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RambutanRambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is a medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae.which is an endemic Southeast Asian fruit with a hairy shell and sweet, cream-flavored, edible flesh. The name also refers to the edible fruit produced by this tree. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the lychee, longan, pulasan, and mamoncillo. It grows in a tree that can reach up to 80 feet (27 meters) in height and thrives best in tropical climates, such as in Malaysia and Indonesia. Rambutan got its name from the Malay word for hair because the golf-ball-sized fruit has a hairy red and green shell. Its unmistakable appearance is often compared to that of a sea urchin. On top of their unique appearance and sweet flavor, they also offer some impressive health benefits.

The rambutan fruit is rich in many vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. In fact, Alina Petre of Healthline stated that rambutan may contribute to healthy digestion due to its fiber content. About half of the fiber in its flesh is insoluble, which means that it passes through your gut undigested. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps speed up intestinal transit, thus reducing your likelihood of constipation. According to Kerstin Schröder, just like most fruits, rambutan may prevent weight gain and promote weight loss over time at around 75 calories and 1.3–2 grams of fiber per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) which is similar to what you would find in the same quantity of apples, oranges, or pears that is relatively low in calories for the amount of fiber it provides. This can help keep you fuller for longer, which may reduce your likelihood of overeating and promote weight loss over time. According to Gorinstein et.al, it’s also rich in vitamin C, a nutrient that helps your body absorb dietary iron more easily. This vitamin also acts as an antioxidant, protecting your body’s cells against damage. Eating 5–6 rambutan fruit will meet 50% of your daily vitamin C needs. Rambutan also contains a good amount of copper, which plays a role in the proper growth and maintenance of various cells, including those of your bones, brain, and heart.

Rambutan fruit may also contribute to a stronger immune system in several ways. For starters, it’s rich in vitamin C, which may encourage the production of white blood cells which your body needs to fight infection. Getting too little vitamin C in your diet can weaken your immune system, leaving you more prone to infections.

Alina Petre emphasized that it is indeed nutritious yet low in calories and may aid your digestion, immune system, and weight loss. Though some people eat the peel and seed, they’re generally considered inedible. Yet, the flesh can add a sweet flavor to salads, curries, and desserts or can be enjoyed by itself. Try it yourself!

PNFP-ZDS Marie Claire A. Gaas

 

References:

  • Rambutan

Barstow, M. (2017). "Nephelium lappaceum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T33266A67808476. Retrieved 28 May 2020

  • Rambutan", in Fruits of Warm Climates"

Morton JF (1987) Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Purdue University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, W. Lafayette, IN. pp. 262–265.

  • Rambutan: A Tasty Fruit With Health Benefits

Alina Petre, MS, RD (NL) on December 7, 2018: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/rambutan#weight-loss

  • Comparative content of total polyphenols and dietary fiber in tropical fruits and persimmon

S Gorinstein, M Zemser, R Haruenkit, R Chuthakorn, F Grauer, O Martin-Belloso, S Trakhtenberg

  • Effects of fruit consumption on body mass index and weight loss in a sample of overweight and obese dieters enrolled in a weight-loss intervention trial

Kerstin E E Schroder: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20022464/

  • Comparative content of total polyphenols and dietary fiber in tropical fruits and persimmon

S Gorinstein, M Zemser, R Haruenkit, R Chuthakorn, F Grauer, O Martin-Belloso, S Trakhtenberg: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15539312/