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Benefits

Passion Fruit as an Edible Fruit 

Passion fruits contain numerous small, black wedge-shaped seeds that are individually surrounded by deep orange-colored sacs that contain the juice, the edible part of the fruit. Passion fruit is either eaten fresh or used in commercial juice production. Passion fruit is a high acid food (pH~ 3.2) due to the predominance of two acids, citric (~93-96 % of total) and malic (3-6 % of total) acid. Passion fruit also contains about 14.45 g sugar/100g of edible portion, including fructose, glucose and sucrose, along with seven others in trace amounts. The acids and sugars add to the unique taste and serve as a preservative nature for the tropical fruit.  

Both the yellow and purple passion fruits contain ascorbic acid with the purple passion fruit variety containing a slightly higher content of ascorbic acid.  Ascorbic acid is an organic acid with good antioxidant properties and is a good source of Vitamin C. The purple passion fruit has a sugar:acid ratio of 5:1. The yellow passion fruit has a sugar:acid ratio of  3:8.  The purple passion fruit is generally sweeter than the yellow passion fruit. Passion fruit is high in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin and fiber and it is low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fats.  

Phytochemicals  Present  in Passion Fruit 

There are 3 primary groups of active chemicals in passion fruit: alkaloids, glycosides and flavonoids. A large amount of variability is noticed with regards to the incidence and quantity of particular phytochemicals within the same species of passion fruit. There is a lot of evidence that the passion fruit could be a powerful medicinal source but much more research needs to be done to unlock these potentially potent remedies. 

Alkaloids  

Harmala alkaloids are a group of β-carboline compounds. Harmala alkaloids present in passion fruit include harmane, harmine, harmline, harmol, harmalol.  The amount of harmala alkaloids present in the purple passion fruit is 0.012% and in the yellow passion fruit 0.700%. Others include Theobromine while Passiflorin is an alkaloid glycoside. 

Flavonoids  

The amount of flavonoids present in the purple passion fruit variety is 1.060% and in the yellow passion fruit variety 1.000%. Studies have indicated that in order for the passion fruits sedative effect to exist the glycosides and flavonoids must be combined because individually they produce opposite effects. 

Rutin, quercitin and kaempferol belong to the flavonol subgroup of flavonoids.

Catechin and epicatechin belong to the flavan-3-ols subgroup of flavonoids.

Cyanidin-3-glucoside belongs to the anthocyanidin subgroup of flavonoids.

Luteolin and apigenin both belong to the flavone subgroup of flavonoids.

Flavone glycosides present in passion fruit include homoorientin, isoorientin, orientin, isovitexin, vitexen, Iso-schaftoside, schaftoside, saponaretin, saponarin and various other glycosides.  

Carotenoids  

The amount of carotenoids present in the purple passion fruit variety is 1.160% and in the yellow passion fruit variety is 0.058%.  Carotenoids  include  β-cryptoxanthin, Prolycopene, cisγ –carotene, z-carotene, β-carotene, 13-cis- β –carotene, neurosporene and γ-carotene and α –carotene.

In one study, γ-carotene and β-carotene were present in the largest amounts in the yellow passion fruit. In another study, yellow passion fruit was found to be a rich resource of α-carotene and β-carotene when compared to other tropical fruits but not in comparison to tomatoes and/or carrots. 

Miscellaneous Phytochemicals  

Serotonin and Gynocardin are also present in passion fruit. Scopoletin is a phytochemical found in passion fruit and is a hydroxycinammic acid that belongs to the coumarin group. 

Functional Activity 

Passion fruit is proved to have analgesic (pain-reliever), anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, cough suppressant, aphrodisiac, cough suppressant, central nervous system depressant, diuretic, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure) and sedative activities. Besides, it is traditionally reported to possess anticonvulsant, antidepressant, astringent, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), disinfectant, nervine (balances/calms nerves), neurasthenic (reduces nerve pain), tranquilizer and vermifuge (expels worms) activities.  It may have promising and powerful effects on neurological disorders and chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. The native American Indians, Aztecs and Mayas used Passiflora as a remedy for pains and ailments, a tradition which is still continued today. Local markets offer dried passion flowers which are used to brew a pain-killing tea. 

Other Benefits 

By far the greatest benefit of passion fruit to humankind is its fruit and the delicious juice made from it. In addition to being collected by local people in the forests, the fruit is now grown in vineyards in dozens of countries. It is condensed, frozen, and shipped worldwide. The fruit pulp contains 2.2 percent protein, 0.7 percent fat, and 21.2 percent carbohydrates. In addition, the seeds contain 23 percent oil similar to sunflower or soybean oil, and the rind residue is used for cattle feed. The fruits of native and naturalized stands furnish food for numerous species of wild mammals and birds. The whole plant, especially the leaves, contains alkaloids and a number of other phytoactive chemicals. Among these is passiflorine, a known sedative and tranquilizer. Extracts of the leaves have been used for centuries as sedatives by native Brazilians. They prepare a drink from the flower to treat asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough. The plant is also used as a diuretic to treat urinary infections.

Uses 

Passion fruit can be grown to eat or for its juice, which is often added to other fruit juices to enhance aroma. The fruit is eaten alone or in fruit salads, sherbets, ice cream, jams, cool drinks and as concentrates. The yellow variety is used for juice processing, while the Purple variety is sold in fresh fruit markets. In Brazil, the majority of fruits in supermarkets are the yellow ones. The fruit has been used by the Brazilian tribes as a heart tonic and medicine, and as a favorite drink called maracuja grande that is frequently used to treat asthma, whooping cough, bronchitis and other tough coughs. Passion fruit still occupies an important place in South American traditional medicine, and in Peruvian traditional medicine the juice is used for urinary infections and as a mild diuretic. In Madeira, the juice of passion fruit is given as a digestive stimulant and treatment of gastric cancer.  

Passion fruit is proved to have analgesic, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, cough suppressant, aphrodisiac, cough suppressant, central nervous system depressant, diuretic, hypotensive  and sedative activities. Besides, it is traditionally reported to possess anticonvulsant, antidepressant, astringent, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), disinfectant, nervine (balances/calms nerves), neurasthenic (reduces nerve pain), tranquilizer and vermifuge (expels worms) activities.  It may have promising and powerful effects on neurological disorders and chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. The native American Indians, Aztecs and Mayas used Passiflora as a remedy for pains and ailments, a tradition which is still continued today. Local markets offer dried passion flowers which are used to brew a pain-killing tea.

The fruit can be grown to eat or for its juice, which is often added to other fruit juices to enhance aroma. The fruit is eaten alone or in fruit salads, sherbets, ice cream, jams, cool drinks and as concentrates. Passion fruit is mainly used in jams, jellies, and fruit juices. It is used for medicinal purposes as a sedative, as well as a food source. As an edible fruit, it contains several components such as acids and sugars, nutrients, and non-nutritive phytochemicals that make passion fruit a tasteful and healthy addition to the diet. It is used for mood disorders (depression, anxiety, stress); insomnia and sleep disorders; headaches, migraines and general pain; stomach problems (colic, nervous stomach, indigestion, etc.) and to relieve menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

By far the greatest benefit of passion fruit to humankind is its fruit and the delicious juice made from it. In addition to being collected by local people in the forests, the fruit is now grown in vineyards in dozens of countries. It is condensed, frozen, and shipped worldwide. The fruit pulp contains 2.2 percent protein, 0.7 percent fat, and 21.2 percent carbohydrates. In addition, the seeds contain 23 percent oil similar to sunflower or soybean oil, and the rind residue is used for cattle feed. The fruits of native and naturalized stands furnish food for numerous species of wild mammals and birds. The whole plant, especially the leaves, contains alkaloids and a number of other phytoactive chemicals. Among these is passiflorine, a known sedative and tranquilizer. Extracts of the leaves have been used for centuries as sedatives by native Brazilians. They prepare a drink from the flower to treat asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough. The plant is also used as a diuretic to treat urinary infections. The nutritive value of passionfruit juice is given in Table

Nutritive value of passion fruit juice 

Sl.No.

Components

Range

i.

Relative density (20°C)

1.05-1.07

ii.

oBrix

12.0-18.0

iii.

Total soluble solids (g/litre)

125.8-193.5

iv.

Fiber (g/100 g edible portion)

4.4-15.9

v.

Starch (g/100 g edible portion)

1.0-3.7

vi.

Protein (g/100 g edible portion)

0.6-2.8

vii.

Calories (Kcal /100g edible portion)

32-92

viii.

Vitamin A (mg/100 g edible portion)

650-684

ix.

Vitamin B2 (mg/100 g edible portion)

0.1-0.2

x.

Vitamin C (mg/100 g edible portion)

20-25

xi.

Titrable acids as tartaric acid (g/litre)

30-55

xii.

L-Malic acid (g/litre)

1.3-5.0

xiii.

Citric acid (g/litre)

25-50

xiv.

Isocitric acid (mg/litre)

170-380

xv.

Glucose (g/litre)

20-55

xvi.

Fructose (g/litre)

20-53

xvii.

Sucrose(g/litre)

10-45

xviii.

Potassium (mg/litre)

2200-3500

xix.

Magnesium (mg/litre)

100-200

xx.

Calcium (mg/litre)

35-150

xxi.

Chloride (mg/litre)

50-300

xxii.

Phosphate (mg/litre)

350-850

xxiii.

Sulfate (mg/litre)

250-400

xxiv.

Iron (mg/litre)

25-30

xxv.

Zinc (mg/litre)

5-10

xvi.

Proline (mg/litre)

150-1500

xvii.

Aspartic acid (mmol/litre)

3-12

xviii.

Alanine (mmol/litre)

1.0-4.5

xix.

y-aminobutyric acid (mmol/litre)

1.5-4.0

xxx.

Histidine (mmol/litre)

0.1-0.4

xxxi.

B-carotene(mg/litre)

7-28

Source: Sema and Maiti, 2006 

All about Passion fruit

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