Everyone should consider adding passion fruits to their diet as they offer a variety of health benefits, experts say.
Dieudonne Bukaba, the nutritionist programme coordinator at Africa (AHA) Rwanda, says passion fruits have the ability to boost digestion power and immune function, improve eyesight, and regulate fluid balance in the body, among other benefits.
Health benefits of the fruit, he says, also include antioxidants, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins.
“The immune strengthening property in passion fruits is due to the presence of Vitamin C, carotene, and cryptoxanthin. All of these vitamins act as antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals from the body and neutralise them before they can harm the organ systems,” he says.
For its presence of Vitamin C, he says it helps stimulate the activity of white blood cells and the rest of the immune defence system, thereby protecting one from common and serious diseases at the same time.
Erick Musengimana, a nutritionist at Rwanda Diabetes Association in Kigali, points out that passion fruits are also a powerful source that enhance the anti-carcinogenic activity in the body.
He says due to the presence of antioxidants, they help eliminate free radicals, which are known for mutating the DNA of healthy cells into cancerous ones.
It also contains Vitamin A which is important when it comes to the general health of the body.
According to experts, Vitamin A is linked to benefits in eye health including the prevention of macular degeneration, cataracts, and night blindness.
Furthermore, the studies also indicate that the high antioxidant content of passion fruits is helpful in reducing wrinkles, and promotes the proper functioning of membranes throughout the body, including the skin, to keep it hydrated and glowing.
Musengimana says passion fruits, when consumed on a daily basis, aid in digestion.
He notes that this is due to the presence of fibre, which is an essential component of a healthy diet as it facilitates healthy digestion of food and the regulation of bowel movements.
Also, he says, passion fruits are a good source of soluble fibre, which acts as a bulk laxative, moving food through the digestive tract and reducing the exposure time of the colon to any toxins.
“It can reduce signs of constipation by regulating bowel movements, scrubbing the blood vessels clean of excess cholesterol, and even preventing gastrointestinal conditions,” he says.
Furthermore, Musengimana says the fruit also has potassium which is necessary to maintain the proper fluid balance of the body’s cells.
He says that movement between membranes is often only allowed through potassium-regulated channels, so proper amounts of this mineral are of extreme importance.
“It’s ideal for people to embrace the culture of consuming this kind of fruit because of its benefits, including keeping the heart healthy and the cells functioning properly,” he says.
Bukaba says because of the rich source of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus in the fruit, it is a very important fruit when it comes to increasing bone mineral density and bone strength.
Some of these minerals, he says, play an essential role in creating additional bone matter, strengthening existing bone matter, and speeding up repair.
“This can be a means of eliminating, preventing or alleviating the symptoms of osteoporosis and the associated pain and inflammation that occurs when bones deteriorate with age and activity,” he says.
Some studies also state that passion fruits have been connected to a reduction in restlessness, insomnia and nervous anxiety which can keep one from getting a good night’s sleep.
Musengimana says just like milk, eating passion fruits before going to bed can help improve one’s sleep.