Star fruit is an excellent, low-calorie snack that offers vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants. However, individuals with kidney problems or those taking specific medications should consult their doctor before including it in their diet. To prevent monotony in your fruit and vegetable consumption, it’s essential to explore different options.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of delightful fruits and vegetables that can add diversity to your meals.
An uncommon fruit that is gaining popularity is star fruit.
This article explores the benefits and potential health concerns associated with star fruit.
What is star fruit?
Star fruit typically exhibits a star-shaped appearance, consisting of five segments. It is a crisp and juicy fruit with a mild flavour. The skin, which is edible, possesses a waxy texture and comes in shades of yellow or green. The center of the fruit contains small dark seeds.
Although star fruit does not belong to the citrus family, its pleasantly tangy taste may resemble that of citrus fruits.
Indigenous to Southeast Asia, this fruit is occasionally referred to as “carambola” or “cane apple” in the Malay language.
Nutritional Composition of Star Fruit
Star fruit is a good source of various nutrients, particularly fiber and vitamin C.
Below are the nutritional values for a medium-sized star fruit weighing approximately 91 grams:
- Fibre: 3 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Vitamin C: 52% of the recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Vitamin B5: 4% of the RDI
- Folate: 3% of the RDI
- Copper: 6% of the RDI
- Potassium: 3% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 2% of the RDI
While the nutrient content may seem relatively modest, it’s important to note that this serving size contains only 28 calories and 6 grams of carbohydrates. Consequently, star fruit is a highly nutritious fruit when considering its calorie content.
How to eat star fruit?
Here’s a straightforward method to prepare and enjoy star fruit:
Check for ripeness: Ensure that the star fruit is ripe, which is indicated by its predominantly yellow color with slight traces of green.
- Rinse the fruit: Give the star fruit a gentle rinse under running water to remove any dirt or impurities.
- Trim the ends: Cut off the ends of the fruit using a knife.
- Slice it: Proceed to slice the star fruit into thin, even slices. The star fruit’s unique shape will be revealed as you cut across its segments, creating beautiful star-shaped pieces.
- Remove the seeds: Take care to remove the small dark seeds from each slice. The remaining edible portions can be consumed.
Now, you are ready to savor the delicious taste and texture of star fruit. Enjoy!
Potential Risks of Excessive Star Fruit Consumption
Consuming an excessive amount of star fruit, particularly if it is unripe, can have negative consequences. These risks include:
Star fruit contains a natural compound called oxalate or oxalic acid, which is also found in plants like rhubarb, beetroot, spinach, and chard. High levels of oxalate in the body can contribute to the formation of kidney stones and kidney damage.
It is important to ensure that the star fruit is ripe before consuming it. Unripe star fruit has higher levels of oxalate, which can lead to an upset stomach or vomiting.
Complications for individuals with kidney conditions:
People with kidney problems should avoid or limit their consumption of star fruit. In some cases, consuming star fruit can cause neurological complications, including confusion and seizures. For individuals with chronic kidney disease, consuming star fruit can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. It is crucial for individuals with kidney issues to consult their doctor before incorporating star fruit into their diet.
Interactions with medication:
Star fruit has the potential to affect the way the body metabolizes and utilizes medications. Similar to grapefruit, star fruit can slow down the clearance of certain drugs from the body, leading to higher drug levels than intended. Individuals concerned about possible interactions should seek advice from a healthcare professional.
It is important to be mindful of these potential risks and consult a healthcare professional if there are any concerns regarding the consumption of star fruit.
Benefits of Star Fruit
Star fruit is rich in antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamin C, which are beneficial for overall health.
Consuming a medium-sized star fruit can provide approximately 31 mg of vitamin C. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90 mg for adult males, 75 mg for adult females (increasing to 85 mg during pregnancy and 120 mg during lactation).
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that cannot be produced by the body, so it must be obtained through the diet. It plays a crucial role in combating oxidative stress and is necessary for collagen production, which aids in wound healing.
Furthermore, star fruit contains a significant amount of dietary fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels by facilitating slow glucose absorption.
Star fruit consists of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, promoting healthy digestion.
The soluble fiber in star fruit has cholesterol-lowering effects and can help remove fat molecules from the bloodstream, potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, soluble fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, leading to lower blood glucose levels.
Star fruit is commonly used as an alternative to conventional medication in many Asian countries and Brazil. In Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, it is utilized to treat various ailments such as fever, sore throat, cough, asthma, headaches, and skin problems.
Moreover, the leaves, fruit, and roots of star fruit contain beneficial compounds like saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and tannins, known for their antioxidant and healing properties.
Q1: What nutrients are found in star fruit?
Ans: Star fruit contains fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B5, folate, copper, potassium, and magnesium.
Q2: How many calories are in a serving of star fruit?
Ans: A medium-sized star fruit has approximately 28 calories.
Q3: Can star fruit cause kidney stones?
Ans: Star fruit is rich in oxalate, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in some individuals.
Q4: Does star fruit have any medicinal uses?
Ans: Star fruit is used in traditional medicine for treating fever, sore throat, cough, asthma, headaches, and skin problems.