Mangosteens… It’s likely that many haven’t heard of this fruit. The fruit is difficult to find because it’s seasonal and import-only at that! So in all likelihood, you’re probably thinking, “If it’s so rare and I’ve done well without it so far, do I really need it in my diet now?”
The answer is a definite YES! Mangosteens should be a part of your diet as they are full of nutrients. Believed to have originated in Indonesia and grown mostly in Southeast Asia, India, Florida, and Puerto Rico, mangosteens are the exotic fruits your healthy diet needs! Here’s why:
The Nutritional Value Of Mangosteens
Mangosteens have a bountiful of goodness that contributes to better health. Here are a few of the nutrients you get in 100 gm of canned mangosteen:1
|High Levels||Moderate Levels||Zero Or Low Levels|
|Antioxidants (Xanthones)2||Folate (31 μg)||Fatty acids (0)|
|Vitamin C (2.9 mg)||Fiber (1.8 g)||Cholesterol (0)|
|Vitamin A (2 mg)||Carbohydrates (17.9 mg)||Iron (0.3 mg)|
|Water (81 g)||Calcium (12 mg), Potassium (48 mg), Magnesium (13 mg), And Other Minerals|
Health Benefits Of Mangosteen
1. Has An Anti-Inflammatory Effect
Inflammation can be the root cause of multiple health issues! From asthma to Alzheimer’s, diabetes to cancer, pills or anti-inflammatory foods such as mangosteen work the magic.
Mangosteens have been used in traditional medicine for ages as an anti-inflammatory agent, and numerous studies have proven their effectiveness.3
Specifically, the xanthones in mangosteen give the fruit its anti-inflammatory abilities. By reducing inflammation, here’s what the mangosteen can do for you:
- Leukemia: It reduces cell growth in patients with leukemia.4
- Asthma: It has therapeutic effects on allergy-induced asthma.5
- Alzheimer’s: It acts as a good supplement to reduce the negative effects of Alzheimer’s on the patients.6
- Cancer: By stopping and/or preventing inflammation, mangosteens help induce cancerous cell death.7
- Obesity: In obese individuals, it helps reduce the risk of further loss of metabolism and related risks like diabetes and cardiac issues.8
2. Improves Immunity And Prevents Sickness
A weakened immune system can lead to a bout of sickness at the slightest provocation. Mangosteens can improve your immunity and fight sickness.
One study observed the effect of mangosteen intake on participants over a 30-day period. They noticed a significantly improved immune system at the end of the study, mainly because of the rich antioxidant content.9.
Along with this, the vitamin C in mangosteens might also improve the immune system and fight flu and other infections.10
3. Gives A Tough Fight Against Cancer
One of the worst diseases of all, cancer is a common intruder in almost every house. Mangosteen, the super fruit, can help all the way from lowering the risk to reducing cancerous cell growth.
Apart from the anti-inflammatory benefits, mangosteens fight cancer mostly using xanthones:11
- Colon cancer: A derivative of xanthones in mangosteen, γ-mangostin, has a toxic effect on cancerous cells, which causes cell death. It might also have the potential to develop anti-colon cancer cells.12
- Breast cancer: The pericarp of mangosteen slows down the growth of cancerous cells and causes cell death. The antioxidants prevent cancer, thus making it a possible complementary medicine.13
- Prostate cancer: Another xanthone from mangosteen pericarp, α-mangostin, reduces the tumor size and controls the cycle of cell growth in prostate cancer.14
- Mammary cancer: α-mangostin also stops mammary cancer from spreading to other parts and also reduces tumor growth.15
- Skin cancer: The pericarp of the fruit is rich in phenolics, which induce early death of cancerous cells in carcinoma and melanoma.16
4. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Cardiac issues can strike any one of us, anywhere. It’s not really about age anymore. Here’s how mangosteens can help your heart:
- The antioxidants in the fruit deal with oxidative stress, a common cause of cardiovascular issues, and other degenerative diseases by salvaging free radicals.17
- It strengthens the defense system of the tissue against heart attacks.18
- It reduces the effects of strokes, preventing nerve degeneration, and reduces tumors in the case of nerve-related cancers such as neuroblastoma that can occur in the chest.19
And in injuries due to reperfusion, the xanthones protect the heart by weakening the effects of oxidative stress.20
5. Contributes To Weight Loss
The diet and workout regime your friend follows might not work for you as each individual’s body is different. But mangosteen can be an effective fruit for weight loss when made a part of the regular diet.
Apart from the anti-inflammation, mangosteens have high water and fiber content, which make you feel full soon and with less food. And since the fiber takes a long time to get digested, you won’t feel hungry for a long time.21
Mangosteens also prevent body weight gain by restricting pancreatic lipase and α-amylase activities, which are common causes of obesity.22
6. Improves Your Digestion
With increasingly unhealthy food habits and lack of exercise, the body’s ability to digest goes down drastically. Replacing a few these junk foods with something healthy like mangosteens can improve digestion.
Mangosteen has high fiber content that can expel toxins and unhealthy additives. The fibers also absorb water, which might avoid or cure constipation.23
7. Treats Diarrhea and Dysentery
Mangosteens have been used in traditional medicines to treat stomach disorders like diarrhea and dysentery. And this has worked mostly because of tannins – strong antioxidants that might contribute to curing diarrhea.24
But no need to depend on just the traditional use. Ongoing studies have observed the effectiveness of mangosteen in treating disorders like the irritable bowel syndrome.25
8. Prevents And Treats Diabetes
Diabetics are more susceptible to other conditions like infection and have a weakened immune system. Mangosteen not only improves your immunity but also reduces blood cholesterol levels in the body.
One animal study observed that a compound of xanthones could fight diabetes by decreasing insulin resistance.26 And by reducing body weight gain, mangosteen also reduces the risk of diabetes and other related conditions.27
9. Regulates Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
Healthy food intake plays an important part in regulating blood pressure and heart rate. Mangosteens contain a good amount of magnesium, which is important to maintain normal blood pressure and blood sugar level.28 This, in turn, keeps a steady heartbeat.
You can also find studies that have proven that mangosteen is extremely useful in treating hypertension via blood pressure regulation.29
10. Fights Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is an infection with multiple painful symptoms – such as an unceasing cough, fever, weight loss, night sweats, bloody sputum, and what not – that are difficult to deal with even using medication! While you generally need antibiotics to get you back to health, mangosteens can hasten the recovery process.
Mangosteens have strong antibacterial properties that curb the progress of such diseases.30 Studies on xanthones have also shown antifungal and antiviral properties that can boost your immunity and help you fight fevers.31
11. Reduces Allergies
Allergies are usually chronic and can last a lifetime. Constant dependence on medication is definitely not a good option. So try mangosteen for any kind of allergy as it is a natural antihistamine. Studies have shown that an ethanol extract from mangosteen releases histamine and helps reduce allergies and the resulting inflammation.32
12. Promotes Healthy, Glowing Skin
Spending time outdoor and exposing yourself to UV rays causes vitamin C deficiency, which is one of the reasons your skin could go dull and become unhealthy.33 How can mangosteen make this better?
- The antibacterial properties of mangosteen reduce acne and skin blemishes.34
- The fruit works as a brilliant anti-aging agent as it tightens the skin and contains a high level of antioxidants.35
- Since xanthones help in cell regeneration and repair damaged cells, it also contributes to treating skin diseases.
- Mangosteen might also bring up the levels of vitamin C, improve your skin quality, and consequently reduce the dark circles under the eye that make you look tired all the time.36
You can make a paste of the fruit and apply it on your skin or make an ointment that might treat eczema and other skin conditions.
13. Ensures Oral Hygiene
Ever experienced a little bleeding while brushing? This bleeding actually indicates that a tooth (if you’re lucky) or multiple teeth have an infection. Before this spreads, treat this with mangosteen.
14. Supports A Healthy Pregnancy
Pregnancy is the time when an additional load of nutrients is required for both the mother and the baby. Mangosteens might contribute A healthy diet is of prime focus here and mangosteens might contribute to an extent!
Multiple nutrients in mangosteen might ensure a healthy pregnancy. The manganese could promote the bone development of the baby. The vitamin C boosts the immunity of both the mother and the baby. And the folate could lessen the risk of birth defects as most birth defects are due to folate deficiency.39
Successful pregnancies show increased levels of antioxidants, while miscarriages show lowered levels. Mangosteens may reduce oxidative stress and lead to uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery with high antioxidant levels.40
Although a moderate consumption of mangosteens during pregnancy is said to help, there is a lack of promising research. Consult your doctor and also avoid consuming supplements containing mangosteen as it might be harmful.
15. Improves Eyesight
A lifestyle that involves staring at a computer screen almost all day, among other reasons, almost always ensures vision problems. Mangosteens might improve eyesight and reduce the risk of other diseases.
The high content of vitamins A and C might protect your lens, heal wounds in your eye faster, and fight the free radicals. These vitamins might also have the ability to decrease the chances of night blindness and improve the quality of your eyesight.41 42 The vitamin C could also reduce the blood flow to your eyes, avoiding cataract issues.43
However, there’s no research yet on how effective these vitamins are in mangosteen.
Apart from these, mangosteens are believed to be useful in treating various conditions, and some of these lack research:
- Regulates blood flow: The xanthones widen the blood vessels and regulate the blood flow, which helps diabetic patients.44
- Treats wounds: It is antibacterial and antiseptic, which helps treat injuries and wounds.45
- Normalizes the menstrual cycle: It might lessen pre-menstrual symptoms like hypertension and dizziness and regulate the menstrual cycle.
- Deals with viral infections: The antibacterial and antiviral properties can reduce infections.
Mangosteen has been a part of the traditional medicine in various Asian countries for a very long time.
- Filipinos use a decoction of the leaves and the bark to reduce fever and treat issues like thrush and urinary disorders.
- In Malaya, an infusion of the leaves, combined with unripe banana and benzoin, is applied to heal the wounds of circumcisions.
- They also use a decoction of mangosteen root to regulate menstrual cycles.
- A powder of the fruit, made by slicing, drying, and grinding it, is taken to treat dysentery.
- A decoction of the rind is used to treat diarrhea in both kids and adults.
Ways To Consume Mangosteen
1. Eat It Raw
A summer-time fruit that is tough to break with almost an inch of a hard outer layer, the inside of a mangosteen is filled with healthy, soft, white flesh that tastes sweet and tart.
- Choose fresh fruits that have a dark purple skin and are not yellowing. A dry, blotched skin indicates that the fruit is old.
- Take care while cutting open the fruit as any injury gives it a bitter taste and makes it impossible to eat.
- Always place the ripe fruits as a whole in a cool and dry place or a refrigerator. Ideally, consume them within a week.
- Long exposure to warm conditions can cause the skin of the fruit to become dry and hard, making it hard to cut open.
2. Make Mangosteen Juice
An advantage of juicing this fruit is that you can consume the rind (that contains the majority of the antioxidants), which cannot be eaten raw.
- Make sure you blend all of the fruit, including the seeds and the rind.
- Separating the softer inner skin from the harder outer layer and blending might help.
- Since the rind can make the juice bitter, you can add a little bit of honey or sugar as per your taste.
- It might be easier to blend if you dry the outer skin before using. The dried skin will last longer as well.
- Mangosteens can be clubbed with other fruits, like papaya, grapes, or watermelon. Experiment and find the taste that suits you best.
3. Drink Mangosteen Tea
Mangosteen tea is steadily gaining popularity as it gives the benefits of antioxidants, vitamin C, and minerals with just the rind!
- Cut the fruit such that you do not touch the flesh and damage it.
- Take just the outer layer and dry it completely.
- Once dried, make a puree out of the skin.
- Add the puree to boiling water and let the mixture cool.
- Your tea is ready!
- Add sugar or honey if you want a little sweetness in your tea.
Although you might find mangosteen tea bags in the market, preferably make it at home using fresh fruits.
A Word Of Caution
Mangosteens might result in lactic acidosis (if you’ve consumed the juice constantly for about 12 months), which is a rare side effect of constant ingestion. Lactic acidosis results in lactic acid accumulation in the blood stream and causes major complications if ignored or left untreated.
The mangosteen rind might cause mild allergic reactions and interfere with your blood’s coagulating properties and with certain non-prescription and prescription drugs, especially for pregnant women.
Note that these effects mostly depend on your body type and allergic reactions. It might be a good idea to test for any possible side effects by eating it for a few days before making it a regular part of your diet.
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|↑3||Chen, Lih-Geeng, Ling-Ling Yang, and Ching-Chiung Wang. “Anti-inflammatory activity of mangostins from Garcinia mangostana.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 46, no. 2 (2008): 688-693.|
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|↑6||Huang, Hei-Jen, Wei-Lin Chen, Rong-Hong Hsieh, and Hsiu Mei Hsieh-Li. “Multifunctional effects of mangosteen pericarp on cognition in C57BL/6J and triple transgenic Alzheimer’s mice.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014 (2014).|
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|↑12||Chang, Hui-Fang, and Ling-Ling Yang. “Gamma-mangostin, a micronutrient of mangosteen fruit, induces apoptosis in human colon cancer cells.” Molecules 17, no. 7 (2012): 8010-8021.|
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|↑15||Shibata, Masa-Aki, Munekazu Iinuma, Junji Morimoto, Hitomi Kurose, Kanako Akamatsu, Yasushi Okuno, Yukihiro Akao, and Yoshinori Otsuki. “α-Mangostin extracted from the pericarp of the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana Linn) reduces tumor growth and lymph node metastasis in an immunocompetent xenograft model of metastatic mammary cancer carrying a p53 mutation.” BMC medicine 9, no. 1 (2011): 69.|
|↑16||Wang, Jing J., Qing H. Shi, Wei Zhang, and Barbara JS Sanderson. “Anti-skin cancer properties of phenolic-rich extract from the pericarp of mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana Linn.).” Food and chemical toxicology 50, no. 9 (2012): 3004-3013.|
|↑17||Kondo, Miwako, Liliang Zhang, Hongping Ji, Yan Kou, and Boxin Ou. “Bioavailability and antioxidant effects of a xanthone-rich Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) product in humans.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 57, no. 19 (2009): 8788-8792.|
|↑18||Devi Sampath, Pandima, and Kannan Vijayaraghavan. “Cardioprotective effect of α‐mangostin, a xanthone derivative from mangosteen on tissue defense system against isoproterenol‐induced myocardial infarction in rats.” Journal of biochemical and molecular toxicology 21, no. 6 (2007): 336-339.|
|↑19||Weecharangsan, Wanlop, Praneet Opanasopit, Monrudee Sukma, Tanasait Ngawhirunpat, Uthai Sotanaphun, and Pongpan Siripong. “Antioxidative and neuroprotective activities of extracts from the fruit hull of mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana Linn.).” Medical Principles and Practice 15, no. 4 (2006): 281-287.|
|↑20||Buelna-Chontal, Mabel, Francisco Correa, Sauri Hernández-Reséndiz, Cecilia Zazueta, and José Pedraza-Chaverri. “Protective effect of α-mangostin on cardiac reperfusion damage by attenuation of oxidative stress.” Journal of medicinal food 14, no. 11 (2011): 1370-1374.|
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