Passiflora edulis or passion fruit is a vine species of passion flower native to southern Brazil through paraguay and northern Argentina. It is cultivated commercially in tropical and subtropical areas for its sweet, seedy fruit, commonly called passion fruit. The fruit is a pepo, a type of berry, round to oval, either yellow or dark purple at maturity, with soft to firm, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. The fruit is both eaten and juice, the juice often added to other fruit juices to enhance aroma.
The Passion fruit is usually purple and looks similar to a grapefruit. Its pulpy interior is made of firm, juicy meat and several seeds. The fruit has a tart flavor.
■ BENEFITS OF PASSION FRUIT
● Aid Diabetes Treatment
¤ The low glycemic index (GI) and the High fiber content of the fruit can make it beneficial for people with diabetes. The fruit is also rich in pectin, a type of fiber that keeps you full without increasing your calorie intake.
¤ It high fiber content ensures the fruit’s sugar is slowly absorbed into the bloodstream. This prevent sugar crashes and cravings.
¤ Studies show that passion fruit may be used as a dietary supplement for diabetes treatment due to its hypoglycemic potential. The fruit can also lowernserum cholesterol levels and improve the functioning of insulin (decreases insulin resistance).
● Regulate Blood Pressure and Protect the Heart
¤ Passion fruit is also rich in potassium, an important mineral that regulates blood pressure levels. Potassium relaxes blood vessels and enhances blood flow. This reduces heart strain and improves overall heart health.
¤A rat study states that the extract of the passion fruit peel may be used as a remedy for hypertension. However, more research is needed to understand the effect of the peel extract on blood pressure control in humans. The piceatannol in passion fruit may help lower blood pressure level.
● May Help Reduce Cancer Risk
¤ Passion fruit is replete with antioxidants that fight cancer-causing free radicals. It also contains vitamin A, flavonoids and other phenolic compounds. These may help in cancer prevention.
¤ The passion flower (flower of the plant that bears passion fruit) contains chrysin, a compound that has shown anticancer activities.
¤ Piceatannol, another important compound in the fruit, was found to kill colorectal cancer cells.
¤ The fruit also contains vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can fight free radicals and may reduce cancer risk.
● May Boost Immunity
¤ Passion fruit contains vitamin C, carotene, and cryptoxanthin – these nutrients help boost the immune system. Vitamin C also stimulates white blood cell activity. This results in a stronger immune system and protection from common ailments.
● May Enhance Digestive Health
¤ Passion fruit is an ideal addition to a digestive-friendly diet as it is a great source of fiber. The fruit contains soluble fiber, both in its pulp and the rind. Dietary fiber acts as a laxative and improves bowel movement.
¤ The fiber also helps prevent constipation and reduces total cholesterol levels by excreting it through faces.
● May Improve Skin Complexion
¤ The fruit is a great source of vitamin A, a nutrient that is particularly beneficial for the skin. The other antioxidants in the fruit, like vitamin C, riboflavin, and carotene, also boost skin health and complexion and delay the signs of premature aging.
¤ Passion fruit is rich in piceatannol that may have an anti-aging effect.
● May Improve Cognitive Health and Reduce Anxiety
¤ The potassium and folate in passion fruit play a role here. While potassium enhances blood flow and cognition, the folate helps prevent Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.
¤ Some sources state that passion flower may help reduce anxiety. The fruit contains antioxidants that fight inflammation. It may also have some relieving effect on anxiety.
● May Strengthen Bones
¤ Passion fruit is rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron and phosphorus. Hence, including the fruit in your diet is a good way to complement the effects of other bone-strengthening foods.
¤ These minerals, when taken along with other rich source (like green veggies and milk), maintain bone density and may prevent osteoporosis.
¤ Studies have shown that the passion fruit peel extract also has anti-inflammatory properties. These may help relieve osteoarthritis symptoms.
● May Help Treat Respiratory Ailments
¤ The novel mixture of bioflavonoids in passion fruit can have positive effects on the respiratory system. Studies show that the fruit extracts can help ease asthma, wheezing, and cough.
¤ More information is needed to understand the therapeutic effects the fruit can have on respiratory conditions.
● May Aid Sleep
¤ The fruit contains harman, which may have sedative properties. Anecdotal evidence suggest that the fruit may help treat insomnia and restlessness.
● May Improve Blood Circulation
¤ Scirpusin B, a compound in passion fruit seeds, acts as avasorelaxing substance. It relaxes the blood vessels, and this may promote blood circulation.
¤ The potassium in passion fruit may have vasodilation properties. The iron and copper in the fruit may further promote circulation as they are essential components involved in the production of red blood cells.
● May Be Beneficial During Pregnancy
¤ The folate in passion fruit helps in the growth and development of the fetus and prevents neural tube defects in infants. Folate is crucial before and during pregnancy, and during breastfeeding, its need further increases. As already seen, the fruit may also boost immunity and bone health during this period.
● The fiber in the fruit may keep you fuller for longer periods. However, there is no direct research stating that passion fruit can aid weight loss. You can include it as a part of your weight loss diet.
¤ Passion fruit is replete with essential nutrients and other antioxidants.
References: stylecraze.com / healthline.com / wikipedia.com