Star Fruit: Health Benefits and Nutritional Values

Fruits are the power or energy packed natural foods that are essential for good health promotion. Fruits in different types and shapes are available all over the world. Star fruit or carambola or Averrhoa carambola is one such fruits that have an attractive appearance in the shape of star as its name denotes. This fruit has versatile qualities that are vital for enhancement and perseverance of the health. The origin of the fruit is still unknown but various studies show that this fruit existed in many parts of the world particularly in the Asian region under different names thousands of years ago. The cultivation of this fruit is mainly popular in South East Asia, East Asia, Latin America, Southern United States, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. There are mainly two varieties of carambola of sour type and large variety with sweet taste. The skin of the fruit is waxy and smooth and the flesh is translucent and juicy when ripened. The ripe fruit has yellow color and some sour variety also turns to sweet when allowed to ripe. It is normally grown in tropical and sub tropical regions in the world. The sweet variety is used in several cuisines in the forms of salads, preserves, juices, syrups and garnishes. Sour varieties are used in cooking with dishes that are spicy.  In some places it is used as an ornamental fruit rather than as an edible fruit. The texture and taste of the fruit is similar to the grapes, pear and apple and it does not contain fiber.

Many researches and studies have revealed the multifaceted benefits of this fruit as it is enriched with all most all essential nutrients other than the dietary fiber. According to the nutrient data base of USDA, 100g of fruit contains 31 calories of energy, carbohydrates, sugars and protein. It has low fat and dietary fiber content to a nominal level. It contains antioxidants, bioflavonoids and other phytonutrients. It has lutein and zeaxanthin, thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or vitamin B2, niacin or vitamin B3, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, choline, vitamin C and E.  The essential minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc are abundantly present in this fruit.

The presence of all vital nutrients gives numerous health benefits that are found in various researches and studies. Many popular websites like www. Nutrition-and-you.com provides extensive research results of the health benefits of this fruit. This fruit has the lowest calorie content than any other fruit that makes it an all time favorite of dietitians and health conscious people. Though the dietary fiber is low it prevents the LDL absorption in the gut and there by maintain colon health and also prevents cancer causing chemicals in the colon and prevents colon cancer. The abundant quantity of vitamin C eliminates the free radicals and prevents oxidation stress. It gives more immunity power to the body to fight against infections and other ailments that causes inflammation. The antioxidants and flavonoids like quercetin, gallic acid and epicatechin also prevents the free radical formation. The vitamin B complex compounds helps in the metabolic process by producing more beneficial enzymes that promotes proper metabolism. Potassium regulates the cell and body fluids for the proper functioning in blood pressure and maintenance of the steady heart beat rate.

In many parts Latin America carambola is used in many traditional treatments in increasing the urine flow, expectorant and a good remedy for preventing cough and other minor ailments. The high content of oxalic acid though helps in metabolic process it is not advisable for people with kidney diseases that is the only draw back of this versatile fruit.