Star fruit is an underutilized fruit in India. It has recently gained popularity across the world as a superfood for its myriad of uses and health benefits.
What is Star Fruit
Star fruit is an oval-shaped tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. The fruit has five ridges and makes a perfect five-point star when you cut it diagonally.
The colour of the fruit is yellow or green. It comes in two main varieties– sour and sweet. Some sour varieties even turn sweet when they ripen. It need not be peeled or seeded, can be eaten whole.
Fresh fruits and vegetable play an important role to keep us healthy. They are an important source of vitamins, minerals and fibre required for maintaining good health.
The delicious, crunchy and juicy star fruit is one of them. Star fruit benefits make it to be considered as a one-stop medicine shop. The fruit contains several essential nutrients that can keep you healthy for the long run.
Through this article, we will discuss about star fruit benefits, nutrition, and health risks.
Star Fruit Benefits In Traditional Medicine
Star fruit is used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine. It is commonly used as a home remedy for fever, cough, diarrhoea, chronic headache, eczema, ringworm infections and hangovers, sunburns as well.
The leaves of this fruit are used to cure stomach ulcers. In some countries, the ripened fruit is used to treat bleeding haemorrhoids.
The scientific name of star fruit is Averrhoa carambola L. Other synonym of the fruit is:
Synonyms of Star Fruit
- Sanskrit : Karmaranga
- English : Starfruit/ Chinese gooseberry
- Hindi : Kamrakh/ Karmal
- Bengali : Kamranga
- Assamese : Kordoi/ Rohdoi
- Gujarati : Kamrakh
- Marathi : Karambal
- Telugu : Ambanamkaya
- Tamil : Thambaratham/ Tamarattai
- Malayalam : Caturappuli
- Sinhala : Kamaranga
- Filipino : Balimbing/ Saranate
- Indonesian : Belimbing
- Malay : Belimbing
Star Fruit Nutrition
Star fruit is a rich source of various minerals and vitamins. The fruit contains natural antioxidants like Vitamin C, β-carotene, and Gallic acid that fights against free radicals, and prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. High amounts of fibres are also present in the fruit.
The nutrient content per 1 cup, cubes (132g) of single, medium-sized star fruit is as follows:
- Fibre: 3.7 gm
- Carbohydrate: 9 gm
- Cholesterol: 0
- Protein: 1.4 gm
- Vitamin C: 45.4 mg
- Vitamin A: 80.5 IU
- Folate: 15.8 mcg
- Calcium: 4 mg
- Copper: 0.2 mg
- Potassium: 176 mg
- Magnesium: 13.2 mg
Star Fruit Benefits
The medicinal properties of star fruit can benefit your health in various ways. Let’s check it out.
Boost Your Immune System
Star-fruits is a rich source of antioxidants like flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, vitamin C, beta-carotene saponins, alkaloids, tannins, and gallic acid.
Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize the harmful activities of free radicals in your body and prevent cell damage. They boost your immunity by providing a preventive effect on the development of several chronic diseases.
The antioxidant compounds present in star fruit can strengthen your immune system by removing toxins from the body.
Research indicates that having 100g star fruit juice twice daily for 4 weeks improves the antioxidant level of elderly people.
This improves the level of the vitamin by increasing the level of lipoprotein related to vitamin C and A in the fruit.
Study shows that star fruit has antidote properties. It is used as a medicine to counteract fluoride poisoning in fluoride endemic region.
Good for Weight Loss
Star fruit benefits for weight loss is incredible. If you are struggling with weight gain, star fruit can significantly help you to lose weight.
Research shows that star fruit contains only 30 calories per fruit plus lots of fibre, which helps to lose weight.
Fibre is digested slowly and stays in the stomach for longer. This suppresses the feeling of hunger. As a result, your daily energy intake is reduced which leads to weight loss.
Besides, star fruit has low fat, low calories which help in weight loss.
Help Prevent Cancer
Several studies show that star fruit has antitumor properties. It can lead to a reduction in tumour incidence, and tumour growth. Star-fruit extracts are effective against some selective brain-tumour.
The antioxidants proanthocyanins, beta-carotene, Vitamin C and Gallic acid present in the fruit helps in removing toxins from the body and aids your immune system in protecting against cancer.
The extract of the leaves can reduces edema, the swelling caused by fluid retention in the body.
Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
Star fruit can improve blood glucose levels and reduces the risk of diabetes.
Each star fruit contains high amounts of fibres and low calories which help in controlling blood sugar.
The star fruit can help you in maintaining digestive health. Star fruit is prominently counted in the category of fibre-rich fruits.
Eating a fibre-rich diet can help keep your digestion healthy. The intake of fibre can show the effective result in relieving constipation problem. It helps in the smooth movement of the bowels.
Apart from the fruit, the leaves of star fruit are used to treat stomach ulcers by improving digestion as well.
Improves Heart Health
You can get star fruit benefits to improve your heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease. The fibre present in the fruit plays an important role in preventing and treating heart diseases.
Star Fruit is loaded with sodium and potassium that are important to regulate your blood pressure. Healthy levels of both these minerals prevent radical fluctuations of your blood pressure that keeps your heartbeat rhythm stable.
Star fruit contains calcium that is again very beneficial for your heart. Healthy amounts of calcium in the body can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks.
The fruit is a good source of vitamin B9 (folic acid), and Vitamin K, which helps in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Lowers cholesterol level
Cholesterol is found in all cells of our body. If its level increases, it can become a major cause of heart diseases.
The consumption of star fruit increases the removal of cholesterol and bile acids from your body.
The fibre present in the fruit significantly lowers the serum triacylglycerides, serum total cholesterol, and liver lipids.
Moreover, the amount of cholesterol in star fruit is negligible, and hence there is no risk of cholesterol increase.
Treat Respiratory problems
Star fruit benefits are seen in breathing problems too. The minerals iron, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium present in the fruit can cure breathing problems like asthma.
Star fruit has anti-inflammatory properties that inhibit the production of mucus or phlegm. It can benefit you in curing sore throats and other respiratory infections.
Helps Control Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the leading factor for several chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, as well as dementia.
Star fruit contains several important minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus that can effectively stabilize high blood pressure.
Potassium increases the discharge of sodium, while magnesium helps to prevent your blood vessels from constricting, which can increase blood pressure.
Keep Your Bones Healthy
Star fruit can keep your bones healthy. We all know that calcium is needed to keep bones healthy and strong and fruit contains a sufficient amount of calcium it.
Research shows the fruit to be effective in reducing inflammation, strengthening bones and cartilages, and increases mobility.
Star Fruit Benefits for Skin and Hair
Star fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C which assists with collagen synthesis, a protein that keeps your skin, hair, and nails healthy and strong.
For Beautiful Skin
Star fruit is beneficial for making your skin shiny. Vitamin-C found in the fruit improves skin complexion. You can complete vitamin-C by eating only star fruit.
If you add star fruit juice in your diet, it can meet around 30% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C.
Acne problem is a concern, which reduces the beauty of your face. Acne problems are caused by vitamin-C deficiency. The problem of acne can be overcome by its use.
Moreover, star fruit purifies the blood, and helps in getting a glowing skin.
Read More: 18 Easy Powerful Home Remedies for Acne and Glowing Skin
For Beautiful Hair
Star fruit contains vitamin B-complex, which is essential for hair growth and help in keeping your hair strong and healthy.
Vitamin-B complex strengthens hair from the root and helps them to grow.
The juice of the fruit is used to get rid of the problem of dandruff. The fruit contains a considerable amount of zinc, which helps to eliminate dandruff.
According to scientific study, shampoo containing zinc can eliminate the problem of dandruff.
Safety and Side Effects of Star Fruit
Star fruit contains high amount of oxalic acids. This may cause adverse effects in some people.
Star fruit may cause toxicity, mainly in relation to nephrotoxicity and neurotoxicity.
The negative part of this fruit is that it produces oxalic acid and caramboxin, which are toxic to uremic patients.
Long-term consumption of the fruit has been reported to cause toxicity.
Here are some precautions you should take before consuming star fruit:
- Do not consume undiluted star fruit juice.
- Never consume even a small amount of star fruit on an empty stomach. This can lead to toxic effects.
- The patient-facing kidney problem is recommended not to eat star fruit.
- If any patient had an incidence of stones, it is recommended to avoid this fruit.
- People with renal failure or uremic patient should completely stay away from it. Eating the fruit by those patients can produce hiccups, vomiting, nausea, mental confusion and maybe fatal too.
- Patients with gastroenteropathies, and chronic pancreatitis should avoid the fruit.
- People taking prescribed medicines should consult with a doctor before consuming the fruit.
How to Eat Star Fruit
Every region has included star fruit exceptionally into their local cuisine. Chinese makes fish curry with the fruit while Australians pickle it. Jamaicans use dry fruit and fruit powder. Filipinos simply eat the raw fruit with salt, while Indians prefer to take in the form of juice, pickle, and mashed roasted fruit as a side dish. As the fruit is refreshingly diverse, it can be taken in many different ways.
Here are some simple ways to eat star fruit:
- You can eat the ripe fruit by cutting and slicing with salt and chilli powder sprinkled on top.
- Consume star fruit juice by diluting it with water and adding sugar to taste.
- You can make a vegan smoothie mixing star fruit with strawberry or mango.
- Indian-style star fruit stews and curries with fish is a mouth-watering delicious dish.
- The ripe fruit can be added to the fruit salad.
- You can make jam, jelly, chutney or pickle from star fruit.
- Make star fruit Salsa/mash by grilling it over gas or wood fire.
- Make star fruit powder by drying the fruit. You can store it for future use.
Star fruit is extremely nutritious and healthy. It is loaded with Vitamin C and Fibre, which can keep you in good health and shape. In a nutshell, the overall star fruit benefits include:
- Boost Immunity
- Regulates Weight
- Improves Digestion and Metabolism
- Healthier Skin and Hair
- Prevents Heart diseases by controlling blood pressure.
- Fights Diabetes and High Cholesterol
However, star fruit is neglected due to its perishable and higher moisture content. The fruit still could not fetch a good market and gone to waste. Star fruit benefits are tremendous and maybe a health boon to mankind in near future.