Guavas are tropical trees originating in Central America.
Their fruits are oval in shape with light green or yellow skin and contain edible seeds. What’s more, guava leaves are used as an herbal tea and the leaf extract as a supplement.
Guava fruits are amazingly rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. This remarkable nutrient content gives them many health benefits.
Here are 8 evidence-based health benefits of guava fruits and leaves.
Some evidence suggests that guava can improve blood sugar control.
Several test-tube and animal studies found that guava leaf extract improved blood sugar levels, long-term blood sugar control, and insulin resistance (, , , , ).
This is good news for people with diabetes or those at risk.
A few studies involving humans have also shown impressive results.
One study in 19 people noted that drinking guava leaf tea lowered blood sugar levels after a meal. The effects lasted up to two hours ().
Another study in 20 people with type 2 diabetes found that drinking guava leaf tea reduced blood sugar levels after a meal by more than 10% ().
Summary Guava extract may help improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes or those at risk.
Guavas may help boost heart health in a number of ways.
Many scientists believe that the high levels of antioxidants and vitamins in guava leaves may help protect your heart from damage by free radicals ().
The higher levels of potassium and soluble fiber in guavas are also thought to contribute to improved heart health.
Additionally, guava leaf extract has been linked to lower blood pressure, a decrease in "bad" LDL cholesterol, and a rise in "good" HDL cholesterol ().
Since high blood pressure and high levels of LDL cholesterol are linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke, taking guava leaf extract could lead to valuable benefits.
What’s more, the fruit may have benefits for heart health as well.
A 12-week study in 120 people found that eating ripe guava before meals caused an overall decrease in blood pressure by 8–9 points, a reduction in total cholesterol by 9.9%, and an increase in "good" HDL cholesterol by 8% ().
This same effect has been seen in several other studies (9, ).
Summary Guava fruit or leaf extract may have a positive effect on heart health by lowering blood pressure, decreasing bad cholesterol, and increasing good cholesterol.
Many women experience dysmenorrhea — painful symptoms of menstruation, such as stomach cramps.
However, there is some evidence that guava leaf extract may reduce the pain intensity of menstrual cramps.
A study in 197 women who experienced painful symptoms found that taking 6 mg of guava leaf extract daily resulted in reduced pain intensity. It appeared to be even more powerful than some painkillers ().
Guava leaf extract is also thought to help relieve uterine cramps ().
Summary Taking guava leaf extract daily may help decrease symptoms of painful menstruation, including cramps.
Guavas are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Therefore, eating more guavas may aid healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Just one guava can provide 12% of your recommended daily intake of fiber (13).
Additionally, guava leaf extract may benefit digestive health. Studies suggest that it may reduce the intensity and duration of diarrhea (, , ).
Several studies have also shown that guava leaf extract is antimicrobial. This means that it can neutralize harmful microbes in your gut that can cause diarrhea (, ).
Summary Consuming guavas or guava leaf extract may prevent or reduce diarrhea and constipation.
Guavas are a weight-loss-friendly food.
With only 37 calories in one fruit and 12% of your recommended daily fiber intake, they are a filling, low-calorie snack (13).
Unlike some other low-calorie snacks, they are packed with vitamins and minerals — so you aren't losing out on important nutrients.
Summary Guavas are full of fiber and low in calories, meaning that they may help you feel full and aid weight loss.
Guava leaf extract has been shown to have an anticancer effect. Test-tube and animal studies show that guava extract can prevent and even stop the growth of cancer cells (, ).
This is likely due to the high levels of powerful antioxidants that prevent free radicals from damaging cells, one of the main causes of cancer ().
One test-tube study found that guava leaf oil was four times more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than certain cancer drugs ().
Although the results of test-tube experiments are promising, it doesn’t mean that guava leaf extract helps treat cancer in people. Further studies are needed before any claims can be made.
Summary The high levels of antioxidants in guava may help prevent the development and growth of cancer cells.
Low levels of vitamin C are linked to an increased risk of infections and illness.
Guavas are a fantastic way to get this nutrient, as they're one of the richest food sources of vitamin C.
In fact, one guava provides about double the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. This is almost twice the amount you would get from eating an orange (13).
Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system ().
Although it's not proven to prevent the common cold, vitamin C has been shown to reduce a cold’s duration ().
It’s also linked to antimicrobial benefits. This means that it helps kill off bad bacteria and viruses that can lead to infections ().
Because vitamin C can easily be flushed out of your body, it's important to regularly get enough through your diet.
Summary Guavas are one of the richest food sources of vitamin C. Maintaining adequate levels of this vitamin is important for protecting against illness and infections.
The wide range of vitamins and antioxidants packed into a guava may work wonders for your skin. Its antioxidants may protect your skin from damage, which can slow down its aging process, helping prevent wrinkles ().
What's more, guava leaf extract may even help treat acne when applied directly to your skin.
One test-tube study found that guava leaf extract was effective at killing acne-causing bacteria — likely due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties ().
More studies are needed to confirm the role of guavas and guava extract in maintaining healthy skin.
Summary The antioxidants and vitamins in guavas can help slow down the aging of your skin, while guava leaf extract may help treat acne.
Guavas are incredibly delicious and packed with nutrients.
Many studies also support the benefits of guava leaf extracts, which are taken as dietary supplements.
Together, guava fruit and leaf extracts may boost your heart health, digestion, and immune system, in addition to other benefits.