Passiflora edulis is a plant belonging to genus Passiflora, family of Passifloraceae, but it is well known with other names that include passion fruit or maracuja. The fruit of the plant is a berry characterized by a tough peel, a soft pulp rich in seeds but first of all by a very intense smell that makes the passion fruit a perfect ingredient for juices or ice creams. There are different types of passion fruit but the most important varieties are purple passion fruit, or passiflora edulis, with a purple peel, and yellow passion fruit, or passiflora edulis flavicarpa, with yellow peel as suggested by the name. Passion fruit contains mineral salts such as potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, calcium, iron and selenium, and vitamins such as A, group B and C, very important in order to support the immune system. In addition to this, thanks to beta carotene and polyphenols, the passion fruit has also antioxidant properties important against free radicals, aging processes, chronic inflammations, for the health of the cardiovascular system and of the eyes. A study of 2016 reported on the scientific journal Food chemistry and performed by a group of French researchers has highlighted that, among different tropical fruits such as mango, papaya, pineapple, banana and litchi, the passion fruit contains the highest quantity of polyphenols. Thanks to the fiber the fruit improves the intestinal functionalities by counteracting the constipation and is helpful in order to keep under control the blood sugar levels. Finally, the extracts of the peel of passion fruit have been studied by scientists in the last years. According to a study published on the journal Nutritional research in 2010 and performed by a group of Iranian researchers in collaboration with Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC), oral intake for two months of passion fruit peel extract is able to relieve pain and stiffness related to arthrosis. The research is still at an early stage and more work has to be performed but this result paves the way for a possible use of the natural remedy instead of the anti-inflammatory medicines currently used to treat arthrosis and related symptoms. Eating passion fruit is in general considered safe except for allergy to this fruit, pay attention if you suffer from allergy to latex. Peel is not considered edible, except in the form of supplements or extracts.
Vitamins, mineral salts and antioxidants, thanks to the fiber it is able to counteract constipation and to keep under control the blood sugar levels, support for the immune system and for the health of the eyes, useful against free radicals, aging processes and inflammations.