Passion Fruit Health Benefits and Usage

Passion fruit (Passiflora) is an oval or round-shaped fruit with a waxy and tough rind. The passion fruit comes in two varieties: yellow and purple. It’s loaded with beneficial antioxidants and fiber, making it a nutritious and unique treat enjoyed in many cultures across the globe. The fruit is a blossoming tropical vine that thrives in warm climates, including India, South Africa, Australia, and South America. The fruit contains lots of seeds and a soft pulp inside the hard rind. People eat the pulp and seeds or make juice.

Health Benefits

Passion fruit is packed with nutrients and fiber that promote optimal health and helps prevent diseases.

Regulates Blood Pressure

A full cup of the fruit contains 821mg of potassium. This is between 24% and 32% of the daily recommended intake for many adults. Technically, potassium increases the removal of sodium in the urine and this reduces blood pressure.

Also, potassium improves vasodilation or the body’s ability of arteries to expand and at the same time remain flexible. Eating vegetables or fruits containing high amounts of potassium, such as passion fruits, helps keep the blood pressure down, reducing the risk of kidney damage and stroke.[i]

Aids Weight Loss

Most plant-based diets have been associated with better weight loss results than the conventional modes of eating. Also, studies show that low-fat vegan diets are much more effective in aiding weight loss than eating foods with a high amount of fats.

The observation is most likely because of the high fiber content of the plant-based diet. The ability of fiber to boost satiety is a great benefit. Passion fruits are high in fiber and very low in fat and perfectly fit into a good eating plan geared to weight loss.[ii]

Prevents Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Iron-deficiency anemia produces different symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, poor immunity, or impaired cognitive function. Many people who eat a plant-based diet, such as vegans and vegetarians, sometimes find it difficult to maintain sufficient iron stores because plant sources are not easily absorbed.

Fortunately, plant foods contain high amounts of vitamin C, which largely improves iron bioavailability. One cup of passion fruit offers between 21% and 48% of the recommended iron intake. This extraordinary combination is great for reaching the expected blood levels.[iii]

Reduce Inflammation

As mentioned earlier, passion fruit contains high amounts of antioxidants with significant anti-inflammatory effects if taken as supplements. The potent anti-inflammatory effects can be very beneficial to people with osteoarthritis and asthma.

Improves The Immune System

The passion fruit contains vitamin C, a good antioxidant that helps protect the body from the damage that results from free radicals. Also, vitamin C improves the immune system by allowing the human body to absorb additional iron from plant-based foods and might enhance the body’s ability to fight off infections.

Supports Heart Health

The passion fruit contains potassium and is very low in sodium. If eaten with the seeds, the passion fruit contains fiber that can help remove excel cholesterol from blood vessels. High fiber foods can significantly reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease. Eating passion fruit might help control blood pressure. Diets that are rich in potassium and low in sodium help reduce blood pressure.

Nutrition Facts

USDA provides the nutrition details below for a one-cup serving of purple passion fruit.[iv]

  • Calories – 229
  • Protein – 5.2g
  • Sugars – 26.4g
  • Fiber – 24.5g
  • Carbohydrates – 55.2g
  • Sodium – 66mg
  • Fat – 1.7g

Carbs

The passion fruit gets most of its calories from carbs, with 55g total per cup serving. Of this, half comes from the fiber and the rest from the natural sugars. Consuming one cup of the passion fruit offers 24.5g of fiber, about 100% of the recommended daily intake. The fiber helps prevent the fruit’s glycemic index from being too high.[v]

Technically, passion fruits’ glycemic index is relatively low, ranging from 4.5 to 27.5. The glycemic load of the fruit is also very low, ranging from 08 to 5.2.

Fats

The passion fruit is very low in fat. A full cup only contains 2g.

Protein

The passion fruit only contains 5.2 g of protein.

Vitamins And Minerals

Passion fruit is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. Moreover, it provides some vitamin K, niacin, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, chlorine, and phosphorous.

Adverse Effects

The passion fruit has low cyanogenic glycoside levels, a toxin. The toxin is more concentrated in a passion fruit that isn’t ripe, but the toxin degrades as the fruit ripens. While this isn’t a major concern, you should avoid eating huge amounts of unripe passion fruits to limit exposure.[vi]

Allergies

Passion fruit allergies are usually associated with pollen, latex, and other fruit allergies. In case you have never eaten a passion fruit but you have been diagnosed with other allergies, you should consider taking the allergy test before eating the passion fruit. You should be mindful of all possible reactions, including anaphylaxis, weak pulse, dizziness, throat tightness, and hives. You should consult an allergist in case you suspect an allergic reaction to this fruit.[vii]

Varieties

There are about 550 species that belong to the Passifloraceae family. However, most of these species can’t survive in the United States because they can’t withstand the winter season. Passiflora edulis grows the popular fruit, which thrives in the temperate regions of California.[viii]

Different types of fruit range in shape and size, from a tennis ball to an egg. The color ranges from yellow to purple. Some species are more fragrant or sweeter than others.

History

The passion fruit is indigenous to Brazil through northern Argentina and Paraguay. Passion fruits are grown commercially in sub-tropical and tropical areas for the seedy, sweet fruit. The fruit is oval or round, either dark purple or yellow at maturity, with a firm to a soft, juicy interior that’s filled with lots of seeds. The fruit can be eaten or juiced. Its juice can also be added to other juices to improve the aroma.

The fruit was given the name ‘passion’ by missionaries in Brazil trying to convert the locals to Christianity. Initially, the fruit was named ‘flor das Cinco Chagas.’ The passion fruit is perennial vines, whose tendrils are produced in the leaf axils and have a purple or red shade when young. The yellow fruited and purple fruited are the two main varieties.

Different varieties of passion fruit have differing characteristics. The bright yellow type, popularly known as golden or yellow passion, can develop to the size of a grapefruit, has an airy, light, glossy, and smooth rind. The passion fruit is commonly grown in semitropical and tropical regions across the globe. In the United States, it’s widely grown in California, Hawaii, and Florida.

How To Prepare

To eat, cut the passion fruit in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. You can use a blender to make juice. The seeds are soft and large, so it should also be easy to press them via a fine strainer to extract the passion fruit juice. Pressing the passion fruit seeds via a sieve or cheesecloth turns the passion fruit juice into syrup.

You can add the fruit to vegetable or fruit salads, grain bowls, and yogurt dishes. The seeds of a passion fruit make a fascinating decorative addition to non-alcoholic beverages, frozen treats, and cocktails. In Australia, the passion fruit is topped with sugar and cream, while in Mexico, the whole fruit is prepared with chili pepper and lime.

Storage Tips And Safety

A passion fruity can be kept safely for 2 to 4 weeks. It ripens very fast in warmer temperatures. If refrigerated, the passion fruit can last for up to one month. Wash the fruit before cutting it into pieces. Once cut, use plastic wrap to cover the fruit and store it in a refrigerator.

FAQs

When is passion fruit best?

Because passion fruit is grown across the globe, it can be found all year round. If you cannot find the passion fruit in a supermarket, you might find it in the Asian grocer. The passion fruit grows in human temperatures of between 68 and 82 degrees. After the fruit has ripened from green to purple or yellow, it can be harvested. Instead of getting picked from a vine, the passion fruit is usually collected after it drops to the ground.

How to buy passion fruit?

Choose a passion fruit that's plump, large, and heavy. Look for the dark purple shell that is shriveled and dimpled, indicating that the fruit is ripe. You should keep off from underripe passion fruits.

Can a passion fruit go bad?

Yes, like many other fruits, passion fruits will go bad over a period of time. After its harvested, the fruit slowly ripens before ultimately going bad. This gives you enough time to eat or use them before throwing them away.

How many passion fruits can you eat in a day?

It's recommended that you only take 33.6 grams for men and 28 grams for women between the ages of 19 and 30, respectively. Research shows that many Americans get about 16 grams. Consuming passion fruits regularly can help improve digestion, prevent constipation, and overall health.

Why are passion fruits expensive?

The main reason a passion fruit is expensive is that it's a finicky crop, and in most cases, it has to be exported. Moreover, it takes about two years from the time it's planted to maturity and getting ready for harvesting.

Do passion fruits make you feel sleepy?

The juice and especially the leaves of the fruit contain alkaloids, including Harman, that play a significant role in helping lower blood pressure. The flowers have a mild sedative and might help induce sleep.

Do passion fruits help one lose weight?

If you want to lose weight, you should consider eating the fruit whole. The passion fruit can be eaten alone, used as a filling or topping for desserts, or even added to drinks.

 

Sources

  1. [i] Potassium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 2020.
  2. [ii] Kahleova H, Dort S, Holubkov R, Barnard ND. A plant-based high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in overweight individuals in a 16-week randomized clinical trial: The role of carbohydrates. Nutrients. 2018;10(9). doi:10.3390/nu10091302
  3. [iii] Iron: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 2020.
  4. [iv] Passion-fruit, (granadilla), purple, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
  5. [v] Passos T, Sampaio H, Sabry M, Melo M, Coelho M, Lima J. Glycemic index and glycemic load of tropical fruits and the potential risk for chronic diseases. Food Science and Technology (Campinas). 2015;35(1):66-73. doi:10.1590/1678-457x.6449
  6. [vi] Passionfruit – Passiflora edulis, P. edulis flavicarpa. Growables, Grow Florida Edibles. Updated 2019.
  7. [vii] Allergenic Food and Allergens. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Food Allergy Research and Resource Program. Updated 2014.
  8. [viii] Vieth R. Passion Fruit. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Updated 2020.