Star Fruit 101 - Is it Good For You?
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can get repetitive if you don't try different things.
Luckily, there are many delicious fruits and vegetables that you can try for some variety.
One unusual fruit that is getting increasingly popular is the star fruit.
This article explores the benefits, and potential health risks, of star fruit.
Star fruit, also called carambola, is a sweet and sour fruit that is in the shape of a five-point star ().
The skin is edible and the flesh has a mild, sour flavor that makes it popular in a number of dishes.
The star fruit is yellow or green in color. It comes in two main types: a smaller, sour variety and a larger, sweeter one.
This is what a typical star fruit looks like:
Bottom line: Star fruit is a sweet and sour fruit that is in the shape of a five-point star. There are several different varieties.
The star fruit is a decent source of several nutrients, especially fiber and vitamin C.
This is the nutrient content of a single medium-sized (91 gram) star fruit ():
- Fiber: 3 grams.
- Protein: 1 gram.
- Vitamin C: 52% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B5: 4% of the RDI.
- Folate: 3% of the RDI.
- Copper: 6% of the RDI.
- Potassium: 3% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 2% of the RDI.
Bottom line: Star fruit is low in calories, but high in fiber and vitamin C. It is very nutritious considering the low calorie content.
Star fruit also contains other substances that make it even healthier.
It is an excellent source of healthy plant compounds, including quercetin, gallic acid and epicatechin.
These compounds all have powerful antioxidant properties and various health benefits.
The plant compounds in star fruit have been shown to help prevent fat cell formation, reduce fatty liver and lower cholesterol in lab mice (, ).
The plant compounds in star fruit are also being studied for their ability to prevent liver cancer in mice ().
There is also some evidence from animal studies that the sugars in star fruit can reduce inflammation ().
All that being said, there are currently no human studies available on star fruit, so take this with a grain of salt.
Bottom line: There are many beneficial plant compounds in star fruit. Animal studies have shown that they can reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and help prevent fatty liver, to name a few.
Unfortunately, star fruit may also have adverse effects on some people. This is mainly due to it being a very rich source of oxalates.
Because of this, people with kidney problems should avoid star fruit and its juice, or at least consult with a doctor before trying it.
For people with kidney problems, eating star fruit regularly may lead to kidney damage ().
What's more, star fruit toxicity can lead to neurological problems in kidney patients, including confusion, seizures and even death ().
People taking prescription drugs should also proceed with caution. Similarly to a grapefruit, star fruit can alter the way a drug is broken down and used by the body.
Bottom line: People with kidney problems or those taking prescription medication should talk to their doctor before consuming star fruit.
Some people may be reluctant to try star fruit because they do not know how to prepare it.
Here's a simple way to prepare and eat star fruit:
- Make sure it is ripe.
- Rinse it quickly with water.
- Cut off the ends.
- Slice it.
- Remove the seeds.
There are many ways you can enjoy this fruit. These include:
- Slice it and eat.
- Add it to salads or other fresh dishes.
- Use it as a garnish.
- Cook it into pies or puddings.
- Add it to Asian- or Indian-style stews and curries.
- Cook it with seafood or shellfish dishes.
- Prepare it in a jam, jelly or chutney.
- Juice it and drink as a beverage.
Bottom line: Star fruit is easy to prepare and eat. It can be used in many different dishes and desserts.
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.