Potential Benefits of Pomelo Fruit (and Full Nutrition Facts)

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.

What Is Pomelo Fruit?

Whole Pomelo Fruit In Peel Next To Unpeeled Pomelo Slices.

Also known as Chinese grapefruit, pummelo, and its scientific name citrus maxima; Pomelo is a large citrus fruit.

Pomelo is among the largest of all fruits. According to USDA data, the weight of a typical commercial pomelo without refuse (only the bits eaten) is 609 grams (1).

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.

Tropical fruits such as mango and papaya are also excellent sources.

Key Point: A cup serving of pomelo fruit provides more than 100% of the daily value for vitamin C.

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).

Key Point: Pomelo contains a good amount of potassium, an essential mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure.

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).

Pomelo contains significant amounts of flavonoids and other polyphenols, including particularly high levels of naringin and phlorin (9, 10, 11):

Systematic reviews of the research regarding naringin’s effects on rodents have demonstrated potential beneficial roles of naringin in neurological ailments and cancer prevention strategies (12, 13).

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.

Key Point: Pomelo is a good source of several polyphenols, such as naringin, that may have benefits.

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-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene

Alpha and beta-carotene are provitamin A carotenoids, which can convert to vitamin A within the body.

However, carotenoids can also have other bioactive effects. For instance, they can exert antioxidant effects within the body and help to prevent free radical damage to cells (15, 16).

Also, some red-fleshed pomelo varieties can contain significant amounts of a carotenoid called lycopene (17, 18).

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).

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of intervention trials suggest that lycopene supplementation at doses between 4.5 and 15 mg per day may lower systolic blood pressure (19, 20).

Key Point: Pomelo contains several carotenoids, and red-fleshed varieties are high in lutein.

Findings From Animal Studies

Animal studies have suggested that pomelo extract can lower LDL cholesterol (often referred to as “bad cholesterol”) and systolic blood pressure (21, 22).

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.

Key Point: High-strength pomelo extracts (rather than the fruit itself) lower LDL-Cholesterol and systolic blood pressure in animal studies.

Potential Downsides

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).

Furanocoumarin is a compound found in some plants that inhibits the activity of an enzyme in the liver known as CYP3A4 (24, 25).

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).

Key Point: Two potential downsides of pomelo are the rare prevalence of citrus allergy and that constituents of the fruit may interfere with the metabolism of some prescription drugs.

Nutrition Facts

Here are the full nutritional values for pomelo fruit based on a 190-gram cup serving.

The source of the nutritional data is the USDA’s FoodData Central database, and daily values have been calculated using this data and the FDA’s published daily values (1, 5).

NameAmount% Daily Value
Calories72 kcal
Carbohydrates18.3 g6.7% DV
Fiber1.9 g6.8% DV
Fat0.08 g0.1% DV
Protein1.44 g2.9% DV
Cholesterol0 mg0% DV
Table 1: Pomelo basic nutrition facts per cup serving


Here are the vitamins present in a 190-gram cup serving of pomelo:

VitaminAmount% Daily Value
Vitamin A RAE4.56 mcg0.5% DV
Vitamin B1 (thiamin)0.06 mg5% DV
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)0.05 mg3.8% DV
Vitamin B3 (niacin)0.42 mg2.6% DV
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)0.07 mg4.1% DV
Vitamin C115.90 mg128.8% DV
Table 2: Pomelo vitamin profile per cup serving


MineralAmount% Daily Value
Calcium7.6 mg0.6% DV
Copper0.09 mg10% DV
Iron0.21 mg1.2% DV
Magnesium11.4 mg2.7% DV
Manganese0.03 mg1.3% DV
Phosphorus32.30 mg2.6% DV
Potassium410.4 mg8.7% DV
Sodium1.90 mg0.1% DV
Zinc0.15 mg1.4% DV
Table 3: Pomelo mineral profile per cup serving

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).

Final Thoughts

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.

Photo of author

Michael Joseph, MSc

Michael works as a nutrition educator in a community setting and holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. He believes in providing reliable and objective nutritional information to allow informed decisions.