Literatus: Sweet fibrous chews or flour?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


AT TIMES passion is a fruit of love. Although the same is true the other way around.

What I love about passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) though is the sweet citrus taste that is milder compared to regular orange or calamansi. Eating it, however, is another story.

I tried extracting the juice directly in my mouth the way I usually eat poncan oranges, pulp and all except for the seeds.

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Yet passion fruit can be unwieldy that way. I ended up feeling less satisfied in relation to the effort I put in getting the juice into my mouth. Thus I decided to proceed the usual way: place sufficient amount of scraped juice-filled seed-sacs into a glass of water, add a small amount of water and sugar, and then stir to extract the juice. Just remove the spent juice sacs with the seeds before drinking the juice.

Uniquely, you only drink passion fruit as a juice, nothing more.

While the fruit (without the pulp and peel), weighing 18 grams, contains 63 mg of potassium and primarily vitamins A and C with traces of Iron and magnesium, the peel is rich in dietary fiber that is soluble, making it a beneficial food to remove sticky cholesterol off the bloodstream. Peel flour usually contains 17.4 grams total fiber per 30 grams, with 6.3 grams soluble fiber and the rest insoluble fibers. The fruit itself contains 1.9 grams of dietary fiber.

Pectin is the major component of the passion fruit peel flour (PFPF) soluble fibers.

The De Queiroz study in 2012 noted that fasting blood sugar (FBS) drops by 14.6 percent after a regular diet for 30 days and by 25.7 percent for 60 days. However, the abnormally high FBS levels among diabetic patients failed to return to normal within the 60-day period despite the significant drops.

A study in 2004 noted how pectin formed a gel with water in the gastrointestinal tract, preventing the absorption of cholesterol and sugar in the food eaten and resulting to decreases in serum cholesterol and triglycerides. The gel also binds with bile salts, increasing cholesterol extraction.

Passion fruit also contains 100 mg of polyunsaturated fats, another plus factor against blood cholesterol management.

A word of caution, however, is due in the intake of pectin found in PFPF: pectin causes constipation if not accompanied with an intake of enough water. For every 30 grams of PFPF, at least two liters of water per day must be taken to avoid constipation.

If you like a readily chewable fiber from a citrus fruit, you can go for a chew of poncan orange juice sacs—juice, pulp and all, except for the seeds. Try it. You may like it, as I do.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 19, 2014.

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