Medically reviewed by Karina Tolentino, RD
Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) is highly aromatic with a sweet-tangy or sour taste. You can consume its seeds, flesh, and juice. Health benefits include improved immune function and a reduced risk of certain diseases.
The most common varieties are yellow, purple, and greenish-yellow Maypop. Bright yellow passion fruits have thick, hard peels with brown seeds, while purple has black seeds and a purple peel.
Read on to learn about passion fruit's health benefits, how to select and eat one, and more.
Passion Fruit Nutrition Facts
One serving of purple passion fruit without refuse (granadilla) includes:
Fat: 0.1 grams (g)
Carbohydrates: 4 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sugars: 2 g
Protein: 0.4 g
Sodium: 5 milligrams (mg)
Magnesium: 5 mg
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 0.023 mg
Vitamin C: 5.4 mg
Iron: 0.3 mg
Potassium: 62.6 mg
Vitamin A: 229 micrograms (mcg)
Note that this serving size is small, and nutrition increases as quantity increases.
Benefits of Passion Fruit Puree and Seeds
Passion fruit is a good source of B vitamins, fiber, vitamins A and C, iron, and potassium. Passion fruit also contains plant-based compounds, such as polyphenols and carotenoids, that have been shown to have health benefits. The seeds are edible and provide protein and a small amount of fat.
Good Source of Vitamins A and C
One small passion fruit contains about 7% of the recommended daily vitamin C needs, which may improve immune function and nonheme (plant-based iron) absorption. It also acts as an antioxidant and is necessary for collagen production.
Passion fruit also contains vitamin A and carotenoids. Both are important for vision as well as immune function.
Improves Gut Health
Passion fruit contains fiber necessary for gut health, including increasing healthy bacteria and promoting bowel regularity. High-fiber foods are associated with healthy body weight and reduced risk of gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
One cup of passion fruit contains 24.5 grams of fiber. Recommended fiber intake is about 14 g per 1,000 calories or 25–38 grams daily.
Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Passion fruit contains a plethora of plant-based compounds. Researchers estimate more than 110 kinds of chemical constituents have been isolated and identified from passion fruit. These compounds have been found in the fruit's peel, leaves, pulp, juice, and seeds.
These compounds have been used in animal studies and test tubes to evaluate their health benefits, including antioxidative potential. One study conducted on obese rats found adding passion fruit bark to their feeds led to reductions in cholesterol and visceral fat.
Preliminary research suggests that the compounds in passion fruit provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitumor, antidiabetic properties, and more. However, more research on humans is needed.
Supports Cancer Prevention and Metabolic Health
Piceatannol, a polyphenol with similar effects to resveratrol, is found in grapes and passion fruit. Test tube studies have evaluated its use in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Animal studies have demonstrated using piceatannol for metabolic health, yet human data is limited.
One small study evaluated the use of extracted piceatannol from passion fruit seeds and its impact on normal-weight and overweight men and women. Men classified as overweight who were given piceatannol had lower fasting insulin levels and reduced blood pressure.
However, these changes did not appear in men classified as normal weight. Women classified as normal weight had reductions in hemoglobin A1c when supplementing with piceatannol. Although promising, more research is needed.
How to Scoop Out and Eat Passion Fruit
To enjoy fresh passion fruit, cut it in half with a sharp knife and eat the pulp and seeds. To make passion fruit juice, pulse the flesh and seeds in a blender or food processor. Seed remnants can be strained with a cheesecloth and discarded. Use passion fruit in smoothies, desserts, mocktails, salad dressings, protein marinades, and more.
In the United States, passion fruit is grown in warm climates, such as Florida, California, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. Importation of passion fruit to the United States is limited to a handful of countries due to quarantine restrictions to prevent the spread of insects (such as the Mediterranean fruit fly), making it expensive and often difficult to find.
If you cannot find fresh passion fruit, you can purchase frozen passion fruit, which might be lower in fiber if it only contains the pulp and not the seeds.
How to Select a Ripe Passion Fruit
To select a ripe passion fruit, look for wrinkled skin. However, too much wrinkling indicates that the fruit may have lost its flavor or gone bad. If your passion fruit is purple, it may have brown areas showing ripeness.
Unripe passion fruit can be left out to ripen at room temperature. Passion fruits purchased ripe can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to seven days.
Should Anyone Not Eat Passion Fruit?
Although rare, some people are allergic to passion fruit. It isn't uncommon to have a papaya allergy and a passion fruit allergy. If you are allergic to latex, you may also be allergic to passion fruit. A food allergy means avoiding the food to prevent allergic reactions. If you have concerns, speak to a healthcare provider before trying passion fruit.
Passion fruit is a nutritious tropical fruit. Consuming it can add antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals without sodium or saturated fat. Although human studies on the health benefits of passion fruit are lacking, there is research on the benefits of vitamins C and A, antioxidants, fiber, and polyphenols, which the fruit contains.
If you have trouble finding fresh passion fruit, consider purchasing it frozen. Speak to a healthcare provider if you're concerned about trying passion fruit.
Read the original article on Verywell Health.