A delicious fruit with a fragile shell, there are plenty of benefits of granadilla. Besides flavor, why do you reach for this fruit?
Passion fruit, booger fruit—no matter how you prefer to call it, the sweet granadilla is one of those exotic Peruvian fruits first time visitors have to try. Not only are the nutritional benefits of granadilla plenty, but it’s also an incredibly fun species of Passiflora to eat.
The palm-sized yellow pod can be cracked open to reveal a blob of juicy seeds nested inside the fruit’s fluffy white lining. For some, the mucus-like texture of the filling is (understandably) off putting however the incredible sweet taste more than makes up for it. Simply suck the pulp out straight from the shell. (Those who use a spoon will lose major street cred in any Peruvian city, or so we’ve heard.)
Grown in warm climates of south-central Peru, the sweet granadilla is easily found in markets throughout the country. So why add it to your diet? Here are 11 reasons:
1. Ideal for diabetics
With a low glycemic index (GI) value, eating a granadilla does not cause blood sugar levels to spike. This makes it a great alternative to fruit with high GI values, such as melon or pineapple.
2. Boosts immune system
Granadilla provides the body with essential vitamins such as A, B1, B2, B3, B9, C, E and K. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, is especially effective in building up a strong immune system.
3. Reduces anxiety
You may think that the pleasant flavor is the only reason this fruit makes you feel better, but it’s also because of the magnesium levels found in granadilla. The mineral has been linked to decreased levels of stress and anxiety. And let’s be honest: just the action of smashing one open could help release some pent up energy.
4. Increases blood cell count
The production of red and white blood cells is stimulated thanks to the iron, potassium and B vitamins found in granadilla. Healthy red blood cells are vital for combating anemia.
When eaten whole, the seeds of the fruit have a fiber content of approximately 1.9 grams. Fiber is crucial for gut health and preventing constipation. For young children, extract the fruit juice from the seeds by setting a strainer over a bowl or cup and pushing the seeds around with a spoon.
6. Natural relaxant
Acting as a mild sedative, the fruit is beneficial for those who suffer from insomnia. For a calming tea, brew the seeds of a granadilla along with manzanilla (chamomile).
7. Potassium powered
Bananas aren’t the only fruit with a kick of potassium. One granadilla provides about 63 mg of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and aid in muscle recovery.
8. Heart healthy
Show your heart some love by slurping up the tropical fruit’s pulp. The benefits include regulating the heart rate and blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
9. Rich in antioxidants
Just like a handful of blueberries, a granadilla provides antioxidant properties to help combat free radicals (which can damage cells). Consuming antioxidant-rich foods can also improve blood flow and prevent inflammation.
10. Helps absorb iron
Foods rich in Vitamin C help the body absorb iron from plant based food sources. For example, a granadilla dressing would be ideal for pairing with a spinach salad. Simply extract some of the juice (following steps mentioned in list number five) and mix with olive oil, vinegar, lemon and honey.
11. Easy on the eyes
The sunny hue of the fruit is a joy to look at, but did you know consuming the slimy pulp can also improve your vision? Granadilla contains vitamin A which helps prevent the eye cells from deteriorating.
These are just eleven benefits that the granadilla provides, but the flavor alone will have you wanting more.
Looking to snack on more nutritionally beneficial foods? Take a look at the benefits of mandarin oranges.
This is an updated version of an article originally published on June 17, 2015.