Healthy Obsession: The Benefits of Passion Fruit

Over the last few years, passion fruit has been gaining more popularity as a flavor in both food and drink in Western diets. Though originating in the tropics, the fruit of the Passiflora edulis and Passiflora flavicarpa plants is now grown in climates throughout the world from Australia to Europe. 

Beyond its distinct flavor, this nutrient-rich, seed-packed fruit is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and dietary fiber. Though it may be hard to come by a fresh purple passion fruit depending on where you live, passion fruit juice and passion fruit pulp are finding their way into more and more drinks and dishes. With its unique flavor and nutritional benefits, there is a lot to be passionate about when it comes to this tropical fruit. 

Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

Many tropical fruit varieties are rich in vitamin C, but passion fruit (sometimes written as the single word “passionfruit”) also brings a host of other vitamins and minerals to the table. The nutrition facts on a single serving size helping of passion fruit will contribute to your USDA-recommended daily value of many different nutrients including:

  • phosphorus
  • calcium
  • vitamin A
  • potassium
  • folate
  • niacin
  • riboflavin
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin K
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin B6
  • magnesium

Inside the hard rind of this tropical fruit resides a host of nutrients that can help with everything from regulating blood pressure to helping to manage blood sugar levels, protecting your immune system, and even helping to preserve cognitive function. 

As a relatively low glycemic index food, passion fruit will not cause your blood sugar to spike the way some other fruit can. Passion fruit does contain natural sugars and carbohydrates, though, so if you are on a diet designed to treat diabetes or insulin sensitivity, you should be cautious about eating too much of this delicious treat. This sets passion fruit apart from other fruits such as pears, grapes, and pineapple that all have a more profound effect on your blood sugar due to their higher amounts of naturally occurring sugars.

Is Passion Fruit a Superfood?

There is no official definition of a superfood, but passion fruit definitely packs enough nutritional punch to qualify. In addition to common, but much needed, vitamins like C and A, passion fruit is also a rich source of important minerals like phosphorus and antioxidants to help boost your health. 

Free radicals have become the enemy in nutrition circles in recent years. The oxidative stress associated with free radicals has been associated with long-term damage to your ​blood vessels, brain, digestive tract, and more. The antioxidants that help control the damage caused by free radicals are abundant in many fruits and vegetables, and passion fruit is no exception. This includes vitamins A, C, and E and many other more exotic-sounding compounds that are harder to come by.

Passion fruit contains polyphenols and carotenoids such as cryptoxanthin. These compounds and others found in this tasty fruit have been linked to a wide variety of improved health outcomes. Lowered blood sugar levels, lowered cholesterol, and even lowered rates of heart disease have been linked to consuming the antioxidant compounds found in passion fruit.

Passion fruit is also a good source of fiber. Very few Americans get enough fiber in their diets, and eating fruits and veggies that have higher levels of soluble fiber can help promote gut health. Beyond avoiding the discomfort of constipation, proper gut motility can have profound effects on your overall health. When your gut can absorb nutrients properly, every system in your body will benefit.

Another addition to the long list of benefits to passion fruit is that it has a very low amount of total fat. With less than two grams per serving, passion fruit barely tips the scales in this category. This can be very useful if your doctor has put you on a diet that restricts the overall amount of fat you are allowed to eat. 

What is Bad About Passion Fruit?

Despite its long list of potential benefits, there can be some downsides to passion fruit. Like all fruit, passion fruit does contain carbs, and therefore will be off the table if you are on a carb-free meal plan such as the keto diet. Beyond this general rule that applies to most fruit from blueberries to prickly pear, there are a couple of other specific downsides to passion fruit that might surprise you. 

One should be wary of the skins of purple passion fruit. A chemical family called cyanogenic glycosides appears to be the culprit, with poisonous cyanide resulting when it is combined with certain enzymes. Thankfully, the outer skins of passion fruit are generally considered inedible, so the chance of poisoning is low. Though the skins are potentially dangerous, passion fruit seeds are considered safe to eat.

One of the last potential downsides to passion fruit may be one of the most surprising. Individuals with a latex allergy may find that they do not tolerate passion fruit. Knowing about this link can be useful in both directions; food allergies are dangerous, but latex allergies can be even more problematic in a medical setting if you don’t know you have one and are exposed to latex in surgical gloves or other equipment. 

Passion Fruit in Production

At FruitSmart, we know that you need to keep an eye on trends, but quality products offering nutritious and delicious options to consumers are what help brands grow. This means keeping an eye on variety and on quality. We source our products from the best producers around the world to ensure you have the highest quality and greatest consistency possible.  

Beyond flavoring a new kombucha or adding a little health boost to a juice mix, passion fruit has wide-ranging applications in food and beverage production. If you are looking to add this nutritious, delicious fruit to one of your products, contact us today to learn more about partnering with FruitSmart.

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