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Rambutan: A Tasty Fruit

With Health Benefits


Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is a fruit native to Southeast Asia.

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 (1).

The fruit is related to the lychee and longan fruits and has a similar
appearance when peeled. Its translucent white flesh has a sweet yet creamy
taste and contains a seed in its middle.

Rambutan is very nutritious and may offer health benefits ranging from weight
loss and better digestion to increased resistance to infections.

Here are some of the main health benefits of rambutan and how to eat it.

Rich in Nutrients and Antioxidants


The rambutan fruit is rich in many vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant
compounds.
Its flesh provides around 1.3–2 grams of total fiber per 3.5 ounces (100
grams) — similar to what you would find in the same quantity of apples,
oranges or pears (2Trusted Source).

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. (3, 4).

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.

It offers smaller amounts of manganese, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium,


iron and zinc as well. Eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) — or about four fruit —
will meet 20% of your daily copper needs and 2–6% of the daily
recommended amount of the other nutrients (3).

The rambutan peel and seed are thought to be rich sources of nutrients,
antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. Though some people eat them,
neither are currently considered edible (5, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted
Source, 8, 9Trusted Source).

In fact, they appear to contain certain compounds that may be toxic to


humans (10, 11Trusted Source).

Roasting the seeds may reduce these effects, and individuals from some
cultures seem to consume them this way. However, reliable information on the
proper roasting procedure is currently unavailable.
Promotes Healthy Digestion
Rambutan may contribute to a 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 (2Trusted Source).

The other half of the fiber is soluble. Soluble fiber provides food for your
beneficial gut bacteria. In turn, these friendly bacteria produce short-chain
fatty acids, such as acetate, propionate and butyrate, which feed the cells of
your gut.

These short-chain fatty acids can also reduce inflammation and improve
symptoms of gut disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s
disease and ulcerative colitis

May Aid Weight Loss


Just like most fruits, rambutan may prevent weight gain and promote weight
loss over time (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted
Source, 18Trusted Source).

At around 75 calories and 1.3–2 grams of fiber per 3.5 ounces (100 grams),
it’s relatively low in calories for the amount of fiber it provides (2Trusted
Source).

This can help keep you fuller for longer, which may reduce your likelihood of
overeating and promote weight loss over time (19Trusted Source, 20).
What’s more, the soluble fiber in rambutan can dissolve in water and form a
gel-like substance in your gut that helps slow down digestion and the
absorption of nutrients. It can also lead to reduced appetite and greater
feelings of fullness (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).

Moreover, rambutan contains a good amount of water and can help keep you
hydrated, which may further prevent overeating and aid weight loss
(24Trusted Source).