Star Fruit

Carambola or Star Fruit : Heath Benefits and Nutrition Facts

Star fruit might not grab your eye in its full form, but when sliced horizontally, it makes a beautiful star-shaped garnish or snack. Also called carambola, star fruit has become more common in the United States. Although star fruit poses a danger for people with kidney disease, for the majority of the population, it’s a nutritious choice with several health benefits to offer.

Star fruit, also known as carambola, is the fruit of the Averrhoa carambola tree. Although star fruit is most abundant in tropical areas, such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, it is widely distributed around the world.

Star fruit is dark green when it is unripe, but it turns glossy yellow as it ripens. Ripe star fruit is fleshy, crunchy, and juicy and has a sweet and slightly tart taste. Smaller star fruits are more tart than the larger fruits.

When sliced horizontally, the fruit resembles a star, which is why it is named “star fruit”. Usually has five segments, giving it a star shape. It is a crunchy, juicy fruit with a light flavor. The skin is waxy, yellow or green, and edible, and the fruit has tiny dark seeds in its center.

Star Fruit Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (132g) of cubed star fruit.

  • Calories: 41
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Sodium: 2.6mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8.9g
  • Fiber: 3.7g
  • Sugars: 5.3g
  • Protein: 1.4g

How is it used?

Durian is used in sweet and savory dishes. Both the creamy flesh and seeds are edible, though the seeds need to be cooked.

The flavor is described as tasting like cheese, almonds, garlic, and caramel all at once.

Common food preparations of durian fruit include:

  • soup
  • candy, ice cream, and other desserts
  • side dish
  • juice
  • seeds, boiled or roasted

Durian is an ingredient in both sweet and savory Southeast Asian dishes. It’s also used in traditional medicine.

Carbs
Start fruit has just under 9 grams of carbs per cup. This includes 3.7 grams of fiber and 5.3 grams of sugar.

Fats
Star fruit is very low in fat with just less than 1/2 gram per cup.

Protein
There are 1.4 grams of protein in 1 cup of star fruit.

Vitamins and Minerals
Star fruit is a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate, selenium, copper, and zinc.

The small amount of fat in star fruit includes some fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin E and beta carotene.

Benefits

Star fruit is a source of antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamin C.

A person can take in around 31 mg of vitamin C from a medium-sized fruit. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C is 90 mg per day for adult males and 75 mg per day for adult females, though this increases to 85 mg per day during pregnancy and 120 mg per day during lactation.

The body cannot make vitamin C, so the diet must provide adequate amounts. In addition to combatting oxidative stress, vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, which the body needs to heal.

Meanwhile, the high amount of fiber in star fruit can help the blood absorb glucose slowly and balance blood sugar levels.

Star fruit contains soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve but creates bulk to help food and waste pass easily through the digestive tract.

The soluble fiber in star fruit has cholesterol-lowering effects. And because soluble fiber can help remove fat molecules from the blood, incorporating a source of this fiber, such as star fruit, into the diet could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Soluble fiber also helps reduce blood glucose levels by slowing the rate at which the body absorbs carbohydrates.

In many Asian countries and Brazil, star fruit is a popular alternative to conventional medication.

Practitioners of Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, for example, use it to treat a fever, a sore throat, a cough, asthma, headaches, and skin problems.

In addition, the leaves, fruit, and roots of the star fruit contain compounds called saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and tannins, which have antioxidant and healing properties.

Assists Wound Healing

Getting enough vitamin C is crucial for the production of collagen and the body’s ability to repair tissue damage and wounds. With over 45 milligrams per cup, star fruit is a great way to work towards the recommended 75–90 milligrams required per day for most adults.

May Aid in Cancer Prevention

To evaluate whether star fruit produces changes in the body, researchers compared participants’ blood samples after 2 weeks and 4 weeks of increased star fruit consumption. Although it took the full 4 weeks to achieve the greatest difference, antioxidant status improved as participants ate more star fruit, raising levels of vitamins A and C in particular.

Although more research is needed, this preliminary study suggests that star fruit may be protective against cancer development by equipping the body with free-radical-fighting compounds.

Promotes Regularity

Star fruit is a good source of fiber, with almost 4 grams per cup. Fiber is essential for regularity, as it helps move food through the digestive tract and prevent constipation. The daily recommendation for fiber intake is between 25–35 grams; however, most Americans fall short of this amount. Including star fruit as a side dish or snack can help you get closer to meeting your daily fiber goal.

Supports Heart Health

Star fruit has several nutrients that contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system. Potassium reduces blood pressure, fiber helps lower cholesterol, and vitamin C protects against oxidative damage. Getting enough fruits and vegetables every day is a cornerstone tenet of heart-healthy eating, and star fruit can help you reach this goal.

Improves Blood Sugar Control

Fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial for diabetes management. The fiber in fresh, frozen or dried fruit, including star fruit, slows down food digestion and prevents rapid spikes in blood sugar. In addition, star fruit is a low calorie, nutrient-dense food that can support healthy weight management and help prevent development of insulin resistance. Including star fruit in your meal plan may help reduce your risk of diabetes and keep blood sugars under control.

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Adverse Effects

Anyone with impaired kidney function should avoid star fruit. Star fruit contains a neurotoxin that can cause damage to the brain when it is not properly detoxified by the kidneys. Symptoms of this toxicity may include hiccups, mental confusion, seizures, and even death in serious cases.

Star fruit can also inhibit enzymes responsible for the metabolism of certain drugs. Always read your medication labels to screen for possible interactions and avoid eating star fruit at the same time that you take medications.

Varieties

There are many varieties of star fruit that vary in color, size, and sweetness. Some star fruit varieties are sweet and some are tart. Certain varieties contain edible seeds although most people prefer to remove them. Most varieties of star fruit originate in Florida, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, or Hawaii. Some examples include Erlin, Demak, Pasi, Golden Star, Maha, or Cheng Chui.

Storage and Food Safety

Star fruit may be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 21 days. Wash well under running water before slicing into star fruit. The peel is edible. Cut star fruit should be placed back in the refrigerator in a covered container for consumption within a few days.

How to Prepare

To show off star fruit’s characteristic shape, slice it horizontally and use it as a garnish for drinks, salads, and other tropical dishes. Star fruit is usually described as being sweet with a hint of tartness. Ripe star fruit has been compared to the taste of apples, pears, grapes, and lime. Green, unripe star fruit may be sour.

Blend star fruit into a smoothie or add it to a fruit salad. Placing star-shaped slices on your plate next to eggs or with salmon and a bagel can brighten your breakfast plate.

Baking star fruit creates fun-shaped star chips for kids. You can also pickle star fruit, use it in sauce or jelly recipes, or use it to top yogurt or ice cream. Some southeast Asian recipes use star fruit in savory recipes like curries and stews.

Bottom Line

Star fruit is a delicious fruit. It is low in calories but packed with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.

However, people with kidney problems or those who take prescription drugs should consult with a doctor before eating this fruit.

For most people, though, star fruit is a healthy and tasty addition to the diet.

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