Star fruits (Averrhoa carambola) are native to Southeast Asia. Here, they are known as carambola. Its fruits are distinct because of the five segments that give it a star shape, hence the name.
Its fruits are crunchy and juicy, with a light flavor. And even though the star fruit is not a member of the citrus family, its sweet yet sour taste bears resemblance to the usual flavor of citrus fruits.
But there’s more to star fruits than their unique shape and citrus-like taste. Star fruits are also rich in fiber as well as an impressive range of vitamins and minerals, including natural antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage.
Even its leaves and roots also contain compounds called saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and tannins, which also have antioxidant and healing properties.
Star fruits contain soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. The former dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance while the latter creates bulks to help food and waste pass easily through the digestive tract.
The soluble fiber has cholesterol-lowering effects since it helps remove fat molecules from the blood. Adding a source of this fiber, such as star fruits, into a diet could reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Many Asian countries, and Brazil, recognize the health benefits of star fruits which is why they use them as a popular alternative to conventional medicine.
Star fruit can be added to salads or turned into juices smoothies. The slices can also be used as an attractive garnish because of their unusual shape.
Although star fruits are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help boost the immune system, regulate blood sugar and protect against cardiovascular diseases, those with kidney problems or taking prescription medication should consult a medical professional before incorporating star fruits in their diet to avoid potential toxicity and drug interactions.