Starfruit, or carambola, is a fruit originally hailing from Southeast Asia. It gets its name from its shape, which when cut into slices is shaped like a five point star. This may be an exotic looking fruit, but it’s easy to find and can typically be found in most grocery stores. Though, if you don’t know what it is you probably pass right by it. Look for a yellow and green fruit about the size of your palm with five ridges running along the length.
If you do put one in your shopping cart, you’ll find it to have a mild, slightly sweet, slightly sour taste that is quite pleasant and different. You’ll want to cut it when it’s slightly tender. If it’s hard, just give it a few days to soften. You will find some seeds in the center of the slices, which can easily be popped out with the tip of the knife or your finger.
Starfruit can be a good choice for gastric sleeve or weight loss surgery patients for a few reasons.
- Starfruit is usually small enough that it can be eaten by gastric sleeve patients in one to two portions. This is, of course, dependent on how much your post op gastric sleeve stomach can handle at one time and what you eat with it.
- This is a fruit that you eat with the skin on, which provides fiber. Fiber is important for keeping your bowels regular, which can be difficult after bariatric surgery. One medium sized starfruit provides 3 grams of fiber.
- It is low in carbohydrates. A medium sized starfruit has around 28 calories, including 6 grams of carb (3 of which are fiber). Gastric sleeve patients do have to pay attention to the number of carbohydrates they eat after surgery, so this is not a food you can eat in large quantities. But, as far as fruits go, starfruit has a relatively low amount of sugar per serving.
- It’s rich in Vitamin C. One fruit provides 52% RDI for Vitamin C.
- It provides antioxidants. Starfruit has quercetin, gallic acid, and epicatechin which have antioxidant properties
- It looks beautiful on your plate. The star shaped slices can really dress up an otherwise boring plate of food. It can remind us that there is beauty all around us if we stop and look. This mindfulness at mealtime can help us slow down our eating, think positively, and remind us to be grateful for the small things in life that can bring us joy.
There are two caveats to starfruit that need to be mentioned. Starfruit has some compounds that can be harmful for people suffering from kidney problems, such as kidney stones or kidney disease. If you have kidney problems, avoid starfruit or discuss with your nephrologist or doctor first. The compounds can build up in your blood and lead to starfruit toxicity. People taking prescription drugs should also check to make sure that starfruit does not interact with their medication. Similar to grapefruit, starfruit can alter how some medications are broken down and used by the body.
This Food Highlight is offered by Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA, a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and robotic surgery in addition to bariatric surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients stay overnight in Northwest Medical Center’s Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, where Dr. Shillingford proudly serves as Medical Director. Follow up care after weight loss surgery is in Dr. Shillingford’s Boca Raton office, which is conveniently located for patients in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Wellington, and surrounding areas. Gastric sleeve is by far the most common form of bariatric surgery Dr. Shillingford performs. If you are considering gastric sleeve surgery, call Dr. Shillingford’s office today at (561) 483-8840 to see if you qualify for this life changing procedure.