By Dr. Mercola
Citrus fruits are famous for their numerous health benefits, particularly on the body’s immune system, So what better way to get your daily fix of vitamin C than with the citrus family’s largest member – pomelo?
Pomelos go by a variety of names, such as pamplemousse, pumelo (or pummelo) and shaddock.1 It is sometimes confused with the grapefruit because of their similarities, although pomelo is technically the “father” of the grapefruit, as the grapefruit is a hybrid of the sweet orange and the pomelo fruit.2
However, pomelos are not as well known as other members of the citrus family, with some Americans oblivious to the existence of this fruit. If this is the first time that you’re hearing of the humble pomelo, don’t be left out and try it out now.
What Are Pomelos?
Pomelos originated from Southeast Asia, but are now grown in different countries around the world. The U.S. is now one of the biggest producers of pomelos, beating China, Mexico and other countries.3
The regions where these trees grow are characterized by their warm, tropical climate, like Florida, where temperature ranges from 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 30 degrees Celsius). The pomelo tree can grow up to 15 meters high, with some varieties having thorny branches.4
Being the largest citrus fruit, the pomelo measures between 10 to 30 centimeters in diameter, and can weigh up to 3 kilograms. The color of its skin ranges from light green to yellow, with a thick pith that protects its flesh. The flesh of the pomelo also differs in color, depending on the variety. Their color ranges from white to rose-red.
As for the taste, some people say that pomelos taste like grapefruit, but without the tartness. It actually has a sweeter flavor than other citruses.5
Pomelo’s Outstanding Health Benefits
Pomelo boasts of many health benefits due to its high amounts of vitamin C. Here are some of pomelo’s nutritional benefits that you should be aware of:
- Boosts Your Immune System. One serving of pomelo fruit contains roughly 116 milligrams of vitamin C, a whopping 193 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C intake. Vitamin C is famous for its effects on the immune system, its ability to aid in wound healing and its function in the body’s iron absorption. It also helps fight off harmful free radicals.6
- Assists in Digestion. Pomelo contains high amounts of fiber, which helps in maintaining the balance in the digestive system. It promotes healthy digestion and smooth movement of bowels in the digestive tract, therefore helping you avoid diarrhea and constipation.7
- Maintains Normal Blood Pressure Levels. The potassium in pomelo can help release tension in blood vessels and aid in blood circulation and the oxygenation of the different body systems. It also helps prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes because it minimizes the strain on the heart.8
- Aids in Weight Loss. Eating pomelo can also be essential in weight loss because it contains fat-burning enzymes that can help decrease the amount of sugar and starch in the body. It is also filling, helping you avoid overeating.9
Studies also show that the extract from pomelo skin can help resolve metabolic disorders. Previous studies have suggested that citrus peels are abundant with flavonoids, coumarins and limonoids. These components have an effect on the cardiovascular, immune and the endocrine systems. According to the research, obese mice (fed with a high-fat diet) who were treated with pomelo peel extract showed an improved glucose tolerance.10
Recipes With Pomelo:
Vietnamese Pomelo Salad (Goi Buoi Tom Thit)
Because this fruit originated from Southeast Asia, pomelo fruit recipes are abundant in that part of the world. Asians love adding pomelo to their dishes because of its citrusy sweet taste. Here is an example of a Vietnamese salad recipe that features pomelo, from Andrea Nguyen of Viet World Kitchen: 11
✓ 8 ounces (240 g) large shrimp,* peeled and deveined
✓ 1 carrot, peeled and cut into fine shreds
✓ 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, leafy tops only
|✓ 2 tablespoons Crispy Caramelized Shallot (hanh phi, optional)
✓ 4 ounces (120 g) boneless skinless chicken breast
✓ 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
✓ 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
✓ 1/2 teaspoon salt
✓ 1 medium pomelo, or 1/2 large pomelo
✓ 2 tablespoons fish sauce
✓ 1 tablespoon water
✓ 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped and mashed, or put through a press
✓ 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
✓ 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
✓ 1 red Thai chile or 1/2 Fresno chile, chopped
- Put the salt in a small saucepan and fill 2/3 with water. Bring to a boil and then add the shrimp. As soon as they've curled up, remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
- Bring the water to a boil again and add the chicken. When bubbles form at the rim, turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes to cook the flesh. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Cut the shrimp diagonally into large pieces that will blend well with the pomelo and other ingredients. Hand shred the chicken. Set aside.
- If the pomelo is big, halve it lengthwise and save one half for another day. Cut off the ends of the pomelo then cut off the skin and pith to reveal the pinkish flesh underneath. Pry the pomelo open and split into two. Use your fingers and, as needed, a knife and scissors, to peel away the flesh from the skin. Work segment by segment, and separate the flesh into bite-sized pieces. Deposit the flesh in a bowl as you work.
- For the dressing, combine fish sauce, lime juice, water, sugar, garlic and chile in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Right before serving, add the shrimp, chicken (or pork), carrot, mint, cilantro, macadamia nuts and fried shallot to the pomelo. Toss with your fingers or use tongs to combine well. Add the dressing and toss. Taste and adjust the flavors, as needed. Transfer to a plate or shallow bowl, leaving any liquid behind, and serve.
*Make sure you buy wild shrimp harvested from the cleanest cold water sources. Look for shrimp that’s certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch can also guide you in the direction of more sustainable seafood choices.
Here’s good news for the people who are trying to keep their calorie intake in check: There are only 72 calories in a 170-gram serving of pomelo. For other nutritional facts about pomelos, check out the table below.12
Pomelo Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 100 grams, raw
|Calories from Fat
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Pomelos may not be as popular as its other fruit relatives, but it offers just as much as they do – sometimes more, especially in terms of serving size. Try this juicy fruit today and be ready to get big benefits and astounding health boosts.