Pomelo (Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis) is the largest citrus fruit in the Rutaceae family and most closely related to grapefruit.
Also known as pummelo, pamplemousse, and shaddock, pomelo originated in tropical and subtropical southeast Asia, but is now grown in subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world, as well as the citrus growing areas of the U.S.
The word “pomelo” is derived from the Malay word “pumpulmas”, which evolved into the Dutch word “pompelmoes”, meaning big lemon. Then, truncated by the English into “pummelo” or “pomelo”. It is sometimes called Shaddock in the West Indies – named for a Captain Shaddock who is supposed to have first brought the seeds to the Caribbean.
The pomelos have a sweet citrus flavor and the peel is very thick but soft and easy to peel, and it is greenish yellow in color.
There are three main varieties of pomelo: white, pink, and red pomelo. The pink and red varieties are sweeter than the white, which has a slightly acidic taste. Depending on the variety, the flesh can range in color from white to rose-red and in size from cantaloupe to watermelon-sized. They also varies in shape from round to pear-shaped, with a rind texture.
Pomelo is usually consumed raw, in the form of fruit salads, juices, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. It is also used as an ingredient of various sweet and salty dishes, especially in the Asian cuisine.
Pomelo is very low in fat and sodium, but high in fiber and many other important nutrients that can support and maintain your overall health.
Pomelo is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 193 percent (116 mg) of your daily recommended intake. It also contains good amounts of potassium, copper, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6.
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, one cup of pomelo (raw) (190 grams) contains about:
- Calories: 72
- Vitamin C: 116 mg (193% Daily Value)
- Potassium: 410 mg (12% Daily Value)
- Dietary fiber: 1.9 g (8% Daily Value)
- Copper: 0.1 mg (5% Daily Value)
- Thiamin: 0.1 mg (4% Daily Value)
- Riboflavin: 0.1 mg (3% Daily Value)
- Protein: 1.4 g (3% Daily Value)
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg (3% Daily Value)
- Magnesium: 11.4 mg (3% Daily Value)
- Phosphorus: 32.3 mg (3% Daily Value)
- Niacin: 0.4 mg (2% Daily Value)
- Manganese: 0.0 mg (2% Daily Value)
- Calcium: 7.6 mg (1% Daily Value)
- Iron: 0.2 mg (1% Daily Value)
- Zinc: 0.2 mg (1% Daily Value)
Health Benefits and Uses
Prevents urinary tract infection (UTI)
Pomelo contains high levels of vitamin C and the nutrient increases the acid level in urine, which in turn, kills the bacteria and slow down re-occurrences of bacterial growth that can cause UTI.
Aids in digestion
The pomelo has good amounts of dietary fiber and it is very useful in promoting a healthy digestive system by bulking up stools, so they move easily through your digestive tract. This can help relieve and prevent both constipation and diarrhea.
One pomelo (about 600 grams) contains about 6 grams of dietary fiber. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively.
Boost immune system
Enriched with vitamin C, pomelo can be used as a regular agent for strengthening the immune system. It helps to fight off infections that lead to colds, coughs, fevers, and bacterial infections.
Pomelos are good for oral health too. The vitamin C found in pomelo promotes collagen production, which helps strengthen your gums and oral surfaces to prevent them from becoming infected or weak. It is also an excellent remedy for bleeding gums.
Regulates blood pressure
Pomelo contains potassium, an important mineral in managing high blood pressure. It helps to lower blood pressure by lessening the effects of sodium. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine. Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.
Maintain bone health
Pomelo is high in potassium, which help to keep bones stronger because it improves the bone mineral density. In addition to that, pomelo also contains calcium which is necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
Pomelo is a rich source of vitamin C, a known antioxidant that acts by scavenging free radicals, which can cause skin to age prematurely. The pomelo also contains a rare chemical called spermidine which has been linked to anti-aging as well.
Relieves muscle cramps
Pomelo is a good remedy for muscle cramps and aches due to its potassium content. Without adequate intake of potassium, you will likely to suffer cramps and become susceptible to pulled muscles and torn ligaments.
Selection and Storage
If you are buying a pomelo, look for one that has a grassy, floral scent and feels heavy for its size. A light pomelo is likely to be dry inside. Avoid pomelos that are bruised or have soft areas of rot.
Pomelos can be stored at room temperature for up to a week or refrigerated for up to several weeks. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat.
How to Eat a Pomelo
Before you can eat a pomelo, you must remove its thick skin. Start by cutting about 1/2 an inch into the rind with knife and then peel back the skin with your finger. Continue peeling away the rind and the white pith until you reach the fruit sections.
You can eat the peeled fruit sections fresh, or use them in salads, smoothies, or stir-fries. You can eat pomelo sections with the tough membrane intact, or peel this off the sections before you eat them. To peel the membrane, pinch it to create a small tear and then carefully remove it.