Passion Fruit Health Benefits: An Amazing Fruit Rich in Iron

Before we get into the many passion fruit health benefits, let’s learn a little more about this fantastic fruit. Various species of the genus Passiflora provide edible fruit, all very aromatic with a tart flavor. The most widespread and utilized are those known as passion fruit, also called granadilla.

There are two primary varieties of passion fruit, which are different only in color and taste:

  • Passiflora edulis, edulis variety: It is purple, and its pulp has a refreshing bittersweet taste.
  • Passiflora edulis, flavicarpa variety: It is yellow with a more acid, less sweet flavor than the purple variety.

There is considerable confusion regarding the name each variety has in different parts of the world. Hence, the best way of describing them is to identify them by their color, purple or yellow. Although the composition, properties, and clinical indications described below refer specifically to the purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis, edulis variety), they may be applied with minor differences to the yellow flavicarpa type.

passion fruit health benefits
The purple passion fruit has somewhat wrinkled skin and deep purple color when it is ripe.

Passion Fruit Nutritional Facts

The passion fruit pulp is gelatinous and very aromatic. The following nutrients stand out:

Sugars – Although they may not seem so because of their acid taste, they contain a considerable amount of sugar (13 percent), consisting of almost equal parts of glucose, fructose, and saccharose.

Proteins – With 2.2 percent, it is one of the most protein-rich fresh fruits.

Iron – This is possibly the most iron fresh fruit (1.6 mg/100 grams), followed far back by the quince (0.7 mg), lemon (0.6 mg), raspberry (0.57 mg), and cherimoya (0.5 mg). Passion fruit surpasses even an egg’s iron content (1.41 mg) and is close to that of meat (about 2 mg per 100 grams). Even though this iron is nonheme of vegetable origin and is absorbed with more incredible difficulty than that of animal origin, the simultaneous presence of vitamin C in the passion fruit significantly enhances the absorption of this mineral.

glass of passion fruit beverage
How to Extract Passion Fruit Juice
1. Remove the pulp with a spoon.
2. Strain it to remove the seeds
3. Blend it to a homogenous consistency.

Other minerals – Passion fruit is rich in magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium.

Vitamin – One hundred grams of passion fruit pulp provides 30 mg of vitamin C, half of the RDA (Recommended dietary allowance). It also contains provitamin A, vitamin B2, B6, and E, and niacin and folic acid.

Organic acids – Citric acid predominantly, but malic acid, lactic acid, malonic acid, and succinic acid are also present. The total of all acids is around 3.4 percent in the purple passion fruit and 4 percent in the yellow. Despite being rather acid-rich, it increases the blood’s alkalinity and metabolism in general.

green passion fruit on the vine

Fiber – Passion fruit pulp is one of the wealthiest vegetable products in soluble fiber (pectin and mucilage), which, compared to the insoluble fiber of grain bran, does not contain phytic acid and, as a result, does not interfere with iron absorption.

Aromatic non-nutritive substances – The pleasant aroma of the passion fruit is due to the combination of more than one hundred chemical substances. The slightly soothing effect of this fruit may be due to some of these aromatic substances, which are present in much higher concentrations in the passion flower’s leaves and blossoms (Passiflora incarnata L.) used as a medicinal plant.

Passion Fruit Health Benefits

yellow passion fruit sliced open with whole one in the background
The yellow passion fruit is also appreciated for its delicate flavor. It is ripe when the skin is somewhat wrinkled and has a deep yellow color.

The pulp and the juice from the passion fruit are refreshing, stimulate the digestive function, and are mildly sedating, although their most important medicinal use is as an anti-anemic. Here are the main passion fruit therapeutic health benefits:

Iron deficiency anemia – Due to its very high iron content and the vitamin C that enables the absorption of this mineral, passion fruit is superb for anemics.

Constipation – The gelatinous pulp, and to a lesser degree, the juices made from it, exercise a mild laxative action and protect the lining of the intestine.

Nervousness and anxiety – Even though its sedating effect is much milder than the leaves and blossoms of the passion flower, it is appropriate for those wishing to relax the nervous system.

Passion Fruit Scientific Facts

passion fruit blossom and leaves
The blossoms and leaves of the passion flower, another species of the same genus as the passion fruit, are used in phytotherapy because of their sedative and somniferous effect.
  1. Scientific name: Passiflora edulis Sims.
  2. Other names: Granadilla, Wild watermelon.
  3. French: Grenadille.
  4. Spanish: Fruta de la pasión, Pasionaria, Maracuyá.
  5. German: Passionsfrucht.
  6. Description: Fruit of different varieties of a climbing plant of the botanical family Passifloraceae. It is approximately the size and shape of an egg. Its color varies according to type, from purple to yellow. It has a gelatinous pulp full of black seeds.
  7. Environment: Passion fruit is raised in tropical regions, preferably at some altitude (400 to 2000 meters). Brazil is perhaps the largest producer, followed by Venezuela, Columbia, and all of Central America.
How to Prepare and use Passion Fruit
  1. Fresh – The gelatinous pulp is eaten with a spoon using the peel as a bowl. Separating the seeds from the pulp in the mouth is somewhat inconvenient.
  2. Juice – The pulp is filtered through a strainer, then placed in a blender.
  3. As a complents that gives an exotic note to fruit dishes and a variety of fresh or frozen desserts.

REFERENCES

George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 133, 134. Print.

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