Superfoods: Spotlight on mangosteen

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What is it?
This deep purple unusual looking fruit originated in Indonesia and South East Asia.

Sweet, juicy and tangy, the mangosteen is fibrous like a citrus fruit and with an inedible thick purple rind. It is unrelated to the mango and is often referred to as the ‘queen of fruits’, appreciated for its perfect blend of sweet and tangy.

The hard rind can be nearly one inch thick. At the centre is the soft opaque white fruit, which resembles a head of garlic but tastes slightly sweet and tart. Due to its seasonal nature, fresh mangosteen fruit is available for limited periods throughout the year.

The mangosteen grows predominantly in tropical conditions. The tree typically requires eight to 10 years before yielding significant amounts of fruit.  In New Zealand we can generally only access this superfood in powder form.

Those lucky enough to access the fresh mangosteen enjoy them as they would any other tropical fruit. In South East Asia, the rind—or pericarp—has been used for medicinal purposes for generations.

According to folklore, the rind was used to make a tea for conditions such as diarrhoea, bladder infections, and gonorrhoea. An ointment made from the rind was applied to skin rashes.

Today, the rind has been found to contain the compounds alpha-mangostin, beta-mangostin, garcinone B, and garcinone E, which are collectively called xanthones.
Mangosteen twigs are used as chew sticks in Ghana. The fruit rind contains seven to 14 percent catechin tannin and rosin, and is used for tanning leather in China. It also yields a black dye.

What the research says:
Mangosteen has been widely used as a traditional medicine in South East Asia for many years. The rind, peel, hull and juice of the plant have all been utilised and are said to have powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti fungal properties, while also containing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

It is also suggested that mangosteen powder can aid in joint and cell function, strengthen the immune system, and help to clear acne-prone skin. With such strong infection fighting and healing properties, mangosteen is a great superfood to incorporate into the daily diet.

Mangosteen is becoming increasingly popular as a food and dietary supplement and contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron and Vitamin C.

Recommendations:
Matakana Superfoods sells mangosteen in both powder and capsule form. It can be added to smoothies or juices when in powder form and experts recommend that you add one teaspoon to your daily diet to improve overall health, or take the equivalent amount in capsule form.

Key benefits:
• Cell function
• Joint function
• Immune function
• Cardiovascular health
• Natural defense against infection
• Acne-prone skin

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Entries close January 5, 2015.

 

 

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