Pomelo, scientifically termed Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis, goes by several vernacular names such as “Chakotra” in Hindi, “Karuna” in Sanskrit, “Batabilebu” in Bengali, “Pamparapanasa” in Telugu and “Bambilimaas” in Tamil. It is the largest fruit amongst all others in the citrus variety belonging to the Rutaceae family.
Quite often, the question does arise, “Is pomelo the same as grapefruit?” However, the two are different, although bearing similar external appearances. Pomelo is a natural, non-hybrid citrus fruit while grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) is actually a hybrid – a resultant product of a genetic crossover between two non-hybrid citrus fruits - that includes the goodness of oranges (Citrus sinensis) and pomelo (Citrus maxima).
The pomelo tree thrives in sub-tropical conditions and usually fully develops at a medium height of about 60 cm, after which it is harvested and the seeds are replanted. It is native to countries in South and South-East Asia namely Malaysia, Thailand, China, India and Sri Lanka and also sprouts in wild regions in the islands of Fiji and Hawaii. The pomelo plants have uniquely wing-like leaves that are in prominent green colour. Flowers are bright white with five petals and a distinct pleasant fragrance; thus their extracts are used in making perfumes.
While the leaf and flower extracts are extensively used in the ancient Indian medicinal system of Ayurveda to treat innumerable ailments, the edible portion is, however, the pomelo fruit. In size, pomelo fruits are larger than grapefruits, bearing hard external peels that are greenish-yellow or orange in colour. Enclosed within the rigid outer rind is the soft fleshy portion that tastes sweeter in comparison to a grapefruit, while also being not as bitter or acerbic.
Pomelo is a popular ingredient in various standard dishes in Asian cuisine such as salads, soups, noodles, fried rice and desserts such as cakes and pudding. Pomelo juice is a refreshing drink that assists in cooling down the body and it is also commonly infused into many cocktails to add an exclusive flavour. In addition, the tough exterior peel of pomelo fruit, although not consumed raw, is used in making marmalades and jams.
Pomelo abounds in valuable nutrients including dietary fibers, vitamin C benefits and crucial trace minerals like iron and potassium, to name a few. It confers immense health benefits such as aiding in weight loss by being naturally low in calorie content, reducing the risk of heart disease and alleviating joint pain in arthritis. Moreover, the pomelo leaf oil residues are often employed in Ayurveda, as an effective remedy for coughs, fevers and even in haemorrhages.
Pomelo is being extensively eaten by people globally today, as its time-tested wellness incentives have made it a regular feature in the diet of those with chronic ailments such as diabetes, heart disorders and cancers. Pomelo juice is also consumed by a considerably high number of people as a revitalizing summer drink. The all-year-round availability of this sweet and juicy natural wonder has made it an integral part of routine fare eaten by many, to reap the significant and amazing health benefits of pomelo.
Pomelo Nutrition Facts:
Pomelo, similar to all fruits of the citrus family, is super-rich in Vitamin C. It is also low on calories and helps in maintaining body weight and supplies adequate essential dietary fibers and proteins. Furthermore, pomelos also offer the key spectrum of B vitamins to regulate metabolism and cellular energy requirements.
The following is the nutritional value of pomelo, per 100 g, according to the data provided by the USDA Nutrient Database (United States Department of Agriculture):
Energy 38 kcal
Carbohydrates 9.62 g
Dietary fiber 1 g
Fat 0.04 g
Protein 0.76 g
Thiamine (B1) 3%
Riboflavin (B2) 2%
Niacin (B3) 1%
Vitamin B6 3%
Vitamin C 73%
Pomelo is one of the foods that comprise ample potassium which is sufficient for the daily requirement of adults. Other vital trace minerals in this citrus fruits include phosphorus, copper, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Pomelo Health Benefits:
Boosts Immune System
Consuming just half a large-sized pomelo fruit will satisfy the daily vitamin C requirement in healthy adults. Vitamin C not only functions in enhancing iron absorption for enhanced blood circulation, but also works to improve immunity by white blood cells in the system. In addition, vitamin C is obligatory for growth and development of all body tissues and a key antioxidant for removing toxins from the system. Also Watch: 6 Benefits of Eating Citrus Fruits.
Maintains Heart Health
Being intrinsically high in potassium levels, pomelo assists in the maintenance of normal blood pressure. It also functions in promoting cardiac muscle activity, lowers the amounts of bad LDL cholesterol and naturally raises levels of good HDL cholesterol. Pomelo is very advantageous in preventing instances of heart attacks and stroke and thereby contributes to a longer and healthier lifespan.
Relaxes Muscle Cramps
Pomelo is bestowed with the key mineral for optimal muscle function – magnesium. The significantly high magnesium content in pomelo fruits makes it an ideal option to provide relief from muscle sores and cramps. Moreover, post a high-intensity workout, when muscles in the arms and legs are strained, eating a pomelo fruit can instantly alleviate symptoms of pain and discomfort.
Pomelo comprises valuable dietary fibers which ensure proper bowel movement upon ingestion of heavy meals. This is crucial to regulate kidney function and filter out all the toxic waste products upon digestion of food and assimilation of required nutrients. It also efficiently relieves intestinal conditions like constipation and indigestion.
The calcium present in pomelo fruit is absorbed by bones in the body, thereby aiding in the maintenance of optimal bone density for day-to-day functions and flexible, unobstructed movement. The very high potassium content in pomelo complements bone health by enhancing mineral uptake by cells and tissues in the body.
Combats Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Pomelo offers profuse amounts of vitamin C that confers anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling in the bladder, which is more common in women than men. Also, its antioxidant capabilities are useful in removing detrimental free radicals and harmful bacteria from the body. This, in turn, helps to avoid oxidation of the healthy cells in the excretory system organs, thus ensuring proper elimination of wastes and unnecessary food residues from the body and preventing their accumulation in the system. Also Read: Foods That Help Beat UTI.
Helps Cure Anemia
Vitamin C also performs one very vital function in the human body which is of enhancing the absorption of iron from ingested food. Deficiency in iron quantities leads to a condition known as anaemia wherein there is a lack of adequate red blood cells in the body to transport nutrients and oxygen to all cells and tissues. Eating pomelo fruits will guarantee ample uptake of iron, from foods, into the system and promote red blood cell synthesis and blood passage.
Pomelo, a delicious tropical fruit native to South Asian countries of China, India and Thailand, is immensely beneficial for strengthening bones, joints, enriching skin texture, soothing muscle cramps, besides treating UTI (urinary tract infection) and augmenting heart wellness.
Abounding in proteins for proper growth, development of body tissues, as well as vitamin B1, B2 for regulating metabolism and vitamin C for bolstering immunity, pomelo is indeed nourishing. This luscious fruit can be relished as such, or added to salads, juices, smoothies, cocktails, cakes, ice creams and desserts, for a wholesome meal.
Is Pomelo Good For Diabetes?
Moreover, these tasty, juicy bounty, loaded with ample amounts of dietary fibers, minerals like zinc, copper and potent antioxidants, can be easily incorporated into the diabetic diet.
Pomelo has a high GI (glycemic index), containing carbohydrates and simple sugars, but a low GL (glycemic load). Upon consumption, it does not trigger sudden spikes in blood glucose levels, thereby assisting in managing diabetes symptoms. Zinc and copper in pomelo possess high antioxidant activity, to efficiently flush out toxins, free radicals from the system and avoid progression of diabetes.
The goodness of naringenin and lycopene antioxidants in pomelo help in the smooth functioning of cardiac muscles, apart from stimulating blood circulation and averting serious heart ailments.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common complications in diabetes and pomelo remarkably lowers the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the system. This, in turn, uplifts heart health in diabetics and decreases the need to consume additional medications.
Also, pomelo fruits are inherently rich in fibers, which control appetite and curb untimely cravings. This vastly elevates energy metabolism and ensures a healthy body weight, preventing instances of overweight or obesity, which further exacerbate diabetes.
When eaten in moderate portions daily, pomelo certainly aids in improving chronic lifestyle disorders of diabetes mellitus and enhances overall wellbeing.
Pomelo Uses For Skin And Hair:
Reduces Skin Inflammation
Offers Anti-Aging Benefits
Pomelo contains spermidine that aids in delaying skin cells from the process of ageing. The carotene class of flavonoid plant antioxidants further plays an important role in reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and sunken skin. Eating pomelo fruit or drinking the juice will also help to boost the production of collagen, a protein essential for maintaining the elasticity and firmness of skin texture. Also Read: 9 Best Anti-Aging Creams For A Glowing, Younger Looking Skin.
Pomelo Juice Recipe
1 large pomelo fruit
3 tsp of honey
Peel the skin of the pomelo fruit and discard it.
Remove all seeds from the inner flesh of pomelo fruit.
Thoroughly blend in a juicer to extract the liquid content.
Mix the honey and crushed ice, with a little bit of water to obtain a homogenous fusion.
Relish the mildly sweetened pomelo juice chilled.
How It Works:
Pomelo contains the rutin category of plant phenol antioxidants which have anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. This helps to get rid of acne, scars and dark spots on skin, giving the face a vibrant, youthful and soft appearance. It also boosts collagen synthesis in healthy skin cells and helps in slowing down ageing.
Supports Hair Growth
Pomelo juice not only benefits skin but also promotes hair growth and thickness. The vitamin C and antioxidant content inherent in pomelo fruit and juice help to strengthen the roots of hair known as follicles, to stimulate the proliferation of long and robust locks of hair. It assures the complete removal of harmful free radicals that cause weak and brittle hair and incessant hair loss. The vitamins renew healthy hair growth.
Eradicates Dandruff Woes
Applying the juice extract or the peel of pomelo onto an aggravated scalp assists in ridding the surface of dandruff and constant itching. The anti-fungal properties of pomelo fruit offer the advantage of removing all irritants from the scalp and hence promotes nourished hair growth. The key trace minerals zinc and iron, as well as vitamin B1 and vitamin C also complement optimal development of hair roots and bestow long, strong and lustrous tresses. Also Read: Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Itchy Dandruff.
Pomelo Therapeutic Uses In Ayurveda:
Pomelo is utilised widely in the ancient Indian branch of medicine known as Ayurveda. Each part of the pomelo plant provides distinct health advantages and curative traits. The leaves of pomelo trees are an effectual remedy for mitigating cough and cold. Also, the oil derived from pomelo leaves has the quality to fight infectious agents such as bacteria and fungi. The fruit and its tough outer covering called the rind contain intrinsic nerve stimulating properties, to assist in the remedy of epilepsy and headaches. It is also a beneficial agent to manage diarrhoea, nausea and asthma.
Remedies Gum Damage
Lack of proper nutrition from food could lead to bleeding of gums and loose tissue. This is primarily caused due to a deficiency in Vitamin C. In addition, the epidermal layers lining the gums must also be cared for and collagen depletion can cause damage to gums and teeth. Eating pomelo fruit keeps dental problems at bay.
Regulates Blood Cholesterol Levels
Pomelo juice present in the fruit holds high value in clearing unwanted deposits in the arteries due to abundant pectin content. It also plays a central role in monitoring the levels of bad LDL and good HDL cholesterol, thereby maintaining an optimal blood cholesterol level. Potassium control electrolyte balance in bloodstream which balances blood pressure levels. Thus, pomelo juice extract helps people with hypertension and augments heart health.
Prevents Cold And Flu
Ingestion of fresh pomelo enriches the blood circulation with potent antioxidants, which perform the vital task of preventing toxin build-up in the system. Accumulation of harmful substances triggers ailments such as cold, allergies, asthma etc. where the immune system fails to operate normally. Pomelo supplies ample Vitamin C, which is one of the main nutrients that boosts the body's innate defence mechanism and circumvents the occurrence of cold and flu.
Effectually Combats Cancer
Pomelo skin is a treasure trove of powerful nutrients, particularly bioflavonoids, a class of plant-based antioxidants. These significantly lessen the symptoms of pancreatic and intestinal cancers. Pomelo also possesses the ability to remove excess estrogen – a female reproductive hormone involved in breast development and thus prevents breast cancer. The inherent dietary fibers infused in pomelo ward off colon cancer and enhance gut health.
Aids In Weight Loss
Pomelo is bestowed with immense quantities of natural fibers. These take a while to get completely digested and thereby regulate appetite. They also need to be ground harder by teeth to be converted into simpler forms for easier processing. This, in turn, keeps untimely cravings for junk food at bay. Pomelo also regulates lipid metabolism in cells and tissues and reduces starch and sugar amounts in the body.
Osteoporosis is a particularly incapacitating ailment which negatively influences posture, muscle and bone function and flexibility. It also causes excruciating pain in the affected joints. Pomelo leaf extracts produce an oil that can relieve pain and discomfort in limbs. Also, the bone-fortifying minerals – calcium and magnesium enhance connective tissue strength and improve the condition of brittle bones.
Supports Digestive Processes
Yet again, with the ascorbic acid values of vitamin C-enriched pomelo fruits being high, it provides the benefit of maintaining the pliability and functioning of arteries. Upon digestion, however, pomelo’s citric components give rise to an alkaline environment in the gut. This helps to maintain stomach pH at normal, healthy levels. The dietary fibers in pomelo also aid in prompt bowel movements and thus halt any instances of haemorrhoids.
Acts In Wound Healing
The bioactive components found in pomelo rind, namely rutin flavonoids, carotenoids and pectins, are potent antioxidants which assist in healing injured tissues. Moreover, vitamin C and protein values in pomelo being very high, it bolsters collagen synthesis and repairs any damage to the body.
Purifies Arterial Passages
The clogging of arteries with fat deposits is the key contributing factor to atherosclerosis and diabetes-related heart complications. The mildly sweet pomelo juice is loaded with pectin, which cleanses arteries of unnecessary deposits, as well as vitamin C, which sustains the tensile strength of arteries.
Vegan Pomelo Salad:
1 large pomelo, peeled and sliced
A few pieces of dry roasted almonds
2 tbsp shredded coconut
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, cut into small pieces
A bunch of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
A few thinly sliced onion slices
In a large mixing bowl, add the pomelos, mint leaves, cucumber pieces and onion slices and mix thoroughly, adding a little bit of water, so that the flavours blend into a fusion.
Garnish with the almonds, coconut and coriander and serve for lunch or dinner.
Pomelo supplies ample vitamin C for immunity, while mint and coriander leaves offer calcium for strong bones. Almonds are a rich source of protein for enhanced muscle strength and enzyme activity. Also Read: On A Vegan Diet? 5 Must Have Supplements.
Spongy Pomelo Cake:
1 ½ cups pomelo juice
2 cups of all-purpose flour
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
3 cups of flax seed extract
1 cup sugar
Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl, adding a little water to make it into a soft dough.
Mildly oil a baking pan and spread the mixture onto it evenly.
Preheat oven to 180 Celcius and place the baking pan.
Cook for 30 minutes and allow the pomelo cake to cool down to room temperature.
Cut it into equal-sized pieces and enjoy with your evening tea.
The ample antioxidant content in pomelo aids in enhancing skin health, promoting hair growth and also improving heart activity. Flaxseeds used in these recipes are an excellent source of proteins for optimal growth and development.
Pomelo Side Effects:
Avoid eating pomelo fruits in case you are allergic, as it may lead to severe situations of hypersensitivity.
Do not consume pomelo in excessive amounts as the stomach acid levels may become alarmingly high.
Exercise caution when eating pomelo in case you are suffering from kidney and liver conditions.
Pomelo offers immense health benefits including promoting heart health, preventing cancers, enhancing hair growth and treating joint pain and urinary tract infections.
Moreover, it also supplies dietary requirements of vitamin C, potassium and also provides key minerals like iron and magnesium for optimal blood circulation and bone health.
However, one must consume only fresh produce and not eat it in excess amounts, to prevent any side effects from occurring.
The pomelo fruits can be enjoyed all-year-round and eaten raw or as the juice, to obtain the wonderful benefits it provides for overall well-being.