What is it? Passion fruit is a type of fruit called a Pepo — a many-seeded berry (along with cucumbers, watermelons and pumpkins) that has a hard rind and a juicy interior. The color of its skin varies from dark purple to dark red, orange or yellow. Purple is said to be the juiciest with the richest flavor. They are most ripe when they’re all wrinkly. The fruit goes by a few different names — in Hawaii, it’s liliko’i; in Brazil, it’s called maracuya or you might also see it called granadilla. Passion fruit is the fruit of the Passiflora vine, a type of passion flower. It has a tough outer rind and juicy, seed-filled center. There are several types that vary in size and color. Purple and yellow varieties are the most commonly available ones, including: Passiflora edulis. These are small round or oval-shaped fruits with purple skin. Passiflora flavicarpa. This kind is round or oval with yellow skin and usually slightly larger than the purple variety. Though they’re a tropical fruit, some varieties can survive in sub-tropical climates. For this reason, they’re grown all over the world, and crops can be found in Asia, Europe, Australia, and South and North America. Where do they come from?Passion plants are native to parts of South America — more than 200 species can be found in the Amazon. How do you eat them? To eat a one, cut it in half and scoop out the pulp and edible seeds. Because of the tartness, passion fruit are often combined with other ingredients, such as mango (think smoothies).
Health benefits If you have trouble sleeping or just need to calm down, add some passion fruit to your diet. The juice, leaves and flowers of the passion vine contain an alkaloid that has a mild sedative effect. Passion fruit is a good source of nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin C, and provitamin A. A single purple passion fruit contain
Fiber: 2 grams
Vitamin C: 9% of the Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin A: 8% of the DV
Iron: 2% of the DV
Potassium: 2% of the DV
Though this may not seem like much, keep in mind that these are the values for a single, small fruit that has only 17 calories. Calorie for calorie, it’s a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A. It’s also rich in beneficial plant compounds, including carotenoids and polyphenols. In fact, one study found that passion fruit was richer in polyphenols than many other tropical fruits, including banana, lychee, mango, papaya, and pineapple. Additionally, passion fruit offers a small amount of iron. Your body doesn’t usually absorb iron from plants very well. However, the iron in passion fruit comes with a lot of vitamin C, which is known to enhance iron absorption.
Rich in antioxidants Antioxidants protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage your cells when they’re present in large numbers. Passion fruit contains a lot of antioxidants. In particular, it’s rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, and polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds that have a range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This means they may reduce your risk of chronic inflammation and conditions like heart disease. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that you need to get from your diet. It supports your immune system and healthy aging. Beta carotene is an important antioxidant as well. Your body converts it into vitamin A, which is essential for preserving good eyesight. Diets rich in plant-based beta carotene have been linked to a lower risk of some cancers, including of the prostate, colon, stomach, and breast. Passion fruit seeds are rich in piceatannol, a polyphenol that may improve insulin sensitivity in men with excess weight, potentially reducing type 2 diabetes risk when taken as a supplement.
Good source of dietary fiber A single-fruit serving of passion fruit provides around 2 grams of fiber — quite a lot for such a small fruit. Fiber is important for keeping your gut healthy and preventing constipation, yet most people don’t eat enough of it. Soluble fiber helps slow the digestion of your food, which can prevent blood sugar spikes. Diets that are high in fiber are also associated with a lower risk of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity