Mangosteen fruit: useful properties and contraindications
Mangosteen is an exotic fruit that has many names. Sometimes it is called mangosteen, mangosteen or mangkut. It belongs to the Clusiaceae family and is a close relative of Garcinia cambogia, a fruit that is now very actively used in dietetics to get rid of excess weight.
- What is the mangosteen and what does it look like
- Composition and calories
- Useful properties of the mangosteen fruit
- General benefits
- For Women
- For Men
- In Pregnancy
- For children
- When losing weight
- Mangosteen in traditional medicine
- Cosmetic use
- Cooking Applications
- Fruit salad
- Mangosteen Smoothie
- Mangosteen Jam
- Mangosteen Sauce
- Mangosteen Salad with Three Tastes
- Thai salad with mangosteen, shrimp and pork
- Mangosteen Sorbet
- Hazards and Contraindications
- How to Pick and Store
- How to peel and eat the mangosteen
- Can I Eat the Seeds
- Interesting Facts
What is the mangosteen and what does it look like?
This fruit is the fruit of the mangosteen tree. In the wild, it grows in Indonesia, but its homeland is unknown. Currently, mangosteen trees are cultivated in Thailand, the island of Sri Lanka, in Malaysia, that is mainly in Southeast Asia. However, there are reports that it is also cultivated in Honduras.
The peculiarity of the mangosteen tree is that it grows very slowly, and begins to bear fruit on average only in the ninth year of life. But then it bears two harvests a year. It grows very tall, up to 6-25 m, has a straight trunk covered with dark brown, sometimes even almost black bark with a scaly structure. It has a pyramidal crown.
Its bark contains a resinous, bitter substance that can be called natural latex. Mangosteen is an evergreen plant whose branches are covered with oblong-lanceolate leathery leaves. Interestingly, its old leaves are dark green, slightly shiny at the base, while the new ones grow almost a shade of pink.
Mangosteen flowers are quite large, up to 5 cm in diameter, and they grow in groups at the ends of branches and have quite a bright color of oval petals - with red, yellow, green spots and fringes.
The flowers fall off quickly, and round-shaped fruits appear on the trees. They are smooth on the outside and can be 3.5-7.5 cm in diameter. The fruits are covered with a dense peel, which usually has a very rich shade - from red-purple to dark purple. The thickness of the rind is 6-10 mm. The inside flesh is snow-white, sometimes a little pinkish, juicy, divided into 4-8 slices. There may be no seeds inside, but sometimes they are present - small, oblong, slightly flattened.
The flesh of the fruit has a subtle flavor, and although all reference books describe its taste as sour-sweet, it is actually more complex. It has notes of citrus, pineapple, nectarines and strawberries, so it is almost impossible to describe it in any one word.
Composition and calories
The mangosteen has a relatively low energy value. It contains only 73 kcal per 100 g.
The pulp and peel have a different chemical composition. The complex sour-sweet taste of the pulp can be explained by the fact that it contains a lot of acids (the pH is about 3.5 units). But at the same time it contains a lot of sugars, with fructose accounting for 2.4% of the volume, a little less for glucose, and the leader is sucrose (about 10%).
The composition of the pulp includes such substances:
- B vitamins, including folic acid, which are involved in metabolism and at the same time normalize the nervous system.
- Ascorbic acid, which itself is a strong antioxidant and also improves the condition of blood vessels.
- Vitamin E, which has anti-inflammatory properties and a beneficial effect on the reproductive system.
- Minerals - potassium, sodium, iron, iodine, zinc, fluorine, etc.
In general, the flesh is only about 30% of the total mass of the fruit, the rest being the dense rind. It has a bitter taste. The rind contains flavonoids (xanthones), whose anti-cancer properties are now being actively studied in various universities, and pectin. The tannins in the peel give it a bitter taste and have an astringent effect. Therefore, in Asian countries the skin of this fruit is used for diarrhea and various gastric diseases.
Useful properties of the mangosteen fruit
The unique composition of the mangosteen, and the fact that it has almost no contraindications for use, make it a very promising raw material for the pharmaceutical industry. And useful properties have not only the fruit pulp, but also its skin. In the olden days, it was used to treat urinary tract infections. In addition, the leaves and bark of the tree are used in pharmacology and in folk medicine.
The fruit itself has the following useful properties:
- Antibacterial action. The xanthones contained in its rind provide protection against pathogens. It is believed that they are also effective against certain types of fungus.
- Anti-inflammatory effect. It is due to the presence of a large number of flavonoids, of particular importance in this case are anthocyanins, which give the rind an intense purple hue. They have the most pronounced anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, the rind extract is used to treat arthritis and other similar diseases.
- Strengthening the immune system due to the high content of vitamins C and E.
- Improvement of the cardiovascular system due to the presence of ascorbic acid and potassium.
- Normalization of cerebral circulation.
- Improving digestive processes (and mangosteen helps to get rid of GI disorders as well).
- Accelerated metabolic processes.
- Effective prevention of cancer.
Substances in the pulp and peel help get rid of headaches and help normalize sleep. In addition, xanthones, in large quantities present in the peel, help improve mental performance, and also - perform the function of adaptogens, that is, help the body to adapt to environmental conditions. Pectins, also found in the peel, help maintain the microbiological balance in the intestines.
For the fair sex, the mangosteen is useful for its anti-inflammatory properties - it helps to get rid of various diseases of the pelvic organs. In addition, it contains substances that help normalize the menstrual cycle. A large amount of iodine can fight some thyroid diseases. Vitamin E is effective in treating diseases of the reproductive system.
There are studies that prove that the mangosteen can fight premature aging. Extracts from the pulp of this fruit and its peel help retain moisture in the skin and prevent dehydration. In addition, they have a mild antibacterial effect, protecting the skin from infestation by pathogenic microbes.
In Belgium, studies have also been conducted on the reparative properties of the mangosteen. In particular, it was proved that the skin treated with preparations based on its extracts restored faster than after the use of conventional products containing vegetable oils and silicones.
One of the xanthones (mangosteen contains over 60) was recently isolated and named alpha-mangosteen. It has been shown not only to normalize blood glucose levels, but also to treat sexual dysfunction, improving the quality and increasing the activity and quantity of sperm. So mangosteen is useful for male infertility. In addition, a number of studies have shown that this substance can regulate blood pressure.
Finally, preparations based on extracts of this fruit are used in the treatment of prostatitis and for the prevention of prostate cancer.
Future mothers are not recommended to consume exotic fruits. Even if they have already tried mangosteen before pregnancy, and it did not cause any side effects, this does not mean that with such a serious hormonal restructuring, the fetus will not provoke an allergic reaction. So it is better to refrain from consuming the fruit during pregnancy.
During the first two months of breastfeeding young mothers in general should not eat exotic fruits, so as not to cause an allergic reaction in the child. However, later it is possible to include them in the diet in small quantities, but only if a woman has tried mangosteen before pregnancy, and it did not cause her allergies.
Babies under the age of three years are not recommended to give mangosteen, since there is a high risk of an allergic reaction. Older children can be given it, but you should still start with a relatively small amount.
For weight loss
The composition of the fruit includes hydroxylimonic acid, which suggests that the fruit has a fat-burning effect. It is not the fruit itself that is usually used as a weight-loss remedy, but extracts made from the pulp and peel, because it is in this form that the acid shows its properties particularly actively.
Unfortunately, there have been no complete studies on the properties of the mangosteen. As for its constituent hydroxylimonic acid, scientists have proven that its effect is manifested in suppressing the activity of the enzyme ATP-citratelyase. It, in turn, is involved in lipid biosynthesis. When its activity is suppressed, the carbohydrates consumed with food are not converted into fat deposits, but into glycogen. These changes are detected by the brain, which responds by releasing large quantities of serotonin. Increased levels of this happiness hormone help reduce appetite, which contributes to weight loss.
In addition, mangosteen extracts help the body increase energy intake. As a result, glycogen is broken down and lipid metabolism is accelerated, which helps to lose excess weight.
But it should be understood that in such studies, the participants were not always able to get rid of excess weight. The result was very much dependent on the dose of the extract and the duration of ingestion, often the effect was not very long. And the problem is that nowadays all industrially produced juices and extracts of this fruit are dietary supplements. There is no unified standard, and the dose of the active ingredient can vary - even within different batches from the same manufacturer.
In addition, it has been found that the mangosteen is better at shedding excess weight gained from fatty foods than from sweets. So its role in weight loss is probably greatly exaggerated by marketers - at least at present. Scientists believe that in general this fruit is quite a promising product, and perhaps in the future it will be possible to obtain more effective drugs based on it.
For now it is enough just to add mangosteen pulp to yogurt, smoothies or kefir to improve digestive processes, remove toxins and thus at least a little speed up the metabolism.
Mangosteen in folk medicine
In Southeast Asian countries the mangosteen pulp is usually consumed only for culinary purposes (and often eaten chilled, served on a "pillow" of pounded ice). In any case, the fruit itself doesn't keep for long. But its peel, which is used for medicinal purposes, may be stored for a long time. Sometimes it is kept in small dry pieces, but more often it is crushed into powder.
On its basis, the following remedies are prepared:
- Decoction. For 500 ml of boiling water you need 1 tsp. powder. The remedy is brought to a boil and immediately turned off. When it cools to an acceptable temperature, it is passed through a filter (can be paper) and drunk in small sips. Antibacterial and antifungal agents of this broth make it effective for gonorrhea, candidiasis, chronic urethritis, cystitis. Also the decoction has pronounced antipyretic properties.
- Infusion. For 200 ml of boiling water take 1 tsp. powder and leave to infuse for an hour. This volume is divided into 2 portions and drink it in the morning and evening. The infusion is good for various symptoms of intestinal infections and disinfections. It is also used as a mouthwash for stomatitis, inflammation of the tongue, and other similar diseases of the mouth.
Both the infusion and decoction have a bitter taste. Therefore, if desired, you can add a little honey to them.
Infusion and decoction can also be used for external use, but in this case, the concentration of the active ingredient must be increased. That is, both recipes take 3 tsp. of powder for the same amount of boiling water. The decoction or infusion can then be used to make lotions for eczema and various types of dermatitis and to add to water for a therapeutic bath.
Powder from the rind of the mangosteen, if only it is ground finely enough, can be used as an additive to therapeutic ointments against rashes, fungal diseases, eczema.
In Thailand make cosmetics based on the mangosteen. However, it can be made at home. Usually in cosmetics add extracts from the pulp of the mangosteen or powder from its peel.
The ingredient is often used in masks and creams for mature skin. As we age, our skin's regenerative abilities diminish significantly, accompanied by a loss of barrier function. But mangosteen extracts can remedy the situation. It contains substances that help to even out skin texture, improve skin color and remove fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, mangosteen helps to reduce irritation and inflammation, eliminate redness, get rid of couperose (which appears as a noticeable vascular network).
Means on the basis of the fruit are also used to restore the skin after injury.
Most often in stores selling Ayurvedic products and components for home cosmetics, you can find a powder of mangosteen peel. It is used as follows:
- Mask for problematic facial skin - 1 tsp. powder is mixed with kefir and freshly squeezed lemon juice so as to achieve the consistency of liquid sour cream. This product is applied on the face for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with water at room temperature. The mask has a light bleaching effect.
- Mask for oily facial skin - 1 tsp. A spoonful of mangosteen peel powder is mixed with liquid flower honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice (half a fruit is enough). The consistency should be the same as that of the mask described above. The product is kept on the skin for 15 minutes, then washed off with cool water.
- Scrub for problem skin. The powder is mixed with any lipid base - for example, with yogurt. A homogeneous mixture is never obtained, but in this case, its property is just used, and the granules act as an abrasive. Such a scrub helps not only to reduce inflammation, but also to get rid of comedones (black dots).
Based on the powder, you can make a body scrub, mixing it with various base oils - for example, peach or almond oils. For oily skin, a little fresh lemon juice is added.
Infusion or decoction of mangosteen can be added to bath water - it will also tone the skin. Mangosteen powder is also added to premade creams and masks.
In Southeast Asia, the mangosteen is widely used in cooking. It is used to make salads, including seafood, as well as fruit cocktails and desserts, delicate mousses and souffles, and savory sauces that go well with meat and fish. The mangosteen also makes an excellent filling for sweet pies. This fruit brings fresh notes and a light citrus flavor.
Different dishes can be prepared on the basis of the fruit.
Mangosteen pulp is cut into small pieces, mixed with chopped pineapple, strawberries, other Thai fruits.
Take flesh of 2-3 fruits, cut into pieces, beat in a blender with nonfat yogurt without any additives. Strawberries or citrus fruits can also be added to smoothies.
Take the white pulp of the fruit, crush it, mix it with an equal amount of brown sugar and add some cinnamon. After boiling, the mixture is boiled for just a few minutes.
Take 5-6 fruits (depending on size), ½ tsp. fresh lime juice, 150 ml. boiled water, 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1 tsp. curry spice mixture, 3 pinches salt, 1 pinch sugar. Peel the mangosteens. Seeds do not need to throw out. They can be lightly fried in a pan without oil and added to the sauce or in any salad. This sauce is made in a cauldron or a non-stick saucepan. Chopped mangosteens are poured into a container like this, add the spices and lime juice mentioned above and pour ½ cup of water over it. The container is placed on the stove and kept on low heat until the pulp becomes completely soft. Meanwhile, cornstarch is mixed with water so that it becomes homogeneous, without lumps. The water must be cold, otherwise nothing will work. When the fruit pulp can be mashed with a fork, then proceed to the final stage. Purée of fruit and spices mixed with starch, diluted with water, stir until homogeneous. You can once again whip all together with a blender and hold until thickened over low heat, but do not bring to a boil.
Mangosteen Salad with Three Flavors Dressing
This is a traditional Thai dish, which can also be adapted to Russian conditions. For its preparation you'll need 100 g of pineapple (but preferably fresh, not canned, because the latter is considered too sweet), 10 large boiled shrimps, ½ shallot onion, half a pod of chili pepper, 7-8 cherry tomatoes, 50 ml of mangosteen sauce prepared as described above, mint leaves, 100 gr of boiled chicken breast. The last ingredient is often replaced by turkey, but its meat is considered drier, so more sauce may be needed.
Defrost the shrimp, remove the shell, remove the tough back vein, then boil in boiling salted water for no longer than 2 minutes. Chicken breast or turkey is also pre-cooked. The pod of pepper is cut into thin rings, remove the seeds. Dice chicken meat. The shallots are peeled from the skin and cut into rings, and then divide them into quarters. The cherry tomatoes are cut in half. Mix onions and chili peppers in a separate container with the mangosteen sauce. If necessary, add more lime juice and leave to stand for a while.
In a salad bowl, put the chicken pieces, tomatoes, diced pineapple and whole shrimp. Then pour it all with dressing and mix. Decorate it with mint leaves.
Thai salad with mangosteen, shrimp and pork
You need 6-7 peeled mangosteen, 100g of not too fatty ground pork, 8-10 large shrimp, 2-3 shallots. This salad needs a complex sauce, which is prepared with fresh lime juice (3 tbsp), traditional fish sauce (20 ml), a small amount of cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp sugar without a hill and with the addition of a handful of mint leaves. The stuffing is made from the boiled pork. The shrimp are cleaned and boiled as described above.
Peel mangosteen and divide into slices. Cut onion into thin peppers and half rings. Dressing is prepared in a separate container, mixing the ingredients so that the sugar has completely dissolved. Put all ingredients in a salad bowl, pour the sauce over them, stir and leave for 15 minutes to let both the meat and the seafood soak up the flavors of the fruit and dressing.
This one requires only the pulp of the fruit. To prepare several portions take 500 grams of pulp. In this case, you should proceed from the fact that per 100 grams there are 2-3 fruits with peel. These fruits are peeled, pips are taken out, and the pulp itself is beaten in a blender with very little salt. After that, the whipped pulp is sent to the refrigerator, but not to the freezer, for 30-40 minutes. In the meantime, cook sugar syrup - as for a regular sorbet. Fans of exotics can cook it not with plain water but with coconut water, the more so because it is healthier and contains many minerals. So, in half an hour the fruit puree is whipped with syrup until a homogeneous mass is obtained. After that it is sent already in a freezer - for 3 hours. And about every 20-30 minutes the puree is stirred.
The mangosteen can be used in cooking not only in the ways listed above. For example, the juice obtained from the pulp of the fruit is added to citrus jelly. By the way, the rind of the mangosteen itself due to the content of pectins has gelling properties. However, to remove the bitterness, you need heat treatment.
Harms and contraindications
The mangosteen is considered one of the safest foods. Indeed, in all the time of observations, there have been no cases where its use would lead to negative consequences for the digestive system. But still add it to the diet should be added with caution.
Like any other exotic fruit, the mangosteen can provoke an allergic reaction. It is mainly manifested in the form of skin rashes, redness and itching. If such symptoms appear, you should immediately eliminate the fruit from your menu. For the same reason, it is not recommended to use it during pregnancy and lactation.
There are also other restrictions. It is believed that the consumption of large quantities of mangosteen can lower blood sugar levels. Although it is generally good for diabetics, it should not be consumed uncontrollably for this reason. The above described connection of hydroxylimonic acid with serotonin also leads to the fact that this fruit should not be combined with the intake of drugs prescribed in the treatment of depression. After all, paradoxically, an overabundance of serotonin can provoke poisoning, and quite severe.
Interestingly, studies have shown that unlike its relative, Garcinia cambogia, the mangosteen normally combines with green tea. But it is not recommended for consumption with alcohol, some hormones, drugs that affect blood viscosity and clotting. In addition, due to its high content of fruit acids, it should not be included in the menu with reflux, pancreatitis, gastritis with high acidity - especially if these diseases are in the acute stage.
How to choose and store
Choosing fresh mangosteen is not that difficult. It should be large enough (because the pulp takes up only a third of the volume) and be firm to the touch. The skin should be smooth, without blemishes and not too hard.
The color of the rind should be uniformly purple, with no spots. If these appear, it may indicate that the fruit has been stored too long. This is also indicated by the brown hue of the top leaves - ideally they should be dark green. If the rind is covered with cracks, this indicates that the fruit has gone bad. In addition, through the cracks the bitter substances in the skin can penetrate into the flesh and it will simply become unpalatable.
The fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks - if it is still in the peel. Do not freeze mangosteen pulp - it loses all of its useful properties. To keep it longer than 2 weeks, you can only make syrup out of it. Some experts also advise careful canning - sterilize the fruit no longer than 10 minutes, otherwise it will lose not only its useful properties, but also taste and aroma. Also, traditional mangosteen jam can be stored for several months.
How to make a mangosteen ripe
This fruit only matures on the tree, so you should only choose fruits that are already ripe.
How to Peel and Eat the Mangosteen
This fruit is best eaten fresh. To do this, first get rid of the skin. The upper leaves of the fruit are opened by hand. When the fruit is ripe, it is enough to press it with two fingers on the sides. Then it cracks, and it is easy to remove the skin, under which there is a delicious flesh.
Sometimes the peel itself does not crack under pressure. Then make a few cuts with a knife, making sure they are not too deep and do not damage the pulp. In general, you have to be careful, because the knife slips heavily on the smooth rind of the mangosteen. Then carefully pry off the skin with a knife or fork and remove it either completely or halfway. From the resulting half take out the pulp with a spoon.
Can I eat the seeds?
The seeds of the mangosteen are its seeds. They are not to be eaten raw. But roasted, they are a popular seasoning in Thai cuisine.
There are many legends associated with the mangosteen. Some of them in their own way interprets its name. For example, one legend says that at first the fruit was called "mangkut". Then a foreigner at some market misheard the name and decided to ask if it was a mango. Allegedly, the salesman said to him, "Mango son-tin," which can be translated roughly as "what the hell is a mango? But "mango son-tin" has already become "mangosteen," and the name has spread. Apparently this is just a tourist story, but a very entertaining one.
Another legend says that the mangosteen was first stumbled upon by Buddha on one of his wanderings. He liked the refreshing taste of the fruit so much that Buddha blessed the fruit and brought it to the people-as an unprecedented gift from heaven. There is a grain of truth in this story-the mangosteen has been known in Southeast Asia since ancient times.
And the tree on which this fruit grows is unique indeed. In theory, the mangosteen tree is a biparental plant, which means it should have female flowers on some and male flowers on others. But the latter are virtually non-existent in nature. Therefore, female specimens have to do without pollination and bear fruit through a process called agamospermia. The seeds of such fruits produce trees that are exact replicas of the mother specimen.
Mangosteen seeds are considered very capricious and quickly die when drying out, so they can be stored only in humid conditions. But one will hardly ever be able to grow mangosteens in Russia - even at +20 C the trees stunt their growth, while at +5-6 C they die, to say nothing of frosts!
The mangosteen was first introduced to Europe in the seventeenth century but remained a curiosity for a long time because it was difficult to preserve it for transportation and it took several months to get from Indonesia to Britain by sea. Therefore, it was transported literally on seedlings, and for this purpose special greenhouses had to be organized on ships and special conditions had to be provided. This was expensive, and the fruit was not particularly widespread - until recently, when air transportation made its delivery quite possible. And this is fine, because the fruit of the plant is very useful - suffice to mention that out of the 200 known to science xanthones one third is contained in the mangosteen!
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