Mangosteen - Superfruit or Superfraud?


The Health Claims of Mangosteen

Mangosteen is a tree found in the Pacific islands, Asia and Africa whose fruit is said to have numerous health benefits. I think the fruit tastes a bit like a cross between an orange and a peach, but fairly mild. It is mostly a texture experience when you eat a mangosteen.

That’s good for companies that want to add mangosteen to foods and drinks (it doesn’t alter the taste much) but it also means that the fruit contains less nutrients than other, more potent, fruits.

Health Benefits of Mangosteen

Of all the superfruits, mangosteen is probably the worst. Sure it has (like all fruits) some antioxidants and other healthy nutrients, but the amounts of these nutrients is just nothing special –- much less than even traditional fruits like apple, oranges and bananas. Pretty much, mangosteen is a fruit and, as a fruit, it is good for you. If you like it, eat it; but don’t think that you are getting any better health benefits than if you simply ate a variety of more common fruits.

How to Eat a Mangosteen

There are many ways of preparing mangosteens. Simply cutting open a mangosteen and displaying the symmetric "meat" of the mangosteen can be part of a stunning presentation. For cooking ideas, see this recipe for Thai-style Mangosteen Clafouti.

Other Uses of Mangosteen

In Ghana, people use mangosteen twigs as chewsticks. The fruit rind is used to tan leather in China. In Thailand, the wood is used to make spears and in some carpentry. Traditional medicine systems in China use the dried fruits for dysentery and eczema, and preparations are made to help with diarrhea. None of these uses has been scientifically proven.


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