Everyone knows that regular consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of various chronic diseases or so-called incurable diseases of our modern time: cardiovascular disease, cancers and others. The presence of antioxidants in the fruits and vegetables may play a role in this protection. But did you ever imagine passion fruit, which is known mostly for its aphrodisiac effects, is also a very potent fruit when it comes to fight against cancer, asthma, hypertension, degenerative joint diseases?
You may not, as it is the case of most people. The reason is because few clinical studies have been conducted on the specific effects of consuming passion fruit. However, some studies have been conducted on the use of peel extracts of the fruit has shown interesting results.
Passion Fruit and Cancer
During some studies, cancer researchers have observed in vitro that a mixture of antioxidants from passion fruit juice could reduce the growth of cancer cells and increases the activity of an enzyme promoting the destruction of these cells. Although more studies are needed, the researchers believe that regular consumption of the fruit may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
In addition to cancer, passion fruit also helps in fighting some other medical conditions; among them include the following:
– Asthma: a small study conducted on 43 people showed that regular consumption of asupplement made of peel extract of passion fruit reduced the symptoms of asthma by decreasing the prevalence of sputum, cough and shortness of breath. However, the researchers have concluded thatStudies should be conducted on a larger number of patients to confirm the efficacy of the fruit in combatting asthma.
– Hypertension: in other studies, research has shown that supplement extracted from the peel of passion fruit improves normal range of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, without any adverse effects. The supplement that administered was consisted of a mixture of flavonoids, phenolic acids and anthocyanins, the active compounds of the passion fruit.
– Degenerative joint diseases: another type of supplement, extracted from the peel of passion fruit, improve physical function and reduce pain and stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The beneficial effects reported are due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties found in the peel of passion fruit. More studies regarding the efficacy and safety of such a supplement areneeded, however, before making recommendations.
Antioxidants and Fiber in Passion Fruit
Passion fruit contains several types of antioxidant compounds which help neutralize free radicals in the body and thus prevent the onset of a variety of diseases. The main antioxidants are the anthocyanins, especially cyanidin. These compounds are pigments which give a pronounced color to fruits and vegetables. They have beneficial properties in preventing cancer by reducing tumor formation and stopping the spread of cancer cells.
The skin of passion fruit and the layer of flesh located just below contain a high amount of lycopene, an antioxidant from the carotenoid family. Unlike other carotenoids, lycopene lacks the ability to transform into vitamin A in the body. However, its antioxidant action would have beneficial effects on health, particularly on the incidence of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.
Lycopene is better absorbed in the body when consuming foods rich in healthy fats, such as nuts and flax seeds. Unfortunately, lycopene found in passion fruit has been relatively little studied, and in animals only. New and more studies needed to conduct in order to shed more light on this magnificent fruit.
Peel of passion fruit, as well as its seeds, also contains insoluble fiber. Research has shown that adding seeds of passion fruit to a high cholesterol diet can possibly improve several blood parameters (blood cholesterol, triglycerides) and some intestinal functions in animals. Further studies are needed to determine whether they have the same effects in humans.