Nutrition & Healthy Eating

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on September 14, 2022
4 min read

Pomelo is a large citrus fruit that is Asian in origin. You might not be familiar with it, but you’ve almost certainly eaten its close relative, the grapefruit, at some point.

The flesh of the pomelo fruit can be green or yellow, while the rind is thick and pale. A pomelo can get very large — as big as a cantaloupe or sometimes slightly bigger. It’s teardrop shaped and tastes much like a grapefruit, but is slightly sweeter.

Pomelo contains quite a few nutrients that would make it a good addition to a healthy diet, including cancer-fighting antioxidants.

One pomelo fruit is packed with several days’ worth of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and immune system booster. It’s also rich in several other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including copper, fiber, and potassium.

Those nutrients and others present in pomelo provide a number of health benefits.

Aids Digestion

Pomelo has six grams of fiber per serving. Most people need about 25 grams per day, so a serving of pomelo fruit can give you almost a quarter of your daily fiber intake. 

Fiber helps move stool through your system by bulking it up, ultimately aiding in digestion by preventing constipation. 

Fiber has also been shown to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut by acting as a food source for that bacteria.

Fruit fiber like that found in pomelo fruit has also been associated with other wellness factors like improved bone density, healthy weight maintenance, and a decreased risk of certain chronic diseases. 

Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight

The protein and fiber in pomelo help you feel full for a longer time. That reduces cravings and ultimately means you take in less calories. 

Pomelo also contains relatively few calories per serving. If you’re trying to lose weight, foods like pomelo can let you increase the amount of food you eat without increasing the amount of calories.

Rich in Antioxidants

Free radicals can damage our cells, especially when there are a lot of them in your environment. Antioxidants help combat that damage, and therefore help reduce our risk of cancer.

Pomelo is high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, as well as several other antioxidant compounds. Naringenin and naringin are the main antioxidants found in pomelos, and are often found in citrus fruit. 

The antioxidant lycopene is also found in pomelo fruit. Lycopene is anti-inflammatory, and also commonly found in tomatoes.

May Support Heart Health

Eating pomelos may benefit your heart by reducing the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. 

One study conducted with concentrated pomelo extract fed to rats showed a reduction in triglycerides (by up to 21%), and LDL — or “bad” — cholesterol (up to 41%).

Another study showed that pomelo may reduce harmful fats in the bloodstream by preventing them from being absorbed during digestion. However, further research is needed to prove this definitively in humans.

Pomelo fruit is rich in powerful antioxidants like vitamin C. It also contains protein and fiber, which can aid digestion and help you feel full for a longer period of time after eating.

It’s also an excellent source of:

Nutrients per Serving

One peeled pomelo (about 21 ounces or 610 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 231
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 59 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Riboflavin: 12.6% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Thiamine: 17.3% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 412% of the DV
  • Copper: 32% of the DV
  • Potassium: 28% of the DV 

Things to Watch Out For

While eating pomelo fruit can help your heart, you should be careful if you’re already on statin medications for high cholesterol. Compounds in pomelo fruit called furanocoumarins can interfere with your body’s metabolism of statins. These same compounds are also present in grapefruit.

If you’re buying dried pomelo as a snack, be aware that it can have more added sugar and a higher calorie count than fresh pomelo fruit.

If you want to try pomelo and you’re wondering where to buy it, Asian markets are a good place to start. You can also buy dried pomelo online. 

Many big grocery stores are increasing their variety of produce too, so try checking in your local supermarket where the more exotic fruits are displayed.

To peel pomelo, cut a small piece, about two inches, from the pointed end of the fruit. Then, cut some notches into the rind around the whole diameter of the fruit. Use those notches as finger grips to peel off the rind. 

Once that’s done, you can separate the sections like you would a grapefruit or an orange. Eat it by itself, as part of a snack, or use it as a replacement for other citrus fruits in recipes.

Here are some ways to add pomelo to your diet:

  • Add it to salads
  • Mix it into smoothies
  • Add it to breakfast foods like waffles or oatmeal
  • Use the juice to make healthy summer popsicles
  • Add it to desserts