Health Benefits of Pomelo

Let us first debunk the myth – is pomelo the same as grapefruit? 

According to Clever Storage, the only difference with pomelo and grapefruit is that they are both citrus fruits. That’s the only similarity between the two fruits. So, no. They are not the same. (1)

Pomelo (Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis) is the largest citrus fruit from the Rutaceae family. It has a green skin and a pink flesh when ripe. When unripe, the flesh is a pale green-yellow. Grapefruit, on the other hand, is a cross between a pomelo and an orange. The grapefruit was first bred in the 18th century. The skin of a grapefruit is orange like that of the orange fruit, while the flesh is pink like the flesh of a pomelo. (2) (3)

Pomelo is also known as “shaddock” named after Captain Shaddock, who is the person said to have brought the seeds of the pomelo fruit from the Malay Peninsula to the West Indies in India. It can be recognized under many names such as limau serdadu in Malaysia, sam-o in Thai, lukban in Filipino and bu’o’i in Vietnamese. (2)

In Asia, it is a popular celebration fruit, largely because of its round shape. However, it is most commonly eaten raw by breaking into the cushiony exocarp. As food, pomelo is the main ingredient for creating the ambrosia salad – better known as the “Food for the Gods”. Ambrosia is usually made sweet, along with nuts, raisins, bananas, coconut and a sweet milk. (4)

But enough about pomelo and its history. Because behind the lengthy history and usage of this fruit, are the various wonders of pomelo to the health. Here are the health benefits of pomelo: 

Pomelo has tons of nutrients

A 100 milligram serving of raw pomelo contains 89.1 grams of water, 38 calories, 0.76 grams of protein, 0.04 g of total fat, 9.62 grams of carbohydrate, 1 g of fiber, 4 grams of calcium, 0.11 grams of iron, 6 grams of magnesium, 17 grams of phosphorus, 216 grams of potassium, 1 gram of sodium, and 0.08 grams of zinc. (5)

It is high in calcium, an essential mineral for bone growth and bone maintenance in the body. Some studies have also concluded that calcium, along with Vitamin D, has health benefits beyond just bone health. Calcium and Vitamin B may protect against cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. (6)

Iron, on the other hand, is another vital mineral in hemoglobin production. Hemoglobin is an important blood protein that is responsible for delivering oxygen to different parts of the body. That’s why oxygen-rich foods are recommended to menstruating women, and those suffering from low blood cell count or anemia. (7)

Pomelo boosts your immune system

One whole medium-sized pomelo fruit already contains 600% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C! While a medium-sized pomelo can be too big for one person to finish alone, it is still worth noting that even a small portion of that fruit will boost your immune system. (5)

Citrus fruits are major sources of ascorbic acid, and has been used as natural immune system booster in Southeast Asia and India in the past. Considering that pomelo is the largest citrus fruit out there, and because it contains large amounts of Vitamin C, it is one of the best sources of a natal immune system booster. (5)

Aside from boosting the immune system, Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that increases white blood cell activity, keeping the immune system alert against harmful pathogens that may cause diseases. It also attacks free radicals, which are harmful substances in the body that may damage the cells, activating the dormant cancer cells. (5)

Vitamin C also has antiviral and antibacterial properties, making pomelo fruit effective in fighting against the common cold, coughs, fevers and microbial and viral infections. (5)

Pomelo promotes healthy digestion

As we all know, we need high amounts of fiber to make our bowel movements smooth and regular. Fiber is largely found in plants and fruits, and pomelo is no exception. One medium-sized pomelo already contains 25% of the RDI for fiber. (8)

The large amounts of fiber in pomelo prevents constipation and diarrhea while also aiding in digestion. High amounts of fiber bulk up the stool, and promotes smooth movement of digested food throughout the digestive tract. Fiber also stimulates the secretion of gastric and digestive juices that help break down complex proteins that wasn’t necessarily intended for human consumption at first, such as beef and pork. (8)

Pomelo regulates your blood pressure

Because pomelo is high in potassium, around 37% of the RDI, it is great for regulating the blood pressure – perfect for hypertensive patients. Potassium is actually a vasodilator, meaning, it widens the blood vessels to release pressure and tension. This increases blood flow, and the circulation of oxygen throughout different parts of the body. (5)

This means that pomelo is great for reducing the risks of heart diseases, stroke and atherosclerosis. (5)

Pomelo helps you lose weight

Carnitine palmitoyl-transferase is a special type of “fat-burning” enzyme that is not present in many foods. However, it is present in pomelo and in grapefruit. (5)

There is actually a sickness that is linked to a deficiency of this fat-burning enzyme, called the carnitine pamitoyl-transferase deficiency that is characterized by a condition that prevents the body from using certain fats for energy, particularly during periods without food (fasting). (9)

By making sure that you are receiving this special enzyme in your diet by incorporating pomelo daily, you can avoid the deficiency. 

Pomelo prevents cramping

Another positive effect of the high levels of potassium in pomelo, it prevents muscle cramping and stiffness of the muscles. In order to prevent yourself from experiencing cramps, incorporate your daily dose of pomelo (and other potassium-rich foods) into your everyday meal plan. (5)

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