Rambutan is another delicious fruit in the lychee family. These are exotic fruits grown in tropical countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Australia. The name rambutan means hairy, referring to the spikes on the skin of the fruit. The spikes aren’t sharp; they are fleshy and pliable. Like the lychee, under the rind, there is the tasty white flesh of the fruit and a single inedible seed. The fruit can be eaten fresh, without cooking.
Most rambutans are red when they are ripe, but in Malaysia, you can also find a smaller, yellow rambutan. Rambutans grow in clusters on evergreen trees and are hairy-looking exotic wonders. Rambutan is very nutritious and may offer health benefits ranging from weight loss and better digestion to increased resistance to infections.
The flavor of rambutan is a little like grapes with a slight strawberry quality, slightly acidic and sweet. It has a pleasant fragrance that may be desired in some cooked dishes. It’s not as sweet as the lychee and also is a little less acidic.
Rambutan also carries many minerals like calcium (10.6 mg), phosphorus (12.9 mg) and copper. Being a juicy tropical fruit, it holds good amounts of potassium, an important component of cell and body fluids help control heart rate and blood pressure; thus, it offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases. Copper required in the production of red blood cells.
Health benefits of Rambutan
1. Rich in Nutrients and Antioxidants
The rambutan fruit is rich in many vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.Rambutan contains a good amount of copper, which plays a role in the proper growth and maintenance of various cells, including those of your bones, brain and heart. It offers smaller amounts of manganese, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc as well. Eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) — or about four fruit — will meet 20% of your daily copper needs and 2–6% of the daily recommended amount of the other nutrients. The rambutan peel and seed are thought to be rich sources of nutrients, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. Though some people eat them, neither are currently considered edible. Rambutan is rich in fiber, vitamin C and copper and contains smaller amounts of other nutrients. Its peel and seed are also full of nutrients but generally considered inedible.
2. Promotes Healthy Digestion
Rambutan may contribute to a healthy digestion due to its fiber content. About half of the fiber in its flesh is insoluble, which means that it passes through your gut undigested. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps speed up intestinal transit, thus reducing your likelihood of constipation. Rambutan is a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which can prevent constipation and improve symptoms of certain gut disorders.
3. May Aid Weight Loss
Just like most fruits, rambutan may prevent weight gain and promote weight loss over time (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source). At around 75 calories and 1.3–2 grams of fiber per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), it’s relatively low in calories for the amount of fiber it provides. Rambutan is low in calories, yet rich in water and fiber. This combination may prevent overeating and keep you feeling fuller for longer — both of which can lead to weight loss over time.
4. May Help Fight Infection
The rambutan fruit may contribute to a stronger immune system in several ways. For starters, it’s rich in vitamin C, which may encourage the production of the white blood cells your body needs to fight infection. Getting too little vitamin C in your diet can weaken your immune system, leaving you more prone to infections. Various compounds found in the rambutan flesh and peel may strengthen your immune system and help fight infection.
5. Other Potential Benefits
Rambutan may offer additional health benefits. May reduce cancer risk: A few cell and animal studies found that compounds in rambutan may help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells. May protect against heart disease: One animal study showed that extracts made from rambutan peel reduced total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic mice. May protect against diabetes: Cell and animal studies report that rambutan peel extract may increase insulin sensitivity and reduce fasting blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Though promising, these three additional benefits are generally linked to compounds found in the rambutan peel or seeds — both of which are not usually consumed by humans. Compounds found in rambutan peel and seeds may offer some protection against cancer, diabetes and heart disease. However, more human studies are needed.
How to Eat Them
Rambutan can be purchased either fresh, canned, as a juice or as a jam. To make sure the fruit is ripe, look at the color of its spikes. The redder they are, the riper the fruit will be.
You ought to remove the skin before eating it. To do so, slice the middle of the outer skin with a knife, then squeeze from the opposite sides from the cut. The white fruit should pop free.
The sweet, translucent flesh contains a large seed in the middle, which is generally considered inedible. The seed can either be removed with a knife or spat out after eating the flesh.
The flesh can add a sweet flavor to a variety of recipes, ranging from salads and curries to puddings and ice creams.