Native to the , guava is the fruit from fairy tales — it’s believed to have some seriously “magical” properties and has been used for thousands of years in folk medicine Gutiérrez, R.M., Mitchell, S., Solis, R.V. Laboratorio de Investigación de Productos Naturales, Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Química e Industrias extractivas IPN. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2008 Apr 17;117(1):1-27.. With edible skin and packed with fiber, this fruit is a sweet (sometimes tangy) snack that packs in power and nutrients.

The Magic Fruit — Why They’re Super

Photos by Caitlin Covington

(roughly the size of a medium apple) contains around 40 calories and is chock full of antioxidants and vitamins. Guava is one of the richest fruit-based sources of vitamin C, with each fruit providing 209 percent of the recommended daily amount — beating out even . These sweet and tangy fruits also contain healthy doses of vitamin A, copper, manganese, and (essential for producing new cells and keeping them healthy). Guava even contains more than an equal serving of bananas. And guavas get an A+ in fill-up factor, since they’re made up of dietary fiber. suggested that out of all fruits, guava contains the most antioxidants, which can help prevent the development of chronic diseases.

But this fruit isn’t just a nutritional powerhouse. Guava's include healing wounds, cuts, ulcers, and boils, toothaches, oral ulcers, inflamed gums, throat and chest pains, diarrhea, and epilepsy (typically with the leaves of the plant) — and modern studies have shown many of these cures uses aren't just folklore . Metwally, A.M., Omar, A.A., Harraz, F.M., et al. Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt. Pharmacognosy Magazine, 2010 Jul-Sep;6(23):212-218. . Birdi, T., Daswani, P., Brijesh, S., et al. The Foundation for Medical Research, 84A, RG Thadani Marg, Worli, Mumbai 200018, Maharashtra, India. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2010 Jun 28;10:33. Ojewole, J.A., Awe, E.O., Chiwororo, W.D. Department of Pharmacology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Journal of Smooth Muscle Research, 2008 Dec;44(6):195-207.. And forget the antibacterial spray — studies have shown that guava leaf extracts have antimicrobial properties to defend against bacteria that commonly cause skin or soft tissue infections. Some research also suggests guava can help ward off type 2 diabetes by lowering glucose levels in the blood . Shen, S.C., Cheng, F.C., Wu, N.J. Department of Medical Nutrition, I-Shou University, No.1, Sec.1, Syuecheng Road, Dashu Township, Kaohsiung County, Taiwan. Phytotherapy Research: PTR, 2008 Nov;22(11):1458-64. . Owen, P.L., Martineau, L.C., Caves, D., et al. School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Macdonald Campus of McGill University, Quebec, Canada. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008;17(4):635-43. Rai, P.K., Mehta, S., Watal, G. Department of Chemistry, University of Allahabad, Allahabad, India. The Indian Journal of Medical Research, 2010 Jun;131:820-4.. But this might be good for non-diabetics too, since can lead to feelings of fatigue and weakness.

Studies have also shown the fruit can be useful for stomach troubles. The of guava may be helpful in treating some, ahem, digestive issues like diarrhea, stomach bugs, and indigestion . Birdi, T., Daswani, P., Brijesh, S., et al. The Foundation for Medical Research, 84A, RG Thadani Marg, Worli, Mumbai 200018, Maharashtra, India. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2010 Jun 28;10:33. Ojewole, J.A., Awe, E.O., Chiwororo, W.D. Department of Pharmacology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Journal of Smooth Muscle Research, 2008 Dec;44(6):195-207..

The flesh of this fruit also contains high amounts of , an antioxidant that may help prevent prostate cancer, and one cup has than the same amount of tomatoes (long touted as the premier source of lycopene) Konijeti, R., Henning, S., Moro, A., et al. Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA. The Prostate, 2010 Oct 1;70(14):1547-54.. Guava leaf extracts have also been shown to help prevent other types of cancer . Chen, K.C., Peng, C.C., Chiu, W.T., et al. Department of Urology, Traipei Medical University-Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan. Nutrition and Cancer, 2010;62(2):260-70..

Guava Guide — Your Action Plan

When trolling the grocery store aisles, that’s firm but gives to gentle pressure (much like a ripe pear), and store in the fridge for up to one week (we bet it won't last one day).

Don’t be afraid of this nutritional powerhouse — just dig right in! , from the skin to the seeds, since it’s all edible and nutritious. The skin alone, which is usually light green to yellow in color, has more vitamin C than the flesh of an orange. Don’t play a game of — look for guava in South American grocery stores or in some higher-end supermarkets. They’re usually sold quite firm, so be sure to ripen at room temperature for a few days before using.

Too much of a good thing? Not really! While can be toxic, it’s highly unlikely that someone could eat enough guavas to experience the symptoms (we’re talkin’ 15 fruits per day). So go ahead and fill up that belly — this superfood is Glamourgirlz approved.

Superfood Recipe: Guavaritas

Photo by Caitlin Covington
Serves 2
What You'll Need:

4 limes

8 ounces Guava nectar (or juice/puree your own!)

4 ounces tequila

What To Do:

  1. Juice three of the limes (ending up with about 3 tablespoons juice).
  2. Thinly slice the last lime in round slices. Set aside. (For garnish.)
  3. Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (with a few cubes of ice) until well mixed.
  4. Strain into glasses, garnish with lime, and enjoy!

Our Favorite Recipes From Around the Web

Breakfast: via Cooking Light

Lunch: via PtitChef

Cocktail hour: via Epicurious

Dinner: via Bon Appetit

Dessert: via Eat, Drink, Garden