Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) also known as carambola, is a tree species native to Southeast Asia. Let’s look at the benefits of star fruit, how to eat and who shouldn’t eat it.
This fruit is popular in Sri Lanka and known as Kamaranga and is thought to have originated from the paradise island. Star fruit is seasonal and can be seen throughout July and August, and also during December and January.
You will usually find green or yellow-orange Star fruits. The fruit has edible, thin translucent waxy skin. The whole fruit is edible.
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How to eat star fruit
It’s quite juicy and crunchy with a sweet and mild sour taste and it’s very refreshing on a hot day.
Cutting the star fruit crosswise produces five-point star-shaped slices that look very beautiful. It is perfect for decorating desserts and breakfast porridges. It adds a unique flavour too.
In addition, you can put this on many dishes to add a mild zesty flavour.
Unripe starfruit is commonly used in salads. Similarly, some people make it into fruit juice.
The fruit is widely used in curries and for garnishing because of its delicious flavour and its health benefits.
Thanks to their shape, dehydrated slices are found in many countries but stick to the non-sugary ones to get the most benefits of star fruits.
Ripe Star fruit is bright yellow and sometimes orange, with small green patches. If the fruit has brown patches, cut these away before eating. The fruit should feel dry and robust and not mushy. If it’s mushy or oozing, then throw away the whole fruit.
Scientific research on the benefits of fruits, herbs and teas
Studies need to be funded and most funding comes from pharmaceutical companies and they don’t gain financial benefits from positive health results found in fruits, herbs and teas. So the little research that’s available is funded by universities, the United Nations and governments. Governments often fund research on fruits available in their own countries, so you would naturally see more research about berries that grow in Europe than star fruits.
Many scientific sources have been included, however, the research, particularly for starfruit, is very limited. Especially when it comes to human trials. There are double-blinded randomised studies on individual minerals found in Star Fruit.
But there have been no double-blinded randomised studies on humans specific to start fruit.
Benefits of star fruit for your health
Star fruit is not nutrient-dense by weight, but as a low-calorie fruit, it’s nutrient-dense per calorie. For more info, check under the heading for Nutritional Information.
1.) Fatty liver
There have been studies indicating that fatty liver can be reduced by compounds found in Star Fruit.
They’re also being studied for their ability to prevent liver cancer.
2.) Reducing inflammation
One of the benefits of star fruit appears to be some evidence that shows inflammation reduction properties.
The high levels of antioxidants in this fruit make it a good anti-inflammatory that may ease symptoms of psoriasis and dermatitis leading to clear skin.
3.) Digestion and Weight loss – Low calorie, low carb & low sugar
Being high in fibre is one of the benefits of star fruit and may help boost your metabolism.
Each serving is low in calories, you can enjoy star fruit as a snack without worrying about putting on weight.
4.) Vitamin C and immunity-boosting ability
Star fruit provides you with a boost of vitamin C, which ensures that your body will produce the right level of white blood cells for a strong immune system.
Research suggests that people who eat more vitamin C have fewer wrinkles
5.) Magnesium in star fruits may help with sleep
One of the lesser-known benefits of star fruit is that it can help with sleep.
Star fruits are loaded with magnesium, a sleep-promoting mineral. Magnesium can help the body relax. This nutrient reduces stress and helps you sleep longer.
6.) Reduces Blood Pressure
This is perhaps one of the unsurprising benefits of star fruit.
Hypertension is classified as a disease that is often called the Silent Killer. Hypertension can attack at various ages.
South East Asia Nursing Research shows one of the major benefits of star fruit: “Sweet starfruit juice is very useful for lowering blood pressure because of its fibre, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C content”
Benefits of star fruit in traditional medicine
According to Ayurvedic Medical Plants of Sri Lanka, starfruit, leaves, sap, roots, and flowers are used in various treatments for:
- Bleeding Disorders
- Excessive Thirst
- Burning sensations
- Skin Diseases
There is very little documented evidence backing up these benefits of star fruit used in traditional medicines.
Dangers of star fruit and side-effect
The benefits of star fruits may be outweighed by some of the dangers under certain circumstances. You need to be mindful of these.
People with kidney problems should avoid star fruit due to the high levels of oxalic acid. Ingestion has also been reported to produce acute oxalate nephropathy as shown in this study.
People with kidney stones should completely avoid it. Starfruit contains a high dose of oxalic acid.
The high content of oxalic acid may interfere with nutrient absorption, and mineral metabolism and may lead to oxaluria (a condition that leads to stone formation).
Allergies: Star fruit allergies are uncommon. As with any new fruit, try a small amount first.
Drug Interactions: Limited data suggest that lime, star fruit, and pomegranate juice may reduce CYP3A4 activity. The inhibition of CYP3A4 can result in the accumulation of drug concentrations that can put the patient at increased risk for side effects and toxicity.
Star Fruit Nutritional information
These are the highlights for a medium size raw fruit which is around 91 grams or 3 ounces. Some of the minerals found are a good explanation for the benefits of star fruit.
|Fibre, total dietary||2.55||g|
|Vitamin A, RAE||2.73||µg|
|Vitamin A, IU||55.5||IU|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||60.1||µg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.137||mg|
What does star fruit taste like?
A mix between a pear, green grape and orange. It’s juicy and firm. (If it’s not firm, then it’s overripe and should be thrown away)
What is the origin of star fruit?
Sri Lanka. The Portuguese discovered the fruit when they colonised India and Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 16th century.
Are yellow star fruit and green star fruit different?
Star fruit is green when it is unripe, but it turns yellow with green undertones as it ripens.
How do you eat star fruit?
Just bite into the fruit as you would with an apple. Star fruit is also used in cooking, cocktails and dried star fruit is delicious.
Can you eat the skin of starfruit?
The entire star fruit is edible, including the skin and seeds.
What is the benefit of eating star fruit?
Reduced fatty liver. Good sleep thanks to magnesium. Vitamin C helps with immunity and great skin.
Who shouldn’t eat star fruit?
People with kidney problems should avoid star fruit due to the high levels of oxalic acid.
People taking any medication should consult a qualified healthcare provider as Star fruit can inhibit enzymes that metabolize approximately 60% of prescribed drugs.
What are the dangers of star fruit?
Aside from possible allergic reactions, ingestion has also been reported to produce acute oxalate nephropathy as shown in studies. People taking any medication should consult a qualified healthcare provider as Star fruit can inhibit enzymes that metabolize approximately 60% of prescribed drugs.
How to choose a good star fruit?
Ripe Star fruit is bright yellow and sometimes orange, with small green patches. If the fruit has brown patches then cut these away before eating. The star fruit should feel dry and robust and not mushy. If it’s mushy or oozing, throw away the whole fruit.
Is star fruit good for kidneys?
NO. People with kidney problems should avoid star fruit due to the high levels of oxalic acid. The benefits of star fruits will be outweighed by the dangers if you have any kidney issues.
Final thoughts about the benefits of star fruit & dangers
The benefits of Star Fruit are plentiful but you need to be aware of the dangers mentioned above, particularly ones related to kidneys.
As with anything that’s ‘good’, it’s only good in moderation.
Now that you have read about the benefits of star fruit and the possible dangers, let’s look at some of the other tropical fruits that have amazing benefits.
Sources & Resources
Potent inhibition by star fruit of human cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) activityhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15155547/
Substituted galacturonan from starfruit: Chemical structure and antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effectshttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26706843/
Impact of micronized starfruithttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/
The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Healthhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/
Carambola, (starfruit), raw – US National Agricultural Library – USDAhttps://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171715/nutrients
The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trialhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23853635/
Averrhoa carambola (Star fruit; Oxalidaceae) ingestion has also been reported to produce acute oxalate nephropathyhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/averrhoa-carambola#:
The Effect of Starfruit Juice to Reduce The Blood Pressure In Elderly Patients – South East Asia Nursing Researchhttps://jurnal.unimus.ac.id/index.php/SEANR/article/download/7299/pdf#:~:text=According%20to%20researchers%2C%20star%20fruit,lower%20blood%20pressure%20in%20sufferers.
Cytochrome P450 enzymes in drug metabolism: Regulation of gene expression, enzyme activities, and impact of genetic variationhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163725813000065?via%3Dihub