In Tupi, uvaia means “sour fruit”, highlighting the main characteristic of this food. It is the fruit of the grape, whose scientific name is Eugenia pyriformis , a tree native to the Atlantic Forest and that belongs to the Myrtaceae family, as well as pitanga, guava-serrana and jabuticaba. ( 1 , 2 )
Its commercialization in markets and fairs is restricted, considering that the bark is thin and the pulp very delicate. Therefore, it is easy to be crushed, oxidized and dried. However, the fruit is widely used by industries in the manufacture of certain foods such as juices, sweets, jellies and even vinegars. ( 3 )
But, what few people know is that uvaia is rich in vitamins and minerals important for health. One of the most prominent compounds of this fruit is vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid. With that, it helps with the body’s defenses.
What is uvaia for?
This fruit hydrates the body, as the pulp contains around 90% water. In addition, it has very important minerals for health such as potassium and calcium. ( 2 )
Strengthens the organism
Ascorbic acid is one of the most important compounds present in citrus fruits, and in the case of uvaia it would be no different. To give you an idea, this sour fruit has four times more vitamin C than the orange itself . And as this substance is not synthesized by the body, we need to consume it through food.
Among its multiple functions are to reduce the susceptibility to infection, increase iron absorption and be vital in the development and maintenance of the human body. Furthermore, it is also responsible for the recycling of vitamin E and plays an important role in the formation of teeth and bones.
Another role of the acid is the prevention of scurvy, a health problem characterized by hemorrhages, reduced resistance to infections and bruises. Not to mention its importance for the production and maintenance of collagen , a protein needed to strengthen skin, hair and nails. ( 1 , 3 )
Protect the cells
In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, there is still one in relation to vitamin C : the antioxidant action. Like her, other substances present in the grapefruit, such as phenolic compounds, help protect the body’s cells against free radicals.
Normally, the body has these radicals, but an unbalanced diet and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the increase in these unstable molecules. They, in turn, start to “attack” the organism, causing an oxidative stress in the cells. This process can result in health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and brain dysfunction.
Therefore, it is recommended to have a healthy diet, aiming to consume natural products such as fruits, vegetables and vegetables, in addition to whole grains. With this nutritional re-education, the cellular defense mechanism only tends to benefit. ( 3 , 4 )
Improves embryonic development
The content of carotenoids in uvaia is considered high, “especially when compared to vegetables such as carrots , one of the main sources of this compound.”
For those who don’t know, carotenoids are natural pigments that give food a color that can vary between yellow, orange or red. But then you might be asking yourself: “how can a ‘dye’ help embryonic development?”
The main issue is that this pigment has beneficial properties and one of them is its provitamin A (retinol) activity. This substance is essential for the development of the fetus, in addition to playing an important role in the functioning of vision and the immune system. ( 4 , 5 )
A study published in the Instituto de Medicina Tropical of São Paulo showed that the seed extract of Eugenia pyriformis inhibited the growth of 13 of the 15 microorganisms used in the experiment.
In the antimicrobial activity, for example, bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa , Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis were fought. These results set precedents for this fruit to be adopted as a possible treatment for respiratory, epidermal, urinary and even digestive infections . ( 6 )
Reduces blood glucose and cholesterol levels
There are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble, the latter being the most prevalent in most fruits, vegetables and vegetables. In 100 grams of fresh uvaia pulp there are approximately 40 grams of fiber.
These substances slow down the transformation of complex carbohydrates such as starch into glucose. As a result, blood sugar absorption slows down and blood glucose levels also drop.
Another benefit of soluble fiber is the reduction of cholesterol in the bloodstream, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. Despite its difficult name, this disease is very common throughout the world, as it is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the arteries, making it difficult for the blood to pass through.
Forms of consumption
The fruit can be consumed fresh , as juice or even jellies. Industrially, it is common to use it in the preparation of wines and vinegars.
Wash a glass of grapes and then cut them in half. Remove the seeds from each one and place the pulps in a blender. Add half a liter of water and beat until everything is smooth. Then just strain and sweeten according to your preference.
How to prepare uvaia leaf tea?
Some people believe that the leaves of this plant have health benefits. However, there is no description in the literature about what the tea made from the uvaia leaf is used for. Unlike another species of the same family, Eugenia uniflora , popularly called pitanga.
In this case, it is possible to make a decoction with the leaves and boiling water. And the end result can be used to control hypertension, lower cholesterol and uric acid, slimming, astringent and digestive. ( 9 )