Passiflora edulis is a vine which bears the extremely popular passion fruit which is sometimes referred to as the ‘purple granadilla’ in some countries. The fruit itself is round and can be yellow or purple when fully mature. This of course is entirely dependent on the species. The purple variety is most popular as it carries a stronger, fruiter aroma and a richer flavour than the yellow though scientific analysis has shown it to be less acidic.
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Did you know the Passion Fruit gets its name from the passion of Christ? Spanish missionaries in the 15th century saw the parts of the passion fruit’s flower as symbolic of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.
Thanks to its characteristically ‘fruity’ aroma and distinctive flavour, the passion fruit has a myriad of uses. It is used in many fruit juice blends to enhance the flavour and aroma plus, it has also been used as a base for alcoholic beverages. It is also used in yogurts, ice creams, cocktails, bakery, wine, cordials, smoothies, jams and in various cake toppings. It’s clear that the passion fruit’s flavour and aroma make it a very useful culinary ingredient. But we’re interested in the nutritional aspect.
What makes it a super fruit? Why is the passion fruit highly regarded in just about all health and nutrition circles?
Nutritional analysis of the passion fruit reveals a broad spectrum of essential nutrients. Consuming the passion fruit will deliver a potent dose of beta-carotene. For the uninformed, beta-carotene is an anti-oxidant. It rids the body of free radicals which have been known to cause damage to damage DNA and cell membranes. This damage can result in aging and life threatening diseases like cancer.
Furthermore, the passion fruit is another well-established source of Vitamin C in which you’ll find 36% of your daily intake per 100g. We all know that Vitamin C is great for bolstering the immune system when fighting off illnesses like the common cold. That’s not all it does. Vitamin C regulates the dilation of our blood vessels thereby regulating blood pressure. Not convinced? There’s more! Vitamin C is also an anti-oxidant – much like beta carotene. It reacts with free radicals safely ensuring they don’t cause damage to essential molecules in the body (like DNA for example).
Finally, passion fruit is a great source for minerals & salts. Minerals & salts are needed in the body for various functions such as regulating your blood pressure, maintaining a regular heartbeat, maintaining the body’s water balance, nerve function and muscle control. In the passion fruit are minerals & salts such as iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.
While the passion fruit isn’t knocking these other super fruits out of the park with its nutrient content, we must remember that it’s extremely versatile and thus easier to consume than the rest. It means you’re more likely to make it a staple in your diet. That’s an important but overlooked fact. You’ll find yogurts, jams, juices, juices and many beverages that contain a healthy dose of passion fruit. Go ahead and try it!