What is a passion fruit?

Passion fruit is a small tropical fruit that comes from a type of passion flower (Passiflora). They have a hard, inedible skin but when cut open reveal a yellow, juicy seeded centre that we can eat. The most common variety in the UK is a little larger than a golf ball and has brown-purple skin. You can also get a variety that is slightly larger and yellow on the outside.


Passion fruit has a sweet yet tart flavour and can be added to breakfast bowls, smoothies, salads and desserts.

The health benefits of passion fruit include:

  • Rich in protective plant compounds
  • May alleviate the symptoms of dry skin
  • May help to manage blood sugar levels
  • May help protect against cancer
  • May support heart health

Discover our passion fruit recipes, from our tropical breakfast smoothie to our berry bake with passion fruit drizzle. Plus, read are smoothies good for you?

Nutritional profile of passion fruit

Despite being small with only the seeds edible, passion fruit are highly nutritious. About five to six of the fruits make 1 of your 5 a day.

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One passion fruit (approx. 15g) provides:

  • 5kcal/23KJ
  • 0.4g protein
  • 0.1g fat
  • 0.9g carbohydrate
  • 0.7g fibre
  • 30mg potassium
  • 3mg vitamin C
  • 2mg calcium
  • 4mg magnesium

Top 5 health benefits of passion fruit

1. Rich in protective plant compounds

Passion fruit are rich in active plant compounds, including carotenoids and polyphenols. These compounds act as defence chemicals for the plant and play a similar role for us when we include them in our diet. Studies suggest that passion fruit are richer in these beneficial compounds than other tropical fruit including banana, lychee, pineapple and papaya.

2. May alleviate the symptoms of dry skin

Passion fruit contain an active plant compound called piceatannol which has been shown to help support healthy skin. In a 2018 study, 32 women aged 35-54 were given passion fruit seed extract daily for up to eight weeks and the results showed a significant increase in the moisture content of their skin.

3. May help to manage blood sugar levels

The same active compound, piceatannol, which is a derivative of a more well-known compound called resveratrol, has also been found to help reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic mice. These animal studies used an isolated extract rather than the seeds of the fruit itself; nevertheless, the findings create more opportunities to explore the fruit’s potential benefits in this area.

4. May help protect against cancer

Being rich in protective plant compounds may contribute to passion fruit’s anticancer properties. Laboratory studies using an extract of isolated compounds from passion fruit appeared to be effective against two types of cancer cells. However, more clinical trials are needed to assess whether these findings can be reproduced in a live setting.

5. May help support heart health

A 2019 study found that passion fruit juice may be beneficial in helping to prevent cardiovascular disease. This is thought to be thanks to the fruit’s active plant compounds as well as protective nutrients like vitamin C.

Are passion fruit safe for everyone?

Passion fruit are generally considered safe for most people, when consumed in moderation. Although rare, it is possible to be allergic, and this is more likely if you have a latex allergy.

Read more about allergies.

Overall, are passion fruit good for you?

Much of the evidence supporting the benefits of passion fruit has been conducted in laboratory settings using isolated compounds in the form of an extract. These extracts often have greater activity than the compounds found in whole fruit. That said, passion fruit are low in calories, high in nutrients and fibre, and rich in protective plant compounds, making them a useful addition to your diet.

Enjoyed this? Now read...

Top 20 healthiest fruits
Top 5 health benefits of kiwi fruit
The health benefits of pineapple
Top 5 health benefits of bananas
Top 5 health benefits of mango

Passion fruit recipes

Frozen tropical fruit yogurt
Mango & passion fruit smoothie
Frozen fruit sticks with passion fruit & lime drizzle
Guava & passion fruit lollies
Caramel & passion fruit slice
Lemon curd, mascarpone & passion fruit tart

This article was reviewed on 7 November 2023 by Kerry Torrens, Registered Nutritionist.

Nicola Shubrook is a qualified nutritionist registered with the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT), with over 10 years experience having graduated from the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in 2009. Nicola is also a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine and has completed her training with the National Centre for Eating Disorders. As well as running her own private clinic, Urban Wellness, Nicola also writes health features and articles on the health benefits of specific foods, or the role that diet can play in our health towards certain conditions including anxiety, stress, hormone health and digestive health.


All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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