Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is an exotic, tropical fruit with a slightly sweet and sour flavor.
It’s originally from Southeast Asia but can be found in various tropical regions around the world.
The fruit is sometimes referred to as purple mangosteen because of the deep purple color its rind develops when ripe. In contrast, the juicy inner flesh is bright white.
Though mangosteen is a relatively obscure fruit, it shouldn’t be overlooked, as it may offer many health benefits due to its rich supply of nutrients, fiber, and unique antioxidants.
Here are 11 health benefits of mangosteen
1. Highly Nutritious
Mangosteen is relatively low in calories yet provides many essential nutrients (1Trusted Source).
A 1-cup (196-gram) serving of canned, drained mangosteen offers (1Trusted Source):
Carbs: 35 grams
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 1 gram
Vitamin C: 9% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin B9 (folate): 15% of the RDI
Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 7% of the RDI
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 6% of the RDI
Manganese: 10% of the RDI
Copper: 7% of the RDI
Magnesium: 6% of the RDI
The vitamins and minerals in mangosteen are important for maintaining many bodily functions, including DNA production, muscle contraction, wound healing, immunity, and nerve signaling (2, 3, 4, 5Trusted Source).
Moreover, a single cup (196 grams) of this fruit provides almost 14% of the RDI for fiber — a nutrient often lacking in people’s diets (6Trusted Source).
Mangosteen provides a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber while being low in calories. These nutrients are important for maintaining many functions in your body.
2. Rich in Powerful Antioxidants
Perhaps one of mangosteen’s most significant attributes is its unique antioxidant profile.
Antioxidants are compounds that can neutralize the damaging effects of potentially harmful molecules called free radicals, which are linked to various chronic diseases (7Trusted Source).
Mangosteen contains several nutrients with antioxidant capacity, such as vitamin C and folate. Plus, it provides xanthones — a unique type of plant compound known to have strong antioxidant properties (8Trusted Source).
In several studies, the antioxidant activity of xanthones has resulted in anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-aging, and antidiabetic effects (9Trusted Source).
Thus, xanthones in mangosteen may be responsible for many of its potential health benefits. Still, more human research is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Mangosteen contains vitamins with antioxidant capacity, as well as a unique class of antioxidant compounds known as xanthones.
3. May Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The xanthones found in mangosteen may play a role in reducing inflammation.
Test-tube and animal studies suggest that xanthones have an anti-inflammatory effect and may reduce your risk of inflammatory diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes (9Trusted Source).
Mangosteen is also rich in fiber, which offers various benefits. For instance, some animal research indicates that a higher-fiber diet may help reduce your body’s inflammatory response (10Trusted Source).
Though this data is encouraging, more research is needed to better understand how mangosteen affects inflammation and disease progression in humans.
Plant compounds and fiber in mangosteen may have anti-inflammatory effects according to animal research. More studies are needed to understand how this fruit may reduce inflammation in humans.
4. May Have Anticancer Effects
Population studies show that diets rich in vegetables and fruits like mangosteen are associated with reduced incidences of cancer (11Trusted Source).
Specific plant compounds in mangosteen — including xanthones — have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which may help fight the development and spread of cancerous cells (9Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Multiple test-tube studies reveal that xanthones can inhibit cancer cell growth, including in breast, stomach, and lung tissue (11Trusted Source).
Similarly, a small number of studies observed that this compound may slow the progression of colon and breast cancer in mice (11Trusted Source).
Though these results are promising, insufficient research has been done in humans.
Test-tube and animal research indicates that xanthones in mangosteen may protect against cancer. However, high-quality human research on this topic is lacking.
5. May Promote Weight Loss
In the health and wellness industry, one of mangosteen’s biggest claims to fame is its potential to aid weight loss.
One study found that mice on a high-fat diet who received supplemental doses of mangosteen gained significantly less weight than mice in the control group (12Trusted Source).
Similarly, in a small, 8-week study, people who supplemented their diets with 3, 6 or 9 ounces (90, 180, or 270 ml) of mangosteen juice twice daily tended to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than the control group (13Trusted Source).
Additional research on mangosteen and obesity is limited, but experts theorize that the fruit’s anti-inflammatory effects play a role in promoting fat metabolism and preventing weight gain (14Trusted Source).
Ultimately, more studies are needed to better understand how mangosteen may fit into an effective weight loss plan.
Some animal and human research suggests that mangosteen may play a role in weight loss and obesity prevention. Still, more studies are needed.
6. Supports Blood Sugar Control
Both test-tube and animal studies show that xanthone compounds in mangosteen may help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels (15Trusted Source).
A recent 26-week study in obese women found that those receiving 400 mg of supplemental mangosteen extract daily had significant reductions in insulin resistance — a risk factor for diabetes — compared to the control group (16Trusted Source).
The fruit is also a good source of fiber, a nutrient that can help stabilize blood sugar and improve diabetes control (16Trusted Source).
The combination of the xanthone and fiber contents in mangosteen may help balance blood sugar. However, more research is needed.
Plant compounds and fiber in mangosteen may contribute to reduced blood sugar. Still, current research is insufficient.
7. Promotes a Healthy Immune System
Fiber and vitamin C — both of which can be found in mangosteen — are important for a healthy immune system (1Trusted Source).
Fiber supports your healthy gut bacteria — an essential component of immunity. On the other hand, vitamin C is needed for the function of various immune cells and has antioxidant properties (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Additionally, some research suggests that certain plant compounds in mangosteen may have antibacterial properties — which could benefit your immune health by combating potentially harmful bacteria (19Trusted Source).
In a 30-day study in 59 people, those taking a mangosteen-containing supplement experienced reduced markers of inflammation and significantly greater increases in healthy immune cell numbers compared to those taking a placebo (20Trusted Source).
Your immune system requires many different nutrients to function optimally. Mangosteen may be a healthy choice to include alongside other nutrient-dense foods as part of a balanced diet.
Research suggests that mangosteen may increase your number of immune cells and reduce inflammation — potentially boosting immune health.
8. Helps Maintain Healthy Skin
Skin damage from sun exposure is a common occurrence worldwide and a major contributor to skin cancer and signs of aging (21Trusted Source).
One study in mice treated with supplemental mangosteen extract observed a protective effect against ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation in the skin (22Trusted Source).
What’s more, a small, 3-month human study found that people treated with 100 mg of mangosteen extract daily experienced significantly more elasticity in their skin and less accumulation of a particular compound known to contribute to skin aging (23Trusted Source).
Researchers assert that mangosteen’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity is the main reason for these skin-protective effects, but more studies in this area are needed.
Research suggests that antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in mangosteen may protect skin cells from damage associated with sun exposure and aging.
9–11. Other Potential Health Benefits
Mangosteen may also have a positive impact on your heart, brain, and digestive system:
Heart health. Animal studies show that mangosteen extract effectively reduced heart disease risk factors like LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol (24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source).
Brain health. Studies indicate that mangosteen extract helps prevent mental decline, decrease brain inflammation, and improve symptoms of depression in mice, though human studies in this area are lacking (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).
Digestive health. Mangosteen is packed with fiber. Just 1 cup (196 grams) provides about 14% of the RDI. Fiber is essential for digestive health, and high-fiber diets help promote bowel regularity (1Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Though these results are promising, human studies in these areas are lacking.
It’s still too early to make definitive claims regarding mangosteen’s role in supporting brain, heart, and digestive health in humans.
Research suggests that nutrients and other plant compounds in mangosteen may support optimal digestive, heart, and brain function.