What Is Feijoa Good For?

Fascinating Feijoa
Scientific name: Acca sellowiana

Feijoa

You may be familiar with guavas, a tropical fruit native to Mexico and other Central American countries. Considered the queen of fruits, guava not only tastes good, but also contains important vitamins, minerals and nutrients.1,2

There’s another fruit that looks similar to guava, tastes just as good and offers health benefits too. It is the feijoa, which is aptly nicknamed “pineapple guava.”3 Keep reading this page to learn more about the feijoa: where it comes from, its positive effects on your body and how you can prepare this fruit in various ways for your friends and family to enjoy.

What Is a Feijoa?

The feijoa (Acca sellowiana) is a small tree or shrub that’s a member of the Myrtaceae family, and is popular in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and New Zealand. Feijoa trees  typically reach 8 to 15 feet in height, spreads out into a large bush and has oval-shaped, thick, fleshy and deep-green leaves with a gray surface underneath.

You may also find golden-yellow flowers with white petals atop long, maroon-colored stamen from time to time. Usually, after five to six months of flowering, ready-to-eat fruits begin to cover the plant. Feijoa fruits are oval-shaped and closely resemble unripe, medium-sized and deep-green guava. They are usually 1/5 to 2 1/2 inches long and 2 inches wide, and weigh about 50 grams.5

Ripe fruits typically drop off from the tree or shrub, and must be gathered and eaten immediately, because they might perish if left unconsumed. Ripe feijoas have a sweet fruity aroma that is reminiscent of banana and pineapple.

What Are the Health Benefits of Feijoas?

Feijoa can deliver benefits to your health and well-being because of its wide array of nutrients, which include:6,7,8

 

Vitamin C: This water-soluble antioxidant can work against viral illnesses by boosting the immune system, promoting production of white blood cells, helping the body develop resistance against infectious agents and assisting in scavenging free radicals.

B vitamins B3, B5 and B6: These are vital for overall body function, especially in metabolic activities like protein synthesis and red blood cell production.


They can also facilitate hormone production, stimulate nervous system function and produce energy within the cells.
 

Iron: This mineral can help with red blood cell production and circulation and, together with vitamin B, stimulate blood flow that helps increase oxygenation to critical areas in the body and raise energy levels.

Minerals like manganese, copper, calcium and potassium: Together, these can be effective in improving bone mineral density and assisting with the prevention of the onset of osteoporosis.


They also help increase energy levels and allow you to be more active in your later years.

Dietary fiber: It acts as a natural laxative that can help protect the colon’s mucous membrane by lowering exposure time to toxins and binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the said organ.


Dietary fiber can also help optimize digestion by stimulating peristaltic motion and boosting nutrient uptake, and assist in soothing symptoms of indigestion, constipation, bloating cramping and stomach upset.


It also helps reduce cholesterol levels, particularly “bad” LDL cholesterol that can raise your risk for heart disease.


Dietary fiber aids in “scraping” the bad cholesterol out of the arteries and blood vessels, helping reduce the risk for blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.

Antioxidants like flavonoids and glycosides: Both of these have been linked to increased memory retention, improved focus and reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


These antioxidants look for and neutralize free radicals in neural pathways before they can trigger plaque accumulation.

How Can You Eat Feijoas?

When you take a peek inside the feijoa, you’ll notice that it has a central and jelly-like textured seed pulp that’s surrounded by soft and grey-white flesh. The flesh tastes sweet and is somewhat tart, is strongly aromatic and has a sandy texture. While the skin is edible, it is usually discarded. Follow these easy steps when preparing feijoas:9,10

  1. Check if the fruit is ripe. To do so, try squeezing the feijoa softly. Ripe fruits should feel like just-ripe bananas, and will yield to the pressure. You may notice a dent in the area where you applied pressure.
  2. Using a knife, cut the feijoa in half, lengthwise. The pulp inside the fruit should look clear and gelatinous.
  3. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the flesh. You may eat it using a spoon.

Once you’ve prepared feijoa, you’re ready to eat them or combine with fresh fruits and vegetables to create dishes. Here’s how you can eat feijoas:

  • Eat feijoas by itself to enjoy its natural flavor and unique taste.
  • Juice the feijoa and use it to make drinks.
  • Add sliced feijoas to salads, fruit salads or salsas.
  • Feijoas can be used as confectionary in pastries.
  • Use fresh feijoas for preparing purees, jellies, jams, chutneys and/or sorbet, to name a few.

As mentioned earlier, eat feijoas in moderation. Since these fruits tend to be sweet, this means that the fruits contain high amounts of sugar that can be devastating to your health.

Feijoa Frenzy Recipe

If you find yourself with some feijoas and are unsure how you can use them, take some inspiration from this feijoa smoothie recipe:11,12

Feijoa Frenzy Recipe

Ingredients:

2 feijoas, peeled

1 apple, cored and quartered

4 guavas, peeled

Squeezed lemonjuice

Procedure:

  1. Juice the feijoas, apple and guava together.
  2. Add squeezed lemon juice, and serve.

(Adapted from “Juice! Delicious Juices to Enjoy Throughout the Day”)


Feijoa Nutrition Facts

The nutritional value of feijoa can be enough to convince you why it deserves a place in your diet. Feijoa’s important nutritional benefits come from the different vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can assist with enhancing overall health and wellbeing. Furthermore, feijoas happen to be low in calories, with 100 grams of fresh feijoas only having 55 calories.14

Check this table for more information about feijoa’s nutritional content, and learn which vitamins, minerals and nutrients are abundant in these fruits:15

 
 

Feijoa Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 100 grams
  Amt. Per
Serving
% Daily
Value*
Calories 49.0  
Calories from Fat 6.5 g  
Total Fat 0.8 g 1%
Saturated Fat    
Trans Fat    
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 3.0 mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 10.6 g 4%
Dietary Fiber    
Sugar    
Protein 1.2 g 2%
Vitamin A 0.0 IU 0%
Calcium 41.3 mg 4%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

It’s kind of intriguing why feijoas aren’t as popular in other countries, when these fruits have so much to offer in terms of health benefits and uses in various dishes. If you’re lucky enough to have access to feijoas, why not give these sweet and tart fruits a try today?

Frequently Asked Questions About Feijoas

Q: Are feijoas healthy?

A: Yes. Feijoas contain high amounts of different vitamins and B vitamins (B3, B5, B6, C, E and K), dietary fiber and minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, potassium and phosphorus. You can also find vital antioxidants like flavonoids and glycosides in these fruits.16,17

However, I highly advise eating these fruits in moderation. Feijoas have a sweet yet tart flavor, courtesy of the sugar in the fruit, and eating too much can increase your body’s sugar levels and lead to unwanted health risks.

Q: Can you eat feijoa’s skin?

A: While feijoa skin is edible, it’s typically discarded after the fruit is prepared and/or sliced.18

Q: How do you prune feijoa trees?

A: Feijoa trees and shrubs are said to look best when these are pruned lightly. If you clip them into a formal shrub, it destroys their natural shape and decreases fruit yield.19 Remember these five tips for pruning feijoas:20

  • Prune feijoa trees for shape in late fall or early winter. During this period, the tree is dormant and less vulnerable to insects and diseases that can infect pruning wounds. Before using, sterilize the pruning tool blades by dipping these in boiling water for 30 seconds or wiping with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • Prune all branches, shoots and suckers from the lower third of the feijoa trunk. Branches and shoots won’t produce fruit, and when you remove them, it’ll give the feijoa a more tree-like form. Set the blades of pruning shears at a 15-degree angle. Cut down and away from the trunk. Leave a short stub that’ll drain moisture and heal fast.
  • Examine the feijoa’s canopy for vertically growing branches. Thin them out with long-handled pruning shears to let more light and air to the remaining branches. Leave healthy branches that grow at a 60- to 90-degree angle from the trunk intact.
  • During the spring and early summer, look for crossing and rubbing branches in the canopy, especially as fruits begin to develop. The latter can lead to bark injury and fruit spoilage. Prune away the weaker branches and leave the strongest ones alone.
  • Prune out diseased, dead or storm-damaged branches as you see them at any time of the year. If you leave damaged branches on the tree, it’ll reduce its vigor and yield less fruit.

Q: How can you grow a feijoa tree?

A: The feijoa tree is very easy to care for and requires little pruning. It’s considered hardy by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and falls in hardiness zones 8 through 11. However, if you live in the Southeast, it cannot tolerate high humidity. The feijoa tree is known to withstand temperatures as low as 12 degrees F (-11 degrees C), and the fruit is said to taste better if exposed to some freezing temperatures.21

The plant does well in full sun or partial shade, and prefers rich, organic and well-drained soil with acidic or slightly alkaline pH levels. High pH levels can cause the leaves to turn yellow. In most soils, the tree requires light fertilization every other month.

If you’ve just planted feijoa trees or have young trees, make sure these are watered weekly in the absence of rain. As the feijoa tree matures, its drought tolerance increases.