Pomelo is a citrus fruit that has a surprising number of health benefits for people who are willing to do a bit of searching for it. These impressive health benefits of pomelo include its ability to boost the immune system, treat urinary tract infection, improve digestion, lower blood pressure, and reduce cramping. It also helps prevent anemia, improve bone strength, reduce signs of premature aging, prevent cancer, protect heart health, aid in weight loss, and boost oral and dental health.
What is a Pomelo?
Pomelo is considered a citrus fruit and it is closely related to grapefruits and other members of the Citrus genus. Its scientific name is Citrus maxima because it is the largest citrus fruit. The closest in size to these kinds of citrus fruits is a grapefruit. Pomelo is primarily found in Southeast Asia, which is its native region. It has not become popular in other parts of the world because it typically takes 8 years to grow before the seeds can begin to flower and bear any fruit. Also, much of the weight and volume of a pomelo is tough and inedible, while only the inner flesh is palatable.
The taste, however, is quite pleasant, with the consistency of grapefruits without the tart or tangy flavor. This fruit is usually pale green or yellow in color, while the edible flesh inside is pulpy and white, pink, or red, depending on the variety. The history of its use dates back to at least a few hundred years, although it has likely been cultivated for far longer than that in Southeast Asian countries.
Pomelo Health Benefits
The health benefits of these citrus fruits are explained below.
Although a single serving is less than an entire fruit, considering how large it is, it isn’t a terrible idea to eat the entire fruit, considering that each fruit contains approximately 600% of your daily vitamin C requirement. This major source of ascorbic acid has been used for generations in Southeast Asia as a quick immune system booster. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to increase white blood cell activity and attack free radicals, which can damage the organs of the body. It helps to fight off infections that lead to colds, coughs, fevers, and serious symptoms or microbial, viral, and bacterial infections.
Treats Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
The vitamin C present in pomelos helps increase the acid levels in the urine and thereby, prevent the development of a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Aids in Digestion
Most fruits contain high amounts of fiber and pomelos are no exception. One pomelo (the edible flesh only), contains about 25% of your daily requirement of fiber. This promotes healthy digestion and eliminates problems like constipation and diarrhea. High fiber content bulks up the stool, promotes smooth movement in the digestive tract, and stimulates the secretion of digestive and gastric juices to break down complex proteins which are difficult to digest. This keeps the digestive system functioning at a high level.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Pomelo is a very good source of potassium and each fruit contains roughly 37% of your daily requirement. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it releases the tension in the blood vessels, and increases blood circulation and oxygenation in the organs. It also reduces the strain on the heart and lowers your chances of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
Both grapefruit and pomelo contain a “fat-burning enzyme” that can help you reduce weight. It is called carnitine palmitoyl-transferase and is not found in many foods. This enzyme can boost your battle against the bulge; many dieters, therefore, choose to include pomelo in their foods.
Potassium is also important for the fluid balance in the body, which is a key aspect of muscle cramping and stiffness. Without proper levels of potassium, which pomelos can supply, you will likely face cramps and become susceptible to pulled muscles and torn ligaments.
Improves Bone Health
Potassium intake has been connected to bone mineral density, as it helps to facilitate the uptake of other essential minerals for keeping the bones strong. Therefore, pomelos can aid in preventing osteoporosis and general bone weakness throughout the body.
The high levels of vitamin C in the pomelo fruit act as antioxidants, which seek out dangerous free radicals. One adverse effect that free radicals cause is degradation of the skin, which results in signs of premature aging, like wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots. High vitamin C intake can prevent this, so eat some more pomelos! Pomelo also contains spermidine, a rare chemical that is actually found in human sperm, hence the name. This has been closely linked to anti-aging properties as well!
Both grapefruits and pomelos contain a “fat-burning enzyme” that can help you reduce weight. It is called carnitine palmitoyl-transferase and is not found in many foods. This enzyme can boost your battle against the bulge; many dieters, therefore, choose to include pomelo in their foods.
Vitamin C is essential for producing collagen, which strengthens tissues, organs, and cells. This can boost the strength of your gums and oral surfaces to prevent them from becoming infected or weak, which can result in tooth loss and dangerous oral illnesses. It’s an excellent remedy for bleeding gums.
Improves Wound Healing
By replacing the dead tissue by healthy tissue, pomelo also helps in promoting wound healing. This can be attributed to the presence of vitamin c in pomelo which promotes the development of collagen which makes the skin more flexible and fastens up healing.
Pomelo fruit helps to fight off free radicals in the body and promotes the growth of antibodies and immune cells. This stops bacteria formation and thereby prevents cancerous growths.
Pomelo vs Grapefruit
- A pomelo is not a grapefruit, although it is easy to mistake the two, given their size, color, and taste.
- They are both members of the citrus family and share many of the same nutritional profiles.
- Pomelo is the largest citrus fruits, but grapefruit is a close second.
- Pomelo is native to Malaysia, but grapefruit was first found in Barbados, and is now mainly grown in China!
How to Eat a Pomelo?
Pomelos aren’t the easiest fruits to eat or peel, based on their thick rind. Here are the steps to peel and cut a pomelo:
Step 1: Using a sharp knife, start by cutting off the “cap” of the fruit. (You may have to cut through an inch, depending on the size of the pomelo.)
Step 2: Then, make 8-10 vertical slices around the outside of the fruit, starting from the cut end.
Step 3: Now, pull the thick rind down and away from the fleshy interior, which looks much like an orange. Pull the rind off the fruit.
Step 4: Pull the fleshy sections apart and remove the seeds.
Step 5: Discard the excess fibrous material and enjoy!
Word of Caution: The high levels of vitamin C and potassium in this fruit can make it hazardous for patients with liver and kidney conditions. Also, patients with hypotension (low blood pressure) can be in danger since pomelo lowers the blood pressure significantly. Other than that, enjoy these rare and powerful fruits for a better overall health!