The Nutritional And Health Benefits of Passion Fruit
Latin name : Passiflora edulis.
Common names: Passion fruit, Purple granadilla, Golden passion fruit, Lilikoi, Markisa, etc.
About Passion Fruit
The Passion fruit plant, Passiflora edulis is native to subtropical regions of South America. Today it is cultivated in very many warmer areas in countries around the world including Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Philippines, United States, The Caribbean and East Africa.
The genus passiflora has about 500 species. Passiflora edulis provides the purple-coloured passion fruit while Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa provides the yellow-coloured passion fruits.
Passion Fruit Vine, Flower And FruitsClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Passion Fruit Plant
The passion fruit plant is a climbing vine that has shallow roots and the leaves are deeply 3 lobed when mature. The flowers occur singly at each node on the newly growing stems.
Passion fruit is round to oval in shape about 1.5 to 3 inches in diameter with a tough, smooth, waxy, rind with the colour ranging from a dark purple with white specks colour to light to dark yellow.
The fruit cavity contains orange-coloured pulpy juice with small, dark brown or black pitted seeds scattered in it. The jelly-like pulp can be scooped out with a spoon and eaten, The rind is inedible.
The yellow passion fruit is normally larger than the purple one. However, the purple fruit is less acidic and is richer, both in aroma and flavour, has more of the juicy pulp, than the yellow-coloured passion fruit.
Nutrition And Nutrients In Passion Fruit
- Provides low levels of calories at 97 calories per 100 grams.
- In rich in dietary fibre and provides 27% of the daily value per 100 grams.
- Provides 50% and 43% of the daily requirements of Vitamins C & A per 100 grams.
- It is rich in Iron at 20% and has good levels of copper, phosphorus and magnesium per 100 grams.
- Provides 7% of the daily requirement of potassium per 100 grams.
- Has good levels of beta carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A.
- Has a number of carotenoids in good quantities.
- Contains the healthy plant sterols and alkaloids and triterpenes.
Health Benefits Of Passion Fruit
- Passion fruit boosts the body's immunity levels due to its excellent levels of the antioxidant Vitamin C, thereby protecting the body against various infections and diseases.
- The high levels of Vitamin A help to maintain the integrity of vision and skin as well as aiding in growth and providing benefits to the reproductive system.
- Good potassium levels regulate blood pressure heart muscle contraction. It also counters the potassium-depleting effects of certain drugs and diuretics.
- Passion fruit contains about 13 carotenoids in quantities enough to make a positive health impact. These carotenoids act as either the precursors of Vitamin A or provide antioxidant activity.
Beta carotene is the predominant carotenoid in passion fruit and has the greatest pro vitamin A activity. It also works as an antioxidant preventing free radical damage and thus helps to reduce the risk of cancers of the breast, cervical lungs, skin and stomach. Beta carotene also reduces the risk of cataracts and cardiovascular disease.
- Also present in passion fruit are various plant sterols that lower blood cholesterol. These blood cholesterol-lowering benefits are also obtained through the good amounts of dietary fibre that it contains.
Passion fruit contains the highest concentration of total sterols found in any other fruit and also has the second-highest sterol content among all fruits and vegetables. Passion fruit is a very good alternative to the sterol dense vegetables like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and black olives.
- The alkaloids in passion fruit have shown benefits in Type 2 diabetes by decreasing the insulin resistance and helping regulate the blood sugar levels better.
- The passion fruit peel extract helps in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease in those suffering from type 2 diabetes. It also lowers systolic blood pressure and fasting glucose levels in these people.
- Passion fruit peel extracts also reduce pain and stiffness in those suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Passion fruit has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.
- The fruit peel extract helps in reducing shortness of breath, wheezing and cough in those suffering from asthma.
- Studies on healthy rodents show that passion fruit rind extracts decreased LDL cholesterol, increased HDL, reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose and very appreciably lowered body weight. This study provides the promise of benefits in humans.
- The dietary fibre in passion fruit provides for improved digestive health by regularizing bowel movements, controlling haemorrhoids, removing toxins from the gut, reducing the risk of colon cancer and improving the overall functioning of the digestive system.
These are just some of the health benefits of passion fruit.
Uses Of Passion Fruit
- The fruit is eaten fresh or added to or make desserts, used in bakery products like cakes, pastries, tarts etc.
- Passion fruit is also processed into juice or tinned and also made into syrups and wine.
- It is also used to make a variety of liqueurs and mousses.
- The young shoots are eaten in Thailand.
- The fruit rinds are used in cattle and pig feed by chopping and drying them and then combining it with molasses.
- The protein in the fruit rind is used in poultry feed.
- The seeds yield about 23% of edible oil that is comparable to sunflower and soyabean oil. This oil also has industrial uses.
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How to...Eat Passion Fruit
Passion Fruit Pudding Recipe
Passion fruit mousse
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly