There’s a fruit that grows in certain parts of Asia that’s technically known as the carambola, but not many people in the western hemisphere will know what you’re talking about when you say that name. Instead, most people refer to it as the starfruit, since slices of this fruit is shaped exactly like a star. It’s certainly one of the more unique foods out there in terms of appearance, but it’s proved to be both tasty and healthy.
Starfruit is usually eaten with other foods (and even in juices), but many prefer to eat it by hand straight off of the tree. Some people don’t even eat it at all, instead using starfruit as a decoration. If you do eat it, just know that you’re going to be doing yourself a favor for your health. To show you why you should be eating more starfruit, let’s look at the nutritional value and those great health benefits you’ll get.
Nutrition of Starfruit
One of the first things that you’ll notice with starfruit is that it’s quite low in calories, with only around 40 in each one cup serving of starfruit cubes. There’s a little bit of protein with three percent of your daily recommendation, and a solid 15 percent of your daily needs for dietary fiber. Out of the vitamins, the most abundant one that you’ll see is vitamin C, with three quarters of daily value. The other vitamins aren’t quite as high, but there’s around five percent of your needed vitamin A, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid.
In the mineral department, copper stands out with about 10 percent daily value. The ones that are roughly five percent of daily value include magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. The big focus is just on one vitamin, but starfruit is an overall healthy food that contains less than half of a gram of fat per serving, only nine grams of carbohydrates and no cholesterol at all.
Since the biggest nutrient that you’ll find in starfruit is vitamin C, you can probably guess that you’ll be able to give your immune system a huge boost by adding it to your diet. Vitamin C allows your body to create more white blood cells, which attack foreign invaders that can cause illnesses such as the common cold. You’ll need your immune system working efficiently to prevent more serious diseases from developing, as well.
Many of these severe illnesses are caused by free radicals ravaging the body, and vitamin C is an antioxidant that attacks them. The DNA in your cells will be kept intact by eating more vitamin C, and will keep you healthy for years to come. Though it’s not guaranteed that eating more healthy foods like starfruit will help you completely avoid cancer (since there are other factors in play), you’re definitely helping your odds.
An entire cup of cubed starfruit is a fantastic snack if you’re craving something sweet, but don’t want to eat too many calories. With only around 40 calories in each serving, you can have a couple cups of starfruit without feeling any guilt, especially when you realize that you’re getting nutrition instead of unhealthy foods in low amounts. That alone is going to help kickstart any weight loss plan.
Another weight loss benefit from eating starfruit is the fact that the fruit is comprised mostly of water, while containing fiber. The combination of these two makes you feel more full, so you can get more satisfaction without the extra calories. Fiber also provides you with an energy boost to get you through a workout, as well as increasing your metabolism to burn more calories, even when not at the gym.
You’ll feel better and more energetic with a more efficient digestive system, but there’s a further mental aspect that you get from eating more starfruit in your diet. Starfruit contains a fair amount of magnesium, which has been shown to increase the brain’s ability in a few different aspects. For those struggling to sleep at night (and stay asleep), getting more magnesium will help your brain relax, and there’s a link between a decrease in insomnia and an increase in magnesium.
Starfruit is a significant source of copper, as well, but not too much where it’s a negative. Your brain needs a healthy amount of copper to balance out functions, helping to transport proteins. Studies have even shown that people who get enough copper in their diet tend to have an increased capacity in abstract thinking and memory.
Starfruit can be eaten to help improve your skin, and can even be part of a lotion or scrub to make yourself look more radiant. Since the biggest aspect of starfruit is vitamin C, you can be assured that you’ll be able to get better skin. The free radicals that are attacked by vitamin C typically cause wrinkles, but won’t be able to do so when kept at bay.
The same vitamin C helps your body produce more collagen, promoting elasticity in the skin for a more youthful appearance. Your skin will also be able to wipe away toxins more efficiently, which is a huge bonus if you suffer from acne on a consistent basis. You’ll also help your scalp, and a healthier scalp gives you thicker and fuller hair.
Some of the nutrients found within starfruit are massively beneficial for your heart, including potassium and magnesium. When these minerals combine, you’ll be able to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol. On top of that, starfruit is able to help you attain a more regular heartbeat and clear your arteries. There are certain medications that can’t be taken when you’re eating starfruit, but we’ll discuss that in just a moment.
Summing it Up
Starfruit is delicious, and it does offer up some great health benefits, but it’s not going to be for everybody. If you have fully functioning and healthy kidneys and aren’t on medications, then there really isn’t anything you’ll have to worry about. If you have suffered from kidney stones, failure or are under dialysis, you’ll want to avoid starfruit. Not everyone will experience serious problems, but severe cases could result in death.
There are certain types of medications that will interact negatively with starfruit, including ones that treat heart illnesses, as well as opiates. If you don’t fall into either of these categories, you can eat starfruit pretty much whenever you want. That’s good news as the benefits far outweigh the negatives, especially for the average person. It might not be the easiest fruit to find at the grocery store in certain parts of the world, but it will be worth it when you find it in your produce aisle, so grab some when you can!