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Concepts in Fitness: The healing power of fruit

July 8, 2019 11:36 am Updated: July 8, 2019 11:41 am


Last week a client gifted me a big box of purple mangosteens. At first I thought she said “mangos” — until I opened the box, and what I found inside was quite a delicious treat!

Purple in color on the outside, the mangosteen has a white fleshy pulp that is so sweet it melts in your mouth like ice cream. It almost tastes like a cross between peaches, clementines and mangoes, only 10 times better!

Used to heal a variety of ailments, the mangosteen has played a significant role in traditional Asian medicine since the 18th century and is finally being recognized in the western world as a super food. In fact the healing powers of the mangosteen are so significant that Dr. Oz has included it on his list of super foods.

Oftentimes referred to as the “Queen of Fruits,” mangosteens are rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B6 and C, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, potassium and zinc, which can aid in the fight against cancer, maintain blood sugar and aids in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

According to research done at Ohio State University, the mangosteens’s purple rind is packed with a unique variety of polyphenols like tannin and xathones. Xanthones are powerful and effective anti-oxidants that are believed to have anti-cancer properties which prevent “cellular rust” in the body.

Scientific research also shows that xanthones and xanthone derivatives inhibit the growth of various cancer cells including leukemia, liver, breast, colon, stomach and lung. A 2012 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found xanthone extracts have anti-colon cancer effects. While another study conducted by the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Illinois indicated that the mangosteen can successfully slow the progress of prostate cancer.

This ancient fruit is also linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Several medical studies found that xanthones can cross the blood-brain barrier (meaning they can enter the brain through the blood) preventing scavenger cells from killing healthy brain cells.

Mangosteens are also beneficial for keeping diabetes under control because it helps maintain blood-sugar levels. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that mangosteens contain blood sugar compounds that are comparable to popular diabetes medications.

Sadly, fresh mangosteens are only available from February through November and are mostly found in Asian markets. Mangosteen juice can be prepared at home in a juicer and is also available as the health drink “Xango juice” but it is quite pricey. Mangosteen powder (which is way more affordable than the bottled juice) can be added to smoothies for a nutritional boost and can also be purchased in capsule form.

Though the mangosteen is a relatively obscure fruit, it shouldn’t be overlooked as a healthy food you should consider adding to your diet.

Please talk with your doctor before adding any super-fruit supplement to your diet, especially if you have any health concerns.

Reach Mary Schoepe at