Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can get repetitive if you don’t try different things.
Luckily, there are many delicious fruits and vegetables to add variety to your diet.
One unusual fruit that is getting increasingly popular is star fruit.
This article explores the benefits and potential health risks of star fruit.
What is star fruit?
Star fruit — or carambola — is a sweet and sour fruit that has the shape of a five-point star.
The skin is edible and the flesh has a mild, sour flavor that makes it popular in several 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.
Summary: Star fruit is a sweet and sour fruit shaped like a five-point star. There are several different varieties.
Star fruit nutrition facts
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 daily value
- Vitamin B5: 4% of the daily value
- Folate: 3% of the daily value
- Copper: 6% of the daily value
- Potassium: 3% of the daily value
- Magnesium: 2% of the daily value
Though the nutrient content may appear relatively low, keep in mind that this serving only has 28 calories and 6 grams of carbs. This means that calorie for calorie, star fruit is very nutritious.
Summary: Star fruit is low in calories but high in fiber and vitamin C. It’s very nutritious considering its low calorie content.
Star fruit is loaded with healthy plant compounds
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 have powerful antioxidant properties and various health benefits.
The plant compounds in star fruit have been shown to reduce fatty liver risk and cholesterol in mice.
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They’re also being studied for their ability to prevent liver cancer in mice.
What’s more, some evidence from animal studies suggests that the sugars in star fruit may reduce inflammation.
However, research to confirm these potential benefits of star fruit in humans is lacking.
Summary: Star fruit contains many beneficial plant compounds. Animal studies show that these may reduce inflammation, cholesterol, and the risk of fatty liver. Still, human research is lacking.
Safety and side effects
Star fruit may cause adverse effects in some people, mainly due to its high oxalate content.
Therefore, people with kidney problems should avoid star fruit and its juice — or consult with a doctor before trying it.
For people with kidney problems, eating star fruit regularly may lead to kidney damage as well as star fruit toxicity, which may cause neurological problems — such as confusion, seizures, and even death.
People taking prescription drugs should also proceed with caution. Similar to grapefruit, star fruit can alter the way a drug is broken down and used by your body.
Summary: People with kidney problems or those taking prescription medication should talk to their doctor before consuming star fruit.
How to eat it
You may be reluctant to try star fruit if you don’t know how to prepare it.
Suggested read: Passion fruit: Nutrition, benefits, and how to eat it
Here’s a simple way to prepare and eat star fruit:
- Make sure it’s ripe — a ripe star fruit should be primarily yellow with only hints of green.
- Rinse the fruit under water.
- Cut off the ends.
- Slice it.
- Remove the seeds and enjoy.
You can add this fruit to your diet in many ways, including:
- Slice and eat it on its own.
- Add it to salads or other fresh dishes.
- Use it as a garnish.
- Turn it into pies or puddings.
- Add it to Asian- or Indian-style stews and curries.
- Cook it with seafood or shellfish dishes.
- Make jam, jelly, or chutney.
- Juice it and drink it as a beverage.
Summary: 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.