Sweet and tart guavas are a key flavor in Latin America, where they're known as guayaba. Celebrated for their bright-pink color and distinctive fresh aroma, they play a starring role in just about everything including juice, traditional baked specialties, marmalade, ice cream, and even herbal tea.
It's the fruit of a little evergreen tree native to the Caribbean and Central and South America. They have since circled the globe and have grown in various tropical zones. In traditional Chinese medicine and folk medicine in the Americas, guava has been valued for its healing properties.
Here in Havana, where I'm reporting from, we have guavas growing in the garden and have been enjoying them every day. In Cuba, where use of medicinal plants is a part of traditional healing practices that have been researched with great interest, guava was included in the country's Natural Medicine Program.
For starters, guava is a source of inflammation-fighting nutrients and antioxidants. This fruit has fiber and flavonoids, along with beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin C, and magnesium.
Peering into the nutritional power of this fruit, science has even discovered a special flavonoid and named it guaijaverin, which is related to quercetin.