If you’re addicted to round-up lists of superfoods to include in your diet or natural skincare routine, then you’ve most likely noticed a new addition: a little fruit from Southeast Asia called the mangosteen.
With their hard purple shells and white fleshy fruit, mangosteens might look funky, but they’ve got lots going on under the hood.
In addition to serving as an antioxidant powerhouse, the mangosteen’s “therapeutic properties have long been understood by the indigenous people of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and China,” explains nutritionist Lindsey Duncan.
From cancer prevention to immune health, the health benefits of mangosteen make it a powerful addition to your fruit bowl. Let’s take a look:
3 Juicy Reasons to Include Mangosteen in Your Diet...
1. All Aboard for Antioxidants
Whether you nab a full mangosteen from a Chinatown grocery, or sip on this juice cocktail, you’ll reap the benefits of the fruit’s antioxidant power.
According to the editors at Men’s Health, the mangosteen is “rich in nutrients; it’s high in antioxidants; and it has the potential to lower risk of disease for people.”
Found in vitamins and nutrients, antioxidants are crucial for slowing “oxidative damage throughout the body,” explains Chris Heuer at Greatist.
In layman’s terms, the natural cycle of growth and decay can produce free radicals that damage our cells – but antioxidants kill off those free radicals and prevent cellular damage.
Eating fruits or drinking fruit juices high in vitamins C and E can help you tap into the power of antioxidants, whether you turn to strawberries and blackberries, or more exotic choices like guava and – you guessed it – mangosteen.
The hard purple shell of the mangosteen has caught the attention of recent researchers, who have discovered “a class of plant nutrients called xanthones that have extremely powerful antioxidant properties,” write the editors of Men’s Health.
According to Dr. J.F. Templeton, a contributor for Alive magazine, the xanthones found in mangosteen can help combat everything from fatigue to cancer. That makes mangosteen one fruit worth tracking down.
2. Boost Your Health
Even medical experts at the Cleveland Clinic advocate all those xanthones found in mangosteen peel, since the nutrient can provide both anti-inflammatory benefits and a natural way to boost your immune system.
Since inflammation is connected to multiple diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, “reducing inflammation in the body is...critical to maintaining health,” writes nutritionist Lindsey Duncan at Alive, a natural health and wellness periodical.
“Xanthones have been clinically shown to reduce the enzymes involved with increasing the body’s natural inflammatory processes,” adds Duncan.
Like other fruits with vitamin C, mangosteen also has the reputation of a top-notch immune system booster in traditional medicine. Researchers are starting to catch on, too.
One small study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that participants who supplemented their diet with mangosteen had a higher T-cell count and reported better overall health than participants who received a placebo instead.
3. Kick Cancer to the Curb
While the jury’s still officially out on using mangosteen to stop cancer in its tracks, some lab studies indicate the fruit might help cancer patients fight the spread of tumors.
“In 2002, researchers at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei concluded that xanthones extracted from mangosteen rinds may be potentially useful for the treatment of lung, liver, and stomach cancers,” writes Templeton at Alive.
At Men’s Health, Dr. Ray Sahelian confirms that “research on xanthones has found them to have potent anti-tumor activity.”
Still, it’s early days when it comes to studying mangosteen as a cancer preventative.
As Sahelian cautions, many of these medicinal claims are based on lab studies instead of clinical trials, so don’t look to mangosteen as a miracle fruit.
“Bottom line: It’s a safe supplement, a good source of antioxidants, and has anti-cancer potential,” says Sahelian.
...And 3 More for Adopting a Fruity Skincare Regime
4. Pick a Fight with Pollution
Wherever you live – country or city – you’re exposed to some kind of pollution, from exhaust to chemicals used in farming.
The bad news: more pollution equals more free-floating free radicals in our airways.
“By stealing electrons from your body’s cells, free radicals can accelerate the aging process,” explains Jessica Cruel at Self. “That’s because these nano-sized particles are small enough to get into your pores and can be inhaled through your nose, which can lead to inflammation – your body’s natural reaction to foreign objects.”
The good news? New studies show that increasing your antioxidant intake can help manage the harshening effects of pollution on your skin – especially if you use an antioxidant serum.
“Even though these particles are tiny and can get into the superficial layers [of the skin], you can help protect yourself...by exfoliating and applying creams to help improve [your skin’s] barrier function,” dermatologist Ava Shamban told Self, referring to your skin’s ability to keep environmental baddies at bay.
By adding a healthy dose of exfoliating scrubs and antioxidant serums to your skincare routine, your skin will be primed and ready to kick pollution’s butt and eliminate harmful, aging free radicals.
From our catalog: Double up with our Mangosteen Body Scrub and Mangosteen Nourishing Body Cream. The scrub helps exfoliate away dry skin – not to mention the harmful effects of pollution – and infuses your limbs with powerful antioxidants and nourishing fruit oils. Our nourishing body cream is concentrated with potent anti-aging antioxidants, vitamins, and skin-softening fruit oils from the powerful mangosteen.
5. Sayonara Skin Damage
Aside from pollution, our skin fends off plenty of other damaging effects – from weather, sun, and – of course – aging.
Even though we’d love to point our fingers at wrinkles, most skin damage comes from spending too much unprotected time in the sun.
If you’re not using sunscreen, get on that! And even if you are – like the beauty maven we know you to be – it’s still possible to get too much sun for your own good.
You can counteract the effects of sun damage with a healthy dose of antioxidants, which are naturally found in the mangosteen peel.
“Eighty percent of free-radical formation is from UV radiation,” dermatologist Christine Kim told Self.
“I would never say put on [an] antioxidant serum in place of sunscreen,” Kim added. “I would say layer it underneath a sunscreen or use a sunscreen that already has antioxidants built in.”
When you get ready to layer up with sunscreen, remember to opt for an antioxidant-rich sunscreen, like Kim suggests, or put a thin layer of serum on your skin first.
Not only will you avoid a sunburn, but you’ll also benefit from healthier, younger-looking skin.
6. Boost Collagen Production
We’re always on the hunt for new ways to downplay fine lines and wrinkles. Aren’t you?
As it turns out, certain vitamins with antioxidant power – like the vitamin C found in nutrient-rich mangosteen – can help boost collagen production.
“Vitamin C is usually touted for its cold-fighting power, but it’s also under study for its impact on preventing and reversing aging skin,” write the industry experts at DermApproved.
According to studies published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and Dermatology and Therapy, vitamin C “works in two ways: as an antioxidant, and as a booster of collagen formation – both of which are important to preserving and maintaining skin’s youthful appearance.”
Who knew vitamin C was so handy? Look for vitamin-rich face creams that can help you minimize wrinkles and fine lines – an ingredient like mangosteen might just do the trick.
Although this rare fruit is not often found in the United States, the mangosteen can sometimes be tracked down in Chinatown or specialty Asian markets. Keep your eyes peeled!
The next time you see this colorful purple fruit, don’t shy away. Reap the benefits of mangosteen’s nutrient-rich fruit to boost your immune system or give your skincare routine a welcome jolt.
Have you ever tried mangosteen or other tropical fruits beloved by traditional herbalists? Tell us about your food and beauty adventures in the comments below: