Guavas are tropical trees originating in Central America. Their fruits are oval in shape with light green or yellow skin and contain edible seeds. What’s more, guava leaves are used as an herbal tea and the leaf extract as a supplement. Guava fruits are amazingly rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. This remarkable nutrient content gives them many health benefits. Here are 8 evidence-based health benefits of guava fruits and leaves.
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1. May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Some evidence suggests that guava can improve blood sugar control. Several test-tube and animal studies found that guava leaf extract improved blood sugar levels, long-term blood sugar control, and insulin resistance. This is good news for people with diabetes or those at risk. A few studies involving humans have also shown impressive results. One study in 19 people noted that drinking guava leaf tea lowered blood sugar levels after a meal. The effects lasted up to two hours.
Another study in 20 people with type 2 diabetes found that drinking guava leaf tea reduced blood sugar levels after a meal by more than 10%.
2. May Boost Heart Health
Guavas may help boost heart health in a number of ways. Many scientists believe that the high levels of antioxidants and vitamins in guava leaves may help protect your heart from damage by free radicals. The higher levels of potassium and soluble fiber in guavas are also thought to contribute to improved heart health. Additionally, guava leaf extract has been linked to lower blood pressure, a decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol, and a rise in “good” HDL cholesterol. Since high blood pressure and high levels of LDL cholesterol are linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke, taking guava leaf extract could lead to valuable benefits. What’s more, the fruit may have benefits for heart health as well.
A 12-week study in 120 people found that eating ripe guava before meals caused an overall decrease in blood pressure by 8–9 points, a reduction in total cholesterol by 9.9%, and an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol by 8%.
3. May Help Relieve Painful Symptoms of Menstruation
Many women experience dysmenorrhea — painful symptoms of menstruation, such as stomach cramps. However, there is some evidence that guava leaf extract may reduce the pain intensity of menstrual cramps. A study in 197 women who experienced painful symptoms found that taking 6 mg of guava leaf extract daily resulted in reduced pain intensity. It appeared to be even more powerful than some painkillers. Guava leaf extract is also thought to help relieve uterine cramps.
4. May Benefit Your Digestive System
Guavas are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Therefore, eating more guavas may aid healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation. Just one guava can provide 12% of your recommended daily intake of fiber. Additionally, guava leaf extract may benefit digestive health. Studies suggest that it may reduce the intensity and duration of diarrhea. Several studies have also shown that guava leaf extract is antimicrobial. This means that it can neutralize harmful microbes in your gut that can cause diarrhea.
5. May Aid Weight Loss
Guavas are a weight-loss-friendly food. With only 37 calories in one fruit and 12% of your recommended daily fiber intake, they are a filling, low-calorie snack. Unlike some other low-calorie snacks, they are packed with vitamins and minerals — so you aren’t losing out on important nutrients.