About the Tropical Fruit Guava: Its Nutrition and Multiple Uses.

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Guava is one of the most nutritious tropical fruits, being as high in antioxidants as broccoli. With its sweetish-sour flavor guava is versatile and has many culinary uses. In the tropics it is used as a traditional home remedy for a number of ailments.

Guava is probably the most versatile and certainly the most nutritious tropical fruit. It is high in vitamin C and contains as much antioxidants as broccoli. It is low in calories and is a traditional medicinal remedy.

The guava tree ( psidium guajava) originated in South America and was introduced to South East Asia and the Indian sub-continent by the Portuguese. Earlier it had been naturalized in the Philippines by the Spanish.

The guava tree including the fruit and leaves are extremely fragrant, even from a distance. This is not surprising as guava belongs to the myrtle family, the same family of trees as nutmeg, clove and eucalyptus.

For culinary uses the possibilities’ of guava are numerous as it can be cooked and also frozen. In south and central America guava is used in the same way that apple is used in Europe and North America, as a pie and pastry filling. Because of it high pectin content it is also perfect for jam, jellies and chutney. Guava is used to flavor ice cream, yogurt, beverages and to make sauces, both sweet and savory, as an accompaniment to pork. In Mexico guava is often served with sweet potato. And of course guava can be eaten ‘as is‘. Both the skin and seeds are edible.

Guava, Nutrition and Antioxidants: In recent years a small group of fruits such as blueberries, cranberries and oranges have become known, through media attention, as superfoods because they are extremely nutritious and high in phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants in the body. Less attention has been focused on tropical fruits simply because little is known about them. However, in 2007 agricultural researchers at the University of Florida joined forces with Siam University in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand to analyze the possible antioxidant properties in guava and other tropical fruits. Their ongoing research has discovered that guava is just as high in antioxidants as broccoli and oranges.

Guava contains both vitamins C and A. It is a good source of potassium and contains trace amounts of niacin, phosphorous, iron and calcium. One hundred grams of guava contains 50 calories, 5.6 grams of fiber and very little sodium.

Guava in Traditional Medicine: As a treatment for diabetes Chinese food therapy recommends 90 gm of freshly squeezed guava juice three times per day. In the Philippines a mixture of crushed guava tree roots and leaves is given as a rub for throat inflammation and in India guava leaves are used to relieve the pain of tooth ache.

Other uses include, to make clothing dyes from the guava tree’s bark and as a light, fragrant ( similar to apple) smoke wood for barbecued meats.

Guava tree flowers ( psidium guajava). Image credit, flickr.com. Primary image, flickr.com.


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