By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Did you know? Passion fruit comes from a vine species of the passionflower, known scientifically as Passiflora Edulis and that they originated in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. They also grow well in many other countries such as India.
Nutritionally passionfruit is fabulous and is low in calories too. Its, beautiful orange flesh gives away is rich in beta carotene but also provides the essential vitamins B2, B3, B6, and C. Rich in fibre and important minerals, including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and iron – it is certainly a great fruit to pop into your shopping trolley!
Why are orange fruits and vegetables good health and fertility-friendly choices?
It is important to include the whole ‘rainbow’ of colours in your daily diet to obtain maximum benefit pre-conception and beyond. Orange fruit and vegetables are an important colour in this rainbow as they are loaded in beta carotene (the plant-based precursor to vitamin A). Beta carotene gives the orange spectrum foods it’s vibrant colour and is thought to help boost immunity, keep our heart healthy, fight against dementia and certain cancers.
Carotenoids are the main antioxidants found in orange vegetables and fruits. Carotenoids are important for healthy eyes, mucous membranes and skin. Yellow and orange foods also contain Lutein, which helps to maintain healthy vision.
In relation to fertility, beta-carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A) helps to produce the female sex hormones (oestrogen and progesterone). These hormones are important for ovulation and for the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Vitamin A helps to protect us from conditions related to oestrogen dominance, including breast cysts, heavy menstrual bleeding and ovarian cancer.
5 top reasons to include passion fruit in your diet prior to conception and beyond:
- Low glycaemic index – helps to reduce the rate at which sugar is released into the blood, which has the added bonus of assisting with hormone balancing.
- Loaded in Iron – this essential mineral is a vital component of haemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body from the lungs to tissues and carbon dioxide back in the other direction. Iron is also important for maintaining a healthy immune system as well as having a role in the production of energy, DNA synthesis and muscle function. A deficiency in iron can lead to anaemia. Some research studies suggest a link between fertility and iron levels in the body.
- High vitamin C content- The immune system benefits from vitamin C, and it also aids in the absorption of iron from food, which is crucial for both men and women hoping to conceive. Sperm viability and motility are both impacted by vitamin C.
- Great for digestion – A healthy gut is essential for overall health and wellbeing. If nutrients are not properly digested and absorbed from our food, it will impact all organs and systems in the body. The gut microbiome can also impact our reproductive system if it is out of balance. There is some evidence to suggest that gut dysbiosis may be linked to endometriosis, a chronic inflammatory reproductive disorder.
- Great for circulation – important to ensure oxygen and the correct nutrients reach all cells of the body including that of the reproductive system.
Ata, B., Yildiz, S., Turkgeldi, E., Brocal, V. P., Dinleyici, E. C., Moya, A., & Urman, B. (2019). The Endobiota Study: Comparison of Vaginal, Cervical and Gut Microbiota Between Women with Stage 3/4 Endometriosis and Healthy Controls. Scientific reports, 9(1), 2204. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-39700-6
Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner BA, Willett WC. Iron intake and risk of ovulatory infertility. Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Nov;108(5):1145-52.
Passion fruit (granadilla) purple raw. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1987/2