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Health benefits of passion fruit: Weight loss, asthma and more

7 reasons why you should eat passion fruit that is bursting with flavours and nutrients.

Restaurants and cafes all over the country these days have been experimenting with passion fruit-flavoured ice teas, syrups, cakes and drinks. Yet not many people know what the fruit really looks like. When you first look at the passion fruit, it doesn't strike you as odd at all. It may resemble a small citrus fruit at a glance, with a yellow or purple outer covering. But when you cut it open, it's like no fruit you have ever seen; a yellow, seedy pulp with a sweet and sour taste oozes out of the fruit. Originally from the Americas, Passion fruits are quite rare in the Indian markets and are not mass produced like apples, bananas and oranges. However, it is still grown in gardens and orchards in the southern states of India.

The fruit is extremely tart tasting, with a fragrant peach-like flavour. The gooey centre of the fruit is scooped out with a spoon and eaten. As tasty and exotic as it is, the fruit also packs a nutritional punch. It's teeming with antioxidants, minerals, vitamin C and fibre. If you ever happen to lay your hands on them, here are a few reasons why you should relish this fruit.

1. Full of antioxidants

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Passion fruit is full of beneficial antioxidants which helps to minimise the damage done by free radicals. It also has richer reserves of polyphenols than other fruits grown in the tropics such as bananas, lychees and pineapples.[1] Here are few antioxidants you can include in your daily diet for less than Rs 10.

2. Stimulates collagen production

Ageing skin can benefit from a diet of passion fruit because collagen, the protein responsible for keeping the skin young and taut, is stimulated by piceatannol, a type of phenolic compound in the fruit. [2]

3. Inhibits hyperpigmentation

Melasma or discoloured patches formed on the skin is one of the effects of ageing. Piceatannol in the passion fruit can inhibit the formation of these dark spots. That's why many anti-ageing creams and lotions contain passion fruit extracts. [2]

4. Protects the skin against the sun

Excessive sun exposure is one of the biggest causes of skin ageing. The seeds of the fruit contains piceatannol and scirpusin B, both of which have been shown to protect the skin against the ravaging effects of the sun. [3]

5. Relieves asthma

Asthma, one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions in the world, can be addressed with the extracts of purple passion fruit peels. A study says that the extract helps in reducing wheezing and coughing associated with asthma [4]. Also read how to prevent asthma attack: things you should avoid.

6. Relieves pain associated with osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis is a painful degenerative joint disorder which can incapacitate the sufferer. A study has shown that extracts of the purple passion fruit peel help in lessening the pain and stiffness associated with the condition. [5]

7. Helps in weight loss

The combination of high fibre with rich nutrient content makes passion fruit a great weight loss addition to your diet. Snacking on the fruit not only keeps you full but also gives you a burst of nutrients. [6]

References:

1 Lourith, N., & Kanlayavattanakul, M. (2013). Antioxidant activities and phenolics of Passiflora edulis seed recovered from juice production residue. Journal of oleo science, 62(4), 235-240.

2 Matsui, Y., Sugiyama, K., Kamei, M., Takahashi, T., Suzuki, T., Katagata, Y., & Ito, T. (2010). Extract of passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) seed containing high amounts of piceatannol inhibits melanogenesis and promotes collagen synthesis. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 58(20), 11112-11118.

3 Maruki-Uchida, H., Kurita, I., Sugiyama, K., Sai, M., Maeda, K., & Ito, T. (2013). The protective effects of piceatannol from passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) seeds in UVB-irradiated keratinocytes. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 36(5), 845-849.

4 Watson, R. R., Zibadi, S., Rafatpanah, H., Jabbari, F., Ghasemi, R., Ghafari, J., ... & Faridhosseini, R. (2008). Oral administration of the purple passion fruit peel extract reduces wheeze and cough and improves shortness of breath in adults with asthma. Nutrition Research, 28(3), 166-171.

5 Farid, R., Rezaieyazdi, Z., Mirfeizi, Z., Hatef, M. R., Mirheidari, M., Mansouri, H., ... & Watson, R. R. (2010). Oral intake of purple passion fruit peel extract reduces pain and stiffness and improves physical function in adult patients with knee osteoarthritis. Nutrition research, 30(9), 601-606.

6 Ramos, S. C., Fonseca, F. A., Kasmas, S. H., Moreira, F. T., Helfenstein, T., Borges, N. C., Izar, M. C. (2011). The role of soluble fiber intake in patients under highly effective lipid-lowering therapy. Nutrition Journal, 10, 80. http://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-10-80

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