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14 Amazing Health Benefits of Kumquat and Its Side Effects

What Is Kumquat?

Kumquat fruit is a yellow to orange-colored, olive-sized, tiny fruit with a sweet and tangy flavor. This looks like a mini orange. The surprising thing about the fruit is that you can eat the peel along with its pulp. The peel has a sweet taste, while the flesh is tangy. Kumquat has been originated in Southeast Asia and China, Japan, India, Taiwan, and North America are the major cultivating countries. The fruit ideally grows in warm weather.

Kumquat is a Cantonese word meaning “golden orange” as the fruit appears. The fruit is highly nutritious and comprises many potential antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin C, vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, plant compounds, phytonutrients, manganese, copper, magnesium, calcium, and other essential nutrients required for good health. These fruits have great immune-boosting, anti-cancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties too. (1) So, adding these fruits to your daily diet would benefit your overall health.

Health Benefits of Kumquat

Unique Varieties Of Kumquat

Kumquats come in six unique varieties. These varieties of Kumquat differ by taste, color, and shape. Below are the varieties.

Round Kumquat Or Marumi Kumquats

Marumi or Morgani kumquats are round kumquats and as the name suggests they are round in shape. They have a golden yellow color and their peel I extremely sweet while the pulp is sour. These kumquats are used in preparing jam and jellies.

Oval Kumquat Or Nagami Kumquats

These variety of kumquats are oval with sweet-tasting peels. This variety of kumquats can be differentiated from its yellow and green stripes on the peels. The sour pulp and sweet peel make it a perfect blend of flavors to Nagami kumquats.

Hong Kong Kumquat

Hong Kong kumquat is another variety of kumquat and is as tiny as a pea. This variety of kumquat tastes bitter and contains less pulp and more seeds. Another variety of kumquat is Golden Bean Kumquat that is originated from Hong Kong Kumquat.

Meiwa Kumquat

Meiwa kumquat is another variety of the fruit and is oval. This variety of kumquat contains more seeds compared to other such types of this fruit.

Jiangsu Kumquat Or Fukushu Kumquat

This is another variety of kumquat and produces bright orange-colored fruits which are round or bell-shaped. These varieties of kumquat are used for preparing jellies and marmalades.

Malaysian Kumquat Or Hedge Lime

Malaysian kumquat is another variety of kumquat and is also known as “hedge lime”. These varieties of kumquat have more pulp and thin peels than other varieties of kumquat.

Nutritional Value Of Kumquat

Kumquats are extremely nutritious and are notable for their rich supply of vitamin C and other essential nutrients. A 100-gram serving of kumquat contains the following nutrients.

Calories:71

Carbohydrates: 16 grams

Protein: 2 grams

Fat:1 gram

Fiber: 6.5 grams

Vitamin A: 6% of the RDI

Vitamin C: 73% of the RDI

Manganese: 7% of the RDI

Calcium: 6% of the RDI.

Kumquats are also good suppliers of smaller amounts of various vitamin B complex, Vitamin E, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, and zinc.

The edible seeds along with the peel of the fruit offer a small amount of omega-3 fats.(2) Like other fruits, kumquats are extremely hydrating and about 80% of their weight comes from the water content present in them.

The rich fiber content and water content make kumquats one of the most filling foods. However, the best thing about these fruits is that they are low in calories and that is the reason why they could be an excellent snack if you are watching your weight.

Other Nutritional Facts About Kumquat

Low Glycemic Index

Citrus fruits including kumquat have a low glycemic index. kumquats can be part of a healthy diet for individuals with diabetes and do not cause significant spikes in blood glucose levels when consumed in moderation.

High Level Of Fiber Present

Kumquats are complex carbohydrates since they contain fair amounts of fiber. Thus, they take a long time to pass through the gut as our digestive enzymes cannot break them down in the body and this in turn, makes you feel fuller for quite a long. Thus, they prevent you from gaining weight.

The fruits are packed with soluble fiber and soluble fibers are known for their excellent role in preventing diarrhea. These soluble fibers absorb the excess water from the intestine and form a gel-like substance. So, you can have a handful of kumquats if you are suffering from diarrhea. Apart from this, fiber also plays a crucial role in reducing cholesterol levels.

It Is A Low-Calorie Snack

Kumquat is a low-calorie snack and contains reasonable amounts of water content. These fruits can instantly make you feel refreshed and hydrating. These are one of the best choices of foods for you if you are looking for weight loss.

They Are Low In Fat

Kumquats are low in fat contents and thus people with heart diseases should consume them. Moreover, the edible seeds of the fruit contain trace amounts of omega-three fatty acids which can reduce bad cholesterol and increase the levels of good cholesterol in the body.

Acts As An Antioxidant

Kumquats are packed with several antioxidant vitamins, such as Vitamin A and vitamin C. The antioxidants found in kumquats can reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body.

14 Amazing Health Benefits of Kumquat

  1. Good For Digestion

    The best health benefit of the kumquat is that it is great for digestion. The fruit is loaded with insoluble fiber as dietary fiber that allows proper digestion. You can get relief from conditions like irritable bowel movements, constipation, gastritis, and gastrointestinal problems, by consuming Kumquats. Moreover, it also promotes gut bacteria to grow, which in turn, encourages a strong and healthy digestive system.

  2. Helps In Managing Diabetes

    Kumquat is also known to help in proper diabetes management. It has a zero glycemic index and low sugar content which makes the fruit a superfood for people suffering from diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to various complications like foot ulcers, retinopathy, and so on. Thus it is essential to manage diabetes and control blood glucose levels. Low glycemic index fruits like Kumquats help in preventing sudden spikes in the levels of blood glucose after a meal.

    A study has also found that kumquats can reduce the chances of sudden spikes in blood glucose levels after a meal because of their rich presence of fiber content. (3) So, if you are a diabetic patient then do not forget to add this super fruit to your diet and get control over the condition.

  3. Has Anti-Bacterial Effects

    The next essential benefit of consuming kumquat is that it shows great antibacterial properties. A research study has shown that the oil extracted from the peel of the fruit might possess excellent antibacterial properties. (4) Thus, Kumquat can help in preventing the growth of various harmful micro-organisms like bacteria and fungi that grow on foods. Because of its antibacterial effect, kumquat can also prove beneficial in increasing the shelf life of foods by preventing the growth of microbes.

  4. Good For Heart

    Considering the rich presence of vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin A, it can be explained that kumquat is a great fruit for improving your heart health. These nutrients found in the fruit reduce the accumulation of fats in the arteries and also reduce the risk of blockage. This, in turn, prevents the risk of heart failure, stroke, and conditions like high blood pressure. Ultimately, it strengthens your heart health. Moreover, the fruit is also known to reduce bad cholesterol or LDL, which prevents various heart diseases.

    Research has also shown that a type of flavonoid, named Apigen found in kumquats might prevent the development of cancer. (5) This flavonoid acts on the cancer cells by triggering cell death, thus preventing the cancerous cells from growing and spreading to other cells.

  5. Helps In Weight Management

    If you are looking for a fruit to assist in weight management, then kumquat is the right choice for you. The high fiber content of Kumquat might also reduce the intake of food by increasing satiety, which has been seen in a clinical trial on 30 individuals who added orange fiber to their daily diet. (6)

    Thus, dietary fiber found in the fruit slows the process of digestion and keeps you feeling full for a long time. Thus, it reduces the chances of unnecessary munching, which is a great reason for gaining unwanted weight.

  6. Has Anti-cancer Properties

    Kumquat is rich in potent antioxidants that kill free radicals in your body. The formation of free radicals is linked with the development of cancer cells. Since the fruit also contains apigenin, a flavonoid that reduces the risk of cancer, it is one of the best super fruit.

  7. Boosts Immunity

    Citrus fruits including kumquats enhance good immunity and this is possible because of the presence of vitamin C content, which is a powerful antioxidant. Other antioxidants like flavonoids also help in strengthening the immune system.

    According to a study, L-limonene and beta-cryptoxanthin present in kumquats might improve the immune system and its function. (7) Moreover, they also work by enhancing the action of various natural killer cells and also by reducing metabolic stress in your body.

  8. Is A Great Mood Elevator

    Are you experiencing mood swings? The good news is that kumquats can help to improve mood swings and reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. This is possible because of the presence of vitamin C which plays a crucial role in improving mental health.

    Several studies have suggested that foods that are rich in vitamin C can improve stress disorders, regulate sleep, and enhance overall mood. It has an antidepressant-like effect and aids in improving mental health by reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.(8)

  9. Protects Against Scurvy

    Scurvy is a term given to the condition that is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C in the diet. This condition can have a devastating effect on your nails, skin, and hair. This is because all these tissues require a constant supply of collagen to properly regenerate, which requires vitamin C.

    Being packed with vitamin C, kumquats along with its peel could benefit you by providing you protection against scurvy and other diseases that are caused by a lack of vitamin C.

  10. Antioxidants That Reduce Several Diseases

    Kumquats are loaded with vitamin C, which is known for its excellent antioxidant properties. Moreover, they also help in reducing oxidative stress that is caused by free radicals. Excessive amounts of free radicals in our body can lead to cell and organ damage and might also result in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many more.

    Research has shown that vitamin C found in kumquats might reduce the risk of all these diseases and this is possible by Vitamin C which helps in minimizing the formation of free radicals in the body.(7)

  11. Good For Bone Health

    One more exceptional health benefit of Kumquat is that it is a great food for improving bone health. A healthy skeleton system requires an adequate amount of calcium, which is excessively found in kumquat. The calcium content present in this fruit meets 6% of our daily calcium requirement. It helps in increasing bone density and also prevents bone fractures.

  12. Eye Health Benefits

    Kumquats contain decent amounts of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which is one o the eleven carotenoids found in kumquats. Several research studies have suggested that carotenoids, such as beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin help in improving eye health.(10)

    Moreover, our eyes contain rhodopsin protein compound that helps us to see in low-lit areas. However, a lack of rhodopsin production can result in night blindness. Vitamin A is a major component of rhodopsin production, and kumquats contain a good amount of this vitamin, which plays a major role in improving eyesight.

  13. Skin Health Benefits

    Kumquats have also excellent skin health benefits. Vitamin C helps in improving skin health, and since the fruit contains a rich amount of vitamins, it could be beneficial for your skin. Vitamin C increases collagen formation, and this, in turn, gives firm, wrinkle-free, radiant, and healthy skin. Moreover, this vitamin also helps in killing free radicals that cause aging effects, like the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. So, if you need healthy, glowing, and young skin, consume kumquats frequently.

    It was found from cell-based studies that kumquat essential oil reduced the growth of certain bacteria that causes acne and skin infections, like Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Cutibacerium acne. (11, 12)

  14. Breaks Gallstones

    One of the most exceptional health benefits of kumquats is that it helps in breaking gallbladder stones. These gallbladder stones are quite painful and induce inflammation. However, kumquats can reduce these painful gallstones; and this becomes possible because of a compound named limonene present in the tiny fruit.

    Limonene present in Kumquats dissolved gallstones partially in around 75% of cases in a trial conducted on 200 individuals. This was also effective in test tubes and animal studies. However, further research in the case of humans is required to confirm these promising results. (13, 14)

Ways To Eat Kumquats

You can eat kumquats as a whole fruit just like any other fruit. The best thing about this fruit is that you can eat its peel, and that also tastes sweet. Some other ways to eat the fruit are listed below.

  • Add kumquats to som mocktails.
  • Squee out its juice and enjoy the taste of kumquat juice.
  • You can prepare some jams using the fruit.
  • The fruit can also be added to a salad with Brussels sprouts, apple cider vinegar, salt, and olive oil.
  • You can also prepare healthy smoothies using kumquats, apples, spinach, cashew, dates, and water.
  • Because of its sour or tangy taste, kumquat can also be added to meat dishes.

Possible Side Effects of Kumquats

Kumquat is an extremely nutritious and healthy super fruit with some of the most exceptional health benefits. However, there are possibilities of experiencing certain side effects while having this fruit. Some of the possible side effects are listed below.

Can Cause Citrus Allergy:

People who have citrus allergies might develop symptoms like redness of the skin, dry and flaky skin, swelling, tingling sensation, itching in the tongue and mouth area, blisters, burning sensations, hives, and a few more, after consuming the fruit.

Research has shown that people with citrus allergies can develop contact dermatitis if they contact peel of kumquats.(15)

Possible Infection From E.coli

Eating raw kumquats without washing can contain E.coli bacteria and can result in bacterial infections in the stomach. You might start experiencing symptoms of upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and so on.

Digestive Issues

Being rich in fiber, kumquats, when consumed in high quantity can cause several digestive issues like bloating and gas.

NOTE: In such cases, you should seek help from your doctor immediately.

Final Words

Kumquats is a tin super fruit that offers multiple health benefits. The potential antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and other essential nutrients found in the fruit make it a super fruit that benefits your skin, eye, bone, heart, and overall health. So, why not add this super fruit to your diet and improve your health and well-being?

References:

  1. Xu B, Meenu M, Li X. (2022 Jan), ‘Recent development in Bioactive compounds and health benefits of Kumquat fruits’. Food Reviews International. DOI:10.1080/87559129.2021.2023818 LINK: Recent Development in Bioactive Compounds and Health Benefits of Kumquat Fruits | Request PDF (researchgate.net)
  2. Nouri. A, Shafaghatlonbar. A (2016) ‘Chemical constituents and antioxidant activity of essential oil and organic extract from the peel and kernel parts of Citrus japonica Thunb (Kumquat) from Iran’ Natural product research, v. 30(9): 1093-7 DOI: 10.1080/14786419.2015.1101692 LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26500054
  3. N. Reynolds A, P. Akermn A, Mann. J (2020, March); ‘Dietary fiber and whole grains in diabetes management: Systematic review and meta-analyses’ PLoS Medicine, v. 17(3), e 10003053 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003053 LINK: Dietary fibre and whole grains in diabetes management: Systematic review and meta-analyses – PubMed (nih.gov)
  4. Wei Wang. Y, Cai Zeng. W, Yu Xu P, Jia Lan Y, Xue Zhu. R, Zhong. K, Na Huang. Y, Gao. H (2012 March 12) ‘Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of Kumquat( Fortunella crassifolia Swingle) peel’ PLoS Medicine, v. 13( 3), pp. 3382-3392. doi: 10.3390/ijms13033382 LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3317718/
  5. Sung. B, Young Chung. H, Deuk Kim N (2016, December) ‘Role of Apigenin in cancer prevention via the induction of apoptosis and autophagy’, Journal of Cancer Prevention, v. 21(4), pp: 216-226. doi: 10.15430/JCP.2016.21.4.216 LINK: Role of Apigenin in Cancer Prevention via the Induction of Apoptosis and Autophagy – PMC (nih.gov)
  6. Dong H, J Sargent L, Chatzidiakou Y, Saunders C, Harkness L, Bordenave N, Rowland U, P E Spencer J, A Lovergrove J( 2016 Dec 1), ‘Orang pomace fiber increases a composite scoring of subjective ratings of hunger and fullness in healthy adults.’ Appetite, 107: pp 478-485. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.08.118. LINK: Orange pomace fibre increases a composite scoring of subjective ratings of hunger and fullness in healthy adults – PubMed (nih.gov)
  7. Terao. R, Murata A, Sugamoto K, Watanabe T, Nagahama K, Nkahara K, Kondo T, Murakami N, Fukui K, Hattori H, Eto. N. (2019. Jan 22) ‘ Immunostimulatory effect of kumquat( Fortunella crassifolia) and its constituents, β-cryptoxanthin and R-limonene’ Food & Function. V. 10(1), pp. 38-48. DOI: 10.1039/c8fo01971a LINK: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30548041/
  8. Pullar J, C. Carr. A, M Mozonet. S, C.M. Vissers M (2018 Jul. 16), ‘High vitamin C status is associated with the elevated mood in male tertiary students.’ Antioxidants (Basel), v. 7(7), pp: 91. doi: 10.3390/antiox7070091 LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6071228/
  9. G. Traber M, F. Stevens J (2011 May 25), ‘Vitamins C and E: Beneficial effects from a mechanistic perspective’, HHS Public Access Author Manuscript, v. 51(5): pp. 1000-1003. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.05.017 LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156342/#:~:text=As%20an%20antioxidant%2C%20vitamin%20C,by%20electrophilic%20lipid%20peroxidation%20products.
  10. Sant Ana. H, Anunciacao P. C, Silva e Souza C, Xavier de Paula Filho G, Salvo A, Dugo G, Giuffrida D. (2019 May 16), ‘Quali-Quantitative profile of Native carotenoids in kumquat from Brazil by HPLC-DAD-APCI/MS’ Foods; v. 8(5), pp. 166. doi: 10.3390/foods8050166 LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560404/
  11. Jin Yang F, Kim S S, Young Moon J, Oh T-H, Baik J S, Lee N H, Gu Hyun C. (2010 Mar), ‘Inhibitory effects of Fortunella japonica var. margarita and Citrus sunki essential oils on nitric oxide production and skin pathogens.’ Acta Microbiologica Immunologica Hungarica. V. 57(1), pp. 15-27. doi: 10.1556/AMicr.57.2010.1.2. LINK: Inhibitory effects of Fortunella japonica var. margarita and Citrus sunki essential oils on nitric oxide production and skin pathogens – PubMed (nih.gov)
  12. Wang Y-W, Zeng W-C, Yu Xu P, Lan Y-L, Zhu R-X, Zhong K, Huang Y-N, Gao H (2012), ‘Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of Kumquat ( Fortunella crassifolia Swingle) peel.’ International Journal of Molecular Sciences. v. 13(3), pp. 3382-3393. doi: 10.3390/ijms13033382 LINK: Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of the Essential Oil of Kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia Swingle) Peel – PMC (nih.gov)
  13. Igimi H, Tamura R, Toraishi K, Yamamoto F, Kataoka A, Ikehiri Y, Hisatsugu T, Shimura H ( 1991, Feb) ‘Medical dissolution of gallstones. Clinical experience of d-limonene as a simple, safe, and effective solvent.’ Digestive diseases and sciences. V. 36(2), pp. 200-8. DOI: 10.1007/BF01300757 LINK: Medical dissolution of gallstones. Clinical experience of d-limonene as a simple, safe, and effective solvent – PubMed (nih.gov)
  14. Igimi H, Hisatsugu T, Nishimura M. (1976, Nov) ‘The use of d-limonene preparation as a dissolving agent of gallstone.’ The American Journal of Digestive Issues. v. 21(11), pp. 926-39. DOI: 10.1007/BF01071903 LINK: The use of d-limonene preparation as a dissolving agent of gallstones – PubMed (nih.gov)
  15. Cardullo A C, Ruszkowski A M, DeLeo V A. (1985, Aug. 21) “Allergic contact dermatitis resulting from sensitivity to citrus peel, geraniol, and citral.’ Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. V. 2 Pt 2. Pp; 395-7. DOI: 10.1016/s0190-9622(89)80043-x LINK: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2526827/
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 14, 2023

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