Trying new fruits and vegetables never gets old! Eating your usual fruits and vegetables can get repetitive if you don't try something new. Luckily, there are many delicious new foods that we can try for some variety. Our New Food Highlight this month is starfruit!
Starfruit, also called carambola, is a sweet and sour fruit that is in the shape of a five-point star. Give it a slice and you will see the star! Carambola is native to the Malayan peninsula and cultivated in many parts of the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands and China for its fruits. Starfruit is gaining popularity in the U.S. for its flavor and health benefits.
The skin is edible and the flesh has a mild, sour taste that makes it popular in many dishes. Starfruit is yellow or green in color. It comes in two main types: a smaller, sour variety and a larger, sweeter one. The sweeter star fruit would be best in a fresh fruit salad, and more sour fruit is great for cooking. When cooking, this fruit gives a unique tart flavor to chicken, meat, and seafood.
Starfruit is a good source of several nutrients, especially fiber and vitamin C. A medium-sized serving only has 28 calories–try it as a FitBite. This is the nutrient content of a single medium-sized star fruit1:
- Calories: 28
- Carbs: 6 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Vitamin C: 52% of the RDI
- Vitamin B5: 4% of the RDI
- Folate: 3% of the RDI
- Copper: 6% of the RDI
- Potassium: 3% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 2% of the RDI
Starfruit also contains other substances that make it even healthier. It is an excellent source of healthy plant compounds, including quercetin, gallic acid, and epicatechin. These compounds all have powerful antioxidant properties and various health benefits.
Safety and Side Effects
Unfortunately, starfruit may also have adverse effects on some people. This is mainly due to it being a very rich source of oxalates. Because of this, people with kidney problems should avoid starfruit and its juice, or at least consult with a doctor before trying it. Those taking prescription medication should also proceed with caution. Like grapefruit, starfruit can alter the way a drug is broken down and used by the body. For most people though, starfruit is a healthy and tasty addition to the diet.