Although nearing the end of summer means a lot of our favorite produce options are no longer at their peak freshness, there’s one tasty treat that’s just about to enter its prime: guava! On top of its scrumptious flavor, this tropical fruit happens to be filled with nutrients that can help with losing weight, balancing blood sugar, and boosting heart health.
Guavas are native to Central America and can also be found growing in warm climates here in the US like Florida, Hawaii, and southern California. The main seasons for harvesting are August to October and again from February to March. Their sweet taste is often described as a mix of strawberry and pear, which makes them an amazing choice for blending into smoothies, baking into desserts, or enjoying as a snack on their own.
With just 37 calories in one guava, they’re a particularly great choice for anyone trying to shed a few pounds. You’ll also be chowing down on 125 milligrams of vitamin C — about twice as much as you get from an orange! Other helpful nutrients include 3 grams of fiber, a little over a gram of protein, 10 milligrams of calcium, 12 milligrams of magnesium, 229 milligrams of potassium, 205 micrograms of beta-carotene, and a whopping 2,860 micrograms of lycopene. There are only about 8 grams of carbs and 5 grams of sugar, so you don’t have to worry about going overboard on those, either.
We all know vitamin C is wonderful for our immune systems, but getting more of it can help us slim down our waistlines. Meanwhile, gut-healing fiber and anti-aging magnesium will aid with weight loss, too. The dash of protein will give us a nudge toward keeping our muscles strong, along with potassium and calcium fortifying our bones. Don’t overlook the beta-carotene and lycopene, either — both of which work to improve our eyes, brain, and skin.
Aside from being a nutrient-rich and low-calorie snack, research has found that eating a ripe guava before meals helped participants knock eight to nine points off their blood pressure numbers. They credit the ample amount of potassium and fiber in the fruit for this heart-healthy benefit.
Even the leaves on guavas have impressive perks: One study found that the high level of antioxidants in extract from the leaves can protect our hearts from free radicals. Another study claims they can promote better long-term blood sugar balance and insulin resistance.
Of course, that goes with the anti-cancer properties provided by most antioxidants. Promising research even found that guava leaf extract was more effective at halting the growth of cancer cells than prescription drugs, but more studies need to be done.
There’s a good chance you can find fresh guava at your local grocery stores and farmer’s markets (especially if you live in a warm region). Sipping on guava juice will give you the same benefits, but just make sure it doesn’t include a lot of added sugar. We like this one by Ceres Juices that adds a dash of pear to the blend (Buy on Amazon, $9.71).
The leaf extract is easy to find online, too, we like the Herbal Goodness Guava Leaf Liquid Extract (Buy on Amazon, $24.95). Whichever way you go, getting more of this amazing fruit in our lives is clearly a smart idea!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.