Fibre de maracuja / Passion fruit fibre
Both Australians and Brazilians have had a long love affair with passionfruits for their fibre, vitamin, mineral content and not to mention their ability to be fun and handy in the kitchen; think pavalova, fruit salads, juices, passionfruit icing, mousse, ice-cream and I think Brazilians do it best when mixed with their local alcohol cachaça when making the traditional cocktail, caprihinha.
But now having clear presence on health food store shelves here in Brazil is “fibre de maracujá” or fibre of passionfruit. A product of the white part (rind) of the passoinfruit that has been ground down to a flour and the fibre being extracted.
What is bringing this ingredient into the limelight is the generous amount of pectin, a type of fibre in the product that can be described as a functional food due to its positive actions within the body. Once consumed, pectin has the ability to draw water into the digestive tract from the rest of the body causing it to swell and turn into a gel like substance. This slows down the time it takes the fibre to travel through the digestive system. BThis in itself is beneficial on a few levels. It keeps us feeling fuller longer thereby reducing our caloric intake as well as stabilizing our blood sugar levels due to the carbohydrates being slowed down as they enter the bloodstream.
Pectin is also a great intestinal cleaner working wonders for our detoxifying processes as the pectin binds to unwanted toxins in the intestinal tract preventing their absorption and encorouging with their elimination from the body. Pectin also works as a prebiotic, providing an energy source for our gut flora.
Fibre de maracuja is a versatile product and goes really well in smoothies, mixed with other flours for pancakes, sprinkled on granola or simply stired into a glass of water and drunk quickly before the fibre has a chance to turn into a gel. Keep in mind to help facilitate the role of pectin, increased water consumption is advised. Hoping to see this functional food in Australia soon!