What is feijoa?
The Feijoa (Acca sellowiana) is an evergreen perennial shrub (it lives for more than two years and has a woody stem or base). It is native to Brazil and South America but is commercially grown in California and New Zealand. Typically, this plant is grown for its fragrant and sweet fruits. The plant has leaves that are greenish-grey and a pale grey bark. Feijoa is also known as pineapple guava, guavasteen, or New Zealand banana.
The fruit is oval and about the size of a chicken egg (1 to 3 inches in length and 0.5 to 2 inches in width). The seed pulp is jelly-like and surrounded by soft, cream-coloured flesh. They have waxy, lime-green skin. The fruit has a flavour that is tangy yet exceptionally sweet and aromatic. The overall taste of the fruit is similar to a strawberry, guava, pineapple, lemon, or quince mixture. The peel has a thin, gritty texture.
Feijoa plants have a lifespan of over 45 years. Numerous varieties of feijoa are grown and created in various nations and eras.
Here are a some of the various types:
- Apollo is a popular choice among sellers and producers and is valued greatly for its luscious flavour. It grows aggressively without restrictions
- An Australian feijoa variety known as Choiceana is notable for its large fruit and is one of the first feijoas to be produced
- The pineapple guava is another name for the Coolidge fruit. This variety of feijoa produces huge fruit and pink edible blooms when completely ripe
- The Edenvale Improved Coolidge, created in Santa Cruz, California, is distinctive for its enormous size and rectangular form
- The Mammoth variety of feijoa trees is one of the most productive. It belongs to the Acca sellowiana species and is known by the name pineapple guava. The Mammoth Feijoa earns its name because each fruit it produces can weigh up to half a pound
Health benefits of feijoa
It offers a variety of health benefits, including the following.
Combats inflammatory bowel disease
The term "inflammatory bowel disease" is frequently used to describe Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Only the Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) pathway was able to detect the anti-inflammatory effect of feijoa flesh but it has enormous potential for usage in the management and prevention of inflammatory illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease.1
An aqueous extract from the tropical Feijoa sellowiana (Berg) was used in this investigation to assess its antibacterial properties. The fruit extract considerably reduced the production of chemiluminescence by immune cells, suggesting a potential anti-inflammatory or immune-regulating effect of the fruit extract.2
The catechins, flavonoids, and other phenolic chemicals are most likely responsible for the antioxidant activity. The raw material, which contains antioxidants, is easily dissolved in water and is a good source of antioxidants.3
Excellent source of vitamin C
The synthesis of collagen protein, which builds and repairs connective tissues all over the body, as well as immune system health are all impacted by vitamin C. Increased vitamin C dietary intake may lower the risk of diseases including heart disease, arthritis, gout, and others while also protecting against the development of cancer, common colds, and viruses. Feijoa fruit and peel also include phytochemicals that promote immune system health and have cytoprotective (the ability of a substance or treatment to protect cells from damage, injury or death) properties.
Strengthens digestive system
Feijoa has a substantial fibre reserve that facilitates peristaltic motion and boosts gastric juice output, which improves digestion, avoids disorders like constipation, and guards the body against more serious conditions like colon cancer. Furthermore, fibre can remove cholesterol from blood vessels and arteries.
Lowers the risk of heart disease while maintaining healthy blood pressure
Feijoa's high potassium and low sodium content can help to lower the risk of developing hypertension. Improved heart health depends on the vitamins B6, C, fibre, and potassium. According to research, an adult needs 4,700 mg of potassium per day, and if they follow this recommendation, their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is cut by 49%.
Anti cancer activity
The acetonic extract from the Feijoa fruit and the compounds it yielded have shown to have a selective cytotoxic effect, cause apoptosis, disrupt the cell cycle against solid and haematological tumours, and be effective against sensitive and resistant cancer cells.4
Improves memory, focus, and concentration
The neurological advantages of several Feijoa ingredients, including potassium, folate, and different antioxidants, are well documented. Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline are less common in people who consume folate. In addition to improving cognition, concentration, and neuronal activity, potassium has been related to increased blood flow to the brain. Feijoa also has a good level of vitamin B6 in it. Depression and nausea have been signs of a deficit.
Decreases the risk of high blood sugar
Feijoa's glycaemic index rating may appeal to people with type 2 diabetes. Foods with a high glycemic index, such as white rice and white bread, will digest quickly, spiking blood sugar and insulin levels after meals, followed by a sharp reduction in blood sugar levels. Feijoa is absorbed into circulation over time, preventing sugar crashes, cravings, and mood swings.
Vitamin B is crucial for all bodily processes, including the generation of hormones, the synthesis of proteins and red blood cells, the stimulation of nervous system activity, and the production of energy within cells. Feijoa has balanced levels of vitamin B, which is a beneficial factor.
Fights iodine deficiency
The iodine content is high. Iodine deficiency is a common and dangerous issue because it is necessary for pregnant women. Feijoa aids hypothyroidism cases as well as injury healing more quickly. In the event of wounds and injuries, the abundance of nutrients found in feijoa aids in a quicker rate of tissue repair.
Suitable during pregnancy
Feijoas are a nutritious fruit abundant in folate, which is essential for pregnant women and helps to prevent anaemia. Dizziness and weariness are effects of anaemia. Feijoa is also rich in iron, and its high blood cell count optimally assures baby growth.
Following are the nutritional facts for 100 g of feijoa fruit with per cent of the daily value (DV) intake:
- Energy: 55 Kcal (3%)
- Carbohydrates: 13 g (10%)
- Protein: 0.98 g (2%)
- Total Fat: 0.6 g (2%)
- Dietary Fibre: 6.4 g (17%)
- Folates: 23 µg (6%)
- Niacin or vitamin B3: 0.295 mg (2%)
- Vitamin C: 32.9 mg (55%)
- Sodium: 3 mg (<1%)
- Potassium: 172 mg (3.5%)
Side effects and other concerns
Like other tropical fruits, feijoa fruit is often safe to consume and well-tolerated by most adults and kids. Feijoa should be avoided if you are highly allergic since you could experience side effects. Allergy symptoms can include skin rashes, respiratory problems, and nausea. The adverse effects of feijoa are typically brought about by excessive misuse of the fruit or by incompatibility with other foods. If you have any underlying illnesses for which you take medicine, it is best to speak with your doctor before using feijoa extract or other pineapple guava supplements.
Feijoa fruit, also known as pineapple guava or guavasteen, is a tropical fruit native to South America but also cultivated in regions with a Mediterranean-like climate. It is known for its unique flavour and numerous potential health benefits. Some of its benefits are that it’s nutrient rich, has antioxidant properties and supports the digestive system and cardiovascular health. It's important to note that while feijoa offers several potential health benefits, it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Like any fruit, moderation is key, as excessive consumption of any food can lead to unwanted effects. Additionally, individual responses to foods can vary, so it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional if you have specific dietary concerns or health conditions.
- Peng Y, Bishop KS, Ferguson LR, Quek SY. Screening of cytotoxicity and anti-inflammatory properties of feijoa extracts using genetically modified cell models targeting tlr2, tlr4 and nod2 pathways, and the implication for inflammatory bowel disease. Nutrients [Internet]. 2018 Sep [cited 2023 Jun 6];10(9):1188. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/9/1188
- Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Feijoa sellowiana fruit - PubMed [Internet]. PubMed. [cited 2023 Jun 6]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10724024/
- Baratashvili D, Vanidze M, Kedelidze N, Kalandia A, Djafaridze I, Lomtatidze N, et al. Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of Feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana berg) cultivated in subtropical zones of Georgia. Progress in Nutrition [Internet]. 2022 Mar 28 [cited 2023 Jun 6];24(1):e2022024–e2022024. Available from: https://www.mattioli1885journals.com
- Cimmino F, Cianciullo P, Maresca V, Saggiomo S, Sorbo S, Bontempo P, et al. Feijoa Sellowiana fruit, an amazing source of anticancer molecules. Annals of Research in Oncology [Internet]. 2022 May [cited 2023 Jun 7];(02):123. Available from: https://www.annals-research-oncology.com/feijoa-sellowiana-fruit-an-amazing-source-of-anticancer-molecules/