9 Surprising Passion Fruit Benefits

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Passion fruit is an intriguing and mysterious fruit that has a surprising number of health and medicinal benefits for those fruit lovers who add it to their diet. These benefits include passion fruit’s ability to enhance digestion power, boost immune function, improve eyesight and skin health, regulate fluid balance in the body, lower blood pressure, boost circulation, and improve bone mineral density. Furthermore, it reduces signs of premature aging, lessens inflammation, improves sleeping habits, and eliminates asthma.

What is Passion Fruit?

Passionfruit looks a little strange growing on its creeper vine, which can wrap itself around almost any surface and cling onto it, seeking sunlight. However, don’t let appearances fool you, this fruit is widely eaten around the world, and has been for hundreds of years. There are more than 500 varieties of it, and their appearance varies widely. In terms of color, they are usually yellow or dark purple and look somewhat like a grapefruit. The interior is filled with a firm, juicy meat and an abundance of seeds. The fruit is regularly squeezed for the highly beneficial juice, and you often see it added to other juices to improve the flavor and add an exotic taste.

You can find passion fruits grown in nearly any warm climate in the world, provided they are frost-free throughout the year. This includes the South Pacific, Central America, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and various subtropical locations throughout the world. These individual cultures utilize it in their cuisine, because the need for exportation is relatively slim, considering that it is grown in so many different places and varieties around the world. It is a popular breakfast food and snack and is also used in making juice. Passionfruit flavor is also used as an additive to salsa, salad, and desserts.

Whole and sliced passion fruit with leaves on a light wooden table

Nutrition Facts

Passion-fruit, (granadilla), purple, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]72.93
Energy [kcal]97
Protein [g]2.2
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.7
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]23.38
Fiber, total dietary [g]10.4
Sugars, total [g]11.2
Calcium, Ca [mg]12
Iron, Fe [mg]1.6
Magnesium, Mg [mg]29
Phosphorus, P [mg]68
Potassium, K [mg]348
Sodium, Na [mg]28
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]30
Thiamin [mg]0
Riboflavin [mg]0.13
Niacin [mg]1.5
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.1
Folate, DFE [µg]14
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]64
Vitamin A, IU [IU]1272
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.02
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0.7
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.06
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.09
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.41
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Nutritional Value of Passion Fruit

That long list of health benefits commonly attributed to passion fruit is due to the nutrient such as antioxidants, flavonoids, mineral, and vitamin content of the fruit. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, passion fruit contains vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fiber, and protein. The percentages of many of the vitamins and minerals are shockingly high, and passion fruit is a great addition to the diet that can result in a number of amazing health benefits.

Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

Let’s explore some of those benefits in greater detail below.

Boosts Immunity

study by Dr. Stephen Talcott, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Florida, US, shows that passion fruit has a significant number of antioxidants, which further enhance the body’s immunity.

Since ancient times, passion fruit has been cultivated and enjoyed because of the belief that it provides a boost to the immune system. It was however unknown to most people until modern times that this immune strengthening property was due to the presence of vitamin C, carotene, and cryptoxanthin. In fact, a single serving of passion fruit (100 grams) provides about 30 mg of vitamin C. All of these vitamins act as antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals from the body and neutralize them before they can harm the organ systems and result in conditions like cancer, heart disease, or premature aging. Furthermore, vitamin C stimulates the activity of white blood cells and the rest of the immune defense system, thereby protecting you from common illnesses and serious diseases at the same time.

Anti-carcinogenic Potential

Passion fruit is also a powerful source to enhance anti-carcinogenic activity in the body. Antioxidants in passion fruit primarily eliminate free radicals, which are known for mutating the DNA of healthy cells into cancerous ones. According to the Food Research International journal, passion fruit also contains vitamin C, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds, all of which have been linked to anti-cancer properties.

Rich in Vitamin A

Vitamin A is linked to benefits in eye health, including the prevention of macular degeneration, cataracts, and night blindness. Furthermore, a high antioxidant content of passion fruit is helpful in reducing wrinkles, and promotes the proper functioning of membranes throughout the body, including the skin, to keep it hydrated and glowing!

Aids in Digestion

Passion fruits are a very strong source of fiber, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. A single serving of this fruit provides the human body with approximately 98% of its daily requirement. Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet since it is the substance that facilitates healthy digestion of food and the regulation of bowel movements.

Passion fruit is a good source of soluble fiber, both in the pulp and in the rind, which acts as a bulk laxative, moving food through the digestive tract and reducing 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.

Reduces Blood Pressure

If you eat one serving of passion fruit each day, you can satisfy 1/4 of your potassium needs immediately. Potassium is a vital mineral in the human body for a number of reasons, one of which is its role as a vasodilator, says a study by Dr. Robert Brace, who is associated with Oregon Health & Science University and is the author of Fetal and Neonatal Body Fluids. It relaxes the tension of blood vessels and promotes increased blood flow. This reduces the strain on the heart and increases overall cardiovascular health.

Furthermore, potassium is necessary to maintain the proper fluid balance of the body’s cells. Movement between membranes is often only allowed through potassium-regulated channels, so proper amounts of this mineral are of extreme importance. Make sure you pop a passion fruit into your lunch once in a while to keep your heart healthy and your cells functioning!

Health benefits of passion fruit - infographic

Improves Circulation

When combined with the vasodilation properties of potassium, the high iron and copper content of passion fruit can really make an impact. Iron and copper are both essential components of red blood cell production. Once the RBC count increases and the vessels are dilated, then healthy, oxygenated blood can flow freely to necessary areas of the body, stimulating the metabolic activity in all the organ systems and boosting productivity and efficiency. Healthy blood flow is essential for proper functioning!

Improves Bone Health

Since passion fruit is such a rich source of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus, it is a very important fruit for increasing bone mineral density and bone strength. Some of these minerals play an integral 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.

Reduces Insomnia

One often overlooked compound in passion fruit is a medicinal alkaloid, Harman, which functions as a sedative. This compound of passion fruit has been connected to a reduction in restlessness, insomnia, and nervous anxiety, which can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. So, instead of a glass of warm milk, next time try reaching for a slice of passion fruit and head back to your pillow!

Soothes Respiratory Conditions

A study by Dr. Ronald Watson, who is the ex-director of National Institutes of Health-funded Alcohol Research Center and has published 88 biomedical books and 450 papers, has shown that a combination of various extracts from the purple passion fruit peel creates a novel mixture of bioflavonoids. This mixture has an expectorant, sedative, and soothing effect on the respiratory system. It has been positively connected to a reduction in asthma attacks, wheezing, and whooping cough. Next time someone in your family starts hacking and coughing, slice off some passion fruit peel and see if that calms them down.

Word of Caution: There are no inherent risks of eating passion fruit, and its wealth of nutrients and health benefits take care of most bodily concerns. However, most of the calories of this fruit do come from sugars, so people with diabetes should be careful not to eat it excessively, or at least be aware of their blood sugar levels. Other than that, enjoy passion fruit and start feeling better in countless ways in no time!

About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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