Carambola, also known as star fruit, is the fruit of Averrhoa carambola, a species of tree native to tropical southeast Asia. The tree is cultivated throughout tropical areas of the world. When cut in cross-section, it resembles a star, giving its name as star fruit. The entire fruit is edible, usually raw, and may be cooked or made into relishes, preserves, garnish, and juices.
There are two main types of carambola: the small sour (or tart) type and the larger sweet type. The sour varieties have a higher oxalic acid content than the sweet type.
Health benefits of Carambola (star fruit) are as follows.
•Anti-inflammatory. The high quantity of flavonoids and antioxidants in this fruit make it a good anti-inflammatory for various skin disorders including dermatitis and psoriasis. The vitamin C also helps in flushing out toxins.
•Heart health. The high amounts of sodium and potassium act as electrolytes in the body, which help in maintaining blood pressure. Also this ensures a regular heartbeat and healthy blood flow.
•Stimulates lactation. It is used to increase lactation in mothers who have trouble producing enough milk for their newborns.
•Bone health. There is a variety of minerals in star fruit including zinc, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and calcium, which can help promote better bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis as we age.
•Controls diabetes. The insoluble fiber can prevent the release of glucose after eating which in turn helps to control insulin levels in the body.
•Hair care. Carambola, a rich source of antioxidants, B-complex vitamins and vitamin C which promotes healthy hair growth.
•Skin care. Star fruit is packed with antioxidants, such as gallic acid, quercetin, and other polyphenolic flavonoids, that can counter the effects of oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals before they can damage the skin.
•Relax sore eyes. Due to the antimicrobial properties of star fruit, it is also used to get relief from sore eyes.
•Improves respiratory health. This fruit is known as an anti-inflammatory and cooling agent that can promote salivation and cut through mucus or phlegm.
•Detoxifies the body. Known as a diuretic, Carambola can stimulate urination, which can be helpful for someone looking to detox. It will help to cleanse both the liver and the kidneys, but people with pre-existing kidney conditions should eat this fruit with caution. Increasing urination can lower the levels of toxins (excess fats and salts) in the body.
•Reduces cholesterol levels. With a high level of dietary fiber and a low amount of natural fat, this fruit is great for reducing and managing cholesterol levels. The fiber assists to regulate LDL (bad cholesterol) and elevate HDL (good cholesterol) hence lowering the risk of stroke, heart attack and atherosclerosis.
•Improves metabolism. High levels of folate, pyridoxine, and riboflavin can help to optimize metabolism by ensuring that necessary enzymatic and hormonal processes take place throughout the body.
•Improves digestion. The dietary fiber present in Carambola stimulates the movement of stool through the digestive tract and thus relieving symptoms of constipation, bloating, diarrhea and cramping.
•Balance blood pressure. With a moderate amount of calcium, this fruit can reduce the risk of heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and strokes by relieving tension on blood vessels and arteries.
•Anticancer potential. Fiber in star fruit will cleanse the colon and reduce toxicity levels, helping to lower the risk of colon cancer.
•Promotes weight loss. It’s fiber and other nutrients speeds the metabolism which in turn help support your efforts to lose extra pounds. It is also low in calories and fiber makes you feel full faster.
Over eating this fruit can lead to side effects such as:
•Allergies. Such as diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
•Drug interactions. The active ingredients in star fruit are known to interact with many medications, namely making them non-functional in the body. If you’re on multiple prescriptions talk to your doctor before eating Carambola.
•Kidney stones. With a high concentration of oxalic acid, over eating this fruit can increase risk of kidney stones.
•Toxicity. Some compounds in this fruit can be dangerous if they are not properly processed out by the body. Therefore, if you have kidney disease and are unable to filter out certain neurotoxins, star fruit can result in nausea, confusion, headaches, seizures, and even death.