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Guava is the most easily accessible of fruits, and perhaps that’s why it’s among the most ignored. Its health benefits aren’t understood that well either. Honey Tandon Khanna, chief dietitian at the Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurgaon, near Delhi, and Debjani Banerjee, dietetics in-charge at Delhi’s PSRI Hospital, explain why people should have more of this fruit.

For one, it is low in calories: One 50g guava has about 40 calories and is packed with lots of fibre, which helps keep the gut in good health.

Two, the astringents in guava discourage bacterial and microbial growth in the stomach and intestines, keeping stomach infections, dysentery and gastroenteritis at bay.

Three, guava is a diabetes-friendly fruit, for it helps slow down the absorption of sugar in the blood. It is loaded with vitamin C; in fact, an average-sized guava contains four times the vitamin C content present in oranges. Vitamin C is an effective immune booster and helps keep the collagen strong, so our skin looks firmer and feels more elastic. Remember, it is important to eat the peel and the flesh just underneath its outer thick rind, as this portion contains exceptionally high levels of vitamin C.

There’s more. Guava also has ellagic acid, a natural antioxidant that has proven immune-boosting and anti-cancer qualities. It’s also a moderate source of B-complex vitamins, and minerals like magnesium, copper and manganese. The fruit also delivers lots of potassium, which is essential to control the heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, it figures high on the satiety index, so it can keep one full for a long time.

You can, of course, just bite into the fresh fruit—but you can cook it too. Rajesh Variyath, corporate executive chef at the Radisson Blu MBD in Noida, near the Capital, tells us how to make three savoury dishes with guava.

Roasted Pepper and Guava Soup with Paprika

Serves 2

Ingredients

200g red bell pepper

200g guava, chopped

1 tbsp garlic, chopped

60g white onion, chopped

1 tsp soft butter

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp parsley, chopped

2 tbsp cream

200ml vegetable stock

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Method

Wash the bell pepper and cut it into half, rub with olive oil and roast at 300 degrees Celsius for 8 minutes. Peel the bell pepper and chop. Heat the pan, add oil and white onion, and sauté till transparent, add the chopped garlic and guava and sauté for a while. Add salt and pepper and bell pepper. Cool and then blend the mix; add some vegetable stock to get the right consistency. Strain and pour the mix into a pan, add cream and finish with lemon juice and soft butter on top. Garnish with parsley.

Guava and Iceberg Salad with Cream Cheese Dressing

Serves 2

Ingredients

400g guava, chopped

200g iceberg lettuce

For the dressing

100g Philadelphia cream cheese

1tsp lemon juice

1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1tbsp parsley, chopped

1tbsp chives

Half tbsp garlic, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

For garnish

8-10 cherry tomatoes

Method

Season the guava with salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients of the dressing except for the cream cheese, and blend.

Next, soften the cream cheese and mix. Place the guava and iceberg lettuce in a bowl and pour cream cheese dressing over it. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

Guava Curry

Serves 2

Ingredients

1kg guava, chopped

Half tsp mustard seed

Half tsp red chilli powder

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cumin powder

Half tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

A pinch of asafoetida

Salt, to taste

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp vegetable oil

100g tomato, chopped

2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Half tsp green chilli, chopped

Method

Heat the oil, add mustard seeds and asafoetida. Make a thick paste of coriander, cumin, red chilli and turmeric powders with water and add to the oil. Add the guava pieces and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato and stir-fry further for 5 minutes on slow heat. Add sugar, salt and lemon juice.

Take off the flame and keep covered for 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped green chillies and coriander.

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