Exploring the Health Benefits and Nutritional Richness of Mangosteen

This tropical fruit is appreciated for its sweet taste and several health-promoting properties

Photo of author

By Alex

mangosteen

Today, let’s delve into the world of mangosteen, a tropical fruit known for its low calorie count yet rich in carbohydrates and fiber. Derived from the mangosteen tree (scientifically known as Garcinia mangostana), the true potential of this exotic fruit, despite its growing popularity, remains shrouded in mystery.

History of Mangosteen Commercialization

Originating from a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, mangosteen is distinguished by its striking purple rind and juicy, white pulp. In the early 2000s, this relatively obscure fruit entered the global market primarily in juice form, heavily promoted for its potential health benefits, including its purported ability to combat serious diseases such as tumors, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The marketing strategies employed involved multi-level marketing schemes, a controversial and often criticized sales approach. Despite the enthusiastic claims, rigorous scientific studies soon exposed that the supposed miraculous benefits were largely overhyped and misleading. This revelation led to regulatory actions starting with the FDA in the United States, which then spread to other nations, culminating in the suspension of juice sales that had been misleadingly advertised as a cancer cure.

After a period of scrutiny and reevaluation, mangosteen was reintroduced to the market in some regions, but this time it was marketed correctly as a dietary supplement. This shift reflected a more ethical approach to promoting the fruit’s genuine nutritional benefits without the previous medical claims.

Today, mangosteen continues to be enjoyed not only for its delightful flavor but also for its authentic health benefits when included as part of a balanced diet.

Why Isn’t Fresh Mangosteen easily available in the US or Europe?

Fresh mangosteen is not widely available in the US or Europe primarily due to several logistical and regulatory challenges:

First of all, importing fresh fruit into the US and Europe involves strict regulations to prevent the spread of pests and diseases that could affect local agriculture. For a long time, mangosteen was banned in the US because it could potentially harbor the Asian fruit fly, a pest known to threaten various crops.

Moreover, Mangosteen is highly perishable, with a relatively short shelf life once harvested. The delicate nature of the fruit makes it difficult to transport over long distances without significant spoilage. Despite advances in shipping technology, such as refrigeration and faster transit times, maintaining the quality of fresh mangosteen during long-distance transport remains a challenge.

Last, there are significant challenges to local cultivations. Mangosteen trees require specific climatic conditions to thrive, including high humidity and tropical temperatures, which are hard to replicate in most parts of the US and Europe.

Nutritional Values of Mangosteen

This fruit has a high nutritional value. It contains a significant amount of fiber and carbohydrates, along with vitamins calcium, potassium, and iron. Mangosteen is a decidedly low-calorie fruit with a very low intake of fats and proteins and zero cholesterol. It is also rich in carbohydrates and fiber, particularly useful for facilitating the motility of the intestinal tract and responsible for the laxative properties of this fruit.

As anticipated, it also has a good quantity of vitamins, especially those of groups B and C, and is rich in folic acid. We remember that group B vitamins, such as vitamins B1, B3, and B9, are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. It’s very important to also remember that this fruit contains a large amount of xanthones.

Among the minerals, potassium is well represented along with copper, manganese, and magnesium.

Here’s a breakdown of nutritional values of mangosteen per 100 grams:

 
Nutrient Amount
Calories 35 kcal
Protein 0.45 g
Total Fat 0.58 g
Carbohydrates 6.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
Sugars 13.8 g
Calcium 12 mg
Iron 0.3 mg
Magnesium 13 mg
Vitamin C 2.9 mg
Vitamin A 35 IU
Vitamin B6 0.028 mg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.034 mg

 

Properties of Mangosteen

Here is now a quick roundup of the alleged benefits and properties of this fruit. However, we should remember that currently there are no quality clinical studies that demonstrate the real therapeutic effects on humans.

mangosteen

Mangosteen for Digestion

Thanks to its digestive properties, this tropical fruit is indicated in cases of abdominal bloating or to prevent the formation of intestinal gas, but also to combat diarrhea and intestinal constipation.

The fibers and vitamins also contribute to improving intestinal functions and rebalancing the bacterial flora.

Mangosteen as an Antioxidant

The antioxidant properties attributed to it are due to the high concentration of xanthones, substances capable of counteracting cellular aging and inhibiting inflammatory processes, even in the case of viral or bacterial attacks.

The antioxidant substances would make this fruit an ideal ally against the formation of wrinkles and to counteract skin inflammations, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis improving also the elasticity and hydration of the epidermis.

How to Consume Mangosteen

Mangosteen can be consumed naturally after removing the skin to access the white pulp.

The pulp has a sweet and tasty flavor, and juice can be made from it, using also the purple pulp (in this case, be careful because the purple juice from the pulp has a considerable ability to stain).

Alternatively, it can be used as an ingredient to enrich other dishes, both sweet and savory.

It is now available on the market not only as juice but also as oil, in the form of candies and supplement tablets.

Mangosteen smoothie
A mangosteen smoothie

Myths Surrounding Mangosteen

Mangosteen is surrounded by various myths that often exaggerate its benefits. While it’s true that this fruit is rich in beneficial nutrients, some claims about its effects are not supported by robust scientific evidence.

Here are some common myths about mangosteen:

  • Cure-All Properties: Mangosteen is sometimes touted as a miracle fruit capable of curing a multitude of health issues, from chronic diseases to everyday ailments. However, while mangosteen does possess health-promoting properties due to its antioxidants and vitamins, it is not a standalone cure for diseases. No single food can prevent, treat, or cure diseases by itself. A balanced diet and regular medical care are essential for maintaining health.
  • Weight Loss Miracle: Another popular myth is that mangosteen can significantly aid in weight loss. Some proponents claim that its consumption can help reduce appetite or miraculously burn fat. While a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help manage weight and overall health, mangosteen alone does not have any proven exceptional weight loss properties. Effective weight management involves a combination of balanced eating habits, regular physical activity, and other lifestyle factors.
  • Anti-Aging Elixir: Due to its high antioxidant content, mangosteen is often claimed to have profound anti-aging capabilities. While antioxidants are known to help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, thereby potentially reducing some signs of aging, they cannot reverse the aging process entirely. Skincare and aging are complex issues influenced by genetics, environmental factors, and overall health practices.

Side Effects of Mangosteen

Despite its potential advantages, it also has some side effects, especially in people who are hypersensitive and allergic to fruit.

Here are some contraindications listed below.

  • Constipation. Excessive consumption can cause constipation in some people. Some intestinal diseases can also be aggravated by the consumption of this fruit.
  • Effects on chemotherapy. As it is not a drug and certainly not a cure for tumors, one must absolutely not believe some things found on the internet, sometimes really delirious and dangerous. It must be reiterated that it is not and cannot in any way substitute for chemotherapy. On the other hand, it is true that this fruit is useful for counteracting free radicals. In this sense, it is not wrong to say that it is a useful ally for cancer prevention, like several other elements. In any case, it is advisable to consult your doctor for doubts on this point.
  • Side effects in the Case of Essential Polycythemia. Essential polycythemia, also known as Vaquez disease, is a condition characterized by excessive production of red blood cells. Since one of its properties is to increase the number of red blood cells, it is not advisable to consume it when suffering from this disease.
  • Interference with Anticoagulants. Coagulation is a mechanism that helps the human body prevent bleeding. Consumption can cause bleeding. Therefore, it is not recommended to take it with anticoagulant medications, as this can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding.

Allergies and Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitive individuals should avoid consuming it, as it can lead to skin rashes, hives, and itching.

Chest pain is also a concern, as well as swelling of the throat and mouth. These allergies can pose a risk to your health.

Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as these symptoms occur. Other individuals may experience insomnia, abdominal and joint pain, heartburn, constipation, muscle pain, and minor headaches after consumption.

Children should not consume it, nor should pregnant women.

More on Tropical Fruits

You might also want to explore the properties of these exotic fruits: