What is passion fruit?
Passion fruit is part of the Passifloraceae family. Passion fruit is also known as:
- Buah susu
- Chum bap
Passion is a round or oval fruit that grows on a vine. It’s about 1.5 inches to 3 inches (4 cm to 7.5 cm) wide. The rind is smooth, waxy, and may be dark purple, yellow, or orange in color.
When you cut a passion fruit open, you’ll find a layer of white pith. The pulpy juice is orange-colored. Each fruit may have as many as 250 small black seeds. The flavor of passion fruit is guava-like, sweet, and acidic.
There are two main types of passion fruit: purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) and yellow passion fruit (P. edulis flavicarpa).
The yellow passion fruit tends to have larger fruits than the purple. The pulp of the purple passion fruit is less acidic and richer in flavor. The purple passion fruit also has more juice.
Brazil is the world’s primary passion fruit producer. The fruit is also grown in countries like:
Health benefits of passion fruit
In South America, China, and India, passion fruit has been used in folk and traditional medicines for a variety of health conditions, including:
- Joint pain
But there have been few scientific studies on the effects of passion fruit on people. More research is needed to find out how passion fruit can benefit people.
Rich in plant compounds
A study found that passion fruit is higher in polyphenols than other fruits like:
Polyphenols are natural compounds found in many fruits and vegetables. They have antioxidant properties which help protect your body from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are created during normal body processes like exercise and digestion and when you’re exposed to pollutants like cigarette smoke.
Researchers have identified more than 110 plant compounds from different parts of the passion fruit plant. Flavonoids and triterpenoids are the most abundant plant compounds found in passion fruit.
Passion fruit is especially rich in vitamin C. A single-cup serving of passion fruit has 71 milligrams of vitamin C. — almost the total recommended daily amount of vitamin C for adults, which is between 75 milligrams to 90 milligrams a day.
Experts say that you should get your antioxidants by eating fruits and vegetables instead of relying on supplements. Studies have shown that taking antioxidant supplements may increase your risk of developing certain health conditions. For example, too much beta carotene may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
High in fiber
There are two types of dietary fiber. There’s soluble fiber, which dissolves in water. Soluble fiber may help lower your blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
Insoluble fiber can’t dissolve during digestion. It adds bulk to your stool. Without insoluble fiber, you’ll have fewer bowel movements, which may lead to constipation and hemorrhoids.
Insoluble fiber also helps your gut flora. Gut bacteria take a longer time to break down insoluble fibers. This means that they multiply and grow more.
Passion fruit seeds are rich in insoluble dietary fiber. Researchers found that the fiber content of passion fruit seeds is higher than that of chickpeas, maize, and oats.
A 1-cup serving of passion fruit has 25 grams of dietary fiber. This is more fiber than in 1 cup of cooked black beans (15 grams of dietary fiber) or 1 cup of fresh raspberries (8 grams of fiber).
You need at least 25 grams to 35 grams of total dietary fiber daily. Most Americans get only about 15 grams of fiber a day.
May lower inflammation
A few small studies on passion fruit extract show that it may have anti-inflammatory effects. More research is needed. Researchers gave purple passion fruit peel extract to people with asthma. Those who took the extract had reduced coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Another study on knee osteoarthritis found that those who took passion fruit peel extract over 60 days had less stiffness and pain. Those who took the placebo said their symptoms got worse.
How to eat passion fruit
You may be able to find fresh or frozen passion fruit in some supermarkets, Asian grocers, and some fruit farms that sell online.
If you’re not sure if your passion fruit is ripe, leave it out at room temperature. The skin will wrinkle up like a prune when ripe. If not, leave for 3 to 4 days at room temperature.
Eat it fresh, seeds and all
Choose fruit that’s firm and has a purplish or yellow tinge. Wash the passion fruit well before you eat it. Cut it in half and scoop out the flesh and seeds. The seeds can be eaten and add a nice crunch.
If you prefer not to eat the seeds, you may want to make passion fruit juice instead. Pour the pulp through a strainer or cheesecloth. Use the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
You can drink the juice as it is, dilute it, or add it to other juices like orange or pineapple. Blend passion fruit juice with milk to make a passion fruit milkshake. Try adding the pulp to sweeten your yogurt or make a smoothie.
Make a syrup
You may also boil down passion fruit juice to make a syrup. This can then be used to make:
- Ice cream
- Cake filling
Other ways to use passion fruit
Make a cocktail with passion fruit pulp, kumquat syrup, tequila, Cointreau, and lemon juice.
End a meal with a refreshing passion fruit sorbet. Combine passion fruit juice and sugar with an Italian aperitif, Campari. Churn in an ice cream machine, and top with mint leaves.
Precautions to take when eating passion fruit
It’s safe to eat passion fruit. But a small number of people have had allergic reactions to passion fruit. Scientists have found a link between latex allergy and fruit allergy, including passion fruit. If you have a latex allergy, check with your doctor before eating passion fruit.
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Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Easy Ways to Boost Fiber in Your Daily Diet."
Allergy: "Latex-fruit syndrome: frequency of cross-reacting IgE antibodies."
The Antonio Carluccio Foundation: "CAMPARI AND PASSION FRUIT SORBET."
Bastyr University: "Do We Really Need Insoluble Fiber?"
Colorado State University Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center: "The Dish on Antioxidants."
Consumer Reports: "Where to Buy Hard-to-Find Fruits and Vegetables."
Food Chemistry: "Evaluation of nutritional and antioxidant properties of the tropical fruits banana, litchi, mango, papaya, passion fruit and pineapple cultivated in Réunion French Island."
Frontiers in Pharmacology: "Passiflora edulis: An Insight Into Current Researches on Phytochemistry and Pharmacology."
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Fiber."
Institute of Culinary Education: "Get to Know Exotic Fruits."
James Beard Foundation: "KUMQUAT AND PASSION FRUIT COCKTAIL"
Journal of Agriculture Food and Development: "Nutritive Values of Passion Fruit (Passiflora Species) Seeds and Its Role in Human Health."
Morton, J. Fruits of Warm Climates, J.F. Morton, 1987.
National Institutes of Health: "Vitamin C."
Nutrition Research: "Oral administration of the purple passion fruit peel extract reduces wheeze and cough and improves shortness of breath in adults with asthma."
Nutrition Research: "Oral intake of purple passion fruit peel extract reduces pain and stiffness and improves physical function in adult patients with knee osteoarthritis."
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources: "Passion Fruit."
University of Hawaii at Manoa: "Passionfruit."
USDA FoodData Central: "Passion fruit, raw."
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