Carambola, benefits of star fruit

Carambola is a very peculiar exotic fruit. It is known as the star fruit. If you cross-cut it, you can see a five-pointed star perfectly.

What is carambola?

Carambola (Averrhoa carambola) is a tropical fruit with a very peculiar appearance. It is the fruit of the carambolero is a native tree of Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia

Carambola or star fruits are known by other names according to their place of origin. In this way, this fruit is also known as star averrhoa, carambolera, torombolo, miramelo, chiramelo, starambolo, Chinese tamarind or coolie tamarind.

Appearance and taste

Its star shape appears when we cross-section the fruit. They are usually in most cases in the form of 5 points, but it can vary.

It has a powerful sour taste due to the high content of ascorbic acid and citric acid. Its pulp is juicy with a light yellow color. The outer part has a green color that takes on yellowish tones as it matures.

Origin of carambola

The carambola (Averrhoa carambola), star fruit in English, is a fruit native to Asia (Malaysia, Ceylan, China). Likewise, it is very widespread in tropical and subtropical areas of Asia and America, such as granadilla , passion fruit or guava .

Carambola production

The carambolero belongs to the Oxalidace family and is cultivated mainly in tropical areas. It is grown in tropical climates with moderate temperatures, since these fruits are intolerant to cold and deteriorate a lot, dying in cold temperatures.

It is a fruit tree that is native to Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Similarly, it is commonly cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and other areas of Asia.

This peculiar fruit tree is also known as carambolo, Chinese tamarind, torombolo, cucumber tree or star fruit.

Currently, the carambolero (averrhoa carambola) is also cultivated in tropical areas of the American continent. Today this delicious fruit is grown in Australia, South America, Hawaii, and Florida.

The main producers worldwide are Malaysia, Singapore, China, Sri Lanka. However, the regions with the highest production are Thailand, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana, Brazil and the United States, specifically Florida.

Carambola cultivation in Spain

In addition, this tropical fruit has also reached Spain. One problem with this product is that on many occasions the optimum degree of ripening is not completed. This is because the product has to travel for many hours to export to other countries such as Spain. As a consequence, the natural degree of maturation is not completed, and it may lose nutritional and gastronomic properties.

Due to the growing interest of this tropical fruit in Europe, Spain has begun to plant in the south of this country. Regions such as Malaga are already planting commercially with very good results.

Carambola season

Their season in Spain begins in September and ends in January. However, we can find these foods in our markets imported from other countries throughout the year.

In exporting countries like India, the season coincides with Spain. However in Malaysia the season lasts all year round.

You can check the calendar of the fruit season to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.

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Carambola varieties

Currently there are many varieties of this fruit, although they are grouped into two main types: acidic and sweet.

Those that are sweet have a flavor between an apple and a grape and it is recommended to consume it raw. In the same way, both the sweet and the acidic types are used to combine them with other ingredients in fruit smoothies and in other delicious recipes.

Conservation

When buying carambola (Averrhoa carambola) we must pay special attention to its appearance. That they are in perfect condition. Also, that they are not torn or stained. The fruit must be whole or firm. On the contrary, if it is too soft, discard.

The more yellow the fruits are, the more mature they are.

Store at home in a refrigerated place not exposed to direct light. It is important that the cold chain is not interrupted for a long time if the fruit is already at its optimum ripeness point. It is important that they do not have direct contact with other foods so that the shelf life is extended.

How do you eat star fruit?

This fruit is consumed in different ways. As raw fruit or as an ingredient in various jam recipes, in syrup, dried fruit or as starfruit juice.

Carambola marketing

It is mainly marketed as whole fruit. However, there are other types of products that are made from these fruits. This is the case of frozen pulp, jams, jellies and juices. In addition, the sweets made with this ingredient are increasingly popular.

Carambola properties

Starfruit (Averrhoa carambola) contains hardly any sugar. In addition, it gives us very few calories. Its content in vitamin C and fiber stands out.

Its main component is water. In addition, it has small amounts of carbohydrates. To a lesser extent, it provides us with proteins. Fats are almost non-existent.

The pulp is rich in calcium oxalate and soluble fiber. It also contains provitamin A or beta carotene such as loquat or apricot . Beta carotene is transformed into vitamin A when our body needs it.

It also provides us with minerals such as potassium, calcium and iron.

Average nutritional value per 100 grams of carambola (edible part)

Calories31,0 g
Carbohydrates6,6 g
Fiber2,3 g
Fat0,1 g
Water92,0 g
Protein1,2 g
beta carotene155,0 g
Football3,0 mg
Sodium2,0 mg
Match12 mg
Potassium132 mg
Lives. B0,1 mg
White. B20,1 mg
Lives. VS33,8 mg

Carambola benefits

Thanks to its nutritional properties, it provides us with different benefits to our health. It is distinguished in its amount of vitamins C and B.

Its consumption is recommended for the whole family. It can be consumed by people of all ages, athletes, pregnant or breastfeeding. Also by diabetic people, with hypertension.

Likewise, it is recommended for those who have low defenses, with symptoms of stress, for those who follow a weight loss diet or problems with constipation.

Only people who suffer from kidney problems have to be especially careful with the amount of consumption of these fruits.

It is an ideal food that provides us with benefits for our health such as the following:

1. Ideal for weight loss diets

Being a fruit rich in water and low in calories and carbohydrates, it  is ideal to include it in diets to lose weight. In addition, it is rich in soluble fiber, which makes it a satisfying food.

Also, due to their high content of fiber, vitamins and minerals that can accelerate metabolism, they are favorable foods for weight loss.

2. A laxative fruit

Thanks to being a food rich in soluble fiber and a large amount of water, it has the property of being a natural laxative such as figs or plums .

3. Tolerated by diabetics

It is a recommended food for people who suffer from diabetes , since it provides us with very few carbohydrates. In addition, it is rich in potassium like pear . We always recommend consulting with a health professional if there are doubts about the effect on diabetes in a specific case.

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4. Beneficial for maintaining healthy skin

These foods are powerful natural antioxidants thanks to the contribution of vitamin C and vitamin A. It is an ideal food to neutralize the action of free radicals in our body, thanks to these vitamins.

In addition, of the mentioned vitamins it contains other antioxidants such as quercetin, gallic acid and other polyphenolic flavonoids. Antioxidants counteract the effects of oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals. A favorable natural action to maintain healthy skin.

Also, vitamin C has a positive effect on collagen production. [1] Also, it should be noted that collagen is beneficial in preventing or minimizing the appearance of wrinkles. At the same time, it  keeps skin radiant and flawless as you age.

5. A food that takes care of our heart

Thanks to the calcium it provides (3 mg per 100 g) it can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by relieving the tension in the blood vessels and arteries.

Also, due to its high potassium content (133 mg per 100 g serving), star fruit is helpful in relaxing blood vessels and maintaining blood pressure.

According to a study published in 2017, it can be determined that star fruit juice can be used as a complementary therapy to lower blood pressure in patients suffering from high blood pressure. [2]

6. For our eye health

It is an ideal food for our eye health , as it is rich in vitamin A. In addition, it is also beneficial to maintain healthy skin, nails and hair.

7. Favorable for strong defenses

Being rich in vitamin C, it helps us with our natural defenses in times of colds and other infections. It also facilitates the absorption of iron.

8. To nourish our nervous system

Potassium stands out as a mineral. It is necessary for the transmission and for the generation of the nervous impulse. It is a necessary component for normal muscular activity.

Side effects of star fruit

Some people speak of the carambola (Averrhoa carambola) as a dangerous fruit. It is not true, it can be consumed with peace of mind and take advantage of its benefits.

However, it is true that due to its nutritional properties we have to take certain precautions.

People with kidney disease are not advised to consume them in excess , since they are rich in potassium and calcium oxalate. In addition, this fruit has neurotoxins that in excessive consumption can cause poisoning in people with kidney disease. As a consequence, it is not recommended for people with chronic kidney disease. [3]

Likewise, the toxicity of star fruit can also be verified in relation to kidney failure. [4]

Nor is its consumption recommended to those who suffer from gastritis problems.

If there is any previous pathology or if you have doubts, it is advisable to consult a nutritionist or health professional before consuming this fruit.

Conclusions

They are fruits that provide us with different vitamins and minerals that make it ideal to include in our diet. Carambola is a different fruit with a starry appearance, with a very striking color and a delicious flavor.

Therefore, it is an ideal ingredient to eat raw as in our favorite recipes.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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