Botanical name: Averrhoa carambola L.
Other names: Star fruit, Bilimbi, Belimbing
Carambola (star fruit) is the fruit of chinese tamarind tree, Averrhoa carambola L., a tree of the botanical family Oxalidaceae which reaches a height of about 2 meters. The fruit which is in aggregate form, is golden-yellow in color.
The carambola fruit is also called star fruit because of its five-pointed cross-section. It contains a very delicate textured pulp with a bittersweet flavor.
Properties of Carambola/star fruit
• Carbohydrates in form of sugars in reasonable amounts, representing about 5.13% of its total content.
• Proteins in small amounts, just about 0.54% of its total content.
• Fats in negligible amounts, just about 0.34% which supplies only 33 kcal/100 g.
• Minerals in significant amounts. It provides all of the minerals necessary for a healthy diet, although in small amounts, but with the exception of potassium which is in high amounts.
• Vitamins in moderate amounts. Vitamins such as B complex vitamins, provitamin A, vitamin c and E, are contained in carambola in significant amounts.
• Soluble vegetable fiber in rich amounts, representing about 2.7% of its total content. Its presence explains carambola’s laxative action.
Health benefits / medicinal uses of carambola/star fruit
The highly nutritious content of carabola accounts for its medicinal values. The following are some of its therapeutic applications:
Constipation is the most common intestinal disorder in the developed world, mainly as a result of a diet poor in fiber.
The consumption of carambola helps relieves one of constipation due to intestinal atony. Its laxative effect explains this clearly. In using carambola in cases of constipation, the consumption of two or three at breakfast a day is highly recommended.
• Excess cholesterol
The consumption of carambola in cases of elevated cholesterol is highly recommended. This great property of carambola is attributed to its high fiber content. The fiber present in carambola, helps absorb excess cholesterol in the body and eliminates it.
• Lactating mothers
Star fruit has been commonly beleived to stimulate the flow of milk in lactating women. This can be attributed to its various vitamins and minerals content.
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