A Guava a Day Keeps a Doctor Away: Scientists from NIN


A guava a day keeps a doctor away. Yes, you read it right. Scientists from National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) of Hyderabad discovered that Guava, one of the cheaper and common fruits in India contains high concentrations of antioxidants that help in maintaining the health.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are the chemical substances which help in protecting against cell damage from free radicals. Free radicals promote coronary heart diseases, cancer, cataracts, aging, rheumatoid arthritis and several other diseases. Antioxidants are the only compounds which neutralize the damage caused by free radicals to human cells. They enable anti-aging and also reduce the risk of such chronic diseases.

NIN study on antioxidant activity of fruits

In its research, NIN studied the antioxidant activity of 14 fresh fruits including guava, pineapple, mango, Indian plum, apple, watermelon, chiku, green grapes, custard apple, orange, papaya, pomegranate, banana and sweet lime, and some other common foods. Guava had the highest antioxidant concentration among the other fresh Indian fruits.

Here is the list of antioxidant concentration (per 100g of fresh fruit) of some of the fruits observed from the study. Their availability and prices are mentioned here.

Fruit Concentration of
Antioxidants(in mg)
Availability Cost(RS.)
Guava
496
All seasons 25-30 per kg
Indian Plum
330
Winter 40-50 per kg
Mango
170
Summer 30-50 per kg
Pomegranate
135
Winter 130-190 per kg
Banana
30
All seasons 22-25 per dozen
Pineapple
22
All seasons 25-30 each piece

Apart from guava, Indian plum, mango and pomegranate, apples and custard apples had considerably higher amounts of antioxidants. Fruits such as banana, papaya, orange, grapes, watermelon and pineapple had the least antioxidant activity. However, dry fruits which have lower moisture content and higher shelf life are expected to have more antioxidant values compared to fresh fruits.

Need to include Antioxidant-rich fruits in diet


In addition to the normal metabolic processes in the body, people in today’s lifestyle are exposed to environmental pollutants, radiation, pesticides, industrial solvents, ozone and cigarette smoke that enhance the production of free radicals. Therefore, it is very much needed to include antioxidant-rich fruits in daily diet to avoid dangerous health problems mentioned above.

On a side note, there is a misconception among people in India that guavas aggravate cold and flu. But the fact is that they ensure resistance to cold and flu. The pollen and pesticides present on the fruits are responsible for such issues.

Guavas are available throughout the year. They are cheap too. So, the next time you see a street vendor selling guavas, pull out some change to have one or two – remember, they enable anti-aging and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

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