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There’s a reason why humans have engineered seedless grapes and watermelons: the seeds in fruit can be pretty unappetizing. Depending on the fruit, seeds can often be super hard and difficult to eat (or technically edible but not pleasant to consume). But some fruits hide the best of their benefits inside their seeds. It’s true of pomegranates (those gorgeous red arils are actually seeds!) as well as many tropical fruits like papaya and passion fruit. But what about guava, the crown jewel of tropical fruit? Can you eat guava seeds?

The short version: Yes, you can, says Lauren Manaker, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT. But that’s not the only reason to enjoy guava. When fully ripe, guava fruit will go from a dark green color to a lighter, lime-green hue. In terms of taste, ripe guava is very aromatic and has a somewhat mild sweet and tangy flavor profile similar to papaya, strawberry, and pear. The inside flesh of the fruit is a cross between the texture of a ripe banana and a crunchy apple—pink guava variations will have a vibrant pink flesh thanks to carotenoids.

There’s a lot to love about guava, but you might have lingering questions about how to eat those seeds (and why, for the skeptics out there). Keep reading for all of the answers.

What are the health benefits of guava?

Flavor aside, guava is one of the best fruits on the market (literally) when it comes to their high antioxidant and nutrition content. Manaker calls it “a powerhouse of nutrients.” She says consuming guava comes with a bevy of health benefits that support immune, skin, and heart health (and more).

1. Guava is packed with vitamin C

“It’s a natural source of vitamin C, containing more than what you find in oranges, which supports immune health and skin health,” Manaker says. For context, you get 53 milligrams of vitamin C in a 100-gram serving of orange. Meanwhile, an equivalent amount of guava contains a whopping 228 milligrams of vitamin C—that’s four times higher! Orange, who?

2. It contains lots of fiber

Guava is also packed with tons of gut-loving fiber, which is critical for healthy digestion. “Guavas are a source of dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and promoting regular bowel movements,” Manaker says. The soluble fiber in guava can also absorb fatty acids as it moves through your gut, which can help reduce cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. One guava has about three grams of fiber, per the USDA—getting you halfway to your goal of having six grams of fiber per meal. Just make sure to supplement that with other fiber-rich foods.

3. It’s rich in antioxidants like lycopene

Aside from its gut health benefits, guava is a good source of powerful antioxidants like lycopene. “Some data suggests lycopene may help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Other data links lycopene intake to a potential benefit for men who are trying to conceive,” Manaker says. “Lycopene may also play a role in protecting skin against sunburn and UV damage, contributing to skin health.” The lycopene in guava may also support your heart health. “Studies suggest that a diet high in lycopene can improve cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels,” she says.

4. Guava is higher in protein than other fruits

Manaker notes guava is one of the top (if not the top) fruits highest in protein on the market. Don’t expect to start bulking up on guava alone though; a 100-gram serving of the fruit contains 2.55 grams of protein, per the USDA. (Fruits, as a rule, tend not to have that much protein compared to other foods.) Other high-protein fruits include avocados (two grams of protein per 100-grams), bananas (one gram of protein per 100-grams), and jackfruit (1.72 grams of protein per 100-grams), to name a few.

Can you eat guava seeds?

Yes, you can eat guava seeds, says Manaker. (No need to pick them out—and it’s okay to swallow guava seeds.) And honestly, we all should eat the whole fruit, including the seeds, since they have a lot of their own health benefits, she says.

“Rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, these seeds contribute not only to the fruit’s health benefits, but also to [guava’s] unique texture,” Manaker says. The seeds are particularly packed with fiber, Manaker says, ensuring that they can aid in digestion, promote regular bowel movements, and potentially reduce the risk of constipation. Meanwhile, she explains that the antioxidants in the seeds help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Either way you choose to eat them—guava seeds or not—this fruit is a great source of several key nutrients that support overall well-being. #TeamGuavaSeeds

Is soaking guava seeds necessary?

Manaker says that you don’t need to soak guava seeds before eating them, although it might make them easier to digest.“Prepping guava seeds by soaking is not typically necessary, as they are small enough to be consumed directly with the fruit,” she says. “However, for those who find them difficult to digest or chew, soaking might make the process easier, softening the seeds and making them less of a challenge to swallow.”

Why does my stomach hurt after eating guava?

For some folks, Manaker says that the high amounts of fiber found in guava fruit and seeds might cause an upset stomach. “Eating guavas can sometimes lead to stomach discomfort due to their fiber content. For individuals not used to consuming large amounts of dietary fiber, this sudden increase can cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and stomach pain,” she says. To mitigate this, increase how much water you drink (since your body needs water to help move fiber through your system), and gradually increase your fiber intake so your body gets used to it.

“Additionally, guavas contain fructose, a type of sugar that some people find difficult to digest. This condition, known as fructose malabsorption, can also result in abdominal discomfort after eating fruits high in fructose, like guavas,” Manaker adds.

That said, consuming guava in moderation shouldn’t be a cause for concern for most individuals.

What are the consequences of eating guava seeds?

In some limited cases, consuming guava seeds can cause some challenges for certain people. “Although small and generally considered safe to ingest, guava seeds can, in rare cases, lead to intestinal blockage, particularly in individuals with pre-existing digestive issues,” Manaker says. She explains that symptoms of a potential obstruction include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and constipation, which would require immediate medical attention.

Manaker also says folks with dental concerns should be cautious about eating guava seeds. “For those with weakened dental health, the hardness of guava seeds can potentially damage tooth enamel or result in dental fractures, emphasizing the need for cautious consumption,” she says. When in doubt, you can always try blending guava to reap its health benefits without potentially damaging your teeth on the seeds.

How many guavas should you eat a day?

For optimal health benefits, Manaker suggests consuming roughly one to two guavas per day. However, she urges folks to be mindful of excessive sugar intake depending on what else you eat throughout the day. There’s about nine grams of sugar per 100-gram serving of guava.

Need to poop? Guava to the rescue:

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