Passion fruit is a tropical fruit that is named after its flower, the Passiflora vine. It is a berry native to South American countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and grows on passion flower vines (1). Today, it is grown in most tropical and certain subtropical countries.
It is sweet and tangy, highly aromatic with lots of seeds, and packed with healthy nutrients (2). It comes in exotic purple or a bright yellow color, small in size, and is a treasure trove of beneficial vitamins and fibers.
This article will bring forth the many benefits of taking passion fruit and will discuss the various ways in which it can be added to your food.
13 Amazing Health Benefits of Passion Fruit
Passion fruit has very few calories, is a good source of beta-carotene, B-vitamins, a high amount of vitamin C, and healthy fibers.
1. Strong Antioxidant Properties
Passion fruit is a fruit that is highly nutritious and contains a range of vitamins and phytochemicals that have strong antioxidant properties (3). Currently around 110 phytochemical constituents have been found in purple passion fruit (4).
It is high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, and has polyphenols such as flavonoids, which are more than most tropical fruits we eat such as lychee, papaya, pineapple, and mango (5).
One purple passion fruit contains 9% of the daily value of vitamin C. The polyphenols are very strong antioxidants that help you protect against inflammation, protect the heart, and prevent cellular degeneration caused by free radicals (6), (7).
2. Good for your Eyes
Passion fruit is indeed one of the best foods that is beneficial for the eyes. Its high antioxidants protect the eyes from free radical damage. The beta-carotene present in passion fruit improves eye health. It is known to sharpen your vision in the darkness.
3. Boosts Immunity
The high vitamin C, carotene, and cryptoxanthin in passion fruit are strong immune boosters that stimulate white blood cell activity and the other immune defense systems. 100 grams of passion fruit give 30 mg of vitamin C which is a strong antioxidant that scavenges harmful free radicals and strengthens the immune system (8).
4. Reduce Blood Pressure
Did you know that passion fruit is so high in potassium that just one serving of it can meet one-fourth of your daily potassium need instantly?
Potassium is a vasodilator and as the name suggests can relax the tension of your blood vessels. This helps promote smooth blood flow. As the strain on the heart reduces, it improves overall cardiovascular health (9).
Potassium also helps maintain fluid balance in the body and lowers the adverse effect of too much sodium from junk food. Iron and copper present in passion fruit help promote circulation and also are involved in the production of red blood cells and ensures less pressure on the blood vessels.
Scirpusin B, a compound that is found in passion fruit, acts as a vasorelaxant substance that helps lower blood pressure (10), (11).
5. Lowers Cholesterol
The American Heart Association confirms that fiber in food can reduce cholesterol and help keep your heart healthy. The high amount of fiber in passion fruit does that.
When eaten with the seeds, which contain a lot of fiber, it very well removes the bad cholesterol in the blood (12). The soluble fibers present in passion fruit slow the gastric emptying of food and prevent sugar spikes (13).
Therefore, the seeds of passion fruit are very much used and are a common sight these days. Whether it’s a smoothie or a passion fruit tea, a passion fruit tart, or cheesecake, seeds give a good texture and more nutrition.
6. Help Regulate Blood Sugar Level and Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Passion fruit contains a polyphenol known as piceatannol, which has specifically been observed to improve insulin sensitivity. This can potentially reduce the risk of Type-2 diabetes (14).
A 2017 study confirmed this by studying overweight men and women who took 20 mg of piceatannol for 8 weeks. They all showed a marked increase in insulin sensitivity proving the theory (15).
7. Keeps your Heart Healthy
Loaded with heart-healthy potassium, low sodium, high fiber, and healthy polyphenols, passion fruit is a great way to keep your heart healthy.
It is very low in calories, helps lower insulin sensitivity and regulates blood sugar levels, reduces bad cholesterol in the body, and has several vasodilatory properties that support a healthy heart.
8. Keeps your Bone Strong
Packed with high amounts of minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus, passion fruit helps increase your mineral bone density making them strong. These minerals help create bone matter, strengthen the one already existing, and speed up the repair in case needed (16), (17).
Armoured with these benefits, passion fruit can very well help prevent osteoporosis. As passion fruit can also reduce inflammation, it can help alleviate the symptoms of osteoporosis as well (18).
9. Promotes Healthy Digestion
Incorporating fiber in your daily diet boosts your digestion and helps regulate healthy bowel movements (19), (20). Passion fruit is a great way to achieve that. It is a great source of soluble fiber called pectin which acts as a laxative and helps clean your gut.
These fibers also act as a scrubber and clean up the blood vessels of excess cholesterol, improving the overall health of your body. A single fruit contains around 2 grams of fiber which is quite a lot for such a small fruit.
10. Can Help Cure Anaemia
The deficiency of iron along with vitamins such as B6 and B12 in your diet can be a big reason for anemia. Passion fruit with a high concentration of non-heme iron can help solve it.
Men require around 6 micrograms of iron and women need 8.1 micrograms per day. A cup of passion fruit provides approximately 4 milligrams of iron and can more than take care of it. This becomes better with the high vitamin C in passion fruit that increases the bioavailability of the iron and makes it more accessible to the body (21).
11. Gives Relief from Insomnia
In this fast-paced life, stress has become a pretty common occurrence and so have insomnia. This can be prevented by relaxing your nerves and keeping your mind calm. Passion fruit does both.
In addition to that, passion fruit possesses somniferous properties that can help you relax and put to sleep. The compound responsible is ‘Harman’, which is phytochemical and very typical of this tropical fruit (22), (23), (24).
12. Can Keep Your Skin Healthy
The abundance of antioxidants in passion fruit can be your ticket to healthy skin. As free radicals generated as a by-product by the cells in our body causes skin aging, antioxidants scavenging them can very well prevent it.
The anti-inflammatory property of passion fruit also helps soothe the skin. High vitamin C helps stimulate collagen synthesis that improves the elasticity of your skin (25). By lightning the hyperpigmentation and brown spots, vitamin C can also enhance skin radiance.
13. Help You Get Healthy Hair
Passion fruit contains copper, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B2, and vitamin B6 that are great for healthy hair. It helps support the blood flow in your scalp which means healthy and strong hair.
Beautiful, healthy skin and hair are the signs of youth, and passion fruit gives you just that.
Different ways of Taking Passion Fruit
Passion fruit is highly versatile and can be enjoyed in several forms. As mentioned you can have it raw or make it into one of these below-mentioned recipes. It is used to add a sweet and crunchy texture to your food.
- Passion Fruit Tea: Passion fruit tea is a light, sweet beverage with the goodness of passion fruit and tea. In addition to that, the alkaloids present in passion fruit can relax you and work as a mild sedative.
- Passion Fruit juice: The distinct aroma and sweet taste of passion fruit make it a hot favorite as a fruit juice. The juice is mainly made from the yellow variety and can be a great nutritional drink to chill with.
- Passion Fruit Jam: Passion fruit jam is made out of the pulp of the passion fruit. It is first blended, then boiled over medium heat with sugar and a dash of lemon juice. Once it thickens let it cool and it’s ready.
- Passion Fruit Nectar: Passion Fruit nectar is also a popular drink that is made from whole fruit, unlike fruit juice which is made only of pulp. The passion fruit is first cut into half and cooked in water without unpeeling it. The whole thing is put in the blender after cooling and finally pressed through the sieve. This liquid is thick and mixed with sweeteners to sweeten it.
There are a lot more other ways to incorporate passion fruit in your food. You can make a sorbet, add it to salads, make yogurt, incorporate it into your desserts like cheesecake, mouse, cake, tartlets, and so on.
Side Effects of Passion Fruit
This exotic tropical fruit is full of healthy nutrients and is perfectly safe to eat. However, for some, it may not be true.
- Latex Allergy: People with a latex allergy should steer clear of passion fruit because there are some proteins in latex that are very similar to the ones found in passion fruit. It may cause cross-reactivity (26).
- Potential Poison: The skin of the purple passion fruit contains cyanogenic glycosides, chemicals that can combine with enzymes, and form the poison cyanide. This when taken in large amounts may be a potential poison. Since the skin is inedible and not usually consumed, the fear of it happening is less.
- Interferes with medication: Passion fruit may cause complications during surgery and it is best to avoid it if you are having one. It stimulates the central nervous system and can adversely interfere with anesthesia.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Passion Fruit
1. How should we take passion fruit?
Passion fruit can be eaten raw or incorporated into your food, mainly dessert. To eat it raw, cut the fruit in half, with a spoon scoop the pulp from the rind, and eat both the pulp and seeds together. Remember, the rind can’t be eaten.
2. Is unripe passion fruit poisonous?
Experts have said that not all but some varieties of unripe passion fruit can contain cyanogenic glucosides that when reacted with certain enzymes can turn into poisonous cyanide. However, these varieties are not on sale in the fruit aisle. Just to make sure you don’t make any mistakes, select ripened fruit.
3. Is the supplement made from purple passion fruit rind beneficial for health?
Passion fruit peel supplement is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. When this effect was investigated, it was found that purple passion fruit peel helped reduce the symptoms of asthma such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Another study confirmed that people suffering from knee arthritis and stiffness of joints benefited from taking the supplements. However, more research needs to be done in this field.
4. Is passion fruit safe when pregnant?
Passion fruit is absolutely safe to consume while pregnant. In fact, it can be an excellent snack during pregnancy. It is very low in calories and has a low glycaemic index. This makes it safe for ladies suffering from gestational diabetes as well.
Passion fruit has an abundance of antioxidants and healthy polyphenols that can benefit pregnant women in different ways. The tart and sweet taste of passion fruit give respite from the morning sickness. It boosts immunity, promotes healthy digestion, keeps your bone strong, gives respite from insomnia, and more. However, those who are allergic to latex should avoid having it.
5. Is passion fruit safe during all three trimesters of pregnancy?
Passion fruit is extremely safe in pregnancy. If you consume it during the first and second trimester of your pregnancy, you will be highly benefited from its innumerable health benefits.
However, some researchers have noted that if you consume too many polyphenolic-rich foods in your third trimester, it can influence the dynamic of fetal ductus arteriosus flow. This means it may negatively affect the fetus’s blood circulation. Therefore, it is better to cut down the overall intake of polyphenol-rich foods including passion fruit (27).
Before you go…
Passion fruit is a tropical fruit with a plethora of healthy nutrients. It comes in different sizes and colors however purple and yellow varieties are the ones that are used most commonly.
It is low in calories, high in healthy vitamins, minerals, and fibers, full of antioxidants, passion fruit can be a great snack or food choice for all. Diabetics can have it because of its low glycaemic index, pregnant women can enjoy it because of its health benefits and people who have metabolic disorders such as hypertension, Type-2 diabetes, etc can make the best of it.
Whether you eat it raw or sip it as a passion fruit tea it is entirely up to you. But make sure you add this nutritious fruit to your diet and enjoy good health.