Pleasantly sweet and tart, passion fruit or granadilla is rich in health benefiting plant nutrients. Botanically this exotic fruit belongs to the family of Passifloraceae, of the genus Passiflora. Scientific name: Passiflora edulis.
Passions are native to subtropical wild regions of South America probably originated in Paraguay. The plant is an avid climber (vine) which grows on anything it can grab through tendrils.
The passiflora plant requires well-drained fertile soil and good moisture to flourish. It grows quickly and reaches about 15-20 feet per annum once established. Its average life span is about 5-7 years.
Over five hundred cultivate types exist; however, two main type purple and yellow passion fruits are widely cultivated. During each season, the vine bears greenish-white fragrant flowers. The fruit features round to oval shape, 4 to 8 centimeters in diameter, have a tough shell mangosteen-like rind. Average weight is about 35-50 g.
Inside, the fruit consists of membranous sacs containing light orange-colored, pulpy juice with numerous small, hard, dark-brown or black, pitted seeds. Yellow passions are generally larger than the purple varieties, but the pulp of the purple fruit is less acid, richer in aroma and flavor, and has a higher proportion of juicy pulp.
Health benefits of passion fruit
* Delicious, passion fruit is rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber. 100 g fruit contains about 97 calories.
* The fruit is a very good source of dietary fiber. 100 g fruit pulp contains 10.4 g or 27% of fiber. Good fiber in the diet helps remove cholesterol from the body. In addition dietary insoluble fiber by acting as a bulk laxative helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxic substances
in the colon as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
* Passion fruit is good in vitamin C, providing about 30 mg per 100 g. Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
* The fruit contains very good levels of vitamin-A (provides about 1274 IU per 100 g), and flavonoid antioxidants such as β-carotene and cryptoxanthin-β. Current research studies suggest that these compounds have antioxidant properties, and along with vitamin A are essential for good eye-sight.
* Vitamin A is also required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A, and flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
* Fresh granadilla is very rich in potassium. 100 g fruit pulp has about 348 mg of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cells and body fluids, and helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
* Furthermore, granadilla is a very good source of minerals. Iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus are present in adequate amounts in the fruit.