||10.40 g||27%|
|Vitamin A||1274 IU||43%|
|Vitamin C||30 mg||50%|
|Vitamin E||0.02 µg||<1%|
|Vitamin K||0.7 mg||0.5%|