Mangosteen ( Garcinia mangostana ) is an exotic, tropical fruit with a slightly sour-sweet taste.
He hails from Southeast Asia, but he can be found in various tropical regions around the world.
The fruit is sometimes called purple mangosteen due to the deep purple color, its peel develops when ripe. On the contrary, the juicy inner flesh is bright white.
Although mangosteen is a relatively unusual fruit, it should not be overlooked, as it can bring many health benefits due to its rich supply of nutrients, fiber and unique antioxidants.
The beneficial properties of mangosteen
1. Very nutritious
Mangosteen is relatively low in calories, but provides many essential nutrients. A serving of canned, dried mangosteen (196 grams) contains:
- Calories: 143 kcal
- Carbohydrates : 35 gr.
- Fiber: 3.5 g
- Fats: 1 gr.
- Protein: 1 gr.
- Vitamin C: 9%
- Vitamin B9 (Folate): 15%
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 7%
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 6%
- Manganese: 10%
- Copper: 7%
- Magnesium: 6%
The vitamins and minerals in mangosteen are important for maintaining many body functions, including DNA production, muscle contraction, wound healing, immunity and transmission of nerve signals ( 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ).
Moreover, one cup (196 grams) of this fruit provides almost 14% of the daily intake for fiber, a nutrient that is often lacking in people’s diets ( 6 ).
Mangosteen contains many essential vitamins, minerals and fiber with a low calorie content. These nutrients are important for maintaining many functions in your body.
2. Rich in powerful antioxidants
The beneficial properties of mangosteen are due to its unique antioxidant profile.
Antioxidants are compounds that can neutralize the negative effects of potentially harmful molecules called free radicals, which are associated with various chronic diseases.
Mangosteen contains several antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and folate. In addition, it contains xanthones, a unique type of plant compounds that are known to have strong antioxidant properties ( 8 ).
In several studies, the antioxidant activity of xanthones has led to anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-aging, and anti-diabetic effects ( 9 ).
Thus, xanthones in mangosteen may be responsible for many of its potential health benefits. However, additional human research is needed before final conclusions can be drawn.
Exotic noni fruit also has a rich antioxidant profile. A noni juice has a number of important health benefits.
Mangosteen contains vitamins with antioxidant ability, as well as a unique class of antioxidant compounds known as xanthones.
3. May have anti-inflammatory properties
Xanthones found in mangosteen may play a role in reducing inflammation.
In vitro and animal studies show that xanthones have anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes ( 9 ).
Mangosteen is also rich in fiber, which offers various benefits. For example, some animal studies show that high fiber diets can help reduce your body’s inflammatory response ( 10 ).
Although this data is encouraging, more research is needed to better understand how mangosteen affects inflammation and disease progression in humans.
According to animal studies, plant compounds and fiber in mangosteen can have anti-inflammatory effects. More research is needed to understand how this fruit can reduce inflammation in humans.
4. May have anti-cancer effects
Population studies show that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, such as mangosteen, is associated with a decrease in cancer cases.
Specific plant compounds in mangosteen, including xanthones, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which can help in the fight against the development and spread of cancer cells ( 9 ).
Numerous in vitro studies show that xanthones can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, including in the mammary gland, stomach, and lung tissue ( 11 ).
Similarly, a small number of studies have shown that this compound can slow the progression of colon cancer and breast cancer in mice ( 11 ).
Although these results are promising, insufficient studies have been conducted in humans.
In vitro and animal studies show that xanthones in mangosteen can protect against cancer. However, high-quality human research on this topic is not enough.
5. May contribute to weight loss.
In the industry of health and well-being, one of the biggest claims of mangosteen to fame is its potential for weight loss.
One study showed that mice on a high-fat diet that received extra doses of mangosteen gained significantly less weight than mice in the control group ( 12 ).
Similarly, in a small 8-week study, people who added 90, 180, or 270 ml of mangosteen juice twice a day to their diet tended to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than the control group ( 13 ).
Additional studies on mangosteen and obesity are limited, but experts suggest that the anti-inflammatory effects of the fetus play a role in promoting fat metabolism and preventing weight gain ( 14 ).
Ultimately, more research is needed to better understand how mangosteen can fit into an effective weight loss plan.
Some animal and human studies show that mangosteen can play a role in weight loss and preventing obesity. However, more research is needed.
6. Supports blood sugar control
Studies conducted both in vitro and in animals show that the xanthon compounds in mangosteen have the beneficial properties of maintaining normal blood sugar levels ( 15 ).
A recent 26-week study involving obese women showed that those who received 400 mg of an additional extract of mangosteen daily had a significant decrease in insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes, compared with the control group ( 16 ).
The fetus is also a good source of fiber, a nutrient that can help stabilize blood sugar and improve diabetes control ( 16 ).
The combination of xanthon and fiber in mangosteen can help balance your blood sugar. However, more research is needed.
Plant compounds and fiber in mangosteen can help lower blood sugar. However, ongoing research is insufficient.
7. 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 healthy intestinal bacteria, an essential component of immunity. On the other hand, vitamin C is necessary for the functioning of various immune cells and has antioxidant properties.
In addition, some studies show that some plant compounds in mangosteen may have antibacterial properties that can help your immune health fight potentially harmful bacteria ( 19 ).
In a 30-day study of 59 people, those who took the supplement containing mangosteen showed a decrease in inflammation markers and a significantly larger increase in the number of healthy immune cells compared with those taking a placebo ( 20 ).
Your immune system requires many different nutrients for optimal functioning. Mangosteen can be good for health along with other nutrient-rich foods as part of a balanced diet.
Studies show that mangosteen can increase the number of immune cells and reduce inflammation – potentially enhancing immune health.
8. Promotes healthy skin and
Skin damage from exposure to the sun is common throughout the world and is a major cause of skin cancer and signs of aging ( 21 ).
In one study in mice that received an additional extract of mangosteen, a protective effect of ultraviolet B (UVB) in the skin was observed ( 22 ).
Moreover, a small three-month study in humans showed that people who received 100 mg of mangosteen extract daily experienced significantly greater skin elasticity and less accumulation of a certain compound that promotes skin aging ( 23 ).
Researchers claim that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ability of mangosteen is the main cause of these protective effects for the skin, but more research is needed in this area.
Studies show that antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in mangosteen can protect skin cells from damage due to sun exposure and aging.
9-11. Other Potential Health Benefits
The beneficial properties of mangosteen also extend to the heart, brain and digestive system:
- Heart health. Animal studies show that mangosteen extract effectively reduces heart disease risk factors such as LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL cholesterol (good) ( 24 ).
- Brain health. Studies show that mangosteen extract helps prevent mental retardation, reduce brain inflammation and improve symptoms of depression in mice, although no human studies are available in this area ( 27 ).
- Digestive health. Mangosteen is packed in fiber. Only 200 grams provides about 14% of the daily norm. Fiber is essential for digestive health, and a high fiber diet promotes bowel regularity.
Although these results are promising, no human studies are available in these areas. It is too early to make definitive statements about the role of mangosteen in maintaining healthy brain, heart, and digestion in humans.
Studies show that nutrients and other plant compounds in mangosteen can support optimal digestive system, heart and brain function.
How to eat mangosteen
Mangosteen is easy to cook and eat, although it can be difficult to find depending on where you live. The fruit season is relatively short, which often limits its availability.
It is best to look for it in specialized Asian markets, but remember that fresh mangosteen can be quite expensive. Frozen or canned forms can be cheaper and easier to find, but remember that canned versions often contain added sugar.
Fruits can also be found in the form of juice or as a powder supplement.
If you get a fresh delivery, choose fruits with a smooth dark purple peel. The peel is inedible, but it is easy to remove with a toothed knife.
The inner flesh is white and very juicy. This portion of the fruit can be eaten raw or added to smoothies or tropical fruit salads to delightfully enhance the flavor.
Fresh mangosteen can be difficult to find, but frozen, canned, or juicy forms are more common. The inner flesh of mangosteen is eaten raw, adding to salads or smoothies.
Very few adverse health effects from mangosteen have been reported. And, probably, this fruit is safe for most people.
However, more concentrated forms – such as additives, juices or powders – are not 100% risk free.
Early studies show that xanthones contained in herbal supplements can slow down blood clotting ( 29 ).
Since mangosteen is a rich source of xanthones, it might be a good idea to avoid concentrated sources if you are taking blood thinners.
Studies to determine whether mangosteen supplements are safe for pregnant or lactating women are currently insufficient, so it is probably best to avoid them at these stages of life.
Always consult your doctor or other qualified health professional before making significant changes to your diet or taking a new dietary supplement.
Mangosteen is probably safe for most people, but can increase the risk of bleeding. Consult your healthcare provider before taking a new supplement or drastically changing your diet.
Mangosteen is a tropical fruit that grows in Southeast Asia.
Mangosteen and its beneficial properties are known and are still being studied by scientists. Most of them are associated with its nutritional profile and unique antioxidant content. However, many of these benefits have not yet been scientifically proven in human studies.
Fresh mangosteen can be difficult to find, as it is a relatively unusual fruit. But canned and frozen forms are more common.
Its juicy, delicately sweet taste makes it a delicious addition to smoothies and fruit salads. Try it for culinary appeal or potential health benefits!