Purple mangosteen, often just called mangosteen, is an evergreen tree that grows in countries with tropical climates, notably Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Its fruit, which is known for its purple-colored rind, is extremely juicy and tangy, and is comparable in size to a small peach or apple. While mangosteens can be found in Hawaii and Canada, they cannot be imported to continental United States due to concerns about insect transportation.
List of Health Benefits
Mangosteen is a nutritious fruit and can provide us with numerous health benefits. In fact, as more evidence of its benefits are unearthed, some researchers are even starting to consider it a ‘superfood’.
- Rich in xanthones – The juice of the mangosteen fruit is extremely high in antioxidants, including an especially potent type of antioxidant called xanthones, of which mangosteen contains 40 out of the 200 known to science. Xanthones are only found in a small number of tropical fruits and contains powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, and anti-allergy properties.
- Antioxidant activity – Aside from its xanthone content, mangosteen also contains several other powerful antioxidants, namely, catechins, quinones, stilbenes, and polyphenols. Researchers consider catechins to be five times more powerful than vitamin C as antioxidants (meaning their ability to combat free radicals is also five times more potent). Quinones are powerful oxidants in their own right, and are known for their anti-bacterial properties. Stilbenes are compounds in plants that help the plant to fight fungi; surprisingly, however, stilbenes’ anti-fungal properties are retained even when ingested by humans. And most health researchers now know that polyphenols are even stronger antioxidants than vitamin E, which is itself one of the most potent antioxidants in existence.
- Good natural laxative – Like all fruits, mangosteen is an effective laxative that helps to soften stools and improve regularity, mainly due to its high levels of dietary fiber. Therefore, if you are constipated, consider eating more fruits like mangosteen.
- Excellent source of energy – Due to its high natural sugar content, mangosteen is a great energy booster and is often used to improve the energy levels of people suffering from fatigue. When natives of various Southeast Asian countries complained to the local healer about fatigue, mangosteen was one of the first foods recommended to them.
- Anti-aging properties – Largely due to its aforementioned antioxidant content, mangosteen has earned a reputation as a powerful anti-aging food that is especially good for your skin.
- Weight loss properties – Mangosteen’s fat and calorie content is insignificant and it can be eaten as a snack whenever you feel hungry. Due to its high fiber content, eating a mangosteen is likely to make you feel full, which will prevent overeating.
Mangosteen Is Not a Miracle Cure!
Since all of the benefits listed above have been validated through research, one might conclude that mangosteens are some kind of ‘miracle’ food that can cure most ailments. While it is true that it is very good for you (name a fruit that isn’t!), it is also important to know that during the beginning of this century, ‘mangosteen fever’ hit the West, especially the United States. Salesmen and opportunists – often with large budgets – began to swamp the natural food arena with exaggerated claims about mangosteen juice’s healthfulness in an attempt to sell their products. These reports, which still dominate the Internet, claim that mangosteens are an exceptional cure for serious illnesses like cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and many others. These claims are unfounded; the harsh fact is that no food contains enough active ingredients to combat serious metabolic diseases in a stable and future-proof manner.
Therefore, if you are interested in purchasing mangosteen products, it’s probably best to take these slick marketing claims with a grain of salt. Mangosteen is indeed an antioxidant-rich fruit that your body will love. It cannot, however, undo the damages associated with a lifetime’s unhealthy eating.