Pomelo fruit is the largest citrus fruit, and it provides a good range of essential nutrients and bioactive compounds.
This article examines some potential benefits of consuming pomelo alongside its complete nutritional profile.
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What Is Pomelo Fruit?
Also known as Chinese grapefruit, pummelo, and its scientific name citrus maxima; Pomelo is a large citrus fruit.
However, the whole pomelo fruit can grow as large as two kilograms in weight and approximately thirty centimeters in diameter (2).
Pomelo fruits grow in tropical and subtropical regions and taste somewhat similar to grapefruit but with a sweeter taste.
The fruit has yellow-to-red flesh and contains high amounts of carotenoids, which provide this yellow-to-red color pigment (3).
The pomelo fruit is native to South-East Asia but grows in various regions worldwide. Based on data from 2020, the top global producers of pomelo are China, Vietnam, the United States, Mexico, and South Africa (4).
Benefits of Pomelo Fruit
What potential benefits can consuming pomelo fruit have?
Some benefits relate to the nutrients the fruit provides, and others are ‘potential’ benefits based on ongoing research.
Here is an overview.
Pomelo Is a Significant Source of Vitamin C
Pomelo is one of the best dietary sources of vitamin C and provides the following amounts of the nutrient (1):
- 371 mg of vitamin C per 609-gram fruit
- 116 mg of vitamin C per cup serving
- 61 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams
Based on a 2000-calorie diet, the recommended daily value for vitamin C is 90 mg (5).
Thus, we can see that 100 grams of pomelo provides two-thirds of the daily value for vitamin C, a cup exceed it, and the whole fruit contains approximately 400% of the daily value.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in the immune system and protects cells from damage (6).
For more vitamin C sources, other citrus fruit like oranges, lemons, lime, and kumquat all tend to provide high amounts.
Pomelo Is Moderately High In Potassium
Potassium is another essential nutrient that pomelo provides in moderate amounts.
Here are the amounts of potassium in various servings of the fruit (1):
- 1320 mg of potassium per fruit
- 410 mg of potassium per cup serving
- 216 mg of potassium per 100 grams
The mineral has a recommended daily value of 4,700 mg (5). Thus, pomelo provides nearly 30% of potassium’s daily value per fruit and almost 9% per cup serving.
Potassium regulates blood pressure, nerve signaling, and muscular contraction (6).
Pomelo Contains Numerous Polyphenols
Polyphenols are a type of phytonutrient, a compound found in plant foods that has a biological effect on the body. Notably, polyphenols have been strongly associated with having protective effects on human health (7, 8).
However, there is very little research on this area in human participants, so this requires cautious interpretation.
Further clinical research involving human participants is necessary to confirm potential benefits in this area.
Pomelo Is a Good Source of Carotenoids
Pomelo contains several carotenoids, which are another type of phytonutrient.
The main carotenoids found within pomelo include (14):
Alpha and beta-carotene are provitamin A carotenoids, which can convert to vitamin A within the body.
According to lab tests, red-fleshed pomelos contain as much lycopene as 2593 mcg per gram, equal to 2.6 mg per 100 grams (18).
Findings From Animal Studies
However, it is vital to be clear that research findings in animal studies do not mean the same results would occur in human trials. Furthermore, ‘extracts’ are not food, and studies using extracts are not designed to comment on the value of the food itself.
Studies using high-strength extracts of a particular food will provide far higher amounts of bioactive compounds (such as polyphenols) than simply eating the food itself. Therefore, such findings from animal research should be taken with caution and not over-interpreted.
In this regard, any strong claims of benefit for human health markers from pomelo fruit should be taken with a pinch of salt.
In addition to the pomelo’s nutritional benefits, there are also some potential downsides.
Potential Drug Interactions
Firstly, pomelo contains a significant amount of furanocoumarin (23).
CYP3A4 is the enzyme that metabolizes various drugs, including statins and antihypertensive (blood pressure) medications. Thus, if CYP3A4 is inhibited, plasma levels of these medications can significantly increase (26).
Individuals taking medications should seek guidance from their medical team before consuming pomelo or pomelo products.
Citrus Allergy (Rare)
Although rare, allergies to citrus fruits like pomelo do exist.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, these allergies are related to citrus fruit’s protein, profilin, and pectin content (27).
Here are the full nutritional values for pomelo fruit based on a 190-gram cup serving.
|Name||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Carbohydrates||18.3 g||6.7% DV|
|Fiber||1.9 g||6.8% DV|
|Fat||0.08 g||0.1% DV|
|Protein||1.44 g||2.9% DV|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0% DV|
Here are the vitamins present in a 190-gram cup serving of pomelo:
|Vitamin||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin A RAE||4.56 mcg||0.5% DV|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamin)||0.06 mg||5% DV|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||0.05 mg||3.8% DV|
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||0.42 mg||2.6% DV|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||0.07 mg||4.1% DV|
|Vitamin C||115.90 mg||128.8% DV|
|Mineral||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Calcium||7.6 mg||0.6% DV|
|Copper||0.09 mg||10% DV|
|Iron||0.21 mg||1.2% DV|
|Magnesium||11.4 mg||2.7% DV|
|Manganese||0.03 mg||1.3% DV|
|Phosphorus||32.30 mg||2.6% DV|
|Potassium||410.4 mg||8.7% DV|
|Sodium||1.90 mg||0.1% DV|
|Zinc||0.15 mg||1.4% DV|
How To Eat Pomelo
Here are some ways to enjoy pomelo fruit:
- Share a whole fruit: a whole pomelo will serve 2-6 people, depending on desired portion size.
- Smoothies and fruit drinks: pomelo will add a sweet and slightly sour taste to a drink.
- Marinade: pomelo juice can be used in place of lemon juice in marinades. Combining pomelo juice with soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic can add a lot of flavor to food.
- Salad: like grapefruit, pomelo adds a sweet and sour taste to a salad. Mix it with leafy greens, chopped bell peppers, pine nuts, and balsamic vinegar.
It is also possible to eat dried pomelo, and this can be found in health food stores and online retailers (disclosure: affiliate link).
Pomelo is a great-tasting citrus fruit that contains significant amounts of vitamin C.
This large fruit also provides a range of polyphenols and carotenoids that may benefit human health.
However, it is possible to see some over-hyped claims about the fruit, which are primarily based on high-strength pomelo extracts used in animal studies.
Such claims should be taken with a pinch of salt.