Star Fruit Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Star Fruit, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

Star fruit might not grab your eye in its full form, but when sliced horizontally, it makes a beautiful star-shaped garnish or snack. Also called carambola, star fruit has become more common in the United States. Although star fruit poses a danger for people with kidney disease, for the majority of the population, it's a nutritious choice with several health benefits to offer.

Star Fruit Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (132g) of cubed star fruit.

  • Calories: 41
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Sodium: 2.6mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8.9g
  • Fiber: 3.7g
  • Sugars: 5.3g
  • Protein: 1.4g

Carbs

Start fruit has just under 9 grams of carbs per cup. This includes 3.7 grams of fiber and 5.3 grams of sugar.

Fats

Star fruit is very low in fat with just less than 1/2 gram per cup.

Protein

There are 1.4 grams of protein in 1 cup of star fruit.

Vitamins and Minerals

Star fruit is a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate, selenium, copper, and zinc.

The small amount of fat in star fruit includes some fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin E and beta carotene.

Health Benefits

Star fruit has a lot to offer beyond its ability to create a beautiful plate. Here are some of the ways star fruit can better your health.

May Aid in Cancer Prevention

To evaluate whether star fruit produces changes in the body, researchers compared participants' blood samples after 2 weeks and 4 weeks of increased star fruit consumption. Although it took the full 4 weeks to achieve the greatest difference, antioxidant status improved as participants ate more star fruit, raising levels of vitamins A and C in particular.

Although more research is needed, this preliminary study suggests that star fruit may be protective against cancer development by equipping the body with free-radical-fighting compounds.

Assists Wound Healing

Getting enough vitamin C is crucial for the production of collagen and the body's ability to repair tissue damage and wounds. With over 45 milligrams per cup, star fruit is a great way to work towards the recommended 75–90 milligrams required per day for most adults.

Supports Heart Health

Star fruit has several nutrients that contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system. Potassium reduces blood pressure, fiber helps lower cholesterol, and vitamin C protects against oxidative damage. Getting enough fruits and vegetables every day is a cornerstone tenet of heart-healthy eating, and star fruit can help you reach this goal.

Promotes Regularity

Star fruit is a good source of fiber, with almost 4 grams per cup. Fiber is essential for regularity, as it helps move food through the digestive tract and prevent constipation. The daily recommendation for fiber intake is between 25–35 grams; however, most Americans fall short of this amount. Including star fruit as a side dish or snack can help you get closer to meeting your daily fiber goal.

Improves Blood Sugar Control

Fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial for diabetes management. The fiber in fresh, frozen or dried fruit, including star fruit, slows down food digestion and prevents rapid spikes in blood sugar. In addition, star fruit is a low calorie, nutrient-dense food that can support healthy weight management and help prevent development of insulin resistance. Including star fruit in your meal plan may help reduce your risk of diabetes and keep blood sugars under control.

Allergies

Food allergies are possible for any type of food, although star fruit is not an especially common allergen. Food allergies can show up in the form of hives, shortness of breath, swelling of the tongue, dizziness, or even anaphylaxis. Symptoms may appear immediately or up to 2 hours after eating the offending food. If you suspect an allergy to star fruit, see an allergist for a full evaluation.

Adverse Effects

Anyone with impaired kidney function should avoid star fruit. Star fruit contains a neurotoxin that can cause damage to the brain when it is not properly detoxified by the kidneys. Symptoms of this toxicity may include hiccups, mental confusion, seizures, and even death in serious cases.

Star fruit can also inhibit enzymes responsible for the metabolism of certain drugs. Always read your medication labels to screen for possible interactions and avoid eating star fruit at the same time that you take medications.

Varieties

There are many varieties of star fruit that vary in color, size, and sweetness. Some star fruit varieties are sweet and some are tart. Certain varieties contain edible seeds although most people prefer to remove them. Most varieties of star fruit originate in Florida, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, or Hawaii. Some examples include Erlin, Demak, Pasi, Golden Star, Maha, or Cheng Chui.

When It's Best

Star fruit is becoming increasingly popular. While you may not have seen it in the produce department a few years ago, you're more likely to find it in many markets now.. Star fruit is grown in warm climates and imported, so it is generally available year-round at the grocery store.

The best star fruit is bright yellow and firm. Green star fruits are not yet ripe. Because star fruit doesn't continue to sweeten once it's been picked, you don't want an unripe star fruit. A few brown spots are OK (usually on the ridges of the fruit) but avoid major blemishes.

Storage and Food Safety

Star fruit may be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 21 days. Wash well under running water before slicing into star fruit. The peel is edible. Cut star fruit should be placed back in the refrigerator in a covered container for consumption within a few days.

How to Prepare

To show off star fruit's characteristic shape, slice it horizontally and use it as a garnish for drinks, salads, and other tropical dishes. Star fruit is usually described as being sweet with a hint of tartness. Ripe star fruit has been compared to the taste of apples, pears, grapes, and lime. Green, unripe star fruit may be sour. 

Blend star fruit into a smoothie or add it to a fruit salad. Placing star-shaped slices on your plate next to eggs or with salmon and a bagel can brighten your breakfast plate.

Baking star fruit creates 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.

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Article Sources
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