Benefits of Star Fruit include is chock-full of vitamin c, a good source of fiber, may help with anemia, has an inhibitory effect on microbes, is good for reducing inflammation, may give a good night’s sleep, keeps digestive system regular, revs up the metabolism, may be helpful for weight loss, is extremely hydrating, is hypolipidemic, might keep skin looking young, and plays a vital role in folk medicine.
Just by looking at this relative of Bilimbi (Averrhoa bilimbi), it is hard to tell the umpteen benefits hiding in it.
Originally from Asia, star fruits (Averrhoa carambola) are normally 5-18 cm long and look like a five-point star when you slice them. The unripe fruit is translucent, green and firm whereas the ripened one is amber, yellow, and juicy. Their flavor ranges from sour to sweet.
Get the deets on all of the nutritious benefits of star fruit below, plus info on the safety profile and best ways to eat it.
Top 15 Health Benefits of Star fruit (Carambola)
1. Star fruit is chock-full of Vitamin C
Star fruit is an excellent source of immune-boosting vitamin C (about 57 percent of the daily value per serving), which is why you should reach for it during cold and flu season. Vitamin C also assists with collagen synthesis, a protein that keeps skin, hair, and nails healthy and strong. Also, it scavenges disease-causing free radicals and fights infections.
2. They’re a good source of fiber
Women should consume about 25 grams of fiber a day, and star fruit can help you meet that goal. A 100 g serving gives 2.8 grams of fiber, while citrus fruit has 2.3. What’s more, star fruit also contains insoluble dietary fiber, which adds bulk to the digestive system and helps keep us regular.
Dietary fiber prevents the absorption of LDL Cholesterol in the intestinal lining, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and obesity.
3. Low Calorie, Low Carb, Low Sugar
Start fruit is a good go-to for low-carb, low-sugar eaters. A medium-sized star fruit provides a little more than six grams of carbohydrate and around 3.62 grams of sugar.
For those first embarking on a low-calorie ketogenic style diet, star fruits are it. An average-sized portion has only 28 calories. So, don’t be shy about adding these sweet-n-sour delights the next time you have a salad or smoothie.
4. May Help With Anemia
According to the World Health Organization, anemia is prevalent among young children and pregnant women. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia, occurring when the body is low in iron. Iron is essential to synthesize red blood cells and to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
Medium-sized star fruit has only 0.08 mg iron but its vitamin C plays a key role in boosting iron absorption. This leads to increased production of blood cells and helps ward off fatigue and lightheadedness, the classical symptoms of anemia.
5. Has an inhibitory effect on microbes
Due to the presence of phytochemicals such as flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins, and steroids, carambola has anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Compared to ripe or mature fruits, the green or unripe ones have higher inhibitory action against microbes.
Star fruit leaves work against gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus mutans) and gram-negative bacteria (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). Carambola leaf extract had higher anti-microbial activity as compared to passion fruit and papaya leaf extract, says a comparative study.
6. Star fruit is good for reducing inflammation
The flavonoids in star fruit such as quercetin, epicatechin, and gallic acid can help prevent inflammation. With their antioxidant properties, these compounds neutralize harmful free radicals causing inflammatory diseases.
The vitamin C in star fruit is also anti-inflammatory and can reduce swelling in joints
Analytical results published in an article titled, ‘Analysis of the Potential Topical Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Averrhoa carambola L. in Mice’ also confirms the anti-inflammatory effect of A. carambola leaf extract.
7. May give a good night’s sleep
The next time you wake up with irritability, puffiness, bags — all signs that you’re not getting enough shut-eye – turn to star fruit for help. The fruit is loaded with magnesium (10 g per 100 g serving), a sleep-promoting mineral. Magnesium does this by maintaining levels of GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
Another way star fruit induces sleep is by regulating the metabolism.
8. Star fruit keeps digestive system regular
The inner fleshy fruit and the waxy peel of star fruit provide both soluble and insoluble fiber. Dietary fiber helps maintain bowel health, improves nutrient uptake and bioavailability of minerals and vitamins. Not only feed it the gut bacteria but nourishes the GI tract well.
Traditionally, carambola leaves decoction is used to flush out inflammation-causing bacteria and toxins.
9. Star fruit revs up the metabolism
The human body relies on metabolism to do everyday activities but also to breathe, think, digest, and regulate temperature. Faulty metabolism is the real culprit behind many diseases.
With high levels of pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), folate, and riboflavin, star fruit can influence the metabolic processes and make them a little more efficient. These vitamins play a part in everything from nervous coordination and energy metabolism to circulation and cognitive control.
10. Star fruit may be helpful for weight loss
With very little calories per fruit, this tropical treat won’t compromise your calorie goals, if you are trying to cut body fat. In fact, it’s a great evening snack to munch on when hunger pangs strike. Furthermore, it is full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can speed the metabolism, which would be a great help for weight loss journey.
11. Star fruit is extremely hydrating
Meeting eight glasses of water per day seems like a daunting task on some days. But it’s still important to drink plenty – especially on hot, humid days, or post-workout. So, here’s the catch – eat star fruit; Carambola is one of the most hydrating fruits with 91.4% water by its weight.
A word of caution: People with kidney problems should avoid star fruit because it has high levels of oxalic acid.
12. Carambola is a heart-friendly fruit
With a moderate amount of calcium (3mg per 100 g), star fruit can reduce your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes by relieving tension on blood vessels and arteries. A study by Jenita Doli Tine Donsu et al concluded that starfruit juice can be used as a complementary therapy to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure patients suffering hypertension.
Further, due to its high potassium content (133 mg per 100 g serving), star fruit comes handy in relaxing blood vessels and maintaining blood pressure.
13. Star fruit is hypolipidemic
Research shows that carambola has a hypolipidemic effect and can prevent the development of the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by lowering total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A 2019 study suggested that the methanolic extract of Averrhoa carambola (A. carambola) leaf (MEACL) could be developed as a lipid-lowering agent. Researchers orally administered High-fat diet (HFD)-fed rats with MEACL for five weeks. The analytical results showed that MEACL decreased the body mass index (BMI), atherogenic index, and hepatic cholesterol and triglycerides in the rats.
14. Star fruit might keep skin looking young
Another reason to eat plenty of star fruit! It may be beneficial for your skin thanks to the antioxidants including Vitamin C, quercetin, gallic acid, and other polyphenolic flavonoids. The antioxidants counter the effects of oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals before they damage the skin
Vitamin C plays a role in collagen production, thus it can prevent or minimize the appearance of wrinkles, while also keeping the skin radiant and blemish-free as you age.
15. Plays a vital role in folk medicine
Traditional folk medicine uses the whole star fruit tree for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hypotensive, anthelmintic, anti-ulcer, and antimicrobial properties. In Brazilian folk medicine, it is used as a diuretic, an expectorant and cough suppressant.
Carambola leaves have been used to treat headaches, upset tummy, and gastroenteritis. Powdered star fruit seeds are found to have positive effects on relieving asthma and colic infections.
Star Fruit Is Not For Everyone
Though star fruit doesn’t have serious side effects, you should still be aware of the following side effects of consuming star fruit in excess.
Allergies: While star fruit allergies are uncommon, first-timers are recommended to try a small amount to see how the body reacts.
Toxicity: People with kidney failure or chronic kidney disease should avoid star fruit because the kidney cannot filter out certain compounds in it. Hiccups, nausea, weakness, low back pain, and fever have been documented in a few cases.
Kidney Stones: As mentioned earlier, people with kidney stones should completely avoid it. Starfruit contains 50000-95800 ppm of oxalic acid per 100 g serving. Being an anti-nutrient oxalic acid may interfere with nutrient absorption and mineral metabolism. Overdoing may even lead to oxaluria, a condition that leads to stone formation.
Drug Interactions: Star fruit inhibits the enzyme CYP3A4, which is responsible for the metabolism of 50% of all drugs and medicines. Hence, you should avoid eating starfruit if you are on prescription medication.
Ways To Eat Star Fruit
Star fruits taste great just as it is, sliced for a quick morning snack or a colorful starry addition to mixed fruit salads. It can also be used to make smoothies mixed with Greek yogurt. Fermented/unfermented star fruit juice, dehydrated slices, jam, and jelly are also popular among health freaks.