Also referred to as the Food of the Gods, mangosteen is a sweet and tangy fruit grown in various parts of South-East Asia. It is considered as the national fruit of Thailand.
Purple in color, the fruit has a white fleshy pulp, segmented with seeds. While the scientific name of the fruit is garcinia mangostana, in a varied country like India, the much-loved fruit is popular and consumed under the names of Mangustan (Hindi), Kaattampi (Malayalam), Kokam (Marathi), Hannu (Kannada) and Kao (Bengali). The tropical fruit has won the fancy of many chefs and home cooks for its refreshingly tangy flavor, including that of Queen Victoria of Britain. Legend has it that Queen Victoria had kept a reward price of 100 pounds sterling to whosoever would bring her the fresh purple mangosteen.
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Mangosteen is relatively low in calories yet provides many essential nutrients
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B9 (folate)
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
The vitamins and minerals in mangosteen are important for maintaining many bodily functions, including DNA production, muscle contraction, wound healing, immunity, and nerve signaling.
Moreover, a single cup (196 grams) of this fruit provides almost 14% of the RDI for fiber — a nutrient often lacking in people’s diets.
Mangosteen provides a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber while being low in calories. These nutrients are important for maintaining many functions in your body.
Rich in Powerful Antioxidants
Perhaps one of the mangosteen’s most significant attributes is its unique antioxidant profile.
Antioxidants are compounds that can neutralize the damaging effects of potentially harmful molecules called free radicals, which are linked to various chronic diseases.
Mangosteen contains several nutrients with antioxidant capacities, such as vitamin C and folate. Plus, it provides xanthones — a unique type of plant compound known to have strong antioxidant properties.
In several studies, the antioxidant activity of xanthones has resulted in anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-aging, and antidiabetic effects.
Thus, xanthones in mangosteen may be responsible for many of its potential health benefits. Still, more human research is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Mangosteen contains vitamins with antioxidant capacity, as well as a unique class of antioxidant compounds known as xanthones.
The xanthones found in mangosteen may play a role in reducing inflammation.
Test-tube and animal studies suggest that xanthones have an anti-inflammatory effect and may reduce your risks of inflammatory diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Mangosteen is also rich in fiber, which offers various benefits. For instance, some animal research indicates that a higher-fiber diet may help reduce your body's inflammatory response.
Though this data is encouraging, more research is needed to better understand how mangosteen affects inflammation and disease progression in humans.
Plant compounds and fiber in mangosteen may have anti-inflammatory effects according to animal research. More studies are needed to understand how this fruit may reduce inflammation in humans.
Population studies show that diets rich in vegetables and fruits like mangosteen are associated with reduced incidences of cancer.
Specific plant compounds in mangosteen — including xanthones — have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which may help fight the development and spread of cancerous cells.
Multiple test-tube studies reveal that xanthones can inhibit cancer cell growth, including breast, stomach, and lung tissue.
Similarly, a small number of studies observed that this compound may slow the progression of colon and breast cancer in mice.
Though these results are promising, insufficient research has been done in humans.
Test-tube and animal research indicates that xanthones in mangosteen may protect against cancer. However, high-quality human research on this topic is lacking.
Promotes Weight Loss
In the health and wellness industry, one of the mangosteen’s biggest claims to fame is its potential to aid weight loss.
One study found that mice on a high-fat diet who received supplemental doses of mangosteen gained significantly less weight than mice in the control group.
Similarly, in a small, 8-week study, people who supplemented their diets with 3, 6 or 9 ounces (90, 180, or 270 ml) of mangosteen juice twice daily tended to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than the control group.
Additional research on mangosteen and obesity is limited, but experts theorize that the fruit’s anti-inflammatory effects play a role in promoting fat metabolism and preventing weight gain.
Ultimately, more studies are needed to better understand how mangosteen may fit into an effective weight loss plan.
Some animal and human research suggest that mangosteen may play a role in weight loss and obesity prevention.
Supports Blood Sugar Control
Both test-tube and animal studies show that xanthone compounds in mangosteen may help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
A recent 26-week study in obese women found that those receiving 400 mg of supplemental mangosteen extract daily had significant reductions in insulin resistance — a risk factor for diabetes — compared to the control group.
The fruit is also a good source of fiber, a nutrient that can help stabilize blood sugar and improve diabetes control.
The combination of the xanthone and fiber contents in mangosteen may help balance blood sugar. However, more research is needed.
Promotes a Healthy Immune System
Fiber and vitamin C — both of which can be found in mangosteen — are important for a healthy immune system.
Fiber supports your healthy gut bacteria — an essential component of immunity. On the other hand, vitamin C is needed for the function of various immune cells and has antioxidant properties.
Additionally, some research suggests that certain plant compounds in mangosteen may have antibacterial properties — which could benefit your immune health by combating potentially harmful bacteria.
In a 30-day study in 59 people, those taking a mangosteen-containing supplement experienced reduced markers of inflammation and significantly greater increases in healthy immune cell numbers compared to those taking a placebo.
Your immune system requires many different nutrients to function optimally. Mangosteen may be a healthy choice to include alongside other nutrient-dense foods as part of a balanced diet.
Research suggests that mangosteen may increase your number of immune cells and reduce inflammation — potentially boosting immune health.
Helps Maintain Healthy Skin
Skin damage from sun exposure is a common occurrence worldwide and a major contributor to skin cancer and signs of aging.
One study in mice treated with supplemental mangosteen extract observed a protective effect against ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation in the skin.
What’s more, a small, 3-month human study found that people treated with 100 mg of mangosteen extract daily experienced significantly more elasticity in their skin and less accumulation of a particular compound known to contribute to skin aging.
Researchers assert that mangosteen’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity is the main reason for these skin-protective effects, but more studies in this area are needed.
Research suggests that antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in mangosteen may protect skin cells from damage associated with sun exposure and aging.
Mangosteen may also have a positive impact on your heart, brain, and digestive system:
Heart health. Animal studies show that mangosteen extract effectively reduced heart disease risk factors like LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Brain health. Studies indicate that mangosteen extract helps prevent mental decline, decrease brain inflammation, and improve symptoms of depression in mice, though human studies in this area are lacking.
Digestive health. Mangosteen is packed with fiber. Just 1 cup (196 grams) provides about 14% of the RDI. Fiber is essential for digestive health, and high-fiber diets help promote bowel regularity.