Pomelo Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Pomelo annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Pomelo—also called pummelo, pommelo, shaddock, or Chinese grapefruitis the largest member of the citrus (Rutaceae) family. Some pomelos can be as big as volleyballs. The pale green or yellow fruit has a pink, white, or red inside that tastes like a slightly sweeter grapefruit. It is native to Southeast Asia and is less commonly consumed in the United States, but if you can find it, adding pomelo to your diet can boost nutrition and provide certain health benefits.

Pomelo Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one peeled pomelo fruit (609g).

  • Calories: 231
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Sodium: 6.1mg
  • Carbohydrates: 59g
  • Fiber: 6.1g
  • Protein: 4.6g
  • Vitamin C: 116mg

Carbs

Pomelo is a relatively low-calorie food, although it is higher in calories than some other types of fruit. Most of the calories in pomelo come from carbohydrate.

There are two types of carbohydrate in pomelo: naturally occurring sugars and fiber. You'll get just over 6 grams of fiber, or about 24% of your recommended daily intake, in a single pomelo.

The exact glycemic index (GI) of pomelo has not been recorded, although because it is high in sugar and does not provide a lot of fiber, it is likely a high glycemic food. One study that investigated the glycemic impact of a specific type of pomelo (Majia pomelo) estimated the glycemic index to be between 72 and 78 and the glycemic load to be around 4 to 5. As a reference, foods with a GI of 55 or more are considered high glycemic foods.

Fat

As is typical of most fruits, there is only a very small amount of fat in pomelo.

Protein

An entire peeled pomelo is a decent source of protein, providing 4.6 grams.

Vitamins and Minerals

Pomelo is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing a whopping 619% of your daily recommended needs in one fruit. You'll also benefit from small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6 when you consume this citrus fruit.

Minerals in pomelo include potassium (38% of your daily recommended needs) and smaller amounts of phosphorus, copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.

Health Benefits

Like most citrus fruits, pomelo health benefits come primarily from the vitamin C it provides. Vitamin C must be consumed in the diet because our bodies are unable to make it naturally.

May Help Fight Cancer

Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is essential for good bone structure, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. It aids in the absorption of iron, promotes wound healing, and may also help to prevent disease. In fact, studies investigating the role of citrus in cancer prevention are showing that the juices and extracts of these fruits may provide a positive benefit. However, research is ongoing. 

Supports Digestive Health

You'll also get a boost of fiber when you eat pomelo. Most people don't get enough fiber in their diets. Fiber helps to boost satiety, improves digestive health, and may help to lower blood cholesterol. Current guidelines suggest that you consume 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day.

Protects Against Chronic Diseases

Like many fruits and vegetables, pomelos are a source of antioxidants. These compounds help to reduce inflammation and repair cell damage caused by free radicals. These, in turn, can help protect against chronic diseases.

One study, for example, identified several antioxidants in pomelos that could help lower cholesterol. Another study, published in 2014, found several pomelo varieties that were a rich source of flavonoids and antioxdant activity.

Helps Regulate Blood Pressure

Pomelos are an excellent source of potassium, which is important for many cellular functions. In particular, it is important for keeping blood pressure at normal levels.

Allergies

Although citrus allergies are rare, they are possible; reactions to the flesh, juice, and even skin of various citrus fruits can happen. If you are allergic to one type of citrus fruit, such as lemons, it's more likely that you'll be allergic to another. People with allergies, including grasses, birch, and mugwort, may also experience cross-reactions with citrus fruits.

If you have symptoms of allergy after consuming pomelo or other citrus fruits (such as swelling or itching around the mouth), talk to your doctor. And if you have already been diagnosed with a citrus allergy, you should avoid eating pomelo.

Adverse Effects

Grapefruit interacts with more than 50 different medicines, notably many cholesterol-lowering drugs. Since pomelo and pomelo juice contain the same compounds that cause this interaction, you should avoid this fruit if you are taking one of those medications. 

Varieties

Pomelos come in varying shapes (round, pear), sizes (although all are quite large, compared to other citrus fruits), and colors. Both the skin and the flesh can appear in different colors. Some are juicier than others, but good ones are all sweeter than grapefruit. Pomelos have thicker skin than their citrus cousins. The most readily available variety is the Chandler pomelo, which has bright green skin and pale pink flesh. The pomelo can also be crossed with other citrus fruits to make hybrids like the tangelo.

When It's Best

Like many citrus fruits, pomelos are a winter crop. Although they originated in Asia, the United States, particularly California, has become the largest producer of pomelos.

The hardest part about buying pomelo may be finding it in your local market. Not all American grocery stores carry the fruit. But many Asian markets and some online grocers do. Keep in mind that they may be labeled as "pummelo" or "shaddock." The flesh of a pomelo should yield slightly when pressed, and it should not feel dry or look shriveled or puckered.

How to Prepare

Remove the thick skin and whitish membrane before consuming pomelo. Many people eat pomelo sliced or cubed. You can throw it into a green or fruit salad, or toss it in the blender when you're making a fruit smoothie. Pomelo also pairs well with other tropical fruits like banana and pineapple.

You can make marmalade with pomelo. It's a nice addition to fish dishes (try it paired with swordfish or shrimp), and you can make a marinade or salad dressing with the juice. If you are using a recipe that calls for grapefruit or even orange, you can use pomelo instead.

Recipes

Healthy Pomelo Recipes to Try

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Article Sources
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