Star Fruit Nutrition Facts

Calories, carbs, and health benefits

Sliced starfruit on an old cleaver

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A star fruit won't grab your eye when you see it in its full form. In fact, some people describe it as ugly. But this nutritious fruit is both beautiful and unique when sliced horizontally. Also called carambola, the fruit is grown in southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India.

Star fruit (or starfruit) is low in calories and a smart addition to your diet, especially if you are looking to boost your fruit intake.

However, people with kidney disease should avoid the fruit.

Nutrition Facts

Star Fruit Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup cubed fruit (132 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 40 
Calories from Fat 4 
Total Fat   0.4 g 
Saturated Fat    0 g  0%
Polyunsaturated Fat  0.2 g 
Monounsaturated Fat  0 g      
Cholesterol 0 mg0%
Sodium  3 mg0%
Potassium 176 mg5%
Carbohydrates 9 g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g14%
Sugars  5 g 
Protein 2g 
Vitamin A 1% · Vitamin C 75%
Calcium 0% · Iron 0%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Carbohydrates in Star Fruit

Star fruit is a food that is naturally low in carbohydrate. One medium fruit provides about 6 grams of carbohydrate. One cup of cubed star fruit provides about nine grams of carbohydrate. The calories come from carbs in two forms.

You'll get just under 4 grams of naturally-occurring sugar if you consume a medium-sized fruit. A cup of cubes contains about 5 grams of sugar. If you trying to improve your diet, sugar that occurs naturally in foods (such as the fructose in fruit) is generally less of a concern than sugars that are added to food as part of processing (called "added sugars").

The sugar in fruit comes bundled with fiber and vitamins that help to boost your health.

The other carbohydrate in star fruit is fiber. You'll get just under 4 grams of fiber—or about 14 percent of your recommended daily intake of fiber—when you eat a cup of star fruit. Fiber boosts your health in many different ways.

Not only does it improve digestion and regularity, but according to the USDA, fiber also provides many other health benefits, including decreased risk of some types of cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Star fruit is considered to be a low glycemic index (less than 35), although the exact number has not been tested. The glycemic load of star fruit is estimated to be 3. Glycemic load takes both portion size and glycemic index into account to estimate a food's impact on blood sugar levels.

Fats in Star Fruit

There is a very small amount of fat in star fruit. A cup of cubes (which is about the amount you'd get from a medium or large fruit) provides less than 1 gram of fat. Most of that fat is polyunsaturated fat, which provides vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect your body's cells.

When you consume polyunsaturated fats you also boost your intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. However, the small amount in a single serving of star fruit is not likely to make a significant difference in your diet.

Protein in Star Fruit

You'll benefit from about two grams of protein when you consume a serving.

Micronutrients in Star Fruit

Star fruit is a good source of vitamin C.

A single serving provides just over 45 milligrams—or about 75 percent of your recommended daily intake—if you consume a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet.

You'll also get a small amount of vitamin A (2 percent of your daily recommended intake) when you eat star fruit, some folate (4 percent), and niacin (2 percent).

Star fruit isn't a significant source of minerals, although you'll get small amounts of copper (9 percent of your daily needs), potassium (5 percent), and magnesium (3 percent)—a mineral that is responsible for aiding in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body.

A single serving also provides 2 percent of your recommended daily intake of manganese and phosphorus.

Health Benefits

Most of the health benefits in star fruit come from its high concentration of vitamin C and from the fiber it provides.

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 it may also help to prevent disease, although research is ongoing about the extent of the health benefits that it can provide. Vitamin C must be consumed through diet because our bodies are unable to make it.

The vitamin A in star fruit plays a role in maintaining healthy vision, growth, and immune function and the folate is important for red and white blood cell formation.

Copper in star fruit works with iron to help the body form red blood cells. It also helps keep the blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy. Potassium, an electrolyte, helps you maintain a healthy heartbeat, assists in nerve function, and helps your muscles to contract.

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

Common Questions

How should I select the best fresh star fruit?

Star fruit is becoming increasingly popular, so while you may not have seen this fruit in the produce department a few years ago, you're likely to find it in most markets now.

The best star fruit will be bright yellow and firm. Green star fruits are not yet ripe. A few brown spots are okay (usually on the ridges of the fruit), but avoid fruit that has too much brown.

When is star fruit in season?

Peak season runs from April to June and October to December, but many grocery stores carry them year-round. 

Are star fruit seeds edible?

Yes, some star fruit varieties contain seeds and the seeds are edible. However, many people don't like the taste of the seeds, so you can remove them if you prefer.

Should I peel star fruit? 

No, the waxy peel of a star fruit is edible. The skin of the fruit also provides its unique star shape when it is sliced horizontally.

How should I store star fruit?

If your star fruit is still green when you bring it home, store it at room temperature until it ripens and turns yellow. It can be refrigerated and will keep for about a week.

Cooking and Preparation Tips

Many cooks use star fruit as a garnish for drinks, salads, and other tropical dishes. But the fruit is delicious and can be used in a variety of ways. The taste of a star fruit is usually described as sweet with a hint of tartness. It has been compared to the taste of apples, pears, grapes, and lime when it is ripe. Green star fruit may be sour. 

So what should you do with a star fruit? The fruit can easily be blended into a smoothie or included in a fruit salad. Add it to your morning meal by placing beautiful star-shaped slices on your plate next to eggs or with salmon and a bagel.

Some cooking sources recommended baking star fruit and creating fun-shaped star chips for kids. You can also pickle star fruit, use it in sauce or jelly recipes, or use it to top yogurt or ice cream. Some southeast Asian recipes use star fruit in savory recipes like curries and stews.

Allergies and Interactions

There have been limited reports of allergic reactions to star fruit. One published report noted that a patient experienced itching and burning around the mouth, lips, and ear canal shortly after consuming the fruit.

People who have kidney problems should avoid star fruit. According to the National Kidney Foundation, the fruit contains a neurotoxin that can cause damage to the brain when people with kidney disease consume it. The organization says that symptoms may include hiccups, mental confusion, seizures, and even death in serious cases. According to the source, "People with healthy, normal kidneys can process and pass this toxin out from their body."

Star fruit juice may also interfere with certain medications, including Midazolam (Canadian brand name) or Versed (U.S. brand name), according to a published study. If you are unsure about the safety of including star fruit in your diet, speak to your healthcare provider.

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Article Sources
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  • Why You Should Avoid Eating Starfruit. A to Z Health Guide. National Kidney Foundation.

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