Pomelo: Benefits of Asian Citrus Fruit

Harry Luke
Harry Luke
11 Min Read

Similar to grapefruit, the pomelo is the largest member of the citrus family. It is native to Southeast Asia and has a light green to yellow skin with tangy, sweet, and juicy flesh inside. Pomelos are highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants.

This article reviews the nutrition facts of pomelos and their potential health benefits, as well as how to eat them.

Pomelo Fruit Nutrition Facts

Like many other citrus fruits, the pomelo is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing over the daily value in just 1 cup. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and is beneficial for immune health.

One cup of pomelo sections (about 190 grams) provides:

  • Calories: 72
  • Protein: 1.4 grams (g)
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbs: 18.3 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Potassium: 410 milligrams (mg) (8.7% of the daily value)
  • Vitamin C: 116 mg (128% of the daily value)
  • Riboflavin: 0.05 mg (3.8% of the daily value)
  • Thiamine: 0.07 mg (5.8% of the daily value)
  • Copper: 90 micrograms (mcg) (10% of the daily value)

Pomelos are a good source of dietary fiber, which can support digestive health.

A pomelo is also rich in many other vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and copper. Potassium plays important roles in the body, including helping with muscle contractions, heart and kidney function, and nerve transmission.

Copper also has vital functions in the body, such as maintaining the nervous and immune systems and making energy, blood vessels, and connective tissues.

What Does a Pomelo Taste Like?

Pomelos have several varieties, which have slightly different tastes and flavors. Nevertheless, most pomelos are sweet, with hints of tartness and acidity. Pomelo is generally sweeter and less bitter than its relative, the grapefruit.

Pomelo Benefits

Few studies have been performed on humans to determine the clinical health benefits of pomelo. Most studies showing potential benefits have been done on animals or in test tubes. Hopefully, the future will bring more studies in humans to fully understand pomelo and its health benefits.

May Benefit Heart Health

Pomelo may help reduce cholesterol levels, thus boosting heart health. One study in rats found that pomelo extract reduced total cholesterollow-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, which have been linked to heart disease.

Another study in mice looked at the pomelo extract of naringin, a flavonoid (polyphenolic plant compound with a variety of health benefits) with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. The researchers found that the pomelo extract possesses “anti-hyperlipidemia effects” (preventing high amounts of fat in the blood) and could be a potential dietary strategy for managing high cholesterol in the future.

Boosts Immune Health

Thanks to vitamin C and other antioxidant compounds found in pomelo, it can help give a boost to your immune system. Vitamin C has been shown to enhance immune health, helping to reduce the length of respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold.

Antioxidants can also help protect against certain diseases by protecting immune cells from damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules) and oxidative stress (an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals).

In addition to vitamin C, lycopene and carotenoids are other antioxidants found in pomelos that help provide protective effects to the immune system.

May Fight Cancer Cells

Though no studies have been conducted in humans, some animal studies have shown promising results for the role of pomelo in fighting the growth of cancer cells.

A 2018 study found that tumor-bearing mice treated with polysaccharides from pomelo peels had suppressed tumor growth and a boosted immune system.

Another study found that carotenoids from pomelo leaves exhibit anticancer activity, potentially helping to inhibit certain melanoma cells. Additional research has shown the peels of citrus fruits contain compounds that may be potentially beneficial in the treatment of cancer.

Keep in mind that the amounts used in many of these studies are in much higher quantities than there would be in a typical serving of pomelo. Nevertheless, more research is necessary in humans to further evaluate the anticancer potential of pomelo.

Has Antimicrobial Properties

Research shows that pomelo might have antimicrobial properties, which may protect against some strains of bacteria and fungus. Most of this research was conducted using essential oils extracted from the pomelo fruit, particularly from the peel, or rind, of the fruit.

May Slow Signs of Aging

Thanks to their high antioxidant content, pomelos may slow signs of aging. This is because antioxidants, including vitamin C, may prevent free radicals from damaging the skin barrier.

Additionally, antioxidants in the essential oil of the pomelo peel have been shown to reduce the production of the pigment melanin in the skin, possibly helping to hinder the development of sunspots and skin discoloration.

Several varieties of pomelo are also high in a compound called gallic acid, which is known to have anti-aging properties.

Should Anyone Not Eat Pomelo?

In general, pomelo is well tolerated by most healthy individuals. However, people who are allergic to citrus fruit may need to avoid pomelo.

People who take statin medicines for high cholesterol should avoid pomelo fruit. Similar to grapefruit, pomelos contain compounds called furanocoumarins, which can impact the breakdown of statin medications.

If you are taking other medications for any underlying health conditions, talk with a healthcare provider or pharmacist prior to including pomelo in your diet.

How to Eat Pomelo Fruit

Just like with any fruit or vegetable, there are a variety of ways to enjoy pomelo. The pith of the outer layer is fairly bitter, so most people remove it altogether prior to eating.

Because pomelo is in the citrus family, one way is to peel and eat it similarly to an orange. Start by scoring the outer peel of the fruit all the way around in a cross pattern (do not slice through the inner flesh), then peeling off the outer rind with your fingers.

The inner flesh should pull apart in sections. You can peel away or slice off any remaining layers of pith and enjoy the fruit.

Alternatively, you can eat a pomelo like you would a grapefruit.  Slice the entire fruit in half, then cut out the center core on each half. Next, cut around the fruit, slicing between the flesh and the outer pith portion.

After that, slice in between each section of fruit from the pith to the center. You can then get a spoon and scoop out the inner flesh to eat, section by section.

Another method of eating a pomelo is to slice it all the way through in half. Then, slice with the blade between the flesh of the fruit and the outer pith layer. Next, cut through the rind, quartering the fruit and then pulling it all apart to expose the fruit and remove it from the outer portion. Peel or slice off any remaining layers of pith.

Enjoy pomelo in ways similar to other citrus fruits, such as orange or grapefruit. Many people like to eat pomelo on its own or with a sprinkle of either salt or sugar. It is often juiced for beverages, tossed into salads, or cooked down and used in sauces or desserts.

Where Do You Find Pomelo?

Pomelo is most commonly grown in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand and imported to the United States. They may be hard to find in your local supermarket but may be more common during the winter months of October through March.

You may have more luck finding them in ethnic grocery stores or specialty supermarkets.


Pomelos are the largest of the citrus fruits, similar to a grapefruit. They usually have a green outer layer with a thick pith and sweet and juicy flesh inside. Pomelos are very nutritious, boasting plenty of dietary fiber and various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and copper.

Few studies have been conducted on humans in regard to the health benefits of pomelo. However, animal studies suggest pomelo may benefit heart health and the immune system and fight against cancer cells. Studies have also found that pomelo may exhibit antimicrobial and antifungal properties and can potentially slow signs of aging.

Pomelo are eaten and enjoyed like other citrus fruits. They are most commonly grown in Southeast Asia and imported to the United States where they are most likely to be found during the winter months or in ethnic grocery stores or specialty supermarkets.

Read the original article on Verywell Health.

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Harry Luke is a Professor in University of Galway. Harry's journey has been marked by a relentless pursuit of knowledge, creativity, and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world around him.