Guajes, pronounced gwa-heh, are pods that grow on the Leucaena Leucocephala tree (also known as the white leadtree, jumbay, and white popinac).
They are thin, flat, and long green pods with tender edible seeds (or beans) encapsulated inside them.
(By the way, you can get guajes in a paste too, and get all the benefits, this is one of my favorites on amazon)
Guajes benefits may be few, but there are some, and they are quite impressive.
Since you are interested in “products” of trees that are surprisingly healthy, be sure to check out my article about pine pollen (don’t worry, this will open in a new tab).
Let’s go over them and see exactly what guajes have to offer!
Packed With Protein
Guajes are a type of legume, and similar to many legumes, they’re very high in protein. In fact, they contain over 30% protein!
That means if you eat only 100 grams of guaje beans (not the pods), you’ll consume over 30 grams of protein! That’s more than most protein shakes, and it’s completely natural.
For that reason, it has long been used as food for livestock. Powerful nutrition, small package.
High In Fiber
Continuing the theme of the last section, guajes are also about 10% fiber! So from just 100 grams of guajes, along with your 30 grams of protein, you’ll also be getting 10 grams of fiber.
That’s one-third of the recommended daily intake (25-30 grams) in just 100 grams of guajes!
Fiber helps normalize bowel movements, maintain bowel health, lower cholesterol levels, and control blood sugar levels. No doubt it’s an important thing, and most people lack fiber in their diet.
One of the major reasons people experience fatigue and lack of focus is due to an iron deficiency. Not only that, but iron will also boost the immune system and treat anemia. And as hinted, guajes contains iron (about 6 grams of iron per 100 grams of guajes).
Guajes benefits go even further than basic nutritional values. It also contains flavonoids, which are natural compounds found in many fruits, vegetables, grains, and roots.
These flavonoids act in plants as antimicrobial and antioxidant agents. And in our bodies they act pretty much the same, preventing inflammations, bacteria, and most importantly, free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that were released, or “escaped”, from normal bodily processes. They roam the body freely and have been correlated with many harmful diseases, namely Alzheimer’s, dementia, asthma, diabetes, and even cancer.
As we’ve mentioned, many plants contain these elements, but studies show that guajes have an exceptionally high free radical scavenging activity. Which means they would do an even better job in eliminating these disease-causing atoms.
If you’re interested in this benefit specifically, red guajes have an even better antioxidant activity.
The flavonoids, as mentioned in the previous section, also act as anti-inflammatory agents. They do so partly by fighting off free radicals that often cause random inflammations. And partly by directly influencing inflammation.
That anti-inflammatory action means guajes can treat, as well as prevent, arthritis, lupus, heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, and much more.
Guajes benefits the building, healing, and strengthening of bones because of two minerals it contains, calcium and phosphorus.
Calcium is needed by your body to make healthy bones, and for the proper function of muscles, nerves, and cells.
And phosphorus works with calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Guajes Nutrition Facts
As you’ve seen throughout this article, guajes has many powerful traits; here they are in a list:
- 30% Protein
- 10% Fiber
So we think guajes health benefits are clear and its proven to healthy as it is tasty. Eat it raw, boil it, roast it, use it in soups, salads, casseroles, and more.
It’s super versatile and tastes something like avocado, pepper, garlic, and pumpkin seed mixed together. It’s lovely.
If you’re looking for another unique and healthy food, check out my article about chesa fruits.