There’s no shortage of so called “superfoods” that are gaining in popularity these days. It seems like every other week there is a new food or product that is the latest and greatest thing when it comes to keeping your health in tip top shape.
In general, when it comes to “superfood” claims, I have a simple rule of thumb that I follow — if it’s a completely natural food product, give it a try and keep an open mind. If it’s a pre-packaged product with a proprietary blend? I tend to remain skeptical until there’s conclusive evidence.
Lately, a rather uncommon fruit known as a carambola, or starfruit, has been making the rounds and being touted as a superfood that offers tremendous health benefits. Well, I’m happy to report that all of the health benefits of starfruit can be backed up by science and it does indeed make for an incredible addition to your diet.
Starfruit Fast Facts
The carambola fruit is native to Southeast Asia and the surrounding regions, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. As with many types of exotic fruit, it has a distinct sweet and sour flavoring, and while it’s quite popular throughout Asia, it’s only now catching on in the Western hemisphere.
You can eat every part of the starfruit, including its skin, even though it’s slightly waxy. It gets its name due to the shape of the slices after it is cut horizontally, as they resemble a star.
The starfruit is very low in calories, making it an ideal food choice for anyone seeking to lose weight through healthy eating. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and it even contains trace amounts of protein. Carambola also contains an abundance of antioxidant phytonutrients as well, which help to protect your body against disease. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/star-fruit.html
It’s no secret that a diet that consists of 5-10 servings of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is widely considered to be necessary for optimal health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2017-02-23-five-a-day-of-fruit-and-veg-is-good-but-10-is-better/ So let’s take a closer look at what makes starfruit such a strong contender to include in your daily diet in order to meet those recommended serving amounts.
The Top 10 Health Benefits of Starfruit
Thanks to the abundance of nutrients found in starfruit, it offers some incredible health benefits. It’s great for everything from improving your digestion to keeping your blood pressure under control. So with that being said, here’s 10 of the very best health benefits of starfruit.
Or in other words, here’s 10 great reasons why I’ve started to eat this unique looking fruit every single day!
Starfruit May Help You Lose Weight
Anyone who has ever gotten truly serious about losing weight knows that there are two key components involved — diet and exercise. Yes, both approaches can be effective when used individually, but when combined, you can experience the greatest results with your weight loss efforts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4429709/
There is all kinds of excellent information available online for excellent cardio or resistance training routines. However, getting your diet dialed in can be somewhat more challenging.
You should be eating all natural whole foods as often as possible when focusing on losing weight, especially fruits and vegetables. Starfruit is an excellent fruit option to enjoy while you are dieting, as it’s low in calories while offering a high water content along with dietary fiber.
Eating enough dietary fiber is incredibly beneficial for your weight loss efforts, as it will help you to feel satiated for longer after your meals, preventing the urge to binge eat and therefore lowering the total amount of calories you eat in a given day. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15797686
In addition, that dietary fiber content also provides another great benefit…
Starfruit May Help Improve Your Digestion
There’s two things in life that I absolutely hate having to deal with — the first is suffering through a cold or flu and the second is dealing with indigestion or other unpleasant symptoms involving the stomach.
Thankfully, starfruit is capable of addressing both of those common issues.
The dietary fiber found in starfruit can help to improve your digestive system, especially so given that it contains soluble fiber. Not only does it help with your weight loss efforts, but it also provides all kinds of benefits for a number of gastrointestinal conditions such as GERD, diverticulitis, stomach ulcers, constipation, and hemorrhoids. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19335713
The soluble fiber content in starfruit also makes it a valid fruit option for anyone who suffers from diabetes. As soluble fibers are digested slowly and not rapidly absorbed, they do not cause the sudden blood sugar spikes that raise your odds of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease. https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/diet-nutrition/fibre
Starfruit May Help Give Your Immune System a Boost
Just as starfruit can help to improve any digestive issues, it’s also great for the other health issue that I dread — the cold and flu season.
What makes it so effective for this?
Along with its soluble fiber, starfruit also contains high amounts of vitamin C, another water-soluble nutrient that is a potent antioxidant. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid, and one of the main responsibilities it has is to boost your immune system and protect your body from cold, flu, and other types of infections. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/01/3-vitamins-best-boosting-immunity/
Vitamin C also plays a vital role in the synthesis of collagen within your body, which leads us directly into our next main benefit…
Starfruit May Help Improve the Appearance of Your Skin
Beyond just giving your immune system a boost, vitamin C is also a vital molecule for the health of your skin. Whether consumed as part of your diet or applied topically, ascorbic acid has some beneficial effects for your skin cells, such as potentially preventing and treating UV light-induced photodamage. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C
Your body also needs an adequate amount of vitamin C in order to help with the natural wound healing process. A deficiency in vitamin C can affect both collagen production and scar formation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24796079
Many people also use vitamin C and other supplements that contain collagen as part of an anti-aging treatment plan. It has been shown to reduce the visible signs of aging, including dry skin and wrinkles. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206255/
We all know about an apple a day keeping the doctor away; it’s time to add a starfruit a day to keep the signs of aging away as well!
Starfruit May Help Protect Against Cancer
In this day and age, there are a number of different factors at play when it comes to the development of cancer. Aside from your genetics, lifestyle choices such as smoking, a lack of regular physical activity, poor dietary habits, and certain environmental exposures can all dramatically increase your cancer risk. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes.html
However, just as certain lifestyle choices can increase your odds of developing cancer, so too can certain choices help to lower your risk. Eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can to do help tilt the odds in your favor. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/diet-and-cancer/how-healthy-eating-prevents-cancer
Starfruit shines here as an anti-cancer food, as it not only contains vitamin C, but other great antioxidant flavonoids like quercetin, epicatechin, and gallic acid. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14753772
These antioxidants help to fight off harmful free radicals inside of your body. These free radicals cause oxidative damage to your cells which can contribute to diseases like cancer. Antioxidants help to not only prevent this damage, but they have also been proven to have anticarcinogenic activity as well. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630252
Starfruit May Help Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
Cancer isn’t the only disease that eating starfruit can help to prevent. It’s also a great fruit to include in your diet to help prevent heart disease.
There’s two main ways that it does this.
The first heart-healthy benefit comes from the soluble fiber content that we discussed earlier.
The fiber benefit is twofold here — the first is by helping with keeping excess weight off, which directly lowers your risk of heart disease as well considering obesity is a primary risk factor. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/WeightManagement/Obesity/Obesity-Information_UCM_307908_Article.jsp#.WjLOZbYZOu4 Soluble fiber has also been shown to help lower both your blood pressure and cholesterol. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/eat-more-fiber-rich-foods-to-foster-heart-health
Secondly, the electrolyte content in starfruit helps play a role here as well, specifically the potassium. This mineral is responsible for many bodily functions, and a deficiency can cause muscle weakness and irregular heartbeats. More importantly, potassium helps to balance the sodium levels in your body. It also helps to relax blood vessel walls, which in turn can help lower your blood pressure even further. https://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/a_primer_on_potassium
Starfruit May Help Improve Sleep Quality
In addition to its potassium content, starfruit is also a good dietary source of the mineral magnesium. This essential mineral is directly linked to improving the quality, duration, and tranquility of your sleep.
Insomnia and chronic sleep deprivation are associated with some seriously nasty side effects, including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19961/
Magnesium helps the body and mind to calm down and relax. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27933574 It is also responsible for regulating how much melatonin your body produces naturally. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12030424 There’s actually a wide variety of sleep aid supplements available, and many of them contain magnesium as an active ingredient.
Starfruit May Help Improve Your Metabolism
Starfruit is an excellent source of B vitamins, including pyridoxine, folate, and riboflavin. All of these essential vitamins help to play a role in converting the food that you eat (protein, carbs, and fats) into fuel for your body to use. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16765926
However, it should be noted, that you’ll get the most benefit out of this only if you are already deficient in B vitamins. As they are water soluble as well, anything in excess beyond what your body needs will be flushed out via urine.
Aside from the vitamin content, the fact that starfruit is a low calorie fruit that can aid in losing weight will also have a beneficial impact your metabolism.
Starfruit May Help Lower Inflammation
This great starfruit health benefit is again largely thanks to the abundance of antioxidants within the fruit.
It is widely believed that most forms of chronic disease (including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) are caused by a combination of two factors — the oxidative damage caused by free radicals within the body and the resulting chronic inflammation that occurs as a result. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492709/
The flavonoids found in starfruit act as a natural source of antioxidants with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Eating whole foods like starfruit are a much more viable natural option compared to certain anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, which can contain a variety of potential negative side effect. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5075620/
Starfruit May Help With Breastfeeding
It’s not at all uncommon for some mothers to find that they aren’t naturally producing enough milk to meet the needs of their newborn babies. Not only can this be incredibly frustrating, but it can have a seriously negative effect on a mother’s emotional health as well.
Quite often, this is caused by some sort of hormone imbalance. Starfruit can help remedy this issue by acting as a galactagogue, a substance that helps promote lactation. https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/carambola.html This helps make starfruit an effective all natural home remedy for boosting the production of breast milk.
Important Information — Potentially Fatal Starfruit Side Effect
While most people can enjoy starfruit and all of the great health benefits that it can provide without worry, there is one very important exception to keep in mind.
If you currently have any sort of kidney problem, you should absolutely not eat starfruit under any circumstances. It contains a compound known as oxalate which can be fatal when consumed by anyone who suffers from a kidney disorder. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4683968/
If you’ve had kidney issues in the past that are now resolved, I would still strongly recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before you add starfruit into your diet.
So what do you think? Has this list encouraged you to give starfruit a try if you haven’t before? Provided you aren’t dealing with any type of kidney issue as mentioned above, it’s an amazing fruit to start eating. It can taste unbelievably sweet and the health benefits speak for themselves.
Let us know what you think in the comments below and as always, please share this article with your family or friends if you feel like they could benefit from it!
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