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The star apple, also known as the caimito, is an exotic fruit with a tough, inedible skin that ranges in color from green to purple, depending on the stage of ripeness. The tender, sweet inner flesh is purple and white and has a star shape formed by seeds through the middle of the fruit. The star apple is not commonly available in grocery stores, although specialty stores may carry it.
A 1-cup serving of fresh star apple contains 67 calories 1. Eating star apple as a snack is a good choice as the calories are low and it provides no fat; however, this may not be enough calories to ease hunger pains and boost energy levels, as between-meal snack are meant to do. The Diet Channel notes that 100 to 200 calories per snack is best; consider eating an oz 2. of cheese or a tsp. of peanut butter to boost the number of calories into this range. One serving of star apple also has 15 g of carbohydrates, or 11.5 percent of the 130 g suggested for daily consumption by the Institute of Medicine 3.
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Eating a serving of star apple contributes 3 g of fiber to the recommended daily intake of 25 to 38 g. Fiber provides bulk to your diet, a factor that can make your stomach feel fuller for longer. This can keep you from eating too much, and it may help you lose weight. This nutrient can also help protect you from diabetes and some forms of cancer.
Vitamins and Minerals
Star apples serve as a good source of calcium, with each serving providing you with 10 percent of the amount you require each day. The calcium lends strength to your bones and teeth, and it may also lessen symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as cramping and abdominal bloating. This fruit also contains 5 percent of the daily recommended value per serving of vitamin C and vitamin A. Additionally, one serving of star apples serves up 2 percent of the iron, a mineral vital for oxygenating your body, that you need every day.
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Star apples may have particular benefits for diabetics. Research published in the September 2009 edition of the “African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology” indicates that the leaves of this fruit may reduce glucose levels in diabetic rabbits, the same function that insulin serves. Take note, however, that consuming star apple leaves appears to have a toxic affect when eaten in large quantities. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of star apple leaves to control diabetes in humans.
- Star apples may have particular benefits for diabetics.
- Research published in the September 2009 edition of the “African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology” indicates that the leaves of this fruit may reduce glucose levels in diabetic rabbits, the same function that insulin serves.
The star apple is a folk remedy in several countries, although no research exists to confirm these uses. The seeds of this fruit may be useful to reduce fevers and treat diarrhea. Some people also eat this fruit to reduce the inflammation associated with laryngitis and pneumonia. Other uses, including treatment for hypertension, tooth abscesses, heart problems, intestinal issues and cancer exist, but do not eat star apple for any medical condition without first consulting your physician.
- The star apple is a folk remedy in several countries, although no research exists to confirm these uses.
- Some people also eat this fruit to reduce the inflammation associated with laryngitis and pneumonia.
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- MyFitnessPal: Fresh - Star Apple
- The Diet Channel: Calories: What's An Ideal Daily Intake?
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- National Kidney Foundation. Why you should avoid eating starfruit. Updated 2020.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Carambola (starfruit), raw. Published April 1, 2019.
- Leelarungrayub J, Yankai A, Pinkaew D, Puntumetakul R, Laskin JJ, Bloomer RJ. A preliminary study on the effects of star fruit consumption on antioxidant and lipid status in elderly Thai individuals. Clin Interv Aging. 2016;11:1183-92. doi:10.2147/CIA.S110718
- National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C fact sheets for health professionals. Updated 2020.
- Cleveland Clinic. Improving your health with fiber. Updated 2019.
- American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Food allergy. Updated 2014.
- University of Michigan. Don't eat this, if you take that. Updated 2020.
- University of Florida Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Carambola varieties. Updated 2017.
- Crane J. Carambola growing in the Florida home landscape. University of Florida IFAS Extension. Updated 2018.
Nicki Wolf has been writing health and human interest articles since 1986. Her work has been published at various cooking and nutrition websites. Wolf has an extensive background in medical/nutrition writing and online content development in the nonprofit arena. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Temple University.