Mangosteen is a fruit that grows on an evergreen tree native to Indonesia. Unrelated to the mango despite its name, the mangosteen has a hard dark rind and tastes like a citrus fruit with the texture of a peach. It is popularly sold in juice form in the United States, often combined with the juice of other fruits. A traditional remedy in its native land, mangosteen is being studied for its health benefits.
Systemic inflammation in people who are obese may lead to further health problems including diabetes and heart disease. Researchers studied mangosteen juice to see if it could lower signs of inflammation in obese volunteers. An article in "Nutrition Journal" reported that volunteers who drank mangosteen juice twice daily showed a significant reduction in inflammatory markers in their bloodstream, while markers for inflammation in a control group that received a different juice concoction didn't change. The authors cautioned that more studies are necessary to confirm the benefits of mangosteen juice and determine if there are any negative side effects.
Although results from scientific research are still very preliminary, scientists are studying mangosteen as a possible weapon against the gum disease known as periodontitis. A study described in "Complementary Therapies in Medicine" reported that patients who applied a gel containing mangosteen juice to their gums improved more than patients in a control group. Both groups also received the standard treatment for periodontitis. The authors concluded that mangosteen gel could eventually be a helpful accompaniment to more traditional periodontal treatment. If you are having problems with your gums, see your dentist.
The function of an antioxidant is to fight against the free radicals that cause cellular damage and that have been implicated in the development of heart disease and cancer. Free radicals are naturally produced by the body as it breaks down food, but are also created by environmental factors like tobacco smoke, radiation and pollution. Mangosteen juice is high in antioxidants, especially the potent ones known as xanthones. Xanthones are found only in a few tropical plants, and mangosteen is the richest source. According to the National Cancer Institute, the science on antioxidant consumption is preliminary, but some studies indicate that they may guard against the development of cancer. Mangosteen juice and other sources of antioxidants, however, are not effective treatments for any disease.
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