Carambola: The Healthy Exotic Star Shaped Fruit That Conquers The Costa

Carambola: the healthy exotic star-shaped fruit that conquers the Costa del Sol

The variety of nutrients that it presents make it a healthy option, although it is not suitable for people with kidney problems.

Stock image of a carambola.

In countries like Indonesia, Fruit star it is carambola. And never better said, because it acquires the same shape if a cross section is made. Juicy, light yellow in color and acidic in flavor, this food typical of tropical climates is 90% water, making it a good option for times of the year when high temperatures favor dehydration.

One of the characteristics of the carambola is that everything is edible, including its skin, and does not require any preparation except that recommended for the rest of the fruit: washing and disinfecting prior to consumption.

This fruit, unknown to many, also it is grown in Spain and, particularly, in Malaga. As IƱaki Hormaza, the head of the Department of Subtropical Fruit Culture at the IHSM La Mayora CSIC-UMA and research professor at OPI, explained to Efe, carambola is imported from Asia and America, but it has a very short harvest life, so it is harvested green. so that it arrives safely in Spain.

In this sense, Malaga has become the champion of this exotic fruit on the European continent. Its subtropical climate offers this food an opportunity to ripen that it would not reach in other areas. Different varieties are also grown, which allows it to be produced from October to March, comments Hornaza.

Initially, it was introduced in European countries because of its star shape. It was mainly used to decorate dishes. However, since it began to be cultivated in Spain, the European public has become a consumer of this exotic fruit which, in addition to being tasty, turns out to provide a wide variety of nutrients.

The benefits of carambola

In summer it is common to resort to fruits such as melon or watermelon for their benefits and their high water content. Carambola can be a good option if you want to get out of the routine and try an exotic fruit that also brings great benefits to the organism.

What makes this food an interesting snack is that it is low in calories and carbohydrates, unlike other tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple. This characteristic makes it, therefore, a good option for maintain body weight.

It is also a very important source of vitamin C, as it has more than half of the recommended daily intake of this nutrient. The main advantage of this is that its antioxidant properties help improve the immune system and promote the health of the skin, hair and nails, in addition to improving the absorption of iron and calcium and preventing cell aging.

This fruit also contains other types of vitamins, although in a lower percentage. Among them we find B5, folate, B3, A, E, B1 and B6. It also has a certain amount of minerals, although in much smaller amounts. Copper, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc stand out, very favorable when it comes to strengthen muscles and bones.

In addition to the benefits that its high content of water, vitamins and minerals can provide, the percentage of fiber it presents is important. which helps to facilitate good functioning of the intestinal transit and prevent constipation or diseases such as colorectal cancer.

This exotic fruit also has its peculiarities when it comes to preserving them. When they are bought it is important to observe their appearance, that they are not beaten or open. In fact, it is advisable not to consume it if it is soft.

The best way to store it is in a refrigerated area where it is not exposed to direct light. Also, if the fruit is already in its optimal point of maturation, it is also recommended not to break the cold chain.

But how to know if it has reached that degree of maturation? The trick is to watch the star tips darken and turn brown with a jelly-like texture. The more yellow the carambolas are, the more ripe they are.

This fruit, with citrus notes and a crunchy texture, presents several ways to consume it. It can be either raw or as an ingredient in various jam recipes, in syrup, as dried fruit or obtaining its juice to make a juice such as that which can be obtained from oranges.

Its relationship with kidney diseases

Now, do not let its appearance fool you, because it is not suitable for everyone. If you have kidney problems, it is best not to eat this exotic fruit. And it is that its high content in oxalate favors the formation of kidney stones.

The carambola can have a neurotoxic effect in patients with kidney disease chronicle. In fact, more than 100 cases of neurotoxicity with fatal outcomes have been documented. Dialysis patients have also been reported to have adverse reactions in some hospitals.

The oxalate in foods like star fruit is actually known to cause renal problems and for having a neurotoxin known as caramboxin. However, beyond particular cases, healthy kidneys are capable of dealing with compounds like these and not developing any type of kidney problem.