Carambola


Carambola
Carambolas still on the tree

Carambola, also known as starfruit, is the fruit of Averrhoa carambola, a species of tree native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The fruit is a popular food throughout Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and parts of East Asia. The tree is also cultivated throughout non-indigenous tropical areas, such as in Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, Jamaica, Trinidad, Ecuador, Guyana, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Brazil, and, in the United States, in south Florida and Hawaii.[1]

The fruit has ridges running down its sides (usually five); in cross-section it resembles a star, hence its name. The number of ridges can vary from three to six.[2]

Contents

Origins and distribution

The carambola has been cultivated in parts of Asia for hundreds of years. Scientists believe that it may have originated in Sri Lanka or Moluccas, Indonesia.

Due to concerns over pests and pathogens, however, whole starfruits cannot yet be imported to the US from Malaysia under current Food and Drug Administration regulations. In the United States, starfruits are grown in tropical and semitropical areas, including Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.[3][4][5]

Nomenclature

The carambola is known under different names in different countries. It should not be confused with the closely related bilimbi, with which it shares some common names.

Gastronomy

Vertical, side and cross section profiles of ripe carambolas
Carambola, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 128 kJ (31 kcal)
Carbohydrates 6.73 g
- Sugars 3.98 g
- Dietary fiber 2.8 g
Fat .33 g
Protein 1.04 g
Pantothenic acid (B5) .39 mg (8%)
Folate (vit. B9) 12 μg (3%)
Vitamin C 34.4 mg (41%)
Phosphorus 12 mg (2%)
Potassium 133 mg (3%)
Zinc .12 mg (1%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

The fruit is entirely edible, including the slightly waxy skin, unlike other tropical fruits. The flesh is crunchy, firm, and extremely juicy, having a texture similar in consistency to grapes.

Carambolas are best consumed when ripe, when they are yellow with a light shade of green. They will also have brown ridges at the five edges and feel firm. Overripe starfruit will be yellow with brown spots and can become soggier in consistency.

Ripe carambolas are sweet without being overwhelming, and have a tart, sour undertone. The taste is difficult to compare, but it has been likened to a mix of apple, pear and citrus family fruits all at once. Unripe starfruits are firmer, sour, and taste like green apples.

Health

Benefits

Carambolas in varying stages of ripeness

Carambola is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and low in sugar, sodium and acid. It is also a potent source of both primary and secondary polyphenolic antioxidants.[6] A. carambola has both antioxidant and antimicrobial activities: scavenging of NO by the fruit extract is dependent on concentration and stage of ripening. Extracts showed antimicrobial activity against E. coli, Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus.[citation needed]

Risks

Carambola is a fairly complex fruit with many benefits, but like strawberries[citation needed], a small percentage of the human population should be cautious of the fruit for health reasons. Carambola contains oxalic acid, which can be harmful to individuals suffering from kidney failure, kidney stones, or those under kidney dialysis treatment. Consumption by those with kidney failure can produce hiccups, vomiting, nausea, and mental confusion. Fatal outcomes have been documented in some patients.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

Drug interactions

Like the grapefruit, carambola is considered to be a potent inhibitor of seven cytochrome P450 isoforms.[13][14] These enzymes are significant in the first-pass elimination of many medicines, and thus, the consumption of carambola or its juice in combination with certain medications can significantly increase their effective dosage within the body. Research into grapefruit juice has identified a number of common medications affected, including statins, which are commonly used to treat cardiovascular illness, and benzodiazepines (a tranquilizer family including diazepam).[15]

Cultivation

Ripening carambolas still on the tree

The carambola is a tropical and subtropical fruit. It can be grown at up to 4,000 feet (1,200 m) in elevation. It prefers full sun exposure, but requires enough humidity and a total of 70 inches or more of rainfall a year. It does not have a soil type preference, but it requires good drainage.

Carambola trees are planted at least 20 feet (6.1 m) from each other and typically are fertilized three times a year. The tree grows rapidly and typically produces fruit at four or five years of age. The large amount of rain during spring actually reduces the amount of fruit, but, in ideal conditions, carambola can produce from 200 to 400 pounds (91 to 180 kg) of fruit a year. The fruit is harvested mainly during the months of June, July, and August, but sometimes year-round.

Major pests are fruit flies, ants, and birds. Crops are also susceptible to frosts, especially in the United States and in the Philippines.

Malaysia is the global leader in starfruit production by volume and ships the product all over Asia and Europe.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ "Starfruit: Information and Health Benefits". Exotic Fruit. 30 August 2011. http://www.exoticfruitx.com/2011/08/starfruit-information-and-health-benefits/. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Star Fruits, Exotic Fruits
  3. ^ Tropical fruits: Star fruit
  4. ^ Carambola
  5. ^ Carambola Fruit Facts
  6. ^ Shui G, Leong LP (2004). "Analysis of polyphenolic antoxidants in star fruit using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry". Journal of Chromatography 1022 (1-2): 67–75. doi:10.1016/j.chroma.2003.09.055. PMID 14753772. 
  7. ^ Neto MM, Robl F, Netto JC (1998). "Intoxication by star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) in six dialysis patients? (Preliminary report)". Nephrol Dial Transplant 13 (3): 570–2. doi:10.1093/ndt/13.3.570. PMID 9550629. 
  8. ^ Chang JM, Hwang SJ, Kuo HT, et al. (2000). "Fatal outcome after ingestion of star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) in uremic patients". Am J Kidney Dis 35 (2): 189–93. doi:10.1016/S0272-6386(00)70325-8. PMID 10676715. 
  9. ^ Chang CT, Chen YC, Fang JT, Huang CC (2002). "Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) intoxication: an important cause of consciousness disturbance in patients with renal failure". Ren Fail 24 (3): 379–82. doi:10.1081/JDI-120005373. PMID 12166706. 
  10. ^ Neto MM, da Costa JA, Garcia-Cairasco N, Netto JC, Nakagawa B, Dantas M (2003). "Intoxication by star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) in 32 uraemic patients: treatment and outcome". Nephrol Dial Transplant 18 (1): 120–5. doi:10.1093/ndt/18.1.120. PMID 12480969. 
  11. ^ Chen LL, Fang JT, Lin JL (2005). "Chronic renal disease patients with severe star fruit poisoning: hemoperfusion may be an effective alternative therapy". Clin Toxicol (Phila) 43 (3): 197–9. PMID 15902795. 
  12. ^ Titchenal A & Dobbs J (2003-04-28). "Kidney patients should avoid star fruit". Nutrition ATC. http://www.nutritionatc.hawaii.edu/HO/2003/202.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  13. ^ Abstracts: Metabolism and metabolic enzymes studies for the 8th National Congress on Drug and Xenobiotic Metabolism in China
  14. ^ Potential Drug-Food Interactions with Pomegranate Juice
  15. ^ P450 Table

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • carambola — (De or. inc.); cf. port. carambola, fruto del carambolo, en sent. fig. enredo ). 1. f. Fruto del carambolo, del tamaño de un huevo de gallina, amarillo y de sabor agrio, que contiene pepitas en cuatro celdillas. 2. Lance del juego de trucos o… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • carambola (1) — {{hw}}{{carambola (1)}{{/hw}}s. f. (bot.) Alberetto delle Oxalidacee con frutti commestibili gialli, carnosi e aciduli | Frutto di tale pianta. ETIMOLOGIA: dal malese karambil ‘noce di cocco’, attraverso lo spagn. carambola. carambola (2)… …   Enciclopedia di italiano

  • Carambola — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Carambola puede designar: billar francés o carambolas. a una jugada en el billar; a la fruta del carambolo (Averrhoa carambola). un accidente automovilístico entre varios coches. Obtenido de Carambola Categoría:… …   Wikipedia Español

  • carambola — s. Fructul unui arbore exotic, originar din Asia de sud est (Averrhoa carambola), de culoare galben verzuie, de 7 12 cm lungime, caracterizat prin cinci nervuri longitudinale adânci, astfel că tăiat transversal se obţin felii de forma unor stele… …   Dicționar Român

  • Carambola — Ca ram*bo la, n. (Bot.) An East Indian tree ({Averrhoa Carambola}), and its acid, juicy fruit; called also {Coromandel gooseberry}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Carambola — Carambola,   Karambola, Sternfrucht, Frucht des in Brasilien, der Karibik und im südpazifischen Raum verbreiteten Baumes Averrhoa carambola (Familie Sauerkleegewächse). Die 6 12 cm langen, sternförmig gerippten Früchte sind gelbgrün mit glatter… …   Universal-Lexikon

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  • carambola — [kar΄əm bō′lə] n. 1. a small, tropical shrub or tree (Averrhoa carambola, family Oxalidaceae) cultivated for its fruit 2. its glossy, yellow, fleshy, oval fruit with prominent ridges, which, when cut across, produces star shaped segments; star… …   English World dictionary

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