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L.Srikumar Pai
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The natural powers of guava

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HEALTHY FOODS — By Mini Padikkal — Guavas are treasure-troves of nutrients. With its unique flavour, taste and health-promoting qualities, the fruit easily fits into the healthy foods category. Guava is cultivated in different parts of Sultanate and is imported mostly from the Asian countries to meet the demands of the customers.

Guavas are higher in vitamin C content than citrus fruits and contains appreciable amounts of vitamin A as well. Guava is also a good source of pectin, dietary fibres, and rich in potassium and phosphorus. Guava contains an amazing amount of phytochemicals including tannins, phenols, triterpenes, flavonoids and in particular quercetin, which has demonstrated antibacterial activity and is thought to contribute to the anti-diarrhoeal effect of guava. Anti-oxidant property of guava is 496mg/100g, which is said to be sufficient to get rid of free radicals present in the body.

Looking for good sources of fibre? Grab a delicious guava. It is rich in fibre, one of the most talked about nutrients today. It is beneficial in a wide range of disease prevention, including diabetes by slowing down the absorption of sugar in the body . There is almost 9 grams of dietary fibre per medium sized guava. This is equivalent to 36 per cent of the recommended daily amount of dietary fibre. Thus guava is a fibrous fruit and consumption of guava helps to regulate the bowel movements. Each and every part of this fruit is full of fibre and whether you consume the skin, the flesh or the seed, they all work as a laxative and helps to clear the alimentary canal.

If you are obese and want to loose some weight quickly then guava is the answer. As this fruit is very high in fibre, protein and minerals, guava can be considered to be a healthy substitute for a meal. It takes longer to digest and thus having a guava can help you to stop munching in between meals.

Fresh fruit is a very rich source of potassium (417mg/100gm). Guava contains more potassium than banana per 100g of fruit weight. Potassium works as an important factor in regulating blood pressure by reversing the role of sodium in unbalancing normal blood pressure.

Guava, which helps in preventing the blood in the blood vessels from thickening, helps in reducing cholesterol.
Scurvy, which is a very painful disease, usually occurs when there is less vitamin C in the body. Guava contains high amounts of vitamin C and helps to ward of scurvy. The gauva flesh provides 230 mg/100 gram vitamin C. The levels varies from depending upon the variety.

Guava leaves: Health benefits of guava can be derived from not only the fruit but also its leaves as well. Guava leaves have been used as a remedy for diarrhoea for their supposed antimicrobial properties and have a lethal effect on salmonella and other harmful bacteria. The leaves also help regulate blood glucose levels. Guava leaves can be consumed like any other cooked green leafy vegetable or juice.

Depending on the species, guava’s flesh and seeds can be white, orange, pink or red. They are best eaten when semi-ripe because then they are crunchy. Eating just one guava everyday can increase the functions of the immune system, apart from overall health. Try topping your salads with diced guava, or as juice in your smoothies.

— The writer is a dietician at Atlas star Medical Centre, Al Khuwair, Muscat.

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