Star fruit is widely eaten and distributed by people across the globe. It is primarily prominent in countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Also known as carambola or Averrhoa Starfruit, these fruits are rawly consumed or in the form of their common market preparations, namely juice, smoothie or shake pickles and salads. Its name comes from the star-like distinct structure of this fruit when it is cut in a cross-section manner. These are three to six inches in length, fleshy colours which range from greenish-yellow to yellow. It is crisp and tart in taste. It is commonly found in supermarkets as it’s a rare commodity. It is also characterised as Ambanamkaya, Kamrakh, Thambaratham and Kamaranga in different regions.
Nutritional value and health benefits of star fruit
It has a low-calorie rich source of natural antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and gallic acid. Other antioxidants present are magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, as well as β-carotene. Having high amounts of Antioxidants, this plays an essential role in tackling oxidative stress (oxidative stress is responsible for the development of various diseases, comprising diabetes, heart disease, and cancer). Antioxidants namely zinc, iron and manganese in star-fruits assist in enhancing the immune system of the body.
It contains large amounts of fibers in star-fruits that help in restricting blood glucose concentration. They also exert cholesterol-reducing effects by enhancing the removal of cholesterol, lipid and bile acid through bowel movements. This helps in decreasing the risks of heart diseases.
It is advisable to consume the fruit juice with the fibers known as smoothie because whenever one intakes star fruit juice, often the fiber-rich residual parts of the fruits are not included in the beverage. It has some properties such as Antimicrobial, Anti-inflammatory (beneficial in treating skin diseases like eczema), Antiulcer and Antitumor.
Some of the benefits of it are as follows:
- Anti-Inflammatory: It has enhanced amounts of anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that may lead to avoidance of skin disorders like dermatitis. The presence of vitamin C also assists in flushing out toxins and developing a healthy body.
- Decreases weight: Star fruit has inefficient calories to include and it makes for a huge evening snack when hunger strikes. The fibre content in the fruit assists in accelerating the metabolism that backs efforts to lose weight. Fibre also aids to keep you fuller for longer, reducing the chances of overeating.
- Improves digestion: It has a vital role in enhancing digestion. It can stimulate the movement of stool through the digestive tract, and then alleviating symptoms of constipation, bloating and cramping.
- Maintains blood pressure: The presence of calcium lowers the risk of heart issues such as heart attacks and strokes by relieving stress on the blood vessels and arteries. One’s heart will be able to relax by removing the pressure and making circulation more effective. In this way, the fluid balance in your body will be regulated.
Risks associated with Star fruit:
Consuming a star fruit can result in negative (toxic) effects in people who have kidney diseases due to its high oxalate content. There are numerous other substances that are discovered in star-fruits that may affect one’s health in people suffering from kidney diseases. It also consists of a toxic substance known as a neurotoxin that can affect the brain and cause neurological disorders. People with healthy kidneys can process and shift this toxin out from their bodies. Although, for those with kidney disease, this process is obstructed. The toxin stays in the body and can result in serious illnesses like star fruit poisoning. The toxic effect can have life-threatening situations. The symptoms of starfruit poisoning comprise hiccups, seizures, mental confusion and disturbances in consciousness.