Starfruit is a tropical fruit that has a unique taste and shape. It has ridges on its sides which makes it look like a star when viewed vertically from top, hence the name starfruit. Also known as Carambola, this fruit is rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins essential for good health. This juicy fruit which can be consumed in its entirety has a distinctive sweet and sour taste. Starfruit is considered a superfood by many health experts.
Starfruit is found in abundance in Malaysia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand Sri Lanka and India. This tree is also cultivated in Caribbean andLatin America and southern parts of United States, Florida in particular. In many parts of the world Starfruit is popularly known as Carambola. The fruit is extremely juicy. You can eat peeled starfruit or eat it out of hand with skin. When eaten with skin the fruit has a slightly chewy texture. Starfruit when eaten ripe is sweet with a sour undertone. Unripe carambola have a firm texture and their taste is often compared with green apples. In several cultures starfruit is consumed for its health benefits and medicinal uses.
There are different varieties of carambola cultivated in various regions. Usually smaller varieties of this fruit are sour; however, in recent rimes small hybrid starfruits grown by cultivars are sweet. Large starfruits are sweet and fleshier. Some varieties of this fruit get sweeter depending on how long they are allowed to get ripe. Below is a list of popular sweet and sour starfruit varieties.
Starfruit/Carambola- Sweet Variety
- Dah Pon- (Taiwan)
- Maha- (Malaysia)
- Demak- (Indonesia)
- Arkin- (Florida)
- Fwang Tung (Thailand)
Starfruit/Carambola- Sour Variety (all from Florida)
- Golden Star
- Star King
Starfruit may have five ridges or more depending on variety. Oxalic acid content in sour starfruit is higher than its sweet variety. The skin of starfruit is greenish and thin. The waxy skin surface turns yellow as the fruit ripens. The texture consistency of starfruit is similar to grapes. The flesh of this fruit is crunchy and firm and gets soggier when overripe.
8 Amazing Health benefits of Starfruit
1. Rich Source of antioxidants
Starfruits are an excellent source of antioxidants. The presence of phyto-nutrients in this fruit is essential for a healthy mind and body. Flavonoids such as gallic acid, quercetin, and epicatechin present in starfruit are beneficial for healthy body functions. Flavonoids and antioxidants play a crucial role in prevention of harmful free radicals.
2. Excellent for weight loss
For those looking to lose weight or maintain weight, starfruit is an excellent choice. This exotic fruit is low in calories which makes it the perfect fruit snack for calorie conscious people. 100 g of starfruit offers just 32 calories.
3. Protects against cancer causing chemicals
Antioxidants and flavonoids along with dietary fiber present in starfruit help protect the mucous membrane of colon which may be exposed to chemicals causing cancer. Antioxiadants provide shelter from toxic substances that may lead to cancer and other life threatening diseases.
4. Helps control blood pressure and fights cholesterol
Starfruit contains an impressive combination of minerals, vitamins and electrolytes. Potassium an electrolyte that occurs naturally in this fruit plays a crucial role in balancing body and cell fluids. Consumption of this fruit helps control blood pressure. Individuals with cardiovascular problems have benefitted significantly from starfruit consumption. Fiber present in carambola helps prevent LDL absorption in the gut, thereby ensuring better flow.
5. Boosts metabolic functions
Healthy metabolism levels are essential for body and mind function. Starfruit contains folates, pyridoxine, riboflavin. These B-complex vitamins help in inner synthetic body functions an also are crucial co-factors for enzymes in metabolic functions.
6. Excellent for low grade fevers
For individuals that get low grade fever because of infections, juice or pulp of starfruit is recommended. This fruit or its juice has a cooling effect and has antiscorbutic properties. In some Asian cultures, a cloth is dipped in starfruit juice and placed over the forehead of a person suffering from fever. The juice has a cooling effect on the body and brings down fever instantly.
7. Alternative treatment for diabetes
In several Asian cultures starfruit juice is consumed by diabetics to balance sugar levels. In some culturesdecoction of leaves of carambola is used as a treatment for diabetes. Starfruit juice and jamun juice has helped individuals in controlling blood glucose concentration.
8. Treatment of Hemorrhoid
Juice of starfruit is used as a digestive cure. Individuals with problems of bleeding hemorrhoids should consume extracted juice with fiber. It has a cooling effect which provides piles and hemorrhoid sufferers quick relief. Over a period of time, controlled intake of carambloa juice cures effectively.
Medicinal Uses of Starfruit
- Star fruit is an excellent home remedy for indigestion.
- Juice of starfruit is good for persons with jaundice.
- Paste of leaves from carambola tree is used to treat skin inflammation.
- In several cultures starfruit is used as a treatment in eczemas
- Star fruit juice is an excellent remedy for hangovers
- Starfruit is an excellent remedy for nausea
- Juice of this fruit is used as a cure for morning sickness
- Individuals with migraine/headache feel relieved after consuming star fruit juice, this because of the fruits refreshing and cooling effects.
Nutritional Value of Star fruit (Nutritional Value source USDA Nutrition Database)
(Value-Per 100 grams)
- Zinc- 0.12 mg
- Magnesium- 10 mg
- Calcium-3 mg
- Phosphorous- 12 mg
- Iron- 0.08 mg
- Vitiman K- 0 mcg
- Vitiman A- 61 IU
- Vitamin E- 0.15 mg
- Vitamin C- 34.4 mg
- Folates- 12 mcg
- Pyridoxine- 0.017 mg
- Thiamin- 0.014 mg
- Niacin- 0.367 mg
- Riboflavin- 0.016 mg
- Potassium- 133 mg
- Sodium- 2 mg
- Dietary Fiber- 2.80 g
- Energy- 31 kacl
- Cholesterol- 0mg
- Carbohydrates- 6.73 g
- Total Fat- 0.33 g
- Protein- 1.04 g
Culinary uses of Starfruit
Starfruit is used in a number of South East Asian recipes. Jams, squash, syrups, and pickles made from starfruit are hugely popular in the western world. Sour varieties of starfruit are used in several meat and fish recipes from Asia. In Caribbean islands dried carambola is popular. Dried starfruit can be grounded and added as an ingredient in meat stuffing. Also, juice of this fruit can be mixed with tomato sauce, soy sauce and tamarind paste to form a delicately tangy barbecue sauce. Juices made from fresh starfruit have a tangy flavor and are extremely refreshing. Sweet carambola syrups are used in making exotic bakery products. Desserts topped with a spoon of starfruit syrup taste divine. You can use starfruit syrup on ice-creams, puddings, custards, smoothies, milk shakes or any other chilled dessert.
Starfruit Consumption Warning
Keep in mind star fruit has a high presence of oxalic acid. Individuals that are undergoing treatment for kidney dialysis should avoid consuming starfruit. Furthermore, persons suffering from kidney failure or persons with kidney stones should keep away from star fruit. If starfruit is consumed by individuals suffering from these medical problems, it can cause nausea, vomiting, mental confusion and hiccups. Persons taking prescription medicines should consult their doctor as starfruit increases the potency of dosage when taken after medication.