Mangosteen Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Mangosteen fruit

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Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a tropical fruit said to offer a number of health benefits. Often touted for its antioxidant effects, mangosteen is sometimes referred to as a "superfruit." The fruit tastes slightly sweet and tart. 

Mangosteen is available canned or fresh but is more commonly found as a juice or supplement powder. Mangosteen juice products typically include the fruit, rind (which is inedible in whole fruit form), and pulp of the fruit. Mangosteen is hard to find in the United States, but it can make a healthy addition to your diet.

Mangosteen Nutrition Facts

The USDA does not provide nutrition information for fresh mangosteen. The following information is for 1 cup (196g) of mangosteen that has been canned in syrup and drained.

  • Calories: 143
  • Fat: 1.1g
  • Sodium: 13.7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Protein: 0.8g

Carbs

A 1-cup serving of canned mangosteen provides 143 calories and 35 grams of carbohydrate. Just 3.5 grams of the carbs come from fiber.

The USDA does not provide information about the amount of sugar in the product, however, since it is canned in syrup, it is likely that the sugar content is relatively high. Data regarding the glycemic index of mangosteen is not available.

Fat

There is just over 1 gram of fat in a 1-cup serving of canned mangosteen.

Protein

Mangosteen provides less than a gram of protein in a single serving.

Vitamins and Minerals

Mangosteen is a good source of folate and manganese.

Health Benefits

In Southeast Asia, mangosteen rind has been used for medicinal purposes for generations. Proponents claim that mangosteen can also help conditions including acne, arthritis, cancer, and diabetes. Some also suggest that mangosteen may promote healthy skin and weight loss.

To date, very few studies have tested the effects of mangosteen on human health.

May Aid Disease Prevention

In experimental research, scientists have shown that mangosteen extract may possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-tumor properties. 

Mangosteen contains xanthones, a class of polyphenolic compounds known for their antioxidant activities. Some scientists believe that these compounds may be helpful in the fight against diseases including tuberculosis and malaria. But human trials are lacking.

May Aid Treatment for Mood Disorders

Some researchers believe that an extract derived from the pericarp of mangosteen has neurobiological properties and therefore potential as a therapeutic treatment for certain types of mental illness.

According to a research review published in 2019, mangosteen's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, neuroprotective, and mitochondrial-enhancing properties make it theoretically useful as an adjunctive psychiatric treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.

But study authors state that much more research needs to be done as studies completed so far have been scarce and the few studies that have been conducted have been small in scope.

May Improve Immune Health

In one of the few clinical trials testing the effects of mangosteen, researchers found that mangosteen may help boost the immune system. Published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the study involved 59 healthy adults. For 30 days, study participants took either a placebo or a mangosteen product containing vitamins and essential minerals.

By the study's end, members of the mangosteen group had experienced a significantly greater improvement in immune response compared to members of the placebo group. Mangosteen also appeared to reduce levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation).

More recent studies have also suggested that mangosteen has the potential to improve immune function, but more high-quality human trials are needed to fully understand this potential benefit.

May Help Fight Cancer

According to one study, in vitro and animal studies have suggested that xanthones inhibit the proliferation of a wide range of human tumor cell types giving it the potential to prevent and treat cancer.

But researchers also note that while there is compelling evidence to suggest that xanthones from mangosteen may be a "remarkable candidate" for chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic strategies, further research must be conducted before the compounds can be used in the treatment of cancer.

Furthermore, a report published in the Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, scientists warn that cancer patients should use caution before consuming mangosteen products. Mangosteen can potentially interact with cancer treatments and also affect blood sugar levels, the report's authors noted.

May Aid Diabetes Prevention and Management

According to a 2019 research review, mangosteen plant extract may have anti-diabetic properties. Study authors say that a large volume of in vitro and animal studies have shown that mangosteen extract may have potential for use in anti-diabetic medications.

Researchers also explain that a nationwide survey in the Philippines suggested that the use of mangosteen as tea or eaten raw could potentially curb diabetes in the local population. Study authors also note, however, that more thorough clinical trials on humans should be conducted.

Allergies

While health experts acknowledge that it is possible to have an allergic reaction to mangosteen, published reports are rare. Researchers have tested patients with birch pollen allergy and found that mangosteen is usually well tolerated. Those with birch pollen allergy often cannot tolerate any fruit. There is even some (limited) evidence suggesting that mangosteen has anti-allergy benefits.

Adverse Effects

Preliminary animal research suggests that xanthones have the potential to interfere with normal blood clotting. It's not known whether mangosteen xanthones may interact with blood-thinning medication (such as warfarin).

In a small study, some of the side effects of an oral mangosteen extract included tiredness, constipation, dry throat, headache, and indigestion.

Varieties

Mangosteen is not widely available in grocery stores in the United States. If you are looking for the whole fruit or the canned version, you are most likely to find it in Asian markets or online. When purchasing canned products, be sure to check the label for added sweeteners. If canned in juice or syrup, you can count on added sugars, but draining and rinsing can decrease the amount you consume.

You may also find mangosteen juice, mangosteen tea, or mangosteen supplements in capsule or powder form at health food stores, online, or in Asian markets.

When It’s Best

Mangosteen is primarily grown in Thailand where it is harvested between June and August. For some time, there was a ban on mangosteen in the United States because of concerns over the Asian fruit fly, but the ban was lifted in 2007.

To choose the best fresh mangosteen, select one with a deep purple color. It should be relatively firm. Make sure that the top stem (sepal) is intact and that it has a raised flower pattern on the bottom.

Storage and Food Safety

If you buy fresh mangosteen, you should plan to use them quickly. The fruit will only stay fresh for about 2–3 days. The fruit should be refrigerated until you are ready to use it. Mangosteen should not be frozen.

How to Prepare

Opening mangosteen is easy as long as you understand each part of the fruit. The edible section is the white middle part that is divided into sections like an orange. Each section may or may not contain a bitter seed (depending on size).

Open the fruit with a small knife. Hold the fruit in the palm of your hand with the sepals at the top. Cut around the outside of the fruit (the equator) without slicing through the middle, then remove the top section to reveal the soft, white, edible part inside.

The rind (pericarp) and the seeds are known to be bitter and are usually not consumed in their raw form. But these are the parts of the fruit that are studied for their health benefits.

Mangosteen is usually consumed on its own but can be used to top fruit salad, yogurt, or other sweet dishes.

Recipes

Healthy Mangosteen Recipes to Try

If you're able to get your hands on mangosteen, eat it straight up or try adding it to one of these recipes.

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