Carambola or star fruit is the one we often see street vendors making a yummy chat along with sweet potato. During my school days in Hyderabad an old woman used to sit in front of our school gate with an open cane basket. In that she kept a few green tamarinds, round small ber (Indian jujube) found in Southern states, a few star fruits, raw mangoes and salt. During break time small children used to flock her for these petty items just for few paise. I used to wonder seeing star fruits as to how they would taste. They were green and white in colour and I felt their shape was somewhat weird as compared to other items in the basket. I became more inquisitive about the star fruit. Carambola or star fruit is known by different names in different places in India as well as in other parts of the world. Its Hindi name is kamrakh. The green unripe fruits are sour and the ripe ones are somewhat sweet and sour. The flesh is crunchy and juicy. If you cut the fruit cross section it resembles a star. These fruits give a good shape and taste to your salad. They can be cooked in sugar syrup or can be pickled. This fruit is low in calories, rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and a number of anti- oxidants that help lessen the risk of several diseases including cancer.
- This fruit contains anti-microbial agent which fights microbial bacillus cereus, e-coli etc.
- Star fruit is a good source of Vitamin C, which keeps the body wrinkle free and helps delay the natural ageing process. It allows the nutrients that are good for the body circulate more freely and it is an excellent cure for hair loss. Besides, Vitamin C in diet regularly helps prevent gout which is an inflammation that occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood and forms crystals. It also protects from common infections.
- Vitamin C in star fruit degrades rapidly when the fruit is exposed to heat, air and light and becomes somewhat soggy.
- Apart from being a rich source of Vitamin C it contains B vitamins which help keep the metabolism of the body strong. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and its derivatives can help fight cholesterol and accelerate wound healing. Another important vitamin B is folate (B9). It is necessary for the prevention of birth defects and for lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition to these vitamins it has thiamine (B1), niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2) and vitamin B6 in small concentrations.
- Star fruit contains all essential nutrients in small amounts that contribute to the development and functioning of the body. Of all the essential minerals, it is specially rich in copper. Nutrients potassium and sodium in star fruit help maintain body fluid. Thus, the blood pressure too is maintained.
- Zinc in star fruit has the ten-dency to reduce the acne breakouts. It is recommended for all age groups purely because of its anti-microbial effects.
- This fruit makes the skin glow by purifying the blood. These fruits can be used as face mask for oily skin to get a smooth glowing skin.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna