Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), also known as the “queen of fruits”, is a tropical evergreen tree that are grown mainly in Southeast Asia regions like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines. It is believed to have originated in the islands of Sunda and Moluccas of Indonesia.
In Southeast Asia, mangosteen is known by many vernacular names. For example, ‘manggis’ in Indonesia and Malaysia, ‘mangkhut’ in Thailand, ‘mongkhut’ in Cambodia, and ‘cay mang kut’ in Vietnam.
The mangosteen fruit is about 2 to 3 inches in diameter – the size of a small apple or orange. It has a thick reddish-purple exocarp (rind) with a green petal-like crown. The inner flesh consists of 4-8 triangular segments of white, juicy, edible pulp with fluid-filled vesicles (like the flesh of citrus fruits). Each segment contains a seed that are not edible and taste bitter. The seeds are almond-shaped and sized.
Instead of peeling it like an orange, a mangosteen is typically opened by pressing firmly the outside until it breaks apart. Mangosteen is delicious when consumed fresh but it can also be canned, frozen or processed into juice, jam, and syrup.
Mangosteen Nutrition Facts
Mangosteen contains a wide array of healthy nutrients and antioxidants that are beneficial to our health.
Mangosteen is packed with fiber, iron, calcium, copper, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin C.
In addition, mangosteen is also contain phytochemicals known as xanthones. These natural compounds are shown to have antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and therefore it has therapeutic potential in treating infectious diseases as well as cancer.
The following is the nutritional value of one cup (216 grams) of canned mangosteen (in percent Daily Value*) [source]:
- Folate: 17%
- Dietary fiber: 16%
- Carbohydrate: 13%
- Manganese: 11%
- Vitamin C: 10%
- Thiamin: 8%
- Riboflavin: 7%
- Copper: 7%
- Magnesium: 7%
- Iron: 4%
- Potassium: 3%
- Calcium: 3%
- Zinc: 3%
- Niacin: 3%
- Vitamin A: 2%
- Vitamin B6: 2%
Mangosteen Health Benefits
1. Fights cancer
Mangosteen contains xanthones, a powerful antioxidant which has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.
According to a research conducted by Akao Y et al., xanthones exhibit the potential to be developed as agents to prevent cancer or can be used in combination with anti-cancer drugs for beneficial effects .
The xanthones have also shown their ability to control cancer cell division and growth, inflammation, and cancer metastasis .
2. Control blood pressure
The high mineral content like potassium and magnesium in mangosteen can help regulate blood pressure as well as provide protection against strokes and coronary heart diseases. They are vital component of cell and body fluids that help keeping the heart rate and blood pressure under control. Mangosteen also reduces the cholesterol levels in your body, thus further checking the blood pressure and the consequent heart ailments.
3. Boosts immune system
The high level of vitamin C along with xanthones work wonders for improving immune system. Vitamin C boosts the body ability to fight off diseases while xanthones is particularly helpful in fighting free radicals.
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 due to its rich antioxidant content .
4. Skin care
Mangosteen has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which are highly effective in treating many common skin problems such as acne, skin blemishes, oily skin and dry skin.
In a study of Thai medicinal plants on inflammation caused by Propionibacterium acnes, mangosteen was one of the plants with strong antioxidant activity and reduced the production of reactive oxygen species, two factors that affect the growth of acne .
5. Aids digestion
The high fiber content of mangosteen makes it an excellent food for digestive health. Consuming the pericarp and peel of the fruit has been found effective in providing relief from diarrhea and dysentery. The high fiber composition of the fruit also helps ward off constipation and other digestive issues.
6. Fights tuberculosis
Mangosteen has been shown to be effective in treating tuberculosis caused by M. tuberculosis.
A study published in European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry found that compounds in mangosteen called xanthones proved to be effective in fighting against Mycobacterium tuberculosis – the bacterium that is responsible for TB infection. Xanthones were also found to be promising candidate as an anti-TB drug .
7. Prevents inflammation
Scientific research has shown that extracts of mangosteen have both anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties.
One Japan study specifically showed that these extracts worked better at inhibiting pro-allergy prostaglandin than an anti-allergy drug used in Japan. The extracts proved to be potent and successful inhibitors of the release of histamine and prostaglandin, which are both associated with inflammation in the human body as well as allergies .
8. Lowers Alzheimer’s disease risk
Various studies indicate that compounds called xanthones present in mangosteen can help resolve the inflammation within brain tissue. These studies are quite promising indeed as they reveal that mangosteen may fight the inflammation in the brain that is being linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
There are also studies which suggest that anti-inflammatory supplements have the potential to prevent or inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s especially when given in the early stages of the disease .
9. Treats anemia
Mangosteen is a rich source of folic acid that helps the body to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia. Plus, the iron in mangosteen can promote the formation of red blood cells, thereby helping to treat anemia caused by iron deficiency.
10. Promotes weight loss
Mangosteen can also aid in weight loss as the fruit is very low in calories (73 calories per 100 gram) and has zero cholesterol or fat. Moreover, it is rich in dietary fiber which helps in keeping you feel full for longer.
Interesting Facts about Mangosteen
- Mangosteen is an evergreen tree with dense, roundish crown. It can reach 20 to 82 feet in height.
- Mangosteen is available in the supermarkets around the world from June to October.
- Mangosteen is perennial plant that can survive more than 100 years in the wild.
- Mangosteen is the national fruit of Thailand.
- Mangosteen is slightly sweet and sour flavor that resembles a mix between the orange and peach.
- Durian and mangosteen are considered to be the king and queen of fruits because of their opposing flavours – the durian is ‘warming’ due to its pungent smell and rich consistency while the mangosteen is ‘cooling’ because of its juicy flesh and slightly acidic taste.
- The whole Mangosteen fruit contains xanthones, but most are found in the rind or skin of this fruit.
- Dried rind of mangosteen can be used in treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, ulcers, pain, infected wounds, fever and skin disorders such as eczema.
- Mangosteen is also used for the preparation of ice-creams, musses, sorbets, smoothies, and cocktails.
How to Select and Store Mangosteen
While buying mangosteen, choose those that are firm, yield slightly to pressure, and still have their caps attached.
The mangosteen should be stored at room temperature where they will keep for several days. It may be better to place the mangosteen in a refrigerator in a partially closed plastic bag to slow down moisture loss. They can also be placed without any plastic in the separately sealed compartments on the door of the refrigerator where moisture loss is somewhat hampered as well.