Also known as Granadilla, passion fruit is an aromatic fruit with a sweet tart flavor. This fruit is native to the subtropical regions of South America and is said to have originated in Paraguay (1). Passion fruits are round to oval in shape with a soft to firm juicy interior, filled with numerous seeds. There are generally two main varieties of passion fruit, yellow and purple. Yellow fruits are generally larger than the purple ones but the pulp of the purple fruit is less acidic and has a richer aroma and flavor. Moreover, the purple fruit has a higher proportion of juicy pulp. Passion fruit plant is a climber which can grow on anything as it can grab through tendrils. This fruit can be eaten as it is or it can be juiced. Its juice is often added to other fruit juices to enhance their aroma.
This exotic fruit has amazing healing properties and its aroma has a strong calming effect. Being low in fat and an extraordinary source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, dietary fiber, potassium, carbohydrates and proteins, passion fruit can fulfill almost all the dietary needs on a daily basis. Even its seeds are edible and highly nutritious.
Types of Passion Fruits:
There are various types of passion fruits depending upon the type of cultivar. These are available at different places. Some of the common types are given below (2).
- Purple Passion Fruit: This is one of the most common varieties which feature tiny globular or ovoid fruits, about 4 to 9 centimeters in length and 4 to 7 centimeters in diameter. They have a breakable pericarp and a darkish yellow pulp which occupies 35 to 50% of the fruit’s weight. It has its origin in Southern Brazil, Northern Argentina and Paraguay.
- Yellow Passion Fruit: Yellow passion fruit is more energetic in comparison to the purple variety. These fruits are spherical to oblong and have a smooth yellow surface. Their pericarp is tougher and they are larger with a length of 6 to 12 centimeters and diameter of 4 to 7 centimeters. They are comparatively less savory and a little more acidic.
- Sweet Passion Fruit: Also known as sweet granadilla, this fruit is widely found in Mexico, Bolivia and Venezuela. The fruits are spherical to ovoid in shape measuring 5 to 9 centimeters in length and 4 to 7 centimeters in diameter. Its pericarp is slim and breakable, pale brown to orange and often violet in color with little pale spots or blotches. It has a pale grey pulp which is fragrant and somewhat acidulous.
- Giant Passion Fruit: This fruit has its origin in the West Indies. It is yellowish green and sometimes pinkish in color. It is ovoid to oblong in shape measuring about 20 to 30 centimeters in length and 18 centimeters in diameter. It has a pale white to orangey pulp which is sweet and acidulous.
- Banana Passion Fruit: This is basically an oblong fruit measuring about 6 to 20 centimeters in length and 3 to 5 centimeters in diameter. It has a pale yellow and sometimes green pericarp which is thin and versatile yet leathery. Its pulp is salmon pink to dark orange in color and occupies 60% of the fruit’s weight. It has a lower level of acidity and a pleasant fragrance with astringent qualities.
Health Benefits of Passion Fruit:
Being packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, this exotic fruit boasts of several health benefits given below.
1. Anti-cancer Properties:
Passion fruit extracts have been proven to be effective in killing cancer cells. The carotenoids and polyphenols found in the fruit are powerful antioxidants that can inhibit cancer cell growth (3).
2. Promotes Relaxation and Cures Insomnia:
Drinking a glass of cold passion fruit juice relaxes your nerves and has a calming effect on your mind. Passion fruit is often used to cure digestive problems and gastric diseases. This fruit is particularly beneficial for people with insomnia or sleeping disorders (4). It possesses somniferous properties, which when taken before going to bed, help you to relax and have a peaceful sleep. A glass of passion fruit juice before going to bed is quite effective in this regard.
3. Good for Digestive Health:
Passion fruit has a high content of fiber which is good for digestive health and for keeping the digestive tract and intestines clean. Thus, it acts as a mild laxative. The seeds of this fruit are also a great source of fiber which helps to cleanse the colon and improve digestion (5).
4. Relieves Asthma:
Being highly nutritious and healthy, passion fruit can soothe asthma attacks. Moreover, it contains Vitamin C which has a blocking effect of histamine that causes asthma symptoms. A recent study has proved that the purple passion fruit extract, being rich in flavonoids, can ease wheezing (6).
5. Relieves Osteoarthritis:
Purple passion fruit extract has been proven to be beneficial in reducing osteoarthritis induced pain and stiffness (7).
6. Helpful in Curing Anemia:
Anemia is caused due to reduced concentrations of red blood cells or hemoglobin. Passion fruit, being a rich source of non-heme or plant-based iron can help combat this problem. A cup of raw passion fruit provides nearly 4 milligrams of iron. The daily requirement is 6 micrograms for men and 8.1 micrograms for women. Besides, the Vitamin C in passion fruit helps the body soak up its iron content (8).
7. Cardiovascular Health:
The phenolic acids and flavonoids present in passion fruit help in protecting your heart. The polyphenols found in passion fruit seeds have been found to promote vasorelaxation i.e. extending of blood vessels as a result of relaxation of smooth muscle cells inside the blood vessel walls. This extension of blood vessels causes a reduction in vascular stress, thus promoting heart health. It also contains plant sterols that help in lowering the cholesterol levels, thus contributing to cardiovascular benefits (9).
8. Beneficial for Weight Loss:
This fruit is a great choice for dieters as it is low in calories, sodium and fat. A 100 gram serving of passion fruit provides just 97 calories. It also has a high content of carbohydrates and natural sugars. These nutrients are effective in reducing cholesterol levels in the body (10). High fiber content, on the other hand, fills you up, thereby reducing your cravings for other foods. This results in weight loss and maintenance of ideal body weight.
9. Benefits of Fruit Seeds:
The seeds of passion fruit are 100% edible and have a crunchy taste. These seeds are highly nutritious, thus providing various health benefits such as antioxidant protection and maintenance of healthy cardiovascular and intestinal systems. They are rich in polyphenolic compounds like piceatannol and scirpusin B as well as dietary fiber and magnesium (11).
10. Other Benefits:
Passion fruit is a great source of Vitamins C and A. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, thus protecting the body from various types of cancers and heart diseases. Vitamin A improves vision, protects from numerous ailments and fights infections. The flower of passion fruit is a mild sedative that helps in the treatment of nervous and easily excited children, bronchial asthma, nervous gastrointestinal disorders and menopausal problems. Passion fruit is also beneficial in curing chronic allergy symptoms and facilitates the recovery of patients’ liver and kidney as well as triggers immune enhancement and the strength of antibodies in the blood (12).
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Skin Benefits of Passion Fruit:
Passion fruit contains a wide array of nutrients which are beneficial for your skin. Passion fruit oil extracted from the seeds of passion fruit is often used in skincare. It is rich in Vitamins A and C, fatty acids, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and carotenoids which are vital for healthy skin.
11. Anti-ageing Benefits:
Passion fruit has a high content of Vitamin C and other antioxidants which slow down the damage caused by free radicals which cause skin ageing. It also helps preserve collagen and elastin, thus keeping your skin youthful and firm (13).
12. Skin Protection:
Passion fruit provides protection against the cancer-causing agents, thus protecting your skin from the DNA-damaging free radicals (14).
13. Moisturizes your Skin:
Passion fruit oil is light and non-greasy, so it gets absorbed by the skin quickly (15). It moisturizes all types of skin and is great for acne–prone skin as well due to its non-clogging moisturizing action.
14. Rejuvenates Skin:
Passion fruit is a great source of Vitamin A in the form of carotenoids, which is vital for cell growth and repair. Passion fruit oil also contains several phytochemicals that help the body produce Vitamin A, which also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (16).
15. Soothes Skin Inflammation:
Passion fruit has anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial for reducing swelling and irritation (17).
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Hair Benefits of Passion Fruit:
Proper nutrition is inevitable for hair growth and health. Passion fruit is rich in vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals which promote healthy hair and scalp.
16. Combats Hair Loss:
Passion fruit is rich in Vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant. This vitamin is involved in the creation of collagen, which prevents your hair from splitting and breaking. It also protects the body from free radical damage, thereby eliminating external deterrents that can cause stress and imbalances, leading to hair loss.
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Nutritional Value of Passion Fruit:
Passion fruit has a rich nutritional profile comprising of energy, fat, fiber, protein, minerals, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid and citric acid. Its nutritional value makes it a healthy and delicious food.
Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) Nutritive Value per 100 g.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.70 g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber||10.40 g||27%|
|Vitamin A||1274 IU||43%|
|Vitamin C||30 mg||50%|
|Vitamin E||0.02 µg||<1%|
|Vitamin K||0.7 mg||0.5%|
* Source: USDA National Nutrient data base
- Calories: Passion fruit is low in calories with a 100 gram serving providing about 97 calories. Its low caloric content makes it an ideal diet food.
- Vitamins: Passion fruit contains high doses of Vitamins C and A. A 100 grams serving of passion fruit provides 30 mg of Vitamin C and 1275 IU of Vitamin A.
- Fiber and Protein: This fruit is a very good source of dietary fiber. A cup of passion fruit with pulp and seeds provides 24.5 grams of fiber which is equivalent to more than 4 cups of bran cereal and around 5 grams of protein. On removal of the seeds and pulp, the fiber content drops to 0.5 grams per cup and protein content drops to below 1 gram.
- Carotenoids: Passion fruit contains 13 different carotenoids including zeta-, beta-, and alpha-carotene, b-cryptoxanthin and lycopene. These are non-nutritive phytochemicals that help your body produce Vitamin A. A cup of passion fruit contains about 25% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Since the carotenoids are fat soluble, eating the seeds of passion fruit moderately increases its fat content but enables better absorption of Vitamin A.
- Iron: Passion fruit is a great source of non-heme or plant-based iron. The recommended daily allowance of iron is 6 micrograms and 8.1 micrograms for men and women respectively. A cup of raw passion fruit provides nearly 4 milligrams of iron. Moreover, the high Vitamin C content helps your body absorb its iron content.
- Potassium: Passion fruit is also a good source of potassium. A 100 grams serving of this fruit provides about 348 milligram of potassium. This mineral maintains heart function, blood flow and pressure in the body.
- Antioxidants: Passion fruit is rich in both water and fat soluble antioxidants, the most important being beta-carotene, Vitamin C and folate. One cup of passion fruit provides about 71 milligram of Vitamin C which is sufficient to meet the daily requirement and 10% of the daily requirement of folate. Being water soluble nutrients, Vitamin C and folate become depleted after harvest. Thus, freshly picked passion fruits are more nutritious than their stored or transported counterparts.
Have you tried passion fruit? If not, considering its health benefits, would you like to try it?