Passion fruit: Why should we include it in our diet?

Passion fruit contains piceatannol, a compound that enhances insulin’s metabolic activity. Photo:iStock/Gilnature

Passion fruit, known by the scientific name Passiflora edulis, is a tropical fruit. Although native to South America, it is abundantly grown in Kerala, appearing in various colours and shapes, with purple and yellow being the most recognized varieties. With a water content of 76%, this fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are a few reasons why you should include passion fruit in your diet, when in season:

High in nutrition
Passion fruit has high fibre content, containing 10.4 gram per 100 grams of fruit. This aids digestion, promotes gut health, prevents constipation, and lowers cholesterol, contributing to heart health. The fruit contains a dimeric protein that enhances blood circulation, reduces cell pressure, and possesses anti-fungal properties. The fruit with a low glycemic index is suitable for consumption by diabetics.

Additionally, passion fruit contains piceatannol, a compound that enhances insulin’s metabolic activity. Rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, carotene, potassium, calcium, sodium, and iron, it also boosts the immunity of the body. The magnesium content helps reduce stress and anxiety, while regular consumption of the fruit will ensure adequate levels of vitamin A, thereby reducing the risk of blindness and maintaining youthful skin.

Varied culinary uses
Passion fruit can be included in the diet in various ways. The fruit pulp, mixed with sugar and water, creates a delicious juice. It can also be used in making jams, sweets, cakes, and as a topping or flavouring for cakes and salads (fruit salad, smoothie).

Caution to be observed
Care must be taken as some individuals may develop an allergy, especially those with latex allergies. Passion fruit contains oxalates, which can lead to kidney stones in individuals at risk of kidney disease. It is important to avoid consuming the skin as it contains small amounts of cyanogenic glycosides with cyanide content.

Nutritional value (per 100 gram):
• Energy: 97 kcal
• Protein: 2.2 gm
• Carbohydrate: 23.38 gm
• Fat: 0.7 gm
• Fibre: 10.4 gm
• Vitamin C: 30 mg
• Calcium: 12 mg
• Magnesium: 29 mg
• Sodium: 28 mg
(Courtesy: Arogyam)

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