Pomelos are citrus fruits native to Southeast Asia. Their scientific name is Citrus maxima, and they are considered to be the ancestors of grapefruit. Pomelos are traditionally used to treat gastrointestinal problems, cough, and fever.
Pomelos are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals (1). They may help in boosting immunity, improving digestive health, and maintaining body weight.
In this article, we talk about the potential health benefits and nutrition profile of pomelo and some ways you can eat it.
Table Of Contents
What Is Pomelo Or Pummelo?
Pomelo fruits are teardrop-shaped and have a mixed taste. They can weigh up to 20 pounds and taste sweeter than grapefruit. They are very juicy and tangy like tangerine. They are believed to have originated in China around 100 BC.
The outer layer of pomelo is thick and soft and can be peeled easily. The pulp inside comes in a variety of colors, ranging from yellow to pink to red. You can find the fruit growing on citrus trees in the heat of summer and in tropical climates.
Check out the nutritional information of this citrus fruit below.
Pomelo Nutrition Facts
Pomelos are highly nutritious and a rich source of vitamin C and a wide variety of minerals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one pomelo fruit contains (1):
- Energy – 231 calories
- Fiber – 6.09 g
- Protein – 4.63 g
- Carbohydrate – 58.6 g
- Vitamin C – 371 mg
- Potassium – 1320 mg
Pomelo also contains a good amount of potassium, which keeps your heart healthy. It also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, and C, bioflavonoids, healthy fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and enzymes. It contains a high amount of beta-carotene and folic acid that are very beneficial for pregnant women (1).
Find out more about these benefits in the next section.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Pomelo?
With its wide range of nutritional and medicinal properties, pomelo may help in treating many ailments. It is said to improve your immune system and promote hair health. Scroll down to know more.
1. May Boost Immunity
Pomelo fruit is rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and attacks free radicals.It enhances microbial killing and phagocytosis. It can also treat and prevent systemic infections and many respiratory problems (2). Therefore, adding pomelo to your diet may improve your immune system.
2. May Aid Digestion
A study conducted in China suggests that adding more dietary fiber to your diet may help in maintaining the health of your intestinal microbes (5).
3. May Promote Weight Loss
This is another area where the dietary fiber in pomelo comes into play. Foods high in fiber stay in the stomach for a longer time and reduce regular hunger pangs (6). They also require more chewing time, thus giving the body a long time to feel satisfied and reducing the risk of eating too much. However, more long-term research focused on the weight-loss effect of pomelo is required.
4. May Improve Bone Health
Adding pomelo to your diet and physical exercise to your daily routine may help your bones become healthy and strong.
5. May Regulate Blood Pressure
Pomelo juice contains potassium, which is a key nutrient for regulating blood pressure. Potassium is a vasodilator that releases the tension in the blood vessels to maintain blood pressure. Drinking pomelo juice and eating pomelo at night time helps keep your blood pressure in check and prevents hypertension (8).
6. May Boost Heart Health
Pomelo contains antioxidants like polyphenols, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid that have been found to reduce the levels of triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol and cardiac risk in rats (9). However, more research is required to understand this benefit on humans.
7. May Fight Aging
Pomelo, like grapefruits, is claimed to contain spermidine. Spermidine protects the cells from processes related to aging and cell damage (10). Thus, it may help combat wrinkles and skin aging to make your skin appear youthful, fair, and soft. However, there is very little scientific evidence supporting the effect of spermidine in pomelo and its effect on skin aging.
Pomelo fruit extract has also been found to help in preventing advanced glycation end products (AGEs)-mediated diabetic complications (11).
8. Fights Infections
Pomelo has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help in treating certain types of infections. A study conducted by the Vietnam National University found pomelo essential oil to be effective against the fungus Penicillium expansum (12).
A study conducted by the University of Bucharest found that pomelo essential oil inhibits the development of bacterial biofilm on soft contact lenses (13).
However, more studies are required to understand the effect of pomelo on other microbial infections.
9. May Prevent Cramping
Deficiency of fluids, dehydration, and lack of electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium) are the root causes of muscle cramps (14). Pomelo is a rich source of potassium (1). Therefore, it is possible that drinking pomelo juice may supply your body with the fluids and electrolytes needed to prevent muscle cramps.
10. May fight cancer cells
Naringenin, an antioxidant found in citrus fruit, has been found to inhibit the growth of lung cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer cells in experimental studies (17), (18), (19). However, more research is required to understand the real-world application of this anticancer effect of pomelo on cancer.
11. May Help Manage Diabetes
Pomelo may help in managing diabetes. A study conducted on 20 people with diabetes found that though pomelo has a high glycemic index (Gi), it can serve as a low glycemic load (GL) fruit if consumed in limited amounts. Thus,it may help in maintaining blood sugar levels in people with diabetes (20).
12. May Promote Healthy Gums
Pomelo fruit is a great source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) (1). Ascorbic acid deficiency has been found to be associated with the development of gingivitis (21). Therefore, you may start eating pomelo to strengthen your gums and keep dental problems at bay.
13. May Improve Hair Health
After reading about these promising benefits of pomelo fruit, you must be wondering how to eat it. Check out the next section to know more.
How to Eat A Pomelo?
Pomelo is not the easiest fruit to peel or eat because of its thick rind. Pomelo fruit skin turns yellow when it ripens. It can be consumed fresh or made into a juice, beverage, or marmalade. Skinned segments of pomelo are used in salads, desserts, and preserves. Fresh or dried pomelo rinds are used in soups and meat stews.
Here are the steps to peel and cut a pomelo:
- Step 1: Use a sharp knife to cut off the cap of the fruit. (You may have to cut up to an inch, depending on the size of the pomelo.)
- Step 2: Make 8-10 vertical slices around the outside of the fruit, starting from the cut end.
- Step 3: Pull the thick rind down and away from the fleshy interior, which looks a lot like an orange. Pull the rind off the fruit completely.
- Step 4: Pull the fleshy sections apart and remove the seeds.
- Step 5: Discard the excess fibrous material and enjoy!
Pomelo is also used in cooking many delicious dishes. Check out a tasty recipe below!
Vietnamese Pomelo Salad
- 240 grams of large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 120 grams of chicken breast (boneless and skinless)
- 1/4 cup of mint leaves (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (leafy tops only)
- 1/4 cup of macadamia nuts (chopped)
- 1 medium pomelo
- 2 tablespoons of shallots (crispy caramelized)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 carrot(peeled and cut into tiny pieces)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 green chili (chopped)
- 3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- Fill 2/3 of a small saucepan with water and add salt to it.
- Bring it up to a boil on medium heat.
- When the water starts to boil, add the shrimp.
- When the shrimps start curling up, remove them with the help of a slotted spoon. Set them aside to cool down.
- Boil the same water and add chicken to it. Turn off the heat when bubbles start forming at the rim.
- Cover the pot for about 20 minutes to cook the flesh. Then, remove the chicken and set it aside to cool.
- Cut the shrimp diagonally into large pieces.
- Speck the chicken and set it aside.
- Cut off the ends and pith of the pomelo to expose the pinkish flesh. Use a knife or fingers to peel the flesh from its skin. Separate the flesh into bite-sized pieces and put them in a bowl.
- For the dressing, mix lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, green chilis, and garlic in a small bowl. Stir it to dissolve the sugar.
Add the chicken, shrimp, mint, carrot, macadamia nuts, cilantro, mint, fried shallots, and dressing to the bowl of pomelo. Toss it to mix the ingredients well.
Before you start eating pomelos, please check out the safety precautions you need to keep in mind.
Possible Drug Interactions
Pomelo may interact with certain medications that possess anticancer, antihypertensive, anticoagulant, and cytochrome P450 activities. People who are taking any medication should consult a doctor before consuming this fruit (23).
People who are allergic to citrus fruit should avoid eating pomelo.
Pomelos are nutrient-dense fruits with several potential health benefits. From boosting immunity to fighting infections, it has many medicinal benefits.
Pomelos are low in calories but rich in dietary fiber, making them a healthy addition to your daily diet. So, start eating this delicious fruit to boost your health.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How long do pomelos last?
Pomelos last up to two weeks if you keep them in a refrigerator and one week at room temperature. But, once you peel a pomelo, you must eat it immediately.
Can you eat pomelo seeds?
No, pomelo seeds are not edible. However, you can plant them as the seeds of pomelo are mono-embryonic and helpful in producing seedlings.
When should I buy pomelos?
You can buy pomelos all round the year, but they are the most delicious between December and February.
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- Spermidine delays aging in humans, Open-Access Impact Journal on Aging, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The protective effects of pomelo extract (Citrus grandis L. Osbeck) against fructose-mediated protein oxidation and glycation, EXCLI Journal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Comparison of antifungal activities of Vietnamese citrus essential oils, Natural Product Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The inhibitory activity of pomelo essential oil on the bacterial biofilms development on soft contact lenses, Roumanian Archives of Microbiology and Immunology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Does a Reduction in Serum Sodium Concentration or Serum Potassium Concentration Increase the Prevalence of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps?, Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Preliminary Structural Characteristics of Polysaccharides from Pomelo Peels and Their Antitumor Mechanism on S180 Tumor-Bearing Mice, Polymers, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Antitumor Activity of Citrus maxima (Burm.) Merr. Leaves in Ehrlich’s Ascites Carcinoma Cell-Treated Mice, ISRN Pharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Naringenin inhibits migration of lung cancer cells via the inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases-2 and -9, Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Naringenin-Induced Apoptotic Cell Death in Prostate Cancer Cells Is Mediated via the PI3K/AKT and MAPK Signaling Pathways, Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Naringenin causes ASK1-induced apoptosis via reactive oxygen species in human pancreatic cancer cells, Food and Chemical Toxicology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Glycemic index, glycemic load, and glycemic response to pomelo in patients with type 2 diabetes, Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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