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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Information & Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

This fruit is native to subtropical wild regions of South America, probably originated in Paraguay. Its plant is an avid climber (a type of vine) which grows on anything (for support) and is a shallow-rooted vine that climbs by means of tendrils.

The passiflora plant requires well-drained fertile soil and good moisture to flourish, especially with abundant sunlight. It grows quickly and reaches about 15-20 feet per annum once matured. Its average life span is about 5-7 years. Although there are many varieties in this fruit, but ... only two main types i.e. the purple and yellow colored varieties are widely cultivated. The passion fruit features round to oval shape, about 4 to 8 centimeters in diameter. It has a tough outer shell (rind) and could weigh between  35-50 gm per fruit, averagely. .

Inside this fruit, it contains membranous sacs that are light orange in color, comprising of small, hard, dark-brown or black, pitted seeds. The yellow variety is generally larger than the purple type. But, the pulp of the purple fruit is said to be less acidic and also, richer in aroma and flavor, including a higher proportion of juicy pulp.

Health benefits
  • A rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber (100 gm fruit contains about 97 calories);

  • A good source of dietary fiber (100 gm fruit pulp contains 10.4 gm, or 27% of fiber. This is good in helping to remove cholesterol from the body. Otherwise, insoluble fiber can act as a bulk laxative that helps to protect the colon mucous membrane, especially from any cancer-causing chemicals that are derived from a person's diet;

  • It is good in Vitamin C (about 30 mg per 100 gm). Thus, regular consumption of this fruit, which is rich in vitamin C, will help the body to develop better resistance against flu-like infectious agents (virus) and harmful free radicals;

  • It contains a good level of Vitamin A (about 1274 IU per 100 gm) and flavonoid antioxidants, such as β-carotene and cryptoxanthin-β. The later compounds are known to have strong antioxidant properties, which are beneficial for good eye-sight, lung and oral cavity cancers.

  • It is also rich in potassium (100 gm fruit pulp = about 348 mg of potassium). Potassium is an important component of cells and body fluids that also helps to regulate heart rate and blood pressure;

  • Its granadilla is a good source of minerals, namely; iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.

    Today, the pulps of passion fruit are widely processed to make delicious fruity juices, including a whole range of other uses namely; fruit jam, yoghurt, toppings for cakes and also in the manufacturing of soap, shampoo, aromatic fragrance agent and even body lotion etc.