Passion fruit is a nutritious tropical fruit that is gaining popularity, especially among health-conscious people.
Despite its small size, it’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and plant compounds that could benefit your health.
Passion fruit sounds exotic, but it doesn’t look that way. At least at first. It grows on climbing passion flower vines in tropical regions like Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii, and from the outside, it looks small and egg-shaped, with yellow or purple skin. You might confuse it for a small lemon or plum — until you slice it in half.
Inside, it’s filled with crunchy seeds in juicy yellow pulp.
The passion fruit got its name because priests in the 1500s thought parts of the passion flower symbolized the “passion,” or suffering and death, of Jesus. The fruit, also called granadilla and maracuya, ended up with the name, too.
Passion fruit tastes sweet and tart, and it has a distinct smell often reproduced in bath products and candles. Only the pulp and seeds are OK to eat, and there are a lot of health benefits in just a few spoonfuls.
There are several types that vary in size and color. Purple and yellow varieties are the most commonly available ones, including:
Passiflora flavicarpa. This kind is round or oval with yellow skin and usually slightly larger than the purple variety.
Passiflora edulis. These are small round or oval-shaped fruits with purple skin.
Though they’re a tropical fruit, some varieties can survive in sub-tropical climates.
For this reason, they’re grown all over the world, and crops can be found in Asia, Europe, Australia, and South and North America.
Passion fruit is a tropical fruit grown all over the world. It has a hard, colorful rind and juicy, seed-filled center. Purple and yellow varieties are the most common.
Nutritional Value of Passion Fruit
The following tables put light on the mineral contents and nutritional facts of passion fruit.
For a 100-gram serving:
- Fiber 10.4 gram
- Calcium- 2 milligram
- Iron – 1.6 milligram
- Vitamin C – 5.4 milligram
- Calories – 97
- Protein – 2.2 gram
- carbohydrate – 23 gram
- Total fat – 0.7 gram
Health Benefits of Passion FruitGiven Below are some important health benefits that the fruit provides:
Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage your cells when they’re present in large numbers.
Passion fruit contains a lot of antioxidants. In particular, it’s rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, and polyphenols.
Polyphenols are plant compounds that have a range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This means they may reduce your risk of chronic inflammation and conditions like heart disease.
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that you need to get from your diet. It supports your immune system and healthy aging.
Beta carotene is an important antioxidant as well. Your body converts it into vitamin A, which is essential for preserving good eyesight.
Diets rich in plant-based beta carotene have been linked to a lower risk of some cancers, including of the prostate, colon, stomach, and breast.
Passion fruit seeds are rich in piceatannol, a polyphenol that may improve insulin sensitivity in men with excess weight, potentially reducing type 2 diabetes risk when taken as a supplement.
Passion fruit boasts a healthy nutrition profile, making it a beneficial fruit to consume. It is rich in vitamin A, which aids the immune system, vision, and skin. The fruit is also rich in vitamin C which is an important antioxidant.
All these nutrients make up for the daily recommended intake, which the body needs. From phosphorus to niacin, iron, potassium, fiber, and more, passion fruit is one of the foods that contain all the essential minerals and vitamins required by the body on a daily basis, for its healthy functioning.
A good source of fiber
Passion fruit is a rich source of dietary fiber. Fiber is a significant component in every food you eat as it helps in keeping the digestive system properly functioning and is responsible for keeping the gut health intact.
People with bowel disorders and constipation are advised to eat fruits that are rich in fiber as it helps make the stool softer, allowing for easy bowel movements.
On the other hand, according to experts, fiber is also beneficial in boosting heart health by reducing cholesterol. Since it doesn’t contain any sterols, it is a great fruit for people who have heart conditions.
For men below 30, the recommended daily fiber intake is 33.6 grams and for women below 30, the recommended daily fiber intake is 28 grams. Per 100-gram serving of passion fruit contains 10.4 grams of fiber. So, passion fruit covers a significant part of the recommended daily intake of fiber.
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Improves insulin sensitivityAccording to studies and research, there is a compound named ‘piceatannol’ found in passion fruit seeds that is said to improve an individual’s insulin sensitivity. So, it is highly beneficial in reducing or preventing diseases like diabetes. Moreover, it can also help reduce the risk of many other diseases like heart problems, neural problems that impact the functioning of the vital organs like the brain.
Passion fruit has a low glycemic index (GI)Passion fruit is one of the few tropical fruits that have a low glycemic index value which helps in maintaining blood glucose levels thereby releasing sugar at a slower rate. This makes passion fruit a viable option and a great alternative over other fruits for people suffering from diabetes.
Supports heart healthPassion fruit is a rich source of potassium, a mineral that is associated with heart health. Potassium can help boost cardiovascular health by normalizing blood pressure. And the high fiber content in the fruit helps in removing excess cholesterol from the blood vessels. It ensures that the blood is properly traveling from the heart to other parts of the body preventing any blockage. Moreover, the sodium content in passion fruit is also low, which helps in keeping the blood pressure low.
Helps reduce stress and anxiety
Those who are suffering from anxiety and stress are prescribed to eat passion fruit. This is because it is filled with magnesium that is said to have a powerful impact on the brain cells that keeps your mood fresh and happy.
According to experts, magnesium can help manage anxiety levels in people. Passion fruit is a rich source of magnesium content (around 5 milligrams) and therefore, can be consumed as anxiety-relieve food, for good mental health.
Boosts the immune system
Passion fruit contains high amounts of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. These antioxidants are responsible for fighting off free radicals and keeping the immune system healthy. In fact, it is important to have an intact immune system because if it weakens, your body loses the ability to fight infections and other harm caused by external entities.
One of the great aspects of vitamin C is that it allows your body to absorb more iron from foods, which then makes the immune system healthy and powerful. So adding passion fruit to your daily diet is a great way to improve your immune system health and lead a healthy life.
Best Way to Eat Passion Fruit
The best way to eat passion fruit is raw. However, one can add passion fruit pulp to smoothies, oatmeal, in salad dressings or add to desserts.
Passion fruit is highly versatile and can be used in many ways. A lot of people enjoy the fruit raw and eat it straight out of the rind.
Some of the more popular ways to use passion fruit include:
- In yogurts. Mix it with natural yogurt to make a delicious snack.
- Drinks. It can be squeezed through a sieve to make juice, which can be added to cocktails or used to make a cordial to flavor water.
- Desserts. It’s often used as a topping or flavoring for cakes and desserts like cheesecake or mousse.
- On salads. It can be used to add a crunchy texture and sweet flavor to salads.