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.

Mangosteen is a fruit originating in Southeast Asia that has grown in popularity in the western world.

Here are 11 health benefits of mangosteen.

Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a 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.

1. Highly nutritious

A basket of whole mangosteens and cut up mangosteens beside them on a table revealing the white flesh insideShare on Pinterest
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Mangosteen is relatively low in calories yet provides many essential nutrients (1).

A 1-cup (196-gram) serving of canned, drained mangosteen packed in syrup offers (1):

  • Calories: 143
  • Carbs: 35 grams
  • Fiber: 3.5 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 6% of the daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin B9 (folate): 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 9% of the DV
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 8% of the DV
  • Manganese: 9% of the DV
  • Copper: 15% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 6% of the DV

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, 5).

Moreover, a single cup (196 grams) of this fruit provides almost 12.5% of the DV for fiber — a nutrient often lacking in people’s diets (6).

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 (7).

Mangosteen contains several nutrients with antioxidant capacity, such as vitamin C and manganese. Plus, it provides xanthones — a unique type of plant compound known to have strong antioxidant properties (8, 9).

Several studies have shown that the antioxidant activity of xanthones may promote anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-aging and antidiabetic effects (10).

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.

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 (10).

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 (11).

Though this data is encouraging, more research is needed to better understand how mangosteen affects inflammation and disease progression 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 (12).

Specific plant compounds in mangosteen — including xanthones — have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which may help fight the development and spread of cancerous cells (10, 12).

Multiple test-tube studies reveal that xanthones can inhibit cancer cell growth, including in breast, stomach, and lung tissue (12).

Similarly, a small number of studies observed that this compound may slow the progression of colon and breast cancer in mice (12).

Though these results are promising, insufficient research has been done in humans.

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 (13).

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 (14).

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 (15).

Ultimately, more studies are needed to better understand how mangosteen may fit into an effective weight loss plan.

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 (16).

A recent 26-week study in women with obesity 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 (17).

It should be noted that mangosteen extract has a more concentrated dose of antioxidants, and it would be necessary to eat a large quantity of the fruit to see similar results (17).

The fruit is also a good source of fiber, a nutrient that can help stabilize blood sugar and improve diabetes control (17).

The combination of the xanthone and fiber contents in mangosteen may help balance blood sugar. However, more research is needed.

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 (1).

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 (18, 19).

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 (20).

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 (21).

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.

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 (22).

One study in mice treated with supplemental mangosteen extract observed a protective effect against ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation in the skin (23).

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 (24).

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.

9–11. Other potential health benefits

Mangosteen may also have a positive impact on your heart, brain, and digestive system:

  1. 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 (25, 26, 27).
  2. Brain health. Studies indicate that mangosteen extract may help prevent mental decline, decrease brain inflammation, and improve symptoms of depression in mice, though human studies in this area are lacking (28, 29).
  3. 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 (1, 6).

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.

How to eat mangosteen

Mangosteen is easy to prepare and eat — though it may be difficult to find depending on where you live. The fruit’s season is relatively short, which often limits its availability.

Your best bet is to look for it at specialty Asian markets, but be aware that fresh mangosteen can be quite expensive. Frozen or canned forms may be cheaper and easier to find — but be mindful that canned versions often contain added sugar.

The fruit can also be found in juice form or as a powdered supplement.

If you happen to score a fresh supply, choose fruits with a smooth, dark purple outer rind. The rind is inedible but can be easily removed with a serrated knife.

While the rind itself isn’t edible, extracts from mangosteen peel may also yield health benefits, according to some studies (30, 31).

The inner flesh is white and very juicy when ripe. This part of the fruit can be eaten raw or added to smoothies or tropical fruit salads for a delicious boost of flavor.

May not be right for everyone

Very few adverse health effects have been reported from consuming mangosteen in its whole form, and it’s likely safe for most people.

However, more concentrated forms — like supplements, juices, or powders — are not 100% risk-free.

Early research suggests that xanthones found in herbal supplements may slow the process of blood clotting (32).

Because mangosteen is a rich source of xanthones, it may be a good idea to avoid concentrated sources of it if you have a blood clotting condition or are taking blood‒thinning medications.

Research to determine whether mangosteen supplements are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women is currently insufficient, so it’s probably best to avoid it during these life stages.

Always consult your doctor or other qualified health professional before making significant changes to your diet or taking a new nutritional supplement.

The bottom line

Mangosteen is a tropical fruit originating from Southeast Asia.

It’s revered for its many potential health benefits — most of which are related to its nutritional profile and unique antioxidant content. Still, many of these perceived benefits have yet to be scientifically proven in human studies.

Fresh mangosteen may be difficult to come by, as it’s a relatively obscure fruit. But canned, frozen, and supplemental forms are more common.

Its juicy, delicately sweet flavor makes it a delicious addition to smoothies and fruit salads. Try it for its culinary appeal or potential health benefits — it’s a win either way.