The star fruit may not be the most visually appealing thing, but, is a real treasure. A native to the tropical countries of south-east-Asia, the star fruit often gets side-tracked because of its appearance. What the star fruit lacks in appearance, it compensates it with a whole host of benefits. The exotic yet humble-looking star fruit is a dark horse when it comes to the various medical and health benefits it possesses.
What Is A Star Fruit?
Star fruit, which also goes by the name of carambola, is generally grown in regions with tropical climatic conditions. You can find this fruit grown in abundant quantities in countries such as India, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Originally, this fruit is native to Malaysia and belongs to the Oxalidaceae family. When this fruit is cut horizontally, the shape resembles that of a star and hence the name “star” fruit (1).
Now that you know what a star fruit is, let’s understand its taste and flavor profile.
When the star fruit is unripe, it has a dark green color, as it ripens, the green color begins to fade away and it starts turning yellow, which means it’s ready for consumption. The star fruit is generally fleshy, with a bit of a crunchy texture and a sweet & tangy taste. If you are someone that loves sour and tangy flavors, you can eat the star fruit when it’s raw. If you do not like to eat fruits and you prefer them in juice form, you can make a refreshing glass of star fruit juice. For the health-conscious people who enjoy making a variety of salads, try adding this fruit to your salad for a fun experience (2).
10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Star Fruit
Apart from being an exotic and tasty fruit, the star fruit has numerous health benefits as it is rich in vitamin C. It is also known to be a good source of fiber, has astringent properties, is rich in antioxidants, and is hypoglycemic (3). It is also used in traditional ayurvedic medicine for its ability to aid digestion and cooling properties (4).
Here Are The Top 10 Health Benefits Of Star Fruit
1. Rich Source Of Vitamins B And C
Star fruits are a rich source of vitamins B and C and gallic acid. These vitamins and minerals are essential for maintaining and improving your immune system. They also help in improving the health of your hair and protect your skin from UV damage (5).
2. Good Source Of Fiber
Soluble fiber which is essential for the smooth functioning of your digestive system is found in the star fruit. In addition to soluble fiber, the star fruit also contains insoluble dietary fiber that prevents the absorption of LDL Cholesterol in the intestinal lining, thereby reducing the risk of heart issues and obesity (6).
3. Low In Calories And Sugar
Star fruit is ideal for those who like to have a low calorie and low carb-based diet as it contains very low sugar levels. A medium star fruit that may weigh around 100 grams will contain a little over 6 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of sugar. (7)
4. Prevents Inflammation
The high levels of antioxidants present in star fruit give it anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate the symptoms of inflammatory skin disorders such as psoriasis and dermatitis (8).
5. Helps In Improving Digestion And Metabolism
The presence of Vitamin -B riboflavin and folic acid helps in regulating your metabolism (6).
6. Detoxifies Your Body
Star fruits have diuretic properties that help in expelling excess amounts of water and toxins from your body. This fruit helps in cleansing your liver and kidneys. However, studies have shown that people with pre-existing kidney conditions should avoid consuming star fruit as it causes renal issues (9).
7. Anti-ulcer Properties
In traditional medicine such as Ayurveda, the extracts of the star fruit have been used in the treatment of stomach ulcers. Its extracts contain terpenoids, flavonoids, and mucilage that help in treating ulcers (4). The cooling and anti-inflammatory properties of the star fruit are helpful in alleviating eyesores. Making a salve of the fruit and applying it to your eyes will do the trick (5). The presence of vitamin C, gallic acid, and epicatechin help in the treatment of mouth ulcers (10).
8. Improves Respiratory Health
A prototypical study was conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of combining star fruit juice with honey on participants who had Chronic Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The study concluded this combination along with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents can alleviate COPD and help improve respiratory issues (11).
9. Improves Heart Health
The star fruit has a whole host of nutrients that are beneficial for our health, especially potassium and sodium that are essential electrolytes that help in regulating blood pressure and cardiovascular health (12).
10. Improves Sleep
If you are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, look no further than the star fruit as it contains magnesium, a mineral known to promote sleep. The magnesium present in the star fruit helps in activating the chemical Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that helps induce sleep (13).
Nutritional Facts of Star Fruit
The simple yet amazing star fruit often gets side-stepped due to its appearance. However, you do not judge a book by its cover, exterior of the fruit in this case. The humble-looking star fruit is loaded with vitamins and macronutrients.
Minerals Found In Star Fruit.
|Mineral||Amount (mg/100g of fruit*)|
|Sodium||3.8 – 3.85|
|Potassium||167.13 – 6.40|
|Calcium||6.37 – 6.40|
|Potassium||167.13 – 6.40|
|Phosphorous||17.87 – 17.88|
|Magnesium||11.85 – 12.05|
|Iron||0.34 – 0.45|
|Copper||0.19 – 0.45|
|Zinc||0.29 – 0.51|
|Manganese||0.04 – 0.52|
|*On a dry weight basis (3).|
Vitamins Found In Star Fruit
|Name||Amount (mg/100g star fruit)*|
|Carotene||0.003 – 0.55|
|Vitamin B1 & B2||0.12|
|*On a dry weight basis (3).|
Varieties Of Star Fruits
There are two main varieties of star fruits, the smaller-sized fruits are tart in taste and the bigger and longer counterparts are sweet. Both of these fruits when unripe are dark green in color and during the ripening process their colors may vary from a bright yellow to golden or orange. The star fruit tastes best when it is allowed to ripen on the tree. The ripening will take 60-75 days based on the climatic conditions, irrigation practices, and the variety of the fruit.
When Is The Best Time To Eat Star Fruit?
Fruits when consumed during their season taste the best, this is applicable to the star fruit as well. Although star fruits are available all year round, their harvest season is from June to February. Production peaks from September to December.
How To Eat A Star Fruit?
To begin with, start by choosing a ripe star fruit. You can tell the difference between a ripe and unripe star fruit based on its color. Ripe ones are yellow in color and unripe ones are green, the flesh should ideally be firm to touch. If you’ve picked up an unripe fruit from the store, leave it on the counter for 2-3 days to ripen. Make sure you wash the fruit thoroughly before cutting it
How To Cut A Star Fruit?
- Place the washed ripe fruit on your cutting board horizontally such that the ridges are facing up towards your fingers.
- Cut the stem end of the fruit using a sharp knife.
- Holding the fruit vertically on the cutting board make shallow cuts along each of the five ridges of the fruit.
- Place the fruit horizontally on the cutting board and now slice it. The thickness of the slices is subject to your personal preference.
- Remove the seeds and enjoy your star fruit.
If you do not want to go through the hassle of cutting the star fruit, you can also choose to eat it whole.
How To Store Your Star Fruit?
You can store your ripe star fruit at room temperature on your kitchen counter, fruit basket, or refrigerator for approximately a week. Under-ripe star fruit can be kept on the kitchen counter, fruit basket, or refrigerator for approximately four weeks. If your star fruit is overripe, it will turn to mush within a week, eat it before it becomes mushy.
Ways to eat star fruit
Eating a star fruit is fairly simple- cut, wash it and eat it. However, if the masterchef within you, decides to whip up a culinary treat, Here are a few ways in which you can eat the star fruit.
Adding It To Your Salad
Give your regular salad a nice twist by adding chopped-up star fruit. It will uplift the flavors and texture of your salad and leave you with a wonderful experience. This amazing fruit can be added to vegetarian, vegan, and chicken salads.
Make A Fruit Punch
A star fruit punch is a refreshing drink on a hot summer afternoon. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make your own star fruit punch.
- 4 star fruits chopped into small pieces
- ½ cup of pineapple juice
- 3 tablespoons ginger syrup
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (1 medium-sized lemon can be used for juice)
- 2 cups of crushed ice (you can use ice cubes if you do not have crushed ice)
- ½ cup of lemon-flavored soda
- 2-3 slices of star fruit for garnish (optional)
- 2 glasses to serve
- In a blender add the pineapple juice and star fruit pieces and blend till it’s a smooth paste.
- Using a sieve, pour this mixture into 2 glasses.
- The residual solids can be discarded.
- To the sieved mixture add the ginger syrup and lemon juice and stir well and refrigerate for 45-60 minutes.
- Fill each of the 2 glasses with 1 cup of crushed ice and pour in the mixture.
- Add ¼ cup of lemon soda, garnish with star fruit slices and enjoy!
While the star fruit is a great fruit, it does have some side effects that you need to be aware of. Read through to find out.
Side Effects Of Eating Star Fruit
The star fruit undoubtedly is a tasty and delicious exotic fruit with a whole host of health benefits. However, there is a flip side to it as well. Studies have shown that people with pre-existing kidney or renal diseases should avoid eating star fruit as it causes nephrotoxicity due to the high oxalate content that is present in it. People on prescription medication should also avoid eating star fruit or should consult their doctor before consuming it (14).
If you have a diabetic condition, consuming star fruits in large quantities over a prolonged period may lead to renal complications. A study that analyzed two diabetic patients who developed severe renal failure after consuming star fruit juice as a remedy stated that this was the first-ever case of star fruit-induced nephrotoxicity. Given the limited sample size, the study concluded by stating that understanding the complete medical history, consumption habits and any other remedial medication being used by the patients prior to developing renal failure is imperative(9).
To sum up, the star fruit is grown in tropical countries like India, Malaysia, and the Philippines and is distributed the world over. Ripe star fruit is yellow in color has a crunchy texture, and has a sweet & tangy taste. The simple fruit has many health benefits as it is loaded with minerals and vitamins. At the same time, people with renal issues and diabetic conditions should avoid eating it as it tends to cause complications (15).
After having read through the entire article, if you have forgotten a few details, here is a quick recap in the form of FAQs about star fruit.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
When should you eat star fruit?
You can eat it when it is ripe. You can tell it is ripe when the color changes from green to yellow.
Is star fruit good for your skin?
Yes, the star fruit is good for your skin as it contains vitamin C that is responsible for the better growth of your hair, skin, and nails (5).
Should starfruit be refrigerated?
Not necessarily, you can keep it on your kitchen counter, fruit basket, or refrigerator. Only if your star fruit is overripe you will need to refrigerate it and consume it within a week.
Can you eat the seeds in star fruit?
Yes, you can eat the seeds, however, you may not find them to be as tasty as the fruit.
Is star fruit good for diabetics?
Star fruits are an option for diabetic people, however, if you do have diabetes with renal issues it is advisable to not consume them (9).
Does star fruit help lose weight?
Since the star fruit contains a lot of dietary fiber it helps in improving your metabolism, thereby aiding weight loss (6).
Is star fruit good for hair?
Yes, the star fruit is good for your hair as it contains vitamin C that is responsible for the better growth of your hair, skin, and nails (5).
Can we use star fruit on our faces?
Yes, you can use star fruit on your skin as it contains vitamin C that helps nourish your skin, and protects it from UV damage (5).
What does star fruit smell like?
It has a fresh and citrusy smell accompanied by sour fruity undertones.
Is star fruit acidic or alkaline?
Star fruits are acidic, and they belong to the Oxalis family.
Does star fruit raise blood pressure?
No, star fruits do not raise blood pressure. They are rich in potassium which is an essential electrolyte that helps lower and regulate blood pressure (12).
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- The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health
- Impact Of Micronized Starfruit (Averrhoa Carambola L.) Fiber Concentrate On Lipid Metabolism In Mice.
- Nutritional Values of Star Fruit (Raw)
- Analysis of the Potential Topical Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Averrhoa carambola L. in Mice
- Star Fruit Toxicity: A Cause of Both Acute Kidney Injury and Chronic Kidney Disease: A Report of Two Cases.
- A Preliminary Study on The Effects of Star Fruit Consumption on Antioxidant And Lipid Status In Elderly Thai Individuals
- Prototype “Star Fruit-Honey Product and Effectiveness on Antioxidants” Inflammation and Walking Distance in Participants with Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- The Role of Potassium and Sodium in Your Diet
- GABA Mechanisms And Sleep
- “Star Fruit: Health Benefits” “Safety” Side Effects and Drug interactions.
- Status Epilepticus Induced By Star Fruit Intoxication In Patients With Chronic Renal Disease.