Rambutans are furry, bright red fruits with a creamy white center. These fruits are native to Malaysia, but have recently begun to spread throughout the rest of the world. They make quite a statement in grocery stores, health food stores, and even farmers' markets around the US. On top of their unique appearance and sweet flavor, they also offer some impressive health benefits.
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in rambutans can provide vital nutrition benefits. For example, folate is an important vitamin essential for healthy cell division and DNA duplication. Physicians recommend that women who wish to become pregnant consume at least 400 micrograms of folate daily as it’s critical in avoiding birth defects.
Rambutans are also full of potassium, a mineral that helps your heart beat, kidneys function, and muscles contract.
In addition, rambutans can provide other health benefits like:
Rambutans are rich in vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant. Consuming antioxidants helps fight off free radicals, which are waste products in your body that can damage your cells. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce cellular damage and potentially reduce the risk of cancer in many individuals.
Rambutans have been shown to support immune system health in several ways. First, the vitamin C in rambutans is connected to immune function and health. Consuming enough vitamin C regularly can help support long-term immune health. Second, early studies show that certain extracts from rambutan fruit may help fight infections. These extracts may prevent viruses from replicating, helping your immune system fight off germs more easily.
Rambutans can help your digestive system be more resilient. They offer dietary fiber in both soluble and insoluble form. The dietary fiber in rambutans can help reduce constipation by adding bulk to stools and preventing impaction. Insoluble fiber also feeds the “good” bacteria in your digestive system, helping your intestines handle more complex foods with ease.
Rambutans are rich in nutrients like vitamin B5, which plays an important role in helping your body convert food into energy. Vitamin B5 is only available through food, and cannot be produced by your body, therefore, it’s important to eat 5mg every day.
Rambutans are also an excellent source of:
Nutrients per Serving
One medium rambutan fruit contains:
- Calories: 7
- Protein: Less than 1 gram
- Fat: Less than 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 2 grams
- Fiber: Less than 1 gram
- Sugar: Less than 1 gram
Things to Watch Out For
Although the flesh of rambutans are safe to eat, its skin and seed contain several toxic substances that should not be consumed. While some sources say that the skin and seed of rambutan fruits can be consumed, studies suggest that they should never be eaten. Don’t worry, the skin and seed of rambutan fruit are safe to handle, because the toxins are only absorbed through digestion.
How to Eat Rambutan
Rambutan can seem intimidating at first glance since their furry outer skin seems difficult to open. However, these fruits are easy to peel once you understand the process. The skin is not difficult to cut and the outside fuzzy spines are soft and harmless. It’s easy to cut and peel the skin without taking the fruit with it.
The fruit is about the size of a cherry, and like cherries, contains a pit. You can eat rambutan raw as long as you’re cautious when chewing to avoid the pit. The sweet flavor and juicy flesh is a perfect addition to fruit salads, smoothies, or desserts all year long.
Here are some ways you can include rambutan in your diet:
- Add rambutan fruits to a smoothie
- Make fruit salad with rambutan
- Add rambutans to ice cream
- Try rambutan sorbet
- Freeze rambutans and add them to cocktails
- Use rambutans to make jam