7 remarkable health and skin benefits of Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)
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The mangosteen and the hibiscus are plants I have taken to onboard lately, and always have a small stock of dry versions of in my pantry. I have mangosteen daily, and very often I mix it with hibiscus as they compliment each other, and both are superfoods bursting with powerful antioxidants and remarkable beauty and health benefits.
You’ll find delicious recipes at the bottom of this post.
This little but powerful fruit, not to be mistaken for a mango fruit, was insistently offered to hubby and me by our taxi driver who showed us around Sri Lanka earlier last year. And he did manage to make us fall in love with this sweet and tangy fruit, which has a similar flavor to lychee fruit, but is sweeter and so delicate that it melts in your mouth.
Mangosteens are somewhat unfamiliar in Europe and North America, but common in the rainforest areas of Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.
Also known as the “queen of fruits,” mangosteen has for centuries been used to naturally treat a wide variety of health concerns by the people of Southeast Asia and South America. Especially the rind (called the pericarp) is said to support the body's ability to ward off infections and low immunity due to its high vitamin C content and its powerful antioxidants – the xanthones.
What is Mangosteen
Mangosteen is a round, glossy, purple fruit capped with a light green calyx, which holds it in place on the stem. The outer rind of the fruit, is thick and rubbery; inside are sweet, delicious, snow white segments similar in design to that of an orange. Each segment contains one to four bitter-tasting seeds.
Seedlings take eight to 15 years to bear fruit, and the trees usually produce good crops only in alternate years. The number of petals on the bottom of a mangosteen indicates how many sections it contains inside.
Here in Denmark I mostly get my mangosteen in powder form, and the powder is usually made from its very nutrient rich rind.
Constituents of Mangosteen include:
Minerals: calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium.
Vitamins: vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta carotene.
Phytochemicals: proanthocyanidins, catechins, flavonoids, polysaccharides, sterols.
Fatty acids: palmitic acid, stearic acid, palmitoleic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, arachidic acid, gadoleic acid, eicosadienoic acid.
Xanthones: a-mangostin, b-mangostin, 3-isomangostin, 9-hydroxycalabaxanthone, gartanin, 8-desoxygartanin.
Xanthones have some of the most potent antioxidative properties found in nature, and they are seen beneficial when it comes to fighting pain, allergies, infections, skin disorders, and fatigue, and have a natural ability to attack fungal and viral infections. They can even help to get rid of certain carcinogens from attacking your skin too.
Xanthones are naturally occurring polyphenol compounds, which are mostly found in the rind of the mangosten. The rind yields a polyhydroxy-xanthone derivative termed mangostin, also beta-mangostin. Fully ripe fruits contain the xanthones gartanin, beta-disoxygartanin and normangostin.
The useful part of the peel is the inner side, located near the pulp.
According to research xanthones may also have remarkably beneficial effects in supporting:
The body's ability to protect against cellular damage by free radicals
A healthy aging process.
A healthy immune system,and inflammation response.
7 Health & skin Benefits of Mangosteen
Besides being high in xanthone, benefits include being rich vitamin C and fiber content, and yet low in calories the incredible health benefits of mangosteen include:
1. Supports a healthy immune response & the body's ability to fight infections
Looking to fend off colds and the flu or just generally boost your immune system? Then mangosteen is definitely a fruit to start eating. As praised above, it’s packed with these xanthones that support many vital functions of the body, including immune health.
Mangosteen’s high level of vitamin-C helps scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals that can cause illness. Vitamin-C has also been shown to stimulate both the production and function of leukocytes, the white blood cells that protect the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.
2. Helps Fight Inflammation and Allergies
Scientific research has shown that extracts of mangosteen has an anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory activity due to inhibitions of histamine release and prostaglandin E2 synthesis.
One study in Japan specifically showed that mangosteen extracts worked better at inhibiting pro-allergy prostaglandin than an anti-allergy drug used. The extracts proved to be potent and successful inhibitors of the release of histamine and prostaglandin, which are both associated with inflammation in the human body as well as allergies. Alpha- and gamma-mangostins are two specific bioactive substances found in mangosteen that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
3. Supports cardiovascular health & healthy circulation
The potent antioxidant properties of xanthones are also found to reduce the odds of developing various cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack, atherosclerosis, and stroke.
Increased oxidative stress and a deficit in antioxidants are two factors that are believed to play a role in heart attack occurrence. Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.
A study conducted by the Centre for Advanced Studies in Botany at the University of Madras in India on animal subjects showed the cardioprotective effect of alpha-mangostin, a xanthone derivative from mangosteen. The fact that mangosteen is high in xanthones, may be helpful in reducing heart attack risk.
The nutrient is also found to play a vital role in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular profile in general. Daily xanthone supplement intake is touted to significantly reduce blood cholesterol levels and improve the heart’s overall well-being.
4. Helps improve skin health
Several science projects have investigated the anti-microbial effects of mangosteen extracts and results have shown that especially the xanthones have particularly strong anti-acne effects because of its ability to fight the bacteria Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes). (1, 2)
In addition to its anti-acne benefits, mangosteen may also help protect the skin from the premature aging caused by the sun's UV rays.
When your skin is exposed to the sun, it starts to produce metalloproteinases, enzymes that help your body repair sun-injured connective tissue. However, not all metalloproteinases are beneficial. Some of them break down collagen and elastin, which can eventually cause wrinkles.
Free radicals, unstable molecules generated by things like air pollution and cigarette smoke, are also known to boost the production of harmful metalloproteinases.
Antioxidant-rich foods can help neutralize free radicals, thereby reducing the production of the metalloproteinases that break down collagen and elastin. And when it comes to antioxidant-rich foods, mangosteens are right there on top of the list.
According to Sunburst Superfoods – one of the most established online stores selling organic, non-GMO superfoods – the mangosteen fruit has an ORAC value of 1,780. The ORAC method, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity method, is a standardized technique used by scientists to measure the total antioxidant potency of foods, drinks, and supplements in an in-vitro setting. For the sake of comparison, the superfood kale has an ORAC rating of 1,770, and spinach has an ORAC value of 1,515. Dark-colored edible berries – such as the immune-boosting black elderberry – typically have even higher ORAC values.
5. Improves eye health
Mangosteens good source of vitamin A, C, and beta carotene help improve eyesight and fight off eye diseases and heal wounds in the eye faster.
Vitamin-A helps prevent dry eye, night blindness, macular degeneration and strengthens the cornea.
Beta carotene improves macula and lens and reduces free radical damage in the eye. It also improves night vision and reduces inflammation.
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including collagen found in the cornea of the eye.
Vitamin C also promotes healthy blood vessels, including the delicate capillaries in the retina. Studies suggest long-term consumption of vitamin C may reduce the risk of forming a cataract and vision loss from macular degeneration.
6. Nourishes the brain & nervous system
Several components of purple mangosteen, such as potassium, folate, and various antioxidants are known to provide neurological benefits. Folate has been known to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Potassium has been linked to increased blood flow to the brain, and enhance cognition, sharpen concentration, and improve neural activity.
Also, purple mangosteen contains a considerable amount of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon, but those with impaired kidney function, an autoimmune disease or alcohol dependence are at increases risk, as many of these issues can impact nutrient absorption. Vitamin B6 deficiency has shown to A deficiency can cause depression, loss og appetite, nausea and more.
7. Anti-cancer properties
Although limited to in vitro and animal studies, mangosteens have been used in numerous anti-cancer studies, with positive results. One study showed how mangosteens significantly could slow the growth of colon cancer tumors
Another indicated the potential to successfully slow the progress of prostate cancer.
A study published in 2016 in the International Journal of Oncology looked at the anticancer activity of mangosteen’s alpha-mangostin on human breast cancer cells. The research indicated that α-mangostin induced programmed cell death of cancer cells, and it was concluded that α-mangostin may be used as a food supplement as well as a potential therapeutic compound for breast cancer
Skin cancers are often resistant to conventional chemotherapy, but mangosteen has shown the ability to naturally fight the growth of skin cancer cells.
The xanthones from mangosteen extracts have also been shown to be natural chemopreventive agents and have potential as anticancer drugs, or prevent the need for chemotherapy.
The gradual increase in awareness of the mangosteen outside of Southeast Asia, was a long and slow process, as the European explorers found the mangosteen plant difficult to transport because it’s so perishable and fragile. Even the seeds die in a week or so if allowed to dry out.
Nevertheless, determined traders were able to present the fruits to England in 1789, but they weren’t successfully cultivated for another 50 years.
Early descriptions of this exotic fruit’s flavor are intriguing: floral, sweet-tart, “something peculiar and indescribable,” “like that of the finest nectarine, but with a dash of strawberry and pineapple added.
3 mangosteen recipes
1. Sunrise smoothie
You can add mangosteen powder or the actual fruit to all the smoothie recipes, whichever you prefer - here’s a more festive one.
1 ¼ cup mango chunks (I use frozen organic)
½ cup sea buckthorn (I use frozen)
1 tsp. mangosteen powder or 1 fresh mangosteen
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp. coconut milk powder
Maybe a little water or full-fat coconut milk if the smoothie is too thick
1 ½ cup hibiscus tea*
½ cup strawberry (frozen)
½ cup raspberries (frozen)
Place mango, sea buckthorn, orange juice, coconut, and mangosteen in your blender and blend until smooth.
Maybe a little water or full-fat coconut milk if it’s is too thick.
Pour the mango layer into 2 glasses.
Place the frozen raspberries in the strainer and pour boiling water over them to help burn off potential harmful bacteria.
Rinse out the blender and place all of the ingredients for the red layer in it and blend until smooth.
Pour the red mixture on top of the yellow mango mixture.
*) How to make the hibiscus tea
1 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
½ cup boiling water
Place hibiscus flowers in a pot or cup and pour the water over.
Let the tea steep for 5 minutes.
Strain the tea.
2. Anti- Aging Potion: Mangosteen Cacao Latte
* Mangosteen is an amazing skin tonic, and vitamin C booster.
* Cacao is an energizing, mineralizing, and anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
* Himalayan salt gives it extra kidney support
3. THE BEST MUSHROOM CHOCOLATE SMOOTHIE
This smoothie contains immense immune-boosting power, necessary minerals for the day, and enough dopamine to boost you with mental energy. Mushrooms are powerful adaptogenic sources, in other words, miracle tonics that facilitate a total body healing experience.
Blend all ingredients until smoothe. If you'd like it thicker add a little more banana or dates, if you'd like it less thick, add more almond milk. Enjoy!!
Tip: Make this smoothie into a smoothie bowl! Add delicious toppings like banana, granola, cacao nibs, almonds and coconut to kick it up a notch.
All information in this blog is strictly for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. The statements made in this blog have not been evaluated by The Danish Health Authority. The products linked to in this blog and any information published in this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided by this blog is not a substitute for a face to-face consultation with your physician, and should not be construed as medical advice. The entire contents of this blog are based upon the opinions of Hanne Robinson. By reading and using this blog, you agree to only use this publication for personal informational use and not as a substitute for medical or other professional advice.