MANY people take the orange for its Vitamin C. But did you know that there is a local fruit which may just be the perfect substitute for the orange? It’s none other than the pomelo, a round fruit with a rough skin which is pale green or yellow in colour.
Known as limau bali to the Malays, the pomelo contains about 45 mg of Vitamin C per 100 g edible portion, which is more than the amount (about 40 mg) found in the orange. Vitamin C is good for our complexion and helps our body to resist infections.
The biggest of all citrus fruits, the pomelo is also richer in Vitamin A compared to the orange. A 100 g portion of pomelo can easily give 33 mcg of Vitamin A as compared to only 21 mcg in an equal portion of orange. Vitamin A helps to promote good eye-sight.
In terms of minerals, the pomelo is rich in potassium, a mineral required by our body for the proper coordination of muscle activity. It has about 3 times more potassium than the orange.
Besides that, it is also rich in phosphorus and sodium. It has about 4 times more sodium than the orange. Sodium helps to maintain the correct concentration of body fluids while phosphorus is vital for healthy bones and teeth.
What’s more, this fruit also has fibres which helps to prevent constipation. And for those who are on a diet, the pomelo may just be the ideal fruit for them as it does not contain any fat at all.
The pomelo also has a certain amount of protein, calcium, iron and B-vitamins.
Besides the juicy flesh that is normally eaten raw, the other parts of the pomelo also have their uses. The Malays preserve the rind to make a pleasant candied peel. The seeds and dried slices of the young fruit, matured fruit and flowers are used by the Chinese in various medications. A fragrant perfume can also be extracted from the flowers which have a strong scent.
And the leaves are traditionally used as a poultice which is warmed and then applied on swellings and painful joints. A decoction of the leaves is also used as an aromatic bath or a wash for skin ulcers, or taken for cough and nervousness. The rind of the fruit is squeezed and inhaled for nausea and its decoction taken for cough and stomach upset.
Pomelos in Malaysia are mainly of 2 varieties: the pale cream flesh variety and the pinkish flesh variety.
Excerpts taken from CAP book “Fruits – A nutrition guide”. For more information of local fruits, get book here.