Upon first glance, the rambutan doesn’t seem like it would be edible, and that it actually might harm you if you try to eat it. However, when you peel the prickly surface off of a rambutan, you’ll find a smooth, white fruit inside that has been described as being similar to a grape in that it can be both sour and sweet at the same time. Native to Southeast Asia, there’s even a chance that you’ve never seen a rambutan in person!
There are a few different ways that you can prepare rambutan, as long as you’re getting rid of the peel. Many choose to keep the seeds within and cook them later (we’ll explain why eating them raw is a bad idea), while others will cook their rambutans. Most ways of preparing rambutans make them a great part of your diet, as they provide some fantastic health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the rambutan’s nutritional value, and what some of those benefits are.
Nutrition of Rambutan
Overall, rambutan is a very low calorie food with just 68 calories in each 100 gram serving (around 3.5 ounces). There’s around one gram of protein in each serving of rambutan and more than 10 percent of your daily recommendation for fiber, while containing almost no fat. The most abundant vitamin you’ll find in rambutan is vitamin C, with two thirds of your daily recommendation. Other vitamins in smaller amounts include riboflavin and niacin at around five percent daily value while you get smaller amounts of thiamin.
Out of the minerals in rambutan, copper and manganese are significant with 10 percent daily recommended value. Iron, magnesium and potassium are also present at five percent of your recommended value, and rambutan provides trace amounts of phosphorus and zinc. Finally, rambutan has a mix of omega fatty acids and no cholesterol, while adding in phytosterols (which you need more of in your diet).
Keep The Doctor Away
If you’re one of the many people that tends to get sick regularly on a yearly basis, you might not be getting enough nutrients for your immune system. A big cause could be a lack of vitamin C, which happens when you’re not eating much fruit. Adding fruits such as rambutan can cure some of those ailments, especially since it contains nearly 70 percent of your daily recommendation. Vitamin C creates more white blood cells that get rid of nagging illnesses like influenza or the common cold.
Even those that are worried about long term illnesses can take solace in the benefits of rambutan, as there are plenty of antioxidants. Powerful ones such as gallic acid can be found in rambutan, which fends of free radicals from attacking the cells in your body and prevents chronic and life threatening illnesses such as cancer. Even using the leaves of rambutan can reduce symptoms of common diseases like headaches.
Many of us struggle with having enough energy to get through a long day, which can leave you feeling bogged down and fatigued. If that’s the case, you could be suffering from an iron deficiency or a slew of other problems. Rambutans provide a nice boost of iron into your system, which can get rid of the symptoms of anemia and give you more energy. Thanks to the (good) carbs and water in rambutan, you’ll get a natural energy boost, as well.
However, the biggest reason that rambutan helps you get more energized is because it’s niacin content, which can be hard to find. When you get more niacin in your diet, your body uses carbohydrates more efficiently for energy. With that said, you won’t store as many carbs in your body later on, which can become fat, making rambutan a solid choice for those looking to shed a few pounds.
Good For the Heart
Allowing your body to use carbs in a more efficient way isn’t the only great thing that it can do, as niacin also plays a big role in heart health. Niacin has been linked with lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in patients, and the high amount of fiber further contributes. This combination of nutrients will also put you at a lower risk for coronary heart disease, as fats won’t be stored as cholesterol as frequently.
Your body also needs a healthy amount of potassium to make sure that the heart is operating more efficiently, which you can find in rambutan. Potassium relaxes your blood vessels so that they aren’t overworked while removing sodium, allowing you to lower your blood pressure. Vitamin C even plays a part in heart health, working as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can reduce hypertension.
If you want your skin to be looking its best, vitamin C will play a huge role. Not only do the antioxidant properties get rid of free radicals that can attack your skin and make you look older, but it also helps your body produce more collagen that promotes elasticity in the skin. Antioxidants further increase the appearance of your skin to keep you looking younger and healthier.
A better appearance doesn’t stop at your skin, as you’ll also likely be looking for better hair. The key to better hair growth and thickness is by clearing your scalp, which rambutan can help you achieve. You might even find some beauty products that have rambutan because of its capabilities to make your skin and hair its best.
Diabetes is one of the more common chronic diseases that we see, which has raised awareness so that people can both prevent and manage this illness. A healthy diet is the biggest key to preventing diabetes, and rambutan makes for a great part of a diet to avoid diabetes. Niacin is one of the many nutrients that helps prevent diabetes, while fiber also plays a large role. These two combine to level out insulin and glucose so that you won’t have spikes or crashes that can result in long term problems. There are carbohydrates in rambutan that can scare people who look at the nutritional label, but this fruit is low on the glycemic index.
Summing it Up
As is the case with any food, there are some specifics that you need to know about rambutan so that you’re safe and still getting the health benefits. It’s advised that you don’t eat rambutan seeds when they’re raw, as they can be toxic to a certain degree. While the toxicity won’t kill you, raw rambutan seeds can cause digestive problems that include cramps and severe diarrhea. For these reasons, make sure that you’re roasting rambutan seeds if you choose to eat them.
Some researchers say that you should also eat rambutan in moderation, as too much on a daily basis can cause constipation. Those that are going through dialysis should also avoid rambutan, as it can interfere and cause kidney problems. Outside of these details, there aren’t many notable side effects at all with rambutan, making it a great addition to your diet. Though it might be difficult to find in some parts of the world, it’s certainly worth it and will bring about tremendous health benefits!