Last Updated on October 12, 2020
The passion fruit was given its name as an ode to the suffering or passion of Christ. There are many cultivars of Passiflora vines with blossoms, ranging from shallow saucer-like shape to a tubular trumpet-like form.
From the ovary grows many thread-like membranes forming a corona, which is said to represent the crown of Christ. From the beautiful and aromatic flowers bear the fruit. With over 500 cultivars, only two are popularly grown for its edible fruit.
There are two types of passion fruit, the yellow and the purple fruit. The fruit exterior is a shiny and waxy husk with white specks. When sliced open, it immediately gives off a very pleasing, sweet, and tarty scent.
It contains hundreds of tiny globular sacs filled with juice and a pitted black or brown seed. The yellow passion fruit is sweet and less sour than the purple one.
They’re almost always as big as chicken eggs, but some unique varieties can grow as heavy as seven to eight pounds.
Passion fruit is also known as granadilla in some countries. It’s believed that it originally came from Paraguay. Today, it’s found in tropical and subtropical climates. It’s widely grown in South America, Asia, Australia, and Africa.
Looking at its macronutrients, the bulk of carbohydrates come from soluble dietary fiber than sugar, which is a very good sign of a healthy fruit. It’s low in fat and calories. It doesn’t have any cholesterol nor sodium.
Good Source of Iron and Vitamin C
A hundred gram serving of passion fruit guarantees you 20% of your daily iron needs. Iron is a mineral that the body can’t forego. It boosts the immune system, produces hemoglobin and red blood cells, and metabolizes protein.
Hemoglobin is found in the blood and carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body and the brain. It also carries carbon dioxide back to the lungs. This is why iron deficiency could lead to anemia and general fatigue.
People with iron deficiency anemia exhibit the following symptoms: weakness, paleness, breathlessness, dizziness, pica or the craving for non-food or non-nutritious items, tongue swelling, and tingling of the legs.
The type of iron found in passion fruit is the non-heme iron, or plant-based iron. Non-heme iron absorption can be affected by the types of food you consume.
Calcium and phosphate-rich food, and some types of polyphenols can decrease the amount of non-heme iron that’s absorbed by the body. To increase its effectivity, iron needs to be paired with vitamin C so that it will be fully absorbed by the body.
The good thing is that there is more vitamin C than there is calcium and polyphenols in passion fruit combined. You can be assured that the iron in passion fruit won’t go to waste. It will be fully absorbed and put to use by the body.
About half of your daily vitamin C needs is in 100 grams of Passion fruit. This is a good thing because vitamin C is one of the essential vitamins needed by the body. We need an external source of vitamin C because it can’t be produced in our own body.
Vitamin C plays a big role in making the body stay strong and healthy, in fighting common illnesses, serious diseases, and free radicals, and in inhibiting inflammation.
Protects Vital Organs with Soluble
For such a little fruit, it packs a lot of soluble dietary fiber. A hundred gram serving of passion fruit already contains 27% of your dietary fiber needs for the day! We all know that fiber is essential for digestion and for the health of the gastrointestinal tract. It helps regulate the digestive acids and digestive flora, and helps with motility.
It’s not just the gastro-digestive system that benefits from fiber. A growing number of observational findings have shown a link between a lower number of coronary heart disease among subjects with diets involving high fiber food versus baseline subjects.
Soluble fiber attaches itself to bile salts and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or the bad cholesterol, and carries them out of your body before they are thoroughly absorbed. Bile salts are mostly made of cholesterol.
Its main function is to aid digestion and eliminate waste products. It is produced in the liver. For more bile to be produced, cholesterol must be used again. So this cycle ends in lowering the cholesterol level in the body.
This then helps and protects the liver, cardiovascular system, and digestive system.
Soluble fiber produces a hypoglycemic effect of lowering blood sugar or preventing a spike in blood sugar. This is why passion fruit, even with its sugar content, has a low glycemic index.
Soluble fiber is easily dissolved in water and turns into gel during digestion. It envelops food or makes it thicker, which slows down digestion.
When digestion is slowed down, less glucose is taken from food and absorbed into the body. Glucose must be regulated as much as possible to avoid constant fluctuations in energy and blood sugar.
This also means that food stays longer in the intestine, which prolongs the feeling of fullness. Regulated blood sugar and prolonged fullness is very good for people who are already diabetics or are obese.
It also help the pancreas and kidneys when it comes to insulin regulation.
All these processes aided by soluble fiber are also protective and preventative measures for the whole cardiovascular, digestive, renal, and excretory system. People who want to lose weight are recommended to increase their soluble fiber intake for these same reasons.
Phytonutrients and Vitamin A
While phytonutrients are not essential to the body because we don’t produce food via photosynthesis, our body can still benefit from some functions improved by phytonutrients. Passion fruit contains both beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.
They both contribute to healthy vision and lowers the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, vision impairment, and glaucoma. Both phytonutrients are strong anti-oxidants. Beta-cryptoxanthin has an anabolic effect on bones and muscles. This means that it builds or synthesizes proteins to help build bones and muscles.
The two phytonutrients are precursors of vitamin A. Passion fruit is already rich in this vitamin, and provides about 40 to 43% of your daily recommended intake per 100 grams. When the body gets enough vitamin A, it can scavenge for free and unpaired radicals which can cause further cell damage and premature aging.
And like the two phytonutrients mentioned, it preserves vision, boosts immunity, and aids in bone growth.
A serving of 100 grams of passion fruit consumed contains the following macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients:
- 97 Kcal of energy
- 23.38 grams of carbohydrates
- 2.20 grams of protein
- 0.70 gram of fat
- 10.40 grams of dietary fiber
- 14 μg of folates
- 1.500 mg of niacin
- 0.100 mg of pyridoxine
- 0.130 mg of riboflavin
- 1274 IU of Vitamin A
- 30 mg of Vitamin C
- 0.02 μg of Vitamin E
- 0.7 mg of Vitamin K
- 348 mg of potassium
- 12 mg of calcium
- 0.086 mg of copper
- 1.60 mg of iron
- 29 mg of magnesium
- 68 mg of phosphorus
- 0.6 µg of selenium
- 0.10 mg of zinc
- 743 µg of Carotene-ß
- 41 µg of Crypto-xanthin-ß
Including Passion Fruit in Your Diet
Passion fruit may seem too exotic for some with its unusual texture and tarty flavor. For first-time eaters, they may either love it or hate it. If you are one of the latter, we urge you to try it again. Passion fruit is usually consumed fresh and raw by opening the pod and scooping the fleshy seeds out with a spoon.
Other ways to eat passion fruit are:
- Using passion fruit as a topping on desserts
- Adding passion fruit on salads or salad dressings
- Using the extract to flavor whipped cream, sherbet, and ice cream
- Adding passion fruit to fruit juices, water, cocktails, and smoothies
- Squeezing the fruit’s flesh through a strainer if you do not want to ingest the seeds
People with latex allergies are strongly advised against passion fruit. The latex-fruit syndrome is an allergic reaction to fruits and seeds that have the same chemical composition or contain some traces of latex.
Passion fruit is a very good source of vitamins A and C, soluble dietary fiber, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These nutrients prevent against many common sickness and illnesses. It may even protect your most vital organs and maintain a healthy lipid profile.
If you wish to incorporate more fruits in your diet, why don’t you consider passion fruit? Together with other healthy foods and an active lifestyle, you will be able to live a longer, healthier, and a happier life. Wouldn’t you also want that for your family? You can share a bowl of this healthy fruit with them every day!