The guava tree comes in a variety of species, but the most familiar is the common guava. The guava plant produces lemon-shaped fruits of the same name, which typically have a yellow or brownish-yellow skin. The inside is cream-colored, pulpy, and contains several small, hard seeds. The tropical fruit is typically used in juices, jellies and jams.
Guavas are an excellent source of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. A 1-cup serving of common guava contains about 375 milligrams, or about 625 percent of the recommended daily value. Once a fully ripe guava begins to soften, its vitamin C content starts to decline. Canned varieties are generally about 50 percent lower in vitamin C than the fresh fruit. Vitamin C is essential for keeping tissues that comprise bones, teeth, blood vessels, skin and other components of the body strong. It also helps your body absorb non-heme iron, the kind found in vegetables, grains and nuts. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant, as well. A lack of vitamin C in a diet can result in rough, dry skin, sore bones and joints, bleeding gums, sensitivity to bruising and slow wound healing.
Niacin, like all members of the B-complex of vitamins, acts as a co-enzyme and helps your body derive energy from the breakdown of food. A cup of common guava has just under 2 milligrams of niacin, or 9 percent of the recommended daily value. Niacin is particularly important to the digestive process. It also promotes a normal, healthy appetite and contributes to nerve and skin health.
While most commonly found in meats, liver, legumes and whole and enriched grains, thiamine, or vitamin B-1, also appears in guava -- you'll get about 7 percent of the recommended daily value from a 1-cup serving. Thiamine contributes to a healthy nervous system and a normal appetite, and also helps your body convert food into energy. A thiamine deficiency can cause impaired growth, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, mental confusion and edema, or the build-up of fluids in body tissues.
One cup of common guava supplies 4 percent of the recommended daily value for riboflavin, or vitamin B-2. This important vitamin promotes healthy skin and vision, and, along with thiamine, helps your body convert food into energy. A riboflavin deficiency can lead to dermatitis of the nose and lips, cracking at the corners of the mouth and visual sensitivity to light.
You'll also get beneficial amounts of vitamins A and E, folate and vitamin B-6 from fresh guava.
- Purdue University Horticulture: Guavarel="nofollow"
- University of Hawaii: Guavarel="nofollow"
- Colorado State University: Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin Crel="nofollow"
- Colorado State University: Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E and Krel="nofollow"
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Foods Listrel="nofollow"
- Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.