Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is an exotic, tropical fruit with a slightly sweet and sour flavor. It’s originally from Southeast Asia but can be found in various tropical regions around the world. The fruit is sometimes referred to as purple mangosteen because of the deep purple color its rind develops when ripe. In contrast, the juicy inner flesh is bright white. Though mangosteen is a relatively obscure fruit, it shouldn’t be overlooked, as it may offer many health benefits due to its rich supply of nutrients, fiber, and unique antioxidants.
Health benefits of Mangosteen
1. Highly Nutritious
Mangosteen is relatively low in calories yet provides many essential nutrients (1Trusted Source). Mangosteen provides a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber while being low in calories. These nutrients are important for maintaining many functions in your body.
2. Rich in Powerful Antioxidants
Perhaps one of mangosteen’s most significant attributes is its unique antioxidant profile. Mangosteen contains vitamins with antioxidant capacity, as well as a unique class of antioxidant compounds known as xanthones.
3. May Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The xanthones found in mangosteen may play a role in reducing inflammation. Plant compounds and fiber in mangosteen may have anti-inflammatory effects according to animal research. More studies are needed to understand how this fruit may reduce inflammation in humans.
4. May Have Anticancer Effects
Population studies show that diets rich in vegetables and fruits like mangosteen are associated with reduced incidences of cancer (11Trusted Source). Test-tube and animal research indicates that xanthones in mangosteen may protect against cancer. However, high-quality human research on this topic is lacking.
5. May Promote Weight Loss
In the health and wellness industry, one of mangosteen’s biggest claims to fame is its potential to aid weight loss. Some animal and human research suggests that mangosteen may play a role in weight loss and obesity prevention. Still, more studies are needed.
6. Supports Blood Sugar Control
Both test-tube and animal studies show that xanthone compounds in mangosteen may help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels (15Trusted Source). Plant compounds and fiber in mangosteen may contribute to reduced blood sugar. Still, current 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 (1Trusted Source). Research suggests that mangosteen may increase your number of immune cells and reduce inflammation — potentially boosting immune health.
8. Helps Maintain Healthy Skin
Skin damage from sun exposure is a common occurrence worldwide and a major contributor to skin cancer and signs of aging (21Trusted Source). Research suggests that antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in mangosteen may protect skin cells from damage associated with sun exposure and aging.
9–11. Other Potential Health Benefits
Mangosteen may also have a positive impact on your heart, brain, and digestive system. Research suggests that nutrients and other plant compounds in mangosteen may support optimal digestive, heart, and brain function.
How to Eat Mangosteen
Mangosteen is easy to prepare and eat — though it may be difficult to find depending on where you live. The fruit’s season is relatively short, which often limits its availability.
Your best bet is to look for it at specialty Asian markets, but be aware that fresh mangosteen can be quite expensive. Frozen or canned forms may be cheaper and easier to find — but be mindful that canned versions often contain added sugar.
The fruit can also be found in juice form or as a powdered supplement.
If you happen to score a fresh supply, choose fruits with a smooth, dark purple outer rind. The rind is inedible but can be easily removed with a serrated knife.
The inner flesh is white and very juicy when ripe. This part of the fruit can be eaten raw or added to smoothies or tropical fruit salads for a delicious boost of flavor.