Guavas are a tremendously nutritious and delicious tropical and sub-tropical tree fruit, given by some nutritionists and marketers the illustrious title of a “superfood.”
Guavas are native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America, where the wild fruit has been consumed for many millennia, not just by native humans, but also by birds, monkeys, bears and many other animal species. The first cultivation of guavas is unknown, but it was likely many thousands of years ago by any one of a number of innovative and healthful indigenous tribes of the Americas.
Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors helped to introduce the amazing guava to other parts of the world starting in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it began to be cultivated in Florida and Hawaii by the middle of the 19th century. Now most warm and temperate climate states, from California to Tennessee, cultivate guava, and in most warm places it can be found year-round, as guava is capable of ripening at any point during the year.
There are several different varieties of guava that are now grown, but the “common” guava, or “apple guava,” whose specific species is identified by the botanical name Psidium Guajava, is the most widely planted, distributed and consumed worldwide. The skin of ripe guavas can be shades of yellow, green and red, and the inner pulp can vary in seed content and color, from white and yellowish to light and dark pink. The taste profiles of ripe guavas can also vary, from very sweet and juicy to tart and sour.
Breaking guavas down to their constituent parts reveals an abundance of nutrition. From high fiber, potassium and magnesium content, to superior levels of vitamin C, A and B9 (also known as folate), guavas provide great energy and balance, and numerous potential health benefits.
Guavas have also been directly connected to helping prevent type 2 diabetes: a recent study showed that eating guavas can help to lower and regulate blood glucose levels. Guavas are very low in glycemic index and glycemic load, making them an extremely healthy food for diabetics and those most at risk for developing diabetes. Even the leaves of the guava tree, which are gaining popularity as a tea, have shown promise as a natural treatment for diabetes, and as a tool for preventing type 2 diabetes as well.
Given that many people around the world can now find locally grown in-season guavas (limiting the necessity of buying guavas through a distant and environmentally destructive supply chain), it is tough to find anything wrong with this remarkable fruit. Eat it and enjoy it in abundance!
Glycemic Index of Guava: 12-24 = Low (very low for fruit). Glycemic Load of Guava: 1.3-5 = Very Low
Resources and Further Reading
All about how to plant and harvest Guava:
A study demonstrating the very low glycemic index and glycemic load of guava compared to other tropical fruits:
For more information about the history of the guava:
Research showing how guava can help prevent type 2 diabetes by controlling blood glucose levels:
A study about how the guava leaf can be used in the treatment of diabetes as Guava Leaf Tea:
15 possible health benefits of consuming guava:
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