It is always exciting to find a fresh new fruit that I have never come across before. Originating in South East Asia and other tropical locations, this unusual looking fruit has a delicious fleshy white center but a bitter purple rind, that most people will discard, but where most of the goodness lurks.
Even experienced health professionals - who understand why it helps their patients and how it heals their bodies - have written extensively about the health benefits of this fruit. This fruit is the mangosteen and has been popular in the East for thousands of years both for its taste and because of its many healthy properties.
The Best of the Best
Top of the list of these healthy benefits are the 40 different xanthones in the mangosteen - out of a possible 200 identified xanthones. Each xanthone has different properties but you are probably wondering what xanthones are in the first place?
Xanthones are a class of plant-derived nutrients or phytonutrients that have been demonstrated in numerous scientific studies to hold tremendous nutritional value. Found to exhibit strong antioxidant activity, xanthones disarm free radicals in the body while enhancing and supporting your body's immune system.
While all these Xanthones have similar molecular structures, each one has its own unique chemical composition that permits it to perform a specific function. Alpha-mangostin, for example, is a very potent antioxidant. Gamma-mangostin is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Garcinone E is a strong anti-tumor agent.
These and the other Xanthones found in the mangosteen provide a virtual medicine chest of natural healing compounds that address a wide variety of health issues:
- Cardio protective
Anti-arthritic and osteoporotic
- Anti-bacterial and anti-viral
- Antifungal and TB
- Pain relief
- Anti-seborrheaic (helping prevent skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis)
- Increasing mental alertness (affecting conditions such as ADD, ADHD, autism)
- Anti-tumor and cancer prevention
- Cholesterol lowering
- And most importantly anti-inflammation
Although they exist in small amounts in nature, xanthones are found in concentrated amounts in the pericarp of the mangosteen. The thick mangosteen pericarp is green when unripe but turns dark purple as it ripens. Most people will eat the edible white pulp which is sweet, juicy and delicious but discard the pericarp with its high nutritional value and benefits.
So how can you get the benefits of the pericarp?
It would seem that the only way is through a mangosteen supplement of which there are two preparations, the solid form and the liquid form. The solid form utilizes the pericarp part of the fruit while the liquid form makes use of the pericarp, and the rest of the fruit.
The liquid form
uses the whole fruit, maximizing all the health benefits from mangosteen, as xanthones are also found in the pulp in lower concentrations. Other fruits are added, such as cranberry, grape, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry and more, to mask the bitter taste of the pericarp but sadly, the pasteurization and reconstitution procedures destroy the inherent bioactive substances in mangosteen and in addition, the whole fruit has to undergo irradiation while sodium benzoate is added to extend the juice’s shelf life.
The solid form
only utilizes the pericarp with all its medicinal properties but the supplement is preserved with less destructive manufacturing processes. It also does not need any preservatives to prolong its shelf side so it contains 100% mangosteen and nothing else.
If you are interested in taking a supplement, some research is probably necessary to find the best format for you.
How to eat a fresh mangosteen
To eat a fresh mangosteen, hold the fruit in both hands. Although the pericarp looks tough and hardy, it is quite easy to open by using your thumbs to press on it gently, and twisting a little bit with your left hand turning anti-clockwise and your right hand turning clockwise, until the pericarp cracks into two halves exposing the edible white flashy pulp.