Rambutan Is The Tropical Superfood You Need To Be On The Lookout For
Written by: Angelique Johnson
Rambutan! Fun to say and fun to eat! Many of you who live in the eastern part of the world may have already experienced this delicious fruit, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s time to try a new superfood! Let me formally introduce you.
You may have never heard the name before, but this small, spiny red fruit is undeniably recognizable once seen. Rambutan is a tropical fruit that originated in Indonesia. In fact, the name ‘rambutan’ comes from the Indonesian name “rambut,” which means hair. Rambutan is now widely found in Malaysia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Ecuador and even the United States.
This sweet (with a slight acidic taste) and juicy fruit is closely related to other delicious tropical fruits such as mamoncillo, longan and lychees. Rambutan has been used in curry recipes for hundreds of years, but it has been used medicinally for even longer!
That’s because this fruit contains many properties that help with many medical maladies:
1. Rambutan Can Help Diabetes
Research published in the journal Food Research International has demonstrated that the rind of the rambutan can help control blood glucose levels, aiding in diabetes prevention and reversal. This is because rambutan helps to stop the enzymes alpha-glucosidase and alpha-amylase, which lower the speed that sugar is absorbed in your body. This delays the digestion of carbohydrates and extend the amount of time in which these carbs are processed. This makes rambutan a definite superfood for diabetes!
2. Can Help Prevent Weight Gain
This amazing superfood can also help to keep your waistline slim and trim. Research shows that the extract from rambutan peel can help to prevent weight gain when tested in animal models. The extract affects genes that regulate the metabolism in the body, therefore having an anti-obesity property.
3. Full Of Copper
Copper is an important mineral in our bodies and rambutan is an excellent source of it.
Copper has been found to be beneficial for:
- Arthritis – Reduces inflammation that adds pressure to joints.
- Wounds – Copper is a co-factor in various enzymatic processes that result in endothelial growth, or the healing process of tissue.
- Anti-aging – Copper plays an important role in collagen production.
- Cancer-fighter – Copper has antioxidant action that protects against free radicals.
100 grams of rambutan contains 0.18 mg of copper, which is:
- 11% of the recommended value (1.7 mg per day) for adult men.
- 15% of the recommended value (1.2 mg per day) for adult women.
This many not seem like much, but rambutan actually has a relatively higher copper content than most other fruits.
4. Great For The Skin
Rambutan is not only rich in collagen-producing copper, but it is also rich in manganese, a mineral that is important for skin health. Manganese is a required cofactor for an enzyme called prolidase, which is needed to make collagen, a part of the connective tissue in the skin that helps to keep your face firm and supple.
100 grams of rambutan contains 1.06 mg of manganese, which is:
- 46% of the recommended value (2.3 mg per day) for men over 19 years of age.
- 59% of the recommended value (1.8 mg per day) for women over 19 years of age.
Manganese also functions as an antioxidant in the skin. It helps protect skin against damage from ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun.
5. Helps Keep Bones Strong
The phosphorus and calcium in rambutan helps to support any increase in bone mass. Calcium alone can’t build strong bones. Research shows that calcium needs phosphorus to maximize its bone-strengthening benefits, making rambutan an excellent fruit for helping to prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis.
6. Contains Anti-Cancer Properties
One of the main components in rambutan is gallic acid. Gallic acid is a naturally occurring plant phenol that research has shown may help to prevent cancer by encouraging cell death in cancer cells. These effects were seen in lung, stomach and prostate cancer cells.
7. Works As An Antibacterial
Both the extract of rambutan peel and its seeds were found to have antibacterial properties. A study conducted at the Chiang Mai University in Thailand showed that the fruit was effective at killing pathogenic bacteria, including Staphylococcus epidermidis, which is known to cause staph infections.
Looking for an interesting way to incorporate rambutan in your daily regimen? Try this awesome Rambutan, Banana and Spinach smoothie!
How do you eat rambutan? Do you have a different name for it in your country? I would love for you to share your thoughts with me! Please leave a comment below and don’t forget to share on social media!
Rambutan, Banana and Spinach Smoothie
- 8 fresh rambutan, de-seeded, halved and pre-frozen
- 1 small banana, sliced and pre-frozen
- 1 cup fresh organic spinach
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- Place all ingredients and blend together until smooth. Enjoy!
Angelique Johnson is a nutritionist from Miami, FL. Through her own journey in weight loss, she discovered her love for health and nutrition and realized she wanted to help others achieve a healthier lifestyle. Angelique has been featured as a nutrition consult on CBS4 Miami News and is a published author on many online health sites. She is passionate about debunking diet rumors and showing her clients how to have a healthy, balanced relationship with food.
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