Sunday, October 31, 2010

Healthy Fruit: Apple

The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae) and is a perennial. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. The tree originated in Western Asia, where its wild ancestor is still found today. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.

At least 55 million tonnes of apples were grown worldwide in 2005, with a value of about $10 billion. China produced about 35% of this total. The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 7.5% of world production. Iran is third, followed by Turkey, Russia, Italy and India.

Human consumption
Apples can be canned or juiced. They are milled to produce apple cider (non-alcoholic, sweet cider) and filtered for apple juice. The juice can be fermented to make cider (alcoholic, hard cider), ciderkin, and vinegar. Through distillation, various alcoholic beverages can be produced, such as applejack, Calvados, and apple wine. Pectin and apple seed oil may also produced.
Apples are an important ingredient in many desserts, such as apple pie, apple crumble, apple crisp and apple cake. They are often eaten baked or stewed, and they can also be dried and eaten or reconstituted (soaked in water, alcohol or some other liquid) for later use. Pureed apples are generally known as apple sauce. Apples are also made into apple butter and apple jelly. They are also used (cooked) in meat dishes.
In the UK, a toffee apple is a traditional confection made by coating an apple in hot toffee and allowing it to cool. Similar treats in the US are candy apples (coated in a hard shell of crystallised sugar syrup), and caramel apples, coated with cooled caramel. Apples are eaten with honey at the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a sweet new year.
Farms with apple orchards may open them to the public, so consumers may themselves pick the apples they will buy. Sliced apples turn brown with exposure to air due to the conversion of natural phenolic substances into melanin upon exposure to oxygen. Different cultivars vary in their propensity to brown after slicing. Sliced fruit can be treated with acidulated water to prevent this effect.
Organic apples are commonly produced in the United States. Organic production is difficult in Europe, though a few orchards have done so with commercial success, using disease-resistant cultivars and the very best cultural controls. The latest tool in the organic repertoire is a spray of a light coating of kaolin clay, which forms a physical barrier to some pests, and also helps prevent apple sun scald.
Health benefits
The proverb "An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”, addressing the health effects of the fruit, dates from 19th century Wales. Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Compared to many other fruits and vegetables, apples contain relatively low amounts of vitamin C, but are a rich source of other antioxidant compounds. The fiber content, while less than in most other fruits, helps regulate bowel movements and may thus reduce the risk of colon cancer. They may also help with heart disease, weight loss, and controlling cholesterol, as they do not have any cholesterol, have fiber, which reduces cholesterol by preventing reabsorption, and are bulky for their caloric content, like most fruits and vegetables.
There is evidence that in vitro apples possess phenolic compounds which may be cancer-protective and demonstrate antioxidant activity. The predominant phenolic phytochemicals in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.
Apple juice concentrate has been found to increase the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in mice, providing a potential mechanism for the "prevention of the decline in cognitive performance that accompanies dietary and genetic deficiencies and aging." Other studies have shown an "alleviat[ion of] oxidative damage and cognitive decline" in mice after the administration of apple juice.
The seeds are mildly poisonous, containing a small amount of amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside; it usually is not enough to be dangerous to humans, but it can deter birds.
Apples, with skin (edible parts) : Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 218 kJ (52 kcal) | Carbohydrates 13.81 g
Sugars 10.39 g | Dietary fiber 2.4 g
Fat 0.17 g | Protein 0.26 g | Water 85.56 g.
Vitamin A equiv. 3 μg (0%) | Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.017 mg (1%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.026 mg (2%) | Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.091 mg (1%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.061 mg (1%) | Vitamin B6 0.041 mg (3%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 3 μg (1%) | Vitamin C 4.6 mg (8%)
Calcium 6 mg (1%) | Iron 0.12 mg (1%)
Magnesium 5 mg (1%) | Phosphorus 11 mg (2%)
Potassium 107 mg (2%) | Zinc 0.04 mg (0%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Source, Images:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Superfruit: Sea-buckthorn

The sea-buckthorns (Hippophae L.) are deciduous shrubs in the genus Hippophae, family Elaeagnaceae. The name sea-buckthorn is hyphenated here to avoid confusion with the buckthorns (Rhamnus, family Rhamnaceae). It is also referred to as "sea buckthorn", seabuckthorn, sandthorn or seaberry.
There are 6 species and 12 subspecies native over a wide area of Europe and Asia, including the Ladakh region (India) where it is used to make juices. More than 90 percent or about 1.5 million hectares of the world's sea buckthorn resources can be found in China where the plant is exploited for soil and water conservation purposes. The shrubs reach 0.5–6 m tall, rarely up to 10 m in central Asia, and typically occur in dry, sandy areas. They are tolerant of salt in the air and soil, but demand full sunlight for good growth and do not tolerate shady conditions near larger trees.
The female plants produce orange berry-like fruit 6–9 mm in diameter, soft, juicy and rich in oils. The fruit are an important winter food resource for some birds, notably fieldfares. Leaves are eaten by the larva of the coastal race of the ash pug moth and by larvae of other Lepidoptera including brown-tail, dun-bar, emperor moth, mottled umber and Coleophora elaeagnisella.
Nutrients and potential health effects
Sea-buckthorn berries are edible and nutritious, though very acidic (astringent) and oily, unpleasant to eat raw, unless 'bletted' (frosted to reduce the astringency) and/or mixed as a juice with sweeter substances such as apple or grape juice.
When the berries are pressed, the resulting sea-buckthorn juice separates into three layers: on top is a thick, orange cream; in the middle, a layer containing sea-buckthorn's characteristic high content of saturated and polyunsaturated fats; and the bottom layer is sediment and juice. Containing fat sources applicable for cosmetic purposes, the upper two layers can be processed for skin creams and liniments, whereas the bottom layer can be used for edible products like syrup.
Nutrient and phytochemical constituents of sea-buckthorn berries have potential value to affect inflammatory disorders, cancer or other diseases, although no specific health benefits have yet been proven by clinical research in humans.
The fruit of the plant has a high vitamin C content - in a range of 114 to 1550 mg per 100 grams with an average content (695 mg per 100 grams) about 15 times greater than oranges (45 mg per 100 grams)- placing sea-buckthorn fruit among the most enriched plant sources of vitamin C. The fruit also contains dense contents of carotenoids, vitamin E, amino acids, dietary minerals, β-sitosterol and polyphenolic acids.
Consumer products and medicine 
Sea-buckthorn fruit can be used to make pies, jams, lotions and liquors. The juice or pulp has other potential applications in foods or beverages. For example, in Finland, it is used as a nutritional ingredient in baby food. Fruit drinks were among the earliest sea-buckthorn products developed in China. Seabuckthorn-based juice is popular in Germany and Scandinavian countries. It provides a nutritious beverage, rich in vitamin C and carotenes. A specialty beer called Tyrnilambic Baie d'Argousier has been produced at the Cantillon Brewery in Brussels exclusively for the Finnish Market.
For its troops confronting extremely low temperatures, India's Defence Research Development Organization established a factory in Leh to manufacture a multi-vitamin herbal beverage based on sea-buckthorn juice. The seed and pulp oils have nutritional properties that vary under different processing methods. Sea-buckthorn oils are used as a source for ingredients in several commercially available cosmetic products and nutritional supplements.
Different parts of sea-buckthorn have been used as traditional therapies for diseases. As no applications discussed in this section have been verified by Western science and sufficient clinical trial evidence, such knowledge remains mostly unreferenced outside of Asia and is communicated mainly from person to person, therefore falling into the category of folk medicine.
Grown widely throughout its native China and other mainland regions of Asia, sea-buckthorn is an herbal remedy reputedly used over centuries to relieve cough, aid digestion, invigorate blood circulation and alleviate pain. Bark and leaves may be used for treating diarrhea and dermatological disorders. Berry oil, taken either orally or applied topically, may be used as a skin softener.
For its hemostatic and anti-inflammatory effects, berry fruits are added to medications for pulmonary, gastrointestinal, cardiac, blood and metabolic disorders in Indian, Chinese and Tibetan medicines. Sea-buckthorn berry components have potential activity against cancer and dengue virus. Fresh juice, syrup and berry or seed oils may be used for colds, fever, exhaustion, as an analgesic or treatment for stomach ulcers, cancer, and metabolic disorders.
Sea-buckthorn Oil
Oil can be extracted from either the seeds or the pulp of the fruit. Oils from sea-buckthorn seeds and pulp differ considerably in fatty acid composition. While linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid are the major fatty acids in seed oil, sea- buckthorn pulp oil contains approximately 65% combined of the monounsaturated fatty acid, palmitoleic acid, and the saturated fatty acid, palmitic acid. Few other vegetable oils contain a similar quantity of these fatty acids. Both the seed and pulp oils are rich in tocopherols, tocotrienols and plant sterols. In addition, the pulp oil contains especially high levels of carotenoids.
Due to its unique botanical and nutritional properties, and there being no reported evidence of sea-buckthorn oil causing adverse reactions or negative side effects, the oil is also used as a natural agent that may benefit diseases of mucou membranes, including Aphthous ulcers, esophagitis, acid reflux, and peptic ulcers, as well as dermatological diseases and skin conditions.
In Russia and China, pulp oil may also be used topically to treat skin burns from radiation. Due to its ability to absorb ultraviolet rays, pulp oil is purported to reduce risk of radiation burns for Russian astronauts working in space.
Currently, cosmetic companies are adding sea-buckthorn oil to anti-aging preparations for skin rejuvenation and accelerated healing properties. It is also being used topically as a natural treatment for eczema, acne rosacea, acne and acne scars, and as a lotion for minimizing stretch marks.

Source, Images:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Superfruit: Pomegranate

A pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing to between five and eight meters tall. The pomegranate is mostly native to the Iranian Plateau, though some forms might come from other regions (southern Mediterranean, Sahara, Arabic peninsula, ...). It has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, India, Israel, the drier parts of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, peninsular Malaysia, the Mediterranean and Southern Europe and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production.
After opening the pomegranate by scoring it with a knife and breaking it open, the arils (seed casings) are separated from the peel and internal white pulp membranes. Separating the red arils is simplified by performing this task in a bowl of water, wherein arils sink and pulp floats. It is also possible to freeze the whole fruit in the freezer, making the red arils easy to separate from the white pulp membranes. A very effective way of quickly harvesting the arils with minimal time and effort is to cut the pomegranate in half, score each half of the exterior rind four to six times to assist in spreading the rind and ejection of arils, hold pomegranate half over a bowl and smack rind with a large spoon. Arils should eject from pomegranate directly into the bowl, leaving only a dozen or more deeply embedded arils to remove. The entire seed is consumed raw, though the watery, tasty aril is the desired part. The taste differs depending on subspecies of pomegranate and its ripeness. The pomegranate juice can be very sweet or sour, but most fruits are moderate in taste, with sour notes from the acidic tannins contained in the aril juice.
Having begun wide distribution in the United States and Canada in 2002, pomegranate juice has long been a popular drink in Persian and Indian cuisine. Grenadine syrup is thickened and sweetened pomegranate juice used in cocktail mixing. Before tomatoes arrived in the Middle East, grenadine was widely used in many Iranian foods, and is still found in traditional recipes such as fesenjan, a thick sauce made from pomegranate juice and ground walnuts, usually spooned over duck or other poultry and rice, and in ash-e anar (pomegranate soup).
Wild pomegranate seeds are used as a spice known as anardana (from Persian: anar+dana, pomegranate+seed), most notably in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, but also as a substitute for pomegranate syrup in Persian cuisine. Dried whole arils can often be obtained in ethnic Indian subcontinent markets. These seeds are separated from the flesh, dried for 10–15 days and used as an acidic agent for chutney and curry preparation. Ground anardana is also used, which results in a deeper flavoring in dishes and prevents the seeds from getting stuck in teeth. Seeds of the wild pomegranate variety known as daru from the Himalayas are regarded as quality sources for this spice.
Dried pomegranate arils, found in some natural specialty food markets, still contain the seed and residual aril water, maintaining a natural sweet and tart flavor. Dried arils can be used in several culinary applications, such as trail mix, granola bars, or as a topping for salad, yogurt, or ice cream. Chocolate covered arils, also available in gourmet food stores, may be added to desserts and baked items.
In the Caucasus, pomegranate is used mainly as juice. In Azerbaijan a sauce from pomegranate juice (narsharab) is usually served with fish or tika kabab. In Turkey, pomegranate sauce is used as a salad dressing, to marinate meat, or simply to drink straight. Pomegranate seeds are also used in salads and sometimes as garnish for desserts such as gullac. Pomegranate syrup or molasses is used in muhammara, a roasted red pepper, walnut, and garlic spread popular in Syria and Turkey.
In Greece, pomegranate is used in many recipes, including kollivozoumi, a creamy broth made from boiled wheat, pomegranates and raisins, legume salad with wheat and pomegranate, traditional Middle Eastern lamb kebabs with pomegranate glaze, pomegranate eggplant relish, and avocado-pomegranate dip. Pomegranate is also made into a liqueur and popular fruit confectionery used as ice cream topping or mixed with yogurt or spread as jam on toast. In Cyprus as well as in Greece and among the Greek Orthodox Diaspora, pomegranate is used to make kolliva, a mixture of wheat, pomegranate seeds, sugar, almonds and other seeds served at memorial services.
Nutrients and phytochemicals
Pomegranate aril juice provides about 16% of an adult's daily vitamin C requirement per 100 ml serving, and is a good source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), potassium and antioxidant polyphenols.
Pomegranates are listed as high-fiber in some charts of nutritional value. That fiber, however, is entirely contained in the seeds which also supply unsaturated oils. People who choose to discard the seeds forfeit nutritional benefits conveyed by the seed fiber, oils and micronutrients.
The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate juice are the hydrolyzable tannins called ellagitannins formed when ellagic acid binds with a carbohydrate. Punicalagins are unique pomegranate tannins with free-radical scavenging properties in laboratory experiments and with potential human effects. Punicalagins are absorbed into the human body and may have dietary value as antioxidants, but conclusive proof of efficacy in humans has not yet been shown. During intestinal metabolism by bacteria, ellagitannins and punicalagins are converted to urolithins which have unknown biological activity in vivo.
Other phytochemicals include polyphenolic catechins, gallocatechins, and anthocyanins, such as prodelphinidins, delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin. The ORAC (antioxidant capacity) of pomegranate juice was measured at 2,860 units per 100 grams.
Many food and dietary supplement makers use pomegranate phenolic extracts as ingredients in their products instead of the juice. One of these extracts is ellagic acid, which may become bioavailable only after parent molecule punicalagins are metabolized. However, ingested ellagic acid from pomegranate juice does not accumulate in the blood in significant quantities and is rapidly excreted. Accordingly, ellagic acid from pomegranate juice does not appear to be biologically important in vivo.
Potential health benefits
In preliminary laboratory research and human pilot studies, juice of the pomegranate was effective in reducing heart disease risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation, all of which are steps in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
In a limited study of hypertensive patients, consumption of pomegranate juice for two weeks was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by inhibiting serum angiotensin-converting enzyme. Juice consumption may also inhibit viral infections while pomegranate extracts have antibacterial effects against dental plaque.
Pomegranate, aril only : Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 285 kJ (68 kcal) | Carbohydrates 17.17 g
Sugars 16.57 g | Dietary fiber 0.6 g
Fat 0.3 g | Protein 0.95 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.030 mg (2%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.063 mg (4%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.300 mg (2%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.596 mg (12%)
Vitamin B6  0.105 mg (8%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 6 μg (2%)
Vitamin C 6.1 mg (10%)
Calcium 3 mg (0%) | Iron 0.30 mg (2%)
Magnesium 3 mg (1%) | Phosphorus 8 mg (1%)
Potassium 259 mg (6%) | Zinc 0.12 mg (1%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Source, Images:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Superfruit: Noni (Great Morinda)

Morinda citrifolia, commonly known as great morinda, Indian mulberry, nunaakai (Tamil Nadu, India), dog dumpling (Barbados), mengkudu (Malaysia), beach mulberry, cheese fruit or noni (from Hawaiian) is a tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Morinda citrifolia is native from Southeast Asia to Australia and is now distributed throughout the trop.
Noni grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores. It reaches maturity in about 18 months and then yields between 4–8 kilograms (8.8–18 lb) of fruit every month throughout the year. It is tolerant of saline soils, drought conditions, and secondary soils. It is therefore found in a wide variety of habitats: volcanic terrains, lava-strewn coasts, and clearings or limestone outcrops. It can grow up to 9 metres (30 ft) tall, and has large, simple, dark green, shiny and deeply veined leaves.
The Noni plant is known among the people of the tropics world-wide. In Malaysia, it is known as Mengkudu. In Southeast Asia it is known as Nhau. In the islands of the South Pacific the plant is known as Nonu, in Samoa and Tonga. Nono in Raratonga and Tahiti, and Noni in the Marquesas Islands and Hawaii becoming and integral part of the Polynesian culture. An important source of food, the fruit of the Noni tree has been used for centuries as a food source. Early Polynesians recognized its pure value and consumed it in times of famine.
Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the noni fruit became a staple food choice for people of Raratonga, Samoa and Fiji who ate the noni fruit raw or cooked. Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt or cook it with curry. The seeds are edible when roasted. Seeds, leaves, bark and root were also consumed by people familiar with the qualities of this unusual plant. Traditionally, every part of the Morinda Citrifolia plant is valued and used.
The plant bears flowers and fruits all year round. The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odor when ripening, and is hence also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit. It is oval in shape and reaches 4–7 centimeters (1.6–2.8 in) size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds. It is sometimes called starvation fruit. The noni is especially attractive to weaver ants, which make nests out of the leaves of the tree. These ants protect the plant from some plant-parasitic insects. The smell of the fruit also attracts fruit bats, which aid in dispersing the seeds.
Nutrients and phytochemicals
Noni fruit powder is high in carbohydrates and dietary fiber. According to the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, a 100 g sample of the powder contains 71% Carbohydrate and 36% Fiber. The sample also contained 5.2% Protein and 1.2% Fat. These macronutrients evidently reside in the fruit pulp, as noni juice has sparse amounts of macronutrients.
The main micronutrients of noni pulp powder include 9.8 mg of Vitamin C per 1200 mg sample, as well as 0.048 mg Niacin (vitamin B3), 0.02 mg Iron and 32.0 mg Potassium. Vitamin A, Calcium and Sodium are present in moderate amounts. When noni juice alone is analyzed and compared to pulp powder, only Vitamin C is retained at a high level, 33.6 mg per 100 g of juice.
Although the most significant nutrient feature of noni pulp powder or juice is its high vitamin C content, noni fruit juice provides only about half the vitamin C of a raw navel orange. Sodium levels in noni juice (about 3% of DRI) are high compared to an orange. Although the potassium content appears relatively high for noni, this total is only about 3% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance and so would not be considered excessive. Noni juice is otherwise similar in micronutrient content to a raw orange.
Noni fruit contains a number of phytochemicals, including lignans, oligo- and polysaccharides, flavonoids, iridoids, fatty acids, scopoletin, catechin, beta-sitosterol, damnacanthal, and alkaloids. Although these substances have been studied for bioactivity, current research does not conclude anything about their effects on human health. These phytochemicals are not unique to noni, as they exist in various plants.
Possible medicinal properties

Noni has been evaluated unsuccessfully in preliminary clinical trials for possible use in treating cancer, although the US National Cancer Institute has undertaken further preliminary studies for potential preventive effects against breast cancer. Since 2007, there have been no other registered clinical trials on potential health benefits or anti-disease effects of noni which remains scientifically undefined for any effect on human health.
Traditional medicine
Applications in folk medicine have not been verified by modern science or confirmed scientifically to enhance health or prevent disease. Although unsupported by science, the green fruit, leaves and the root/rhizome were traditionally used to treat menstrual cramps, bowel irregularities and urinary tract infections. Traditional Medicinal Uses are as below :
*Parts of the fruit are used as a tonic and to contain fever (China, Japan, Hawaii)
*The leaves, flowers, fruit, and bark can treat eye problems, skin wounds and abscesses, gum and throat problems, respiratory ailments, constipation, and fever (Pacific Islands, Hawaii)
*Used to treat stomach pains and after delivery (Marshall Islands)
*Heated leaves applied to the chest relieve coughs, nausea, and colic (Malaysia)
*Juice of the leaves is taken for arthritis (Philippines)
*Pounded, unripe fruit is mixed with salt and applied to cuts and broken bones
*Ripe fruit is used to draw out pus from an infected boil (Hawaii)
*Juices of over-ripe fruits are taken to regulate menstrual flow and ease urinary problems (Malaysia)
*The fruit can be used to make shampoo (Malaysia, Hawaii) and to treat head lice (Hawaii).
*Other exotic diseases treated with the plant include diabetes (widespread) and venereal diseases.
Consumer applications
The bark of the great morinda produces a brownish-purplish dye for batik making. In Hawaii, yellowish dye is extracted from its roots to dye cloth.
There have been recent applications for the use of noni seed oil which contains linoleic acid possibly useful when applied topically to skin, e.g., anti-inflammation, acne reduction, moisture retention.

Source, Images:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Superfruit: Mangosteen

The Purple Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), colloquially known simply as "the mangosteen", is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. The tree grows from 7 to 25 m (20–80 ft) tall. The rind (exocarp) of the edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. Botanically an aril, the fragrant edible flesh can be described as sweet and tangy, citrusy with peach flavor and texture. The purple mangosteen belongs to the same genus as the other, less widely known, mangosteens, such as the button mangosteen (G. prainiana) or the Garcinia madruno (G. madruno).
Mangosteen, despite its name, is not related to mango - another well-known and loved tropical fruit. Mangosteen is native to the most tropical countries of Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. It has been called the “Queen of Fruits” by many.
The edible endocarp of the mangosteen is botanically defined as an aril with the same shape and size as a tangerine 4–6 centimeters in diameter, but is white. The circle of wedge-shaped arils contains 4–8 segments, the larger ones harboring apomictic seeds that are unpalatable unless roasted.
Often described as a subtle delicacy, the arils bear an exceptionally mild aroma, quantitatively having about 400 times fewer chemical constituents than fragrant fruits, explaining its relative mildness. Main volatile components having caramel, grass and butter notes as part of the mangosteen fragrance are hexyl acetate, hexenol and α-copaene.
On the bottom of the exocarp, raised ridges (remnants of the stigma), arranged like spokes of a wheel, correspond to the number of aril sections. Mangosteens reach fruit-bearing in as little as 5–6 years, but more typically require 8–10 years. An ultra-tropical tree, the mangosteen must be grown in consistently warm conditions, as exposure to temperatures below 0°C (32°F) for prolonged periods will generally kill a mature plant. They are known to recover from brief cold spells rather well, often with damage only to young growth. Experienced horticulturists have grown this species outdoors, and brought them to fruit in extreme Southern Florida.
Due to ongoing restrictions on imports, mangosteen is not readily available in certain countries. Although available in Australia, for example, they are still rare in the produce sections of grocery stores in North America and Europe. Following export from its natural growing regions in Southeast Asia, the fresh fruit may be available seasonally in some local markets like those of Chinatowns.
Mangosteen and its related products, such as juices and nutritional supplements, are legally imported into the United States, which had an import ban until 2007. Mangosteens are readily available canned and frozen in Western countries.
Since 2006, private small volume orders for fruits grown on Puerto Rico were sold to American gourmet restaurants who serve the aril pieces as a delicacy dessert. Beginning in 2007 for the first time, fresh mangosteens were sold from specialty produce stores in New York City with high prices, but, during 2009-10, wider availability and lower prices have become common in the United States and Canada.
Before ripening, the mangosteen shell is fibrous and firm, but becomes soft and easy to pry open when the fruit ripens. To open a mangosteen, the shell is usually scored first with a knife; one holds the fruit in both hands, prying gently along the score with the thumbs until the rind cracks. It is then easy to pull the halves apart along the crack and remove the fruit. Rarely in ripe fruits, the purple exocarp juice may stain skin or fabric.
Nutrient and phytochemical content
The aril is the flavorful part of the fruit but, when analyzed specifically for its nutrient content, the mangosteen aril only meets the first criterion above, as its overall nutrient profile is absent of important content.
Some mangosteen juice products contain whole fruit purée or polyphenols extracted from the inedible exocarp (rind) as a formulation strategy to add phytochemical value. The resulting juice has purple color and astringency derived from exocarp pigments, including xanthones under study for potential anti-disease effects. The potential health benefits of xanthones were debated in a four-part series in 2009. Other authors proposed that alpha-mangostin, a xanthone, could stimulate apoptosis in leukemia cells in vitro.
Furthermore, a possible adverse effect may occur from chronic consumption of mangosteen juice containing xanthones. A 2008 medical case report described a patient with severe acidosis possibly attributable to a year of daily use (to lose weight, dose not described) of mangosteen juice infused with tannins.
Also known as the queen fruit, Mangosteen contains xanthones, an incredibly potent antioxidant with many incredible health benefits ranging from immune system protection to positive mental support. The Mangosteen fruit contains the incredibly potent antioxidant power of xanthones. It is common knowledge that Vitamin C and Vitamin E contain antioxidants, many individuals do not know that is that Xanthones are a natural chemical substance within the mangosteen fruit. Xanthones have even won praise from numerous researcher specialist for their medical potential.

Mangosteen has been used traditionally for centuries in Southeast Asia in some of their medicinal practices relating to headaches, pain and swelling, fever, and various other issues. For centuries, mangosteen has also been used by some countries for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic support.

Source, Images: