Mangosteen: nutrition facts and health benefits

Mangosteen

Fruit of the mangosteen, a tree native to tropical Asia, mangosteen is a rounded, purplish-shaped fruit of a size similar to a golf ball. Its skin, which is called pericarp, is thick and bitter. Once removed, a white-fleshed fruit appears, divided into five to six quarters (the arils), each containing a nucleus. Its taste combines the acidic and sweet flavors, evoking the peach, pineapple, raspberry, and proves to be very refreshing. It is nicknamed “the Fruit Queen”.

History of mangosteen

The mangosteen is the subject of medicinal uses in Asia, but it is mainly the food uses of this tropical fruit which have passed through the ages and continents. Mentioned in the 7th century as a fruit tree from Southeast Asia, mangosteen would have begun to be cultivated in Thailand in the early nineteenth century.

Queen Victoria of England would have made mangosteen her favorite fruit, even offering the title of Knight to anyone who could provide her with a regular supply. The mangosteen is now cultivated for its fruits throughout tropical Asia and in some parts of South America.

It was not until 1970 that the alpha-mangostin, an antioxidant substance of the Xanthones family, was isolated. Subsequently, some 40 other xanthones were discovered in the mangosteen, especially in the skin of the fruit.

Use of the mangosteen

Several parts of the mangosteen are subject to medicinal uses in traditional Asian pharmacopoeias (China, Thailand, India, in particular), usually in combination with other plants. The skin of the fruit, the leaves of the tree and the heart of its wood are, for example, used to relieve abdominal pain, treat diarrhea, infections, inflammation, allergies, depression and skin disorders. Herbalists in these countries also use them to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Over the past few years, it is mainly the fruit, the mangosteen, which holds the attention of Westerners for its antioxidant content.

Research

Important. Some manufacturers or distributors of mangosteen refer to hundreds of scientific studies and articles published about xanthones and mangosteen. Impressive at first glance, but these data remain very preliminary for now, because the vast majority of them are from in vitro tests.

For the time being, there are no quality clinical trials that demonstrate the therapeutic effects of mangosteen among humans.

However, the discovery of the xanthones has resulted in numerous in vitro tests and on animals, whose results tend to validate some of the traditional uses of this fruit: treatment of allergies, diseases of the digestive tract and prevention of cardiovascular disorders, for example.

Other preliminary data have detected anti-cancer and antidepressive properties in xanthones.

Various. The results of a trial without a control group conducted with 60 subjects in Thailand were published in 2008: the use of a mouthwash containing an extract of the skin (pericarp) of the mangosteen helped to reduce the bad breath of the participants.

Precautions

Attention

A case of lactic acidosis associated with the consumption of mangosteen juice has recently been reported. Lactic acidosis is an abnormal increase in lactic acid in the blood, usually due to poor tissue oxygenation. However, the patient suffered from a severe lung disorder that could also have been the cause of this lactic acidosis.

Contraindications

Pregnancy and breastfeeding. Insufficient data to decide.

Adverse effects

No known, except in cases of allergy to plants in the clusiaceae family, such as hypericum and garcinia cambogia.

Interactions

With plants or supplements

Theoretically, the effects of mangosteen may be added to those of plants or supplements that have anticoagulant action or that inhibit serotonin reuptake.

With medications

Theoretically, the effects of mangosteen may be added to those of anticoagulant medications, antihistamines, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Theoretically, the effects of mangosteen could counteract those of chemotherapeutic drugs, the action of which is oxidizing.

Advice

Exotic fruit juices such as acai, goji, mangosteen and noni are associated with exceptional health benefits by their manufacturers and distributors. Yet, for the time being, no good quality clinical trial confirming these allegations has been published.

The high price of these juices and the lack of reliable clinical data do not, at the moment, justify their addition to our diet. Especially since we already have access to a wide variety of small fruits and local vegetables, many of which have clinically proven beneficial properties and high antioxidant value: blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, broccoli, tomato, onion, for example. The best is in our daily actions to take care of our health, not in one food.

Mangosteen: garden care tips

The mangosteen is a fruit tree of tropical regions. Its fruit, the mongoose or queen of fruits, is very appreciated for its special taste blend of sweet and acidity, between strawberry and grape, and its many benefits. This is one of the richest fruits in natural antioxidants.

Characteristics of mangosteen

Native to tropical Asia and especially Malaysia, the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) can reach the tropical zone between 7 and 28 meters high. It has leaves of a dark green of about 10 centimetres long and wide by about 5 cm. The mangosteen belongs to the genus Garcinia and the family of the Clusiaceae. Global production is concentrated mainly in Thailand and Indonesia.

Culture of mangosteen

The mangosteen only enjoys moist warm climates and well-drained, rich soils. It is very difficult to withstand the cold: below 4 °C, it freezes and dies and when heat is too high (+ 38 °C). So it is not cultivated under temperate climates. Its culture in a tropical zone is very slow. It takes three years to grow thirty centimetres and it takes about ten years to reap the first fruits. Moreover its multiplication is possible only by sowing, the tests of cuttings and layering have failed, which makes its culture binding.

Fruit of the mangosteen

The mongoose is a dark violet or purple brown berry of the size of a small tangerine (between 3 to 7 cm), topped by four leaves and a peduncle. Under the thick skin called pericarp, you can find 5 or 6 quarters of white pulp. The mangosteen is rich in vitamin C and minerals (calcium, magnesium and potassium). Mangosteen’s juice is as well known as the goji berry juice to fight fatigue and ageing. In Thailand, mangosteen is used to treat many problems (skin problems, urinary tract infections, abdominal pain).

Where can I buy mangosteen?

This is certainly the question you will ask yourself if you want to benefit from the many virtues of this fruit. However, you should know that finding mangosteen has not always been an easy thing to do. Indeed, the lack of knowledge of this fruit has led many countries including England to ban its commercialization. Nowadays, it has changed significantly and it is relatively easy to get it in any supermarket or online store.

The nutritional value of mangosteen

This fruit has an exceptional nutritional value. These include fibers and carbohydrates in considerable quantities, as well as vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, and iron. In addition, this fruit contains in large quantities all the forms of B vitamins, which include among other vitamins B1, B3, and B9. The latter are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is very important to remember that this fruit contains a lot of xanthones.

Storage and consumption

How to choose and keep it?

The mangosteen has a green skin, thick of several millimeters, corky and smooth. It turns to purplish-brown when the fruit arrives at maturity. When choosing a mangosteen, check that the fruit is slightly soft to the touch: too hard, it is no longer consumable. Ripe on the tree, the fruits evolve very quickly. Available on the stalls throughout the year, the mangosteen is maintained two to three weeks at room temperature, and up to seven weeks between 4 and 8 °C.

How to consume it?

The mangosteen, rare and delicate fruit, is readily consumed fresh, natural, or in fruit salad. In the kitchen, it will be more commonly used in juices, but it can also be included in syrups, sorbet, jam, and be integrated into recipes of sweet or savory salads.

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