Mangosteen, also known as the “mango tree,” is native to southeast Asia and Australia. It grows up to 40 feet tall and produces large, shiny leaves.
When fully grown, the tree bears small, yellowish fruits that look like little oranges. These fruits ripen into a soft, orangey-yellow pulp that contains seeds, juice, and a sticky gel called pericarp.
This gel is what gives mangosteen its characteristic tangy taste.
The fruit is often described as having a sweet and sour flavour, though it does contain some bitterness. The texture of mangosteen varies depending on where it is harvested.
For example, mangosteens from India tend to be firmer and less watery than those from Thailand.
Though mangosteen is most commonly consumed raw, you can eat it cooked, blended into smoothies, juiced, dried, frozen, or even canned.
There are several ways to prepare mangosteen. You can boil it whole and serve it hot; blend it into juices, sauces, and milkshakes; freeze it into ice pops; or dry it out and make tea bags.
In terms of calories , one medium mangosteen has about 100 calories. One cup of fresh mangosteen juice has about 110 calories.
One cup of dried mangosteen powder has about 250 calories so can be utilised if on a calorie controlled diet.
Mangosteen has a plethora of health benefits.
1. Boosts Your Immune System
Mangosteen is packed full of powerful immune system boosters. As well as containing vitamin C, E, and B vitamins, the fruit contains polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenes, and tannins.
All of these compounds help boost your body’s natural defences against disease. They also help reduce inflammation, which can lead to conditions such as arthritis and asthma.
2. Help With Weight Loss
One study found that people who ate mangosteen regularly lost more weight than those who didn’t.
Researchers believe this is because mangosteen helps increase levels of serotonin, a hormone that regulates appetite. Another study found that mangosteen may prevent fat cells from storing too much sugar in their cell walls.
3. Fights Cancer
A compound in mangosteen called xanthones have been shown to kill breast cancer cells without harming healthy ones.
In fact, they seem to work by triggering apoptosis (cell death) in cancerous cells but not normal ones.
4. Improve Digestion
A compound in mangosteen named gartanin stimulates the production of digestive enzymes in the stomach.
This means that eating mangosteen could improve symptoms associated with gastric ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders.
5. Reduces Stress
Mangosteen contains anandamide, a chemical that mimics the effects of marijuana. Research suggests that this compound relaxes muscles and reduces anxiety.
6. Protects Against Diabetes
Mangosteen extract has been shown to lower blood glucose levels in mice with type 2 diabetes. However, there hasn’t been any research done on humans yet.
Storage And Selection
Mangosteens are around all year to purchase but fully ripe mangosteens are most common in the summertime.
They are available fresh during the warmer seasons, while fully matured red/purple fruits are either picked by hand or using a special hook method to extract form the mango trees.
If the outer skin is broken can cause the whole fruit to be bitter. Mangosteens are sold in most supermarkets around the United States.
While looking for mangosteens choose fresh fruits that are firm with a smooth, with a purplish bright outer skin which is a sign of freshness.
Don’t choose spotted or dry skinned fruits as they won’t be fresh, affecting the taste.
Store unripe mangosteens at room temperature away from sunlight and humidity.
Ripen them at home, placing them in a paper bag with a banana leaf inside. Once ripened, keep them in refrigerator until needed.
As we have seen, the mangosteen tree grows throughout Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
As well as being super tasty, its leaves are used in traditional medicine to treat fever, diarrhoea, cough and sore throat. In fact, mangosteen juice is often prescribed to children suffering from colds.
In addition to being a potent anti-inflammatory agent, mangosteen contains compounds called xanthones which are also believed to help fight viruses such as HIV/AIDS and herpes.
A study suggests that mangosteen could even help protect against Alzheimer’s disease by helping improve memory and cognitive function.
Taking a daily dose of 500 mg of mangosteen extract improves blood flow to the brain.
It is also thought that mangosteen extracts may inhibit bacteria that cause urinary tract infections as it inhibits the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant strain of staph bacteria.
Prep And Serving
Wash the mangosteens in water to remove surface dirt. If you are buying frozen mangoes, thaw them out completely before cutting.
This way, there won’t be ice crystals on the cut surfaces. Cut into pieces about 2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. You can use a mandoline or vegetable peeler to make nice slices. Store in the refrigerator.
Mangosteen extracts are used in many products today, including cosmetics, food supplements, and dietary supplements.
Some people use mangosteen for weight loss because of its ability to lower cholesterol levels.
However, scientists do not know if mangosteen extract works better than conventional medications for treating high cholesterol.
Also, some people take mangosteen extract to treat arthritis pain. But, scientists don’t know whether mangosteen helps relieve symptoms of arthritis.
And, researchers don’t know how much mangosteen extract you need to feel relief.
Researchers also don’t know what side effects might happen when someone takes mangosteen extract.
For example, mangosteen could cause diarrhoea or stomach upset, or make it hard to urinate.
No one knows whether taking mangosteen extract affects pregnancy or breastfeeding so it’s wise to be cautious.
There is not enough evidence that mangosteen can prevent or cure cancer but it is worth taking due to its nutritional value.
Mangosteen does not seem to affect hormone levels in menopausal women.
And, while mangosteen extract appears to reduce inflammation, scientists don’t know for sure if it reduces joint swelling.
The low calorie nature of mangosteen makes it a good option as part of a calorie controlled diet. And it’s super tasty too, enjoy!