We’re sure you know how invaluable a varied diet is for your health. But do you find yourself falling into the trap of only eating what’s familiar, readily available, and quick to prepare? If so, it’s high time you introduced a new ingredient into your diet. We suggest you start with starfruit.
You have probably heard of starfruit, but unless you live in Southeastern Asia, the chances are you’ve never tried it. Luckily, starfruit is often available in big supermarket chains, but it can also find its way into your local market.
The only way to ensure you get enough nutrients to keep a strong and healthy body is to enrich your diet with quality ingredients like this one. We break down its many benefits and give you ideas on how to include it in your meal plan.
What Is Starfruit?
Starfruit is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, but it is also widely grown in India. Also known as carambola, it got its name after its cross-section, which looks like a five-pointed star.
The fruit is the sweetest and juiciest when it ripens to be bright yellow with a hint of green at the edges. But many people also like it when it’s all green with a sour, crunchy taste.
All of its parts are edible, so there is no need to peel the skin. An average-sized starfruit has two to five edible seeds, but most people like to take them out.
The Nutritious Value of Starfruit
Carambola is a low-calorie fruit that contains around 28 kcal, 6 g of carbs, and 3 g of dietary fiber per serving. It is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, along with many minerals, such as magnesium, sodium, and potassium. On top of that, it has lots of antioxidants like polyphenols, gallic acid, and quercetin.
Although all that probably doesn’t mean much to you, it should give you an idea of how nutritious starfruit is. Now, let’s discuss in detail how these nutrients can benefit your health.
Five Reasons You Should Try Starfruit
1. It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Starfruit contains polyphenols that play a role in repairing damaged cells. That, in turn, lowers the risks of developing numerous skin disorders, such as dermatitis. Also, since over 70% of carambola is water, it aids hydration and breaks down mucus, preventing dry, sore throat and more serious inflammatory respiratory issues.
2. It Is Good for Your Heart
Thanks to its high sodium, magnesium, and potassium contents, starfruit adds precious electrolytes to your diet. Those substances inhibit blood vessel contractions and thus regulate blood pressure, promote circulation, and maintain a stable heart rate.
In addition, some carambola compounds, such as flavonoids and phytosterols, help the body use fat as a source of energy and toss out excess cholesterol.
3. It Gives You Shiny Hair and Radiant Skin
We already said that the anti-inflammatory properties of carambola lead to clear, healthy skin. But its high vitamin C content also makes the skin plumper and more radiant. Vitamin C and antioxidants from starfruit also protect the hair follicle, which results in shiny, voluminous hair.
4. It Aids Digestion and Weight Loss
Starfruit is rich in fiber, which speeds up metabolism. That helps with digestion problems, such as constipation, bloating, and cramping. Also, since this fruit doesn’t contain many calories, it makes for a perfect snack option to battle late-night hunger pangs. The fibers in this tasty fruit will keep you full, so your figure will reap benefits from it as well!
5. It Keeps Blood Sugar Under Control
The non-soluble fiber present in carambola helps the body maintain optimal glucose levels. That, in turn, means lower insulin production, which is beneficial for diabetics or people dealing with insulin resistance.
All in all, starfruit is a delicious, exotic fruit with heaps of health benefits. Add it to salads, desserts, smoothies, or make jams, juices, or cocktail garnish with it. The options are endless! Your heart, skin, hair, and your whole body will thank you for it!