Star fruit, also known as carambola or Averrhoa Starfruit, is widely distributed around the world but is more popular in tropical areas, such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Unripe star fruits are dark green but as they ripen, they turn yellow. Ripe star-fruits usually taste sweet with some tanginess. However, some, especially the unripe ones taste excessively sour or even bitter.
When sliced (horizontally), the pieces of star fruit resemble a star and hence, the name starfruit.
Star fruits are fleshy and juicy from the inside while the outer portion is crunchy and crisp in texture.
Star fruits can be eaten raw or in the form of their common market preparations, such as juice, pickles, and salads.
What are the nutritional value and health benefits of starfruit?
Star fruits are also a rich source of natural antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and gallic acid. Other antioxidants present are magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, as well as β-carotene. Antioxidants play a vital role in fighting off oxidative stress (oxidative stress is responsible for the development of various diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer).
Antioxidants like iron, zinc, and manganese in star fruits help in strengthening the immune system.
High amounts of fibers in star fruits aid in controlling blood glucose concentration. They also exert cholesterol-reducing effects by enhancing the removal of cholesterol, lipid, and bile acid through bowel movements. This helps in lowering the risks of heart diseases.
Usually, when consuming star fruit juice, often the fiber-rich residual parts of fruits are excluded from the beverage. Hence, it is recommended to consume the fruit juice together with the fibers (called a smoothie). As per research, star fruits may have the following properties:
- Anti-inflammatory (beneficial in treating skin diseases, such as eczema)
Does eating star fruits cause health problems?
Due to their high oxalate content, eating starfruit can cause negative (toxic) effects in people who have kidney diseases. Various other substances are found in star fruits that may be detrimental to health in people with kidney diseases. It also contains a toxic substance called neurotoxin that can affect the brain and cause neurological disorders. People with healthy kidneys can process and pass this toxin out from their bodies. However, for those with kidney disease, this process is hampered. The toxin stays in the body and can cause serious illnesses, such as star fruit poisoning. The toxic effect can even become life-threatening.
The symptoms of starfruit poisoning include:
If you have any kidney disorder, ask your doctor before consuming star fruits.
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National Kidney Foundation. Why You Should Avoid Eating Starfruit. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/why-you-should-avoid-eating-starfruit#
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