Guinep: A Healthy Fruit You Should Know AboutNutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Fruits contain many essential nutrients that are necessary for us to maintain good health. And we have many options to choose from when it comes to obtaining our daily supply of nutrients.
We have highlighted the nutritional value of a few fruits such as lychee, watermelons, mango, bananas, oranges, lemons, sapodilla, apples, cranberries, pears, grapes, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi, peaches, figs, kumquats, jackfruit and blueberries. Another one we can add to the list is guinep.
Guinep is a fruit with several names: Spanish lime, quenepas, skinip, limoncillo and mamon.
This fruit, believed to be native to the New World tropics, is said to be like a cross between a lychee and a lime. It is a very popular fruit in the Caribbean, but I have purchased guineps in Cancun and specialty stores in Los Angeles.
They are low fat, low-calorie, cholesterol-free and delicious and healthy.
Guineps may help you sleep better and keep you mentally healthy.
Guineps contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which is known to help induce sleep.
“Tryptophan achieves its effects by way of serotonin, one of the key brain chemicals involved in regulating mood. Among other functions, serotonin promotes feelings of calm, relaxation, and sleepiness,” according to Psychology Today.
“Many of today's powerful antidepressant drugs work to increase the level of available serotonin in the brain. Tryptophan is the key ingredient in making serotonin; without it, serotonin won't be produced.”
Guineps may help boost your immune system.
Guineps are a great source of the vitamins C and A, two very important nutrients for immune function. Vitamin C protects the immune system from deficiencies that may lead to cardiovascular illnesses and other diseases. It is one of the most important nutrients needed for our survival. It is also an antioxidant, which means it helps protects our bodies from free radicals and other harmful molecules.
“Vitamin A and its metabolites play critical roles in both innate and adaptive immunity. In innate immunity, the skin and mucosal cells of the eye and respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary tracts function as a barrier against infections. Vitamin A helps to maintain the structural and functional integrity of these mucosal cells,” according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Vitamin A may also play a role in the prevention of urinary stones.
Guineps may help keep digestive issues, like diarrhea, at bay.
Guineps contain powerful antioxidants within their seeds that may help prevent diarrhea. They have phytochemicals called epicatechin and procyanidin B2, which block ions, like chloride, from traveling into the intestines. Studies have shown that in countries like Columbia and Venezuela, guinep seeds are pulverized, mixed with honey and consumed as a tea or a syrup to stop loose bowel movements. The seeds’ milk (also called horchata) are also used for other medicinal and dietary uses, such as treating parasites and improving your digestive function.
Guineps may Help Prevent Herpes
Many people have been turning to the amino acid called L-lysine to treat herpes for quite some time now. And guineps are a natural source of this amino acid, containing about 17 mg per serving. But obviously if you have herpes or suspect you may have them, you must seek medical attention. Do not self-medicate with guineps! L-lysine is also used for muscle recovery after intense workouts and sports activities. It may also help with gut and brain health (including anxiety).
Let’s check out some additional nutrients in about a half a cup of guineps.
- Protein, 1g. Protein is used to build and repair tissues. It is also used to make necessary body chemicals, like hormones and enzymes. According to the Institute of Medicine, adults should get a minimum of 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight (or 0.8 grams for every kilogram of body weight per day).
- Carbohydrates, 13.5 to 19.2 g. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is then converted into energy that’s used for physical activity and other bodily functions. Carbs come in a variety of forms and can be found in healthy sources as well as unhealthy ones. The good thing about guineps is that they are a very healthy source of carbohydrates.
- Fiber, 0.07 to 2.60 g. Depending on age and sex, adults should consume 22 to 34 grams of fiber daily. Fiber may help relieve constipation, maintain a healthy weight and lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Fiber may even decrease your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Calcium, 15 mg. This mineral is needed to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also needed for clotting of the blood to stop bleeding and for proper functioning of the nerves, muscles and heart. The National Cancer Institute conducted a study that monitored calcium intake in 135,000 men and women. The subjects who had a calcium intake of more than 700 mg. per day had a 35-45% reduced risk of cancer of the distal (lower) part of the colon than those who had a calcium intake of 500 mg. or less per day.
- Phosphorus, 23.9 mg. This mineral often does not get the credit it deserves, but it does so much for your body. Phosphorus is almost as abundant in your body as calcium and helps calcium build strong bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also important for how your body stores and uses energy, repairs cells and is needed to make proteins like the one responsible for the oxygen-carrying capabilities of our red blood cells.
How should you eat guineps?
The easiest way to break through the skin is to gently bite through it with your teeth. But you have to be careful not to directly bite into the pulp, because it covers a hard seed underneath. Once you break through the outer shell, the key is to suck the pulp until the seed is revealed.
And if you’re thinking that the seed isn’t edible, you couldn’t be more mistaken. While the pulp can be used for jelly and juices, the core seed can be roasted, crushed and used as a substitute for cassava flour to bake bread and other treats. The seed itself can also be eaten after being boiled.
It is important to only eat the guinep fruit when it is ripe. An unripe guinep is filled with toxins, which can get you sick.
You can’t find this fruit at your everyday local grocery store. Trust me, I’ve tried! Your best bet is to try specialty health food stores, farmers markets or order them online.
There do not appear to be any major side effects to eating this fruit, but if you are taking any medications, are pregnant or have any existing health issues, always speak with a competent healthcare professional first before you dive into guineps.
Enjoy your healthy life!
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