Mangosteen - Queen of Tropical Fruits

One of the pleasures of traveling is discovering different types of local fruits and vegetables. On our recent trip to Srilanka (you can read all about it here) we saw a variety of fruits and vegetables being sold by fruit vendors along the various roads and in the local markets. We tasted wood apple, rambutan and durian to name a few but it was mangosteen that we absolutely fell in love with.

Mangosteen also known as the Queen of tropical fruits is native to Southeast Asian countries and is also cultivated in India, and Srilanka.

Interesting Facts:
  • It is the national fruit of Thailand.
  • In the 1800s, Queen Victoria is said to have offered knighthood to anyone who brought her fresh mangosteens from Asia.
  • Mangosteen was banned in the US until October 2007 due to the possibility of the fruit introducing the Asian fruit fly into the US.

The fruit is dark purple in colour with a soft white fragrant edible centre very similar in construction to the sections of an orange. The taste is amazing with an exceptional blend of sweetness and tanginess and literally melts in your mouth.

In India the fruit is known as Mangustan and is grown on the slopes of the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and Kerala but it is not easily available and is marketed as an exotic fruit in super markets with a high price tag.

Health Benefits:

Mangosteen has several health benefits which have been known for long to the people of Southeast Asia. These benefits have been scientifically proved over the past decades.

The nutritional value is high as it is rich in water, energy, protein, carbohydrates and fibre. It contains essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium etc. and also vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A and Folic acid. All these are very essential for maintaining good health.

1. Anti-inflammatory Properties:

Studies show that the extracts of mangosteen have anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties. They inhibit the release of histamine and prostaglandin which are associated with inflammation in the human body as well as allergies.

2. Immunity Booster:

If you are looking at generally boosting your immunity and keeping the cold and flus at bay, mangosteen is definitely a fruit to include in your diet as it is rich in various nutrients, minerals, vitamins and xanthone.

3. Cures Stomach Disorder:

Consumption of mangosteen pulp and peel helps in curing diarrhea and dysentery.

4. Aids Digestion:

Mangosteen is high on fibre which makes it an excellent food for digestive health.

5. Heart Health:

Mangosteen is high on xanthones which are powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants promote heart health by reducing the risk of heart attack by neutralizing free radicals.

6. Controls Diabetes:

Mangosteen consumption can help keep diabetes in check by maintaining normal blood sugar. This ability comes from the tannic acid content in the fruit and also from its oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). OPCs are naturally occurring plant metabolites that are widely available in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, flowers and bark and are primarily known for their antioxidant activity.

Note: The concentration of xanthone is in the rind and not the pulp. Therefore for effective use of the fruits medicinal properties, make tea from the rind or dry the rind, powder it and use it in teas, smoothies etc.

Skin Benefits:

The anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-allergy and anti-oxidant properties of mangosteen make it ideal for skin care.

Tip: Home remedy for Acne. Make a homemade mask by drying the rind and then making a powder. Mix the powder in olive oil to form a paste. Clean your face and apply the mask on your face and wait for 30-40 minutes until the mask dries. Then wash your face with cold water (to close the skin pores). Use this mask regularly, at least once a week to treat acne and acne scars effectively.

Mangosteen recipe ideas:

  • Make mangosteen sorbet by simply adding sugar and lemon juice. Freeze the concoction and blend with water as per taste just before consumption.
  • Make a mangosteen cucumber smoothie by blending 1/4 cup of mangosteen juice with 2 medium size cucumbers, 1.5 cups of chopped pineapple and 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger.
  • A fruit salad combining mangosteen, papaya, watermelon, pineapple and grapes makes a nutritious meal.

Be sure to check your allergies and consult your Dietician/Nutritionist before you include mangosteen in your diet.


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