Starfruit, which is also widely known as Carambola, is a waxy yellow-green fruit that is mostly found in South Pacific, throughout Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia. This is native to Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. It gets its name from the way it is shaped when cut. The ridges give it a star-like shape.
There are 2 varieties of this fruit, however, it is really hard to tell them apart, just from their looks. One kind is sweet, which is known to be a cross between a grape and an apple while the other kind is quite sour. If noticed carefully, the sweeter kind has a thicker flesh, or a more dense flesh, than the sour kind.
This fruit is a really pocket friendly and it is best consumed just after it has turned ripe, that is, when it has a good shade of yellow and slight hint of green. Both ripe and unripe starfruit are used for consumption by many people across the world. Green coloured starfruit is known to be good for pickling and for cooking as a vegetable, while the yellow starfruit can be used in fruit salad, barbeque skewers and even as a garnish. This fruit can be used an anything in any form and it just makes it better.
Nutritional Benefits of starfruit
Starfruit is considered to be one of the healthiest fruits. Apart from its medicinal value, it is also a good source of vitamins and minerals that benefit us in more than a few ways, in terms of beauty and wellbeing. It can be used to treat simple allergies like cold and cough for children and it does not hold any of the side effects that medicines have, like drowsiness.
Starfruit is rich in antioxidants like potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, folic acid and also has calcium, iron, and vitamin A, D, B-9, B-12 and B-6. It has low quantities of sugar, sodium and acid which enhances the weight loss for a person. One serving of the fruit only has 30 calories and has a high fibre
The chart is as follows –
- Carbohydrates – 4.71g
- Copper – 0.096mg
- Fibre – 2g
- Folate – 8mcg
- Magnesium – 7mg
- Manganese – 0.026mg
- Niacin – 0.257mg
- Pantothenic Acid – 0.274mg
- Phosphorous – 8mg
- Potassium – 93mg
- Protein – 0.073g
- Riboflavin – 0.011mg
- Selenium – 0.4mcg
- Thiamine – 0.01mg
- Vitamin A – 43IU
- Vitamin B6 – 0.012mg
- Vitamin C – 24.1mg
- Zinc – 0.08mg
Uses of Starfruit
- Consumption of the fruit helps to eliminate excess water from the body.
- The fruit can be used to make pickles, sauces, jams and chutneys.
- Leaves of the starfruit tree can be used to treat stomach ulcers.
- Flowers of the starfruit tree are used to treat cough.
- A puree of the leave and/or roots can be used to cure headaches, ringworms and chickenpox.
- Ripe starfruit is widely used for cooking purposes in countries like China, Australia and South East Asia.
- The trees are grown for ornamental reasons since it is full of brightly coloured parts, like the dark green leaves, the lavender-pink flowers and the unusually shaped fruit.
Benefits of starfruit
- Helps fight acne
- Treats oily skin
- Helps in making the skin glow
- Helps to soothe rough skin
- Helps prevent wrinkles
- Helps in reducing blackheads
- Helps eliminate scars
- Helps to reduce hair loss
- Enhances hair growth
- Helps to keep the hair strong
- Helps to treat sore eyes
- Helps to lower cholesterol levels
- It helps to reduce weight
- Helps in treating eczema
- Prevents heart problems
- Helps to overcome most infections in the body
- Provides adequate amount of vitamins and minerals for the body
- It has anti-inflammatory properties
- Helps improve digestion
Home remedies of skin, hair and health
Lemon – For a glowing skin
- 6 large star fruits, chopped
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 lime, freshly squeezed
- 1 cup iced water
- Place the star fruit in a blender and add the sugar and lime juice and water into it. Process it till it becomes smooth.
- Pour the smooth liquid into a pitcher, passing it through a sieve. Discard the remaining pulp.
- Consume this drink with some ice.
- This drink should be had on a daily basis.
Orange Juice – To treat dry and rough skin
- 3 starfruits
- 1 diced mango
- 3 cups of orange juice
- 2 cups of ice cubes
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Chunks of banana/strawberry/pineapple
- Blend together the starfruit, mango, honey, cinnamon along with the orange juice, ice cubes and cinnamon, till a smooth liquid is formed.
- Pour the strained liquid into a jar.
- Add chunks of the fruit of choice before drinking it.
- Consume this drink 1-2 times in a week for the best results.
Starfruit pulp – As a moisturiser
- Peel the fruit and apply the pulp of the star fruit on the skin.
- Leave the pulp on the skin for 10-15 minutes.
- Wash it off with water and a mild soap or body wash.
- Do this method 1-2 times in a week for a soft and moisturised skin.
Honey – To fight acne
- 2 medium sized starfruits, chopped
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup warm honey
- Take the starfruit and blend it until it forms a thick puree. Add the lime juice and blend them in together.
- Add in the honey and mix it with a ladle till it reaches the desired consistency.
- Massage this mixture on the skin and leave it on for 15-120 minutes.
- Wash it off using warm water and pat dry the skin.
- Repeat this process 2 times in a week for the best results.
Bananas – To reduce hair loss
- 2 starfruits, timed and sliced.
- 2 bananas, sliced
- Small bunch of green seedless grapes
- A punnet of strawberries, hulled and cut in half.
- 1 small honeydew melon, seeds removed and cubed
- A few crushed walnuts
- Fresh basil
- Mix all the fruits in a large bowl and toss them together.
- Before consuming, this fruit salad can be topped with the crushed walnuts and fresh basil.
- This should be had 3 times in a week to see the desired results.
Ginger – To enhance hair growth
- 450gm of cut starfruit
- 1 thumb of ginger
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 4 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- Mint leaves
- In a blender, add all the ingredients, except the mint leaves, together until a smooth liquid is formed.
- Strain this liquid into a jar and discard the remaining pulp.
- Garnish the drink by stirring in a mint leaf or two and consume the drink.
- Repeat this drink 2 times in a week for stronger hair.
Ginger – Prevents Heart problems
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 4 starfruits, cut into ½ inch slices
- 3 tablespoons of ginger juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Place the pineapple juice and starfruit slices in a blender and process it till it becomes smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a pitcher, passing it through a sieve. Pour out 2 cups and discard the solid waste.
- Stir in the ginger and lemon juice.
- Keep this drink refrigerated.
- Consume this drink once a day, every day.
As a soup – For most of its nutritive value
- 2 chicken drumsticks
- 1 teaspoon shredded lime leaves
- 2 teaspoons small tomatoes
- 1-2 ounces of soy sauce
- 1 starfruit, sliced
- 4 ounces of chopped shallots
- 1 ounce fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons of chopped coriander
- 1 teaspoon lemongrass
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 1 shredded red chilli
- Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and boil the drumsticks till they become tender. Add the soy sauce as much as desired.
- Put the shallots, tomatoes, lemon grass and lime leaves in the pan and season it with the fish sauce. Allow it to cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour the soup into a large bowl and this is one serving. This preparation cooks for 2 servings.
- This soup can be consumed once in a week along with eating starfruit as it is every other day.
- If one is on any kind of medical prescription, it is advisable to consult with a doctor before having starfruit. It may react adversely with the medication.
- Persons with kidney problems should completely avoid consuming starfruit.
- Starfruit has a tendency to bruise, hence it is advised to buy them when they are firm and they should be carefully handled.
- People suffering from diabetes should stay clear of this fruit and should not consume it at any time.
- Because of its rich oxalate content, some people may have an adverse effect to it. It is recommended to try a little of the fruit, at first, and wait for a day or 2 to see if there are any negative reactions.
- Too much consumption of starfruit can be very harmful. Being rich in oxalic acid, too much of the fruit can result in the formation of kidney stones
- Starfruit interferes with the metabolism and absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Myths and Facts
Myth: Juicing the pulp of star fruit takes away all the nutrients and have no fibre retained in it.
Fact: This is not at all true as there are two kinds of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre is what that gets left behind when juicing the fruit, whereas most of the fibre content is soluble which is what is present in the juice. It has all its nutrients intact and is very healthy for consumption.
Myth: Only the pulp of the fruit is beneficial to us.
Fact: This is absolutely false. The starfruit is one of the rare fruits where not only the pulp, but the skin, leaves, flowers, every part of the plant is beneficial in one way or more. There are medicinal, along with beauty benefits that are provided.
Myth: Consuming and having star fruit is just a fad.
Fact: This is absolutely false. The only way one can know otherwise is when they try the fruit for a said period of time and notice the changes in their metabolism and overall health. This is one of the most natural sources for so many things that people usually take supplements for. There is no need for supplements, unless medically prescribed, if starfruit is included in a person’s regular diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the pulp safe for using on sensitive skin?
A: The pulp of the starfruit is safe to use for all skin types, including sensitive skin. This is one of the rare natural products that does not have a negative effect on any skin type.
Q: Is the starfruit safe for children?
A: Yes, starfruit is absolutely safe to be used by children. It is actually very good for treating cough for children.
Q: Is the skin edible?
A: Yes, the skin of the star fruit is edible and adds onto the nutritional benefits with the fruit itself.
Q: How does one store starfruit?
A: Once a firm starfruit is bought, it can be stored in the refrigerator without any hassles. It has a shelf life of 2 weeks at least when kept in the fridge which is really good if it is being consumed on a regular basis.