A vibrant-looking tropical fruit that is succulent and sweet – rambutan is more than just delectable and exotic. You can enjoy numerous health benefits of rambutan, thanks to its rich nutritional profile. Packed with essential vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B9 folate, along with minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and copper, this fruit is a secret weapon for an overall healthy body. (1.) From boosting immunity and promoting better digestion to maintaining a healthy heart and radiant skin, you can trust rambutan to be a gem of a snack.
In this article, we will explore the different antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and rejuvenating properties of rambutan in detail. Whether you are looking for a snack to boost your health or to manage symptoms of a chronic illness like diabetes, hypertension, etc, embracing the natural goodness of this furry-looking fruit will ensure both physical as well as mental wellness.
What is rambutan?
Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is an exotic fruit grown natively in Southeast Asia as the tropical, humid weather is suitable for their growth. These fruits have a fuzzy-looking outer peel, thus their name, which means hair in Malay. They are usually the size of a lime and are usually green or red in color. The flesh of this fruit is similar to a lychee, which is a translucent white-colored and succulent, with a sweet taste and a seed inside.
Rambutan is popularly used in dessert dishes like cakes, ice creams, smoothies, and pudding. It can also be eaten as salad and juice for a healthier diet alternative. It adds a refreshing and cooling effect perfect for the conductive warm climate of the tropics.
The benefits of rambutan are derived from its extensive, power-packed nutritional content wherein, 100 grams of rambutan offers 73.1kCals energy. This comes from 0.6gs of proteins, 0.1gs of fats, and 6.8g of carbohydrates. Other than this, there are many beneficial vitamins and minerals, such as:(1.)
- Calcium: 8.6mg
- Zinc: 0.5mg
- Iron: 0.3mg
- Folate: 7.3mcg
- Magnesium: 21.3mg
- Copper: 0.08mg
- Vitamin A: 0.4mcg
- Vitamin C: 65mg
- Fiber: 0.05g
Therefore, the rambutan nutrition profile shows that it contains lower calories, higher nutrient density, and higher dietary fibers (1.) Let us now discuss the various health benefits these nutrients impart to our bodies.
Health Benefits of Rambutan:
Rambutan is an extremely nutritious fruit that contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have significant properties for improving human health. Ranging from managing diseases, fighting pathogens, and preventing diseases to providing lustrous hair and beautiful skin, rambutan can extend a helping hand. Some of these are as follows:
1. Immunity Boosts:
Immunity is built by a host of different specialized cells and tissues that fight against pathogens like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Vitamin C has been shown to have a great effect in promoting immune cell function. (2). It also has a number of different roles that may support the effects of the immune system such as enhancing collagen synthesis leading to rapid wound healing, enhancing antibody levels for rapid microbial killing, and acting as an antioxidant that lowers host cell deaths. Rambutan has a high vitamin C content which therefore may facilitate boosting your immunity (2).
2. Aids Healthy Digestion:
Rambutan is known for its high dietary fiber content which is both soluble and insoluble. The insoluble fibers remain undigested and add weight to the stool. It also helps in softening the stool which leads to its easy passage. There have been studies that prove that dietary fibers greatly help patients with constipation as it has a laxative effect on the gastrointestinal tract. (3) Moreover, the soluble fibers act as prebiotics that provides nutrients to the beneficial gut bacteria (3). These gut bacteria are responsible for healthy digestion, combating pathogenesis and inflammation inside your gut. (4) They have been proven to help alleviate symptoms of gut disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis (4)
3. Help in Weightloss:
The rich dietary fiber content present in rambutan gets very slowly digested, thus offering the feeling of fullness for a long time. This will in turn reduce the frequency of meal consumption bringing an effective change in your diet (3). Rambutan also contains a high amount of water content and low-calorie content keeping you full without adding too many calories to your diet (5).
4.Provides Antioxidant Properties:
The presence of certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and magnesium impart antioxidant properties to the cells. These fight free radical damage caused to the cells, preventing cell necrosis. (6) These, therefore, delay aging, lower the risk of cancers, and age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular diseases, and promote cell longevity. (6)
5. Helps Fight Infection:
Several literature studies have stated that rambutan, also known as Nephelium lappaceum showed antimicrobial properties (7). Moreover, it contains a fair amount of zinc, which is a common antibacterial agent that inhibits the growth of microorganisms, especially bacteria (8). Therefore, these elements along with vitamin C impart effective anti-microbial properties to rambutan that may help the body in fighting infections.
6. Supports Heart Health:
Rambutan’s rich dietary fiber leads to lower cholesterol levels by trapping fat molecules and making them unavailable for absorption (3). It also contains copper which helps in strengthening arteries and promoting better blood circulation (9). Additionally, the potassium content present in it may prevent the thickening of arteries, thus preventing serious heart-related issues (10).
7. Enhances Iron Absorption:
Iron is an essential nutrient required for healthy thyroid function and to prevent anemia. However, iron found in plants is not bioavailable to our bodies and cannot be easily absorbed. This is where the role of vitamin C comes into action. Vitamin C helps to make iron available for absorption by overcoming the effects of all dietary inhibitors. Thus, rambutan may help in better iron absorption in our bodies. (11)
8. Healthier Skin:
The antioxidants such as vitamin C, and riboflavin in rambutan play a role against environmental as well as pathogenic damage caused to the skin. (6) Besides that, it contains copper and zinc that have both anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties essential for the removal of scars, acne, lesions, etc. (12), (13). Thus, consuming rambutan may offer you healthy and glowing skin.
How to Eat Rambutan:-
Rambutan has a refreshingly sweet taste that can be used to make various recipes. You can enjoy the flavors as well as the health benefits of rambutan through the following:
1. Rambutan Smoothie
A smoothie is a blended puree of certain fruits and vegetables. To make a rambutan smoothie, you can follow the following steps:
- 5-6 rambutans
- A cup of milk or yogurt
- ½ cup of any fruit of your choice (optional)
- Any toppings of your choice
- Peel and deseed 5-6 rambutans
- Blend it till it forms a thick paste
- Add milk, or yogurt, and mix them well
- You can also add other fruits along with rambutan
- Add toppings of your choice – coconut shavings, or pumpkin, watermelon, flax seeds, etc.
Benefits: This is a low-calorie, high-fiber meal that has a balanced amount of macronutrients, making it perfect for weight loss diets. It is also high in vitamins A and C, minerals like potassium, iron, copper, and manganese essential for immunity, glowing skin, and healthy heart and sugar levels.
2. Rambutan Fruit Salad
Salads are the easiest and healthiest way to incorporate rambutan into your diet. To make a simple salad, follow this:
- 9-10 Rambutans
- 1 fruit and 1 vegetable of your choice
- 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- Take 9-10 rambutans and chop them into pieces.
- Take one of each fruit and vegetable according to your choice, such as mango, cucumber, pineapple, carrots, etc., and finely chop them.
- Add a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and some pepper, and mix well.
- Your salad is ready to be eaten!
Benefits: This salad is super healthy and tasty which takes less than 10 minutes to be prepared. Added to rambutan’s benefit, lemon also provides high amounts of vitamin C for better immunity, cell growth, reduction in free radical damages, anti-inflammatory actions, and many more. (14)
3. Rambutan Sorbet
Sorbet is a healthy and refreshing dessert that contains fresh fruits. To make a rambutan sorbet at home, follow the recipe given below:
- 4 cups of peeled and chopped Rambutan
- 1 cup of sugar
- 3 cups of water
- 4-5 mint leaves
- In a saucepan take three cups of water and add 1 cup of sugar to it. Heat it to dissolve the sugar.
- Set it aside to cool.
- Now take this along with the chopped rambutan and blend until a smooth texture is achieved.
- Transfer to a container, cover, and freeze it for 2 hours.
- Take it out and using a spoon or fork scrape it until a slushie-like consistency is achieved and freeze it again.
- Continue this process until your desired consistency has been achieved.
- Scoop out your fresh and delicious rambutan sorbet, add mint leaves, and serve it.
Benefits: This is an extremely refreshing dessert that will cool you down after a tiring day. Rambutan along with the goodness of mint leaves may help you treat upset stomach, nausea, and acidity, and also leave you with a fresh smelling breath.
These are just a few recipes you can make using rambutan, but there are a number of different recipes like jams, syrups, cocktail mixes, and more that can be made using this exotic fruit.
Side Effects of Rambutan:
Rambutan is a popular fruit that has been consumed by people for hundreds of years. Although it is known to be considered safe for consumption in moderate amounts, it may lead to side effects if over-consumed or may trigger allergic reactions. In that case, it is essential to avoid it immediately. Here are some side effects that rambutan may cause:
1. Risk of allergic reactions:
Rambutan fruit may trigger allergic reactions like angioedema (painless swelling under the skin), flushing (reddening of the skin), itching, and rashes. It may also lead to respiratory symptoms like rhinitis, chest tightness, wheezing, etc. There may also be cardiovascular reactions like syncope and gastrointestinal reactions like nausea and vomiting symptoms too (15). Therefore, it is essential to conduct an allergy test before consuming a high amount of rambutan. However, if you exhibit any allergic symptoms consult with your doctor immediately.
2. Risk of organ damage:
Rambutan peel may have certain antioxidants but consuming it in high dosage may have detrimental effects on the liver, kidney, and spleen (16).
3. Presence of anti-nutrients:
Rambutan peel, fruit, and seed contain anti-nutrient compounds that prevent the effective absorption of essential nutrients. (17) A few examples that are present in rambutan at tolerable concentrations are saponins, alkaloids, hydrocyanic acid, phenols, oxalate, tannins, and phytates (17).
Rambutan is a peculiar fruit found in regions of Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, etc. due to the favorable tropical weather. However, over the years it has been popularized, so you can enjoy the benefits of rambutan from anywhere in the world. This tropical delight may help your body by fighting germs, protecting cells, enhancing heart function, immunity and aiding in digestion, and weight loss. However, according to traditional values, there are many other benefits that currently lack scientific backing, hence this article does not address them. Although people have been eating the peel, pulp, and seed of the rambutan for gaining health benefits, there are certain side effects that overconsumption may cause such as dangerous allergic reactions, lack of nutrient uptake, and even the risk of organ damage. Therefore, one must always consult a dietician or doctor before introducing a foreign fruit to their diet and ensure their well-being while savoring the advantages it offers.
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