Rambutan – Nutrition, Health Benefits and Recipes

Hiral Patel

June 24, 2022

The name rambutan originally comes from the Malaysian term for hair. Interestingly, it is due to the fruit’s hairy red and green shell. When peeled, rambutans resemble lychee and longan fruits. Its translucent white flesh is wonderfully juicy,  sweet and creamy. Rambutan has a single seed placed in the centre of the flesh. The fruit is nutritious and offers several health benefits. For example, rambutan helps to lose weight, improves digestion, and provides excellent illness resistance.

Rambutan is a good source of vitamin C, B3, minerals, and natural sugar. It includes sufficient phosphorus and calcium too. In addition, Rambutans can benefit the skin, digestive system etc.

The nonclimacteric tropical fruit is native to Malaysia. However, they have just lately begun to spread around the globe. They are a exotic fruit loved across the United States and are available in grocery shops, health food stores, and even farmers’ markets. Apart from their distinctive look and delicious taste, they also have several fantastic health advantages.

Nutritional Value of Rambutan

100 grams of rambutan contains

  • Energy: 73.1kCals
  • Protein: 0.6g
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.8g

Vitamins and Minerals

Rambutans also contain reasonable amounts of vitamins and minerals.

  • Calcium: 8.6 mg
  • Zinc: 0.5 mg
  • Iron: 0.3 mg
  • Folate: 7.3 mcg
  • Magnesium: 21.3 mg
  • Copper: 0.08 mg
  • Vitamin A: 0.4 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 65 mg

Rambutans & Lychees: What’s the Difference?

Rambutans are very similar to lychees. However, they have inherent differences based on appearance, taste, and nutrition.


In terms of appearance, these two fruits seem to be identical. However, they are not the same size. The rambutan fruit is about the size of a golf ball. In contrast, the lychee fruit is comparatively smaller.

Apart from their size, they are easily distinguishable. Rambutan has red exterior skin. But what makes it stand out is the hair-like prongs surrounding the shell. These prongs are a shade of bright green to orange. Meanwhile, lychee’s outer skin is red, rough, and thinner.


Rambutan has a richer, creamier flavour, and they are sweet with a sour undertone. On the other hand, the white flesh of lychee is not quite the same. Instead, it has a sharper and flowery flavour.


Rambutan and lychee are both high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Also, both have a similar nutritional profile. In addition, they contain almost identical calories, fibre, and sugar content.

Rambutan has a plethora of health advantages. One is a reduced risk of diabetes because it contains less sugar. Additionally, research proves that increased consumption of this fruit may decrease the risk of illness. Additional health advantages include improved bone health, less kidney stone formation, and improved heart health.

Top 6 Health Benefits of Rambutans

Rambutan contains several beneficial ingredients. These ingredients work synchronously to aid your body. Therefore, rambutans can benefit you, whether their disease prevention or antibacterial properties.

1. Lowers Risk of Cancer

Rambutans are high in vitamin C, a very beneficial antioxidant. Antioxidants aid in the battle against free radicals. Free radicals are hazardous wastes produced by the body that cause cell damage. Antioxidants reduce cellular damage by reducing the risk of cancer in many people. Studies show that chemicals in rambutan can help inhibit cancer cells from growing and spreading.

2. Antioxidant Effect

The rambutan fruit contains several vitamins, minerals, and helpful plant components. It is also high in vitamin C which improves absorption of dietary iron. In addition, this vitamin functions as an antioxidant and protects your body’s cells from harm. Consuming 5–6 rambutan fruits can meet 50% of your daily requirement. 

Studies prove that vitamin C reduces oxidative stress. As a result, rambutan protects us from diseases like arthritis and cancer.

3. Improves Digestive Health

Rambutans include both soluble and insoluble fibre. As a result, they improve digestive health. In addition, dietary fibre provides relief from constipation by absorbing fluids from the intestines, softening wastes, and making them easier to pass. 

Studies prove that fibre nourishes the “good” bacteria in your gut. As a result, it prevents inflammation and infections. Soluble fibre feeds the healthy microorganisms in your stomach and these good bacteria create short-chain fatty acids. They also help to reduce gastrointestinal illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

4. Supports Immune System

Studies suggest that rambutan helps improve immunity. For example, vitamin C found in rambutan positively affects immune function. Therefore, consuming rambutans daily can assist in maintaining immunological health. 

Research suggests that rambutan fruit helps fight infections. By inhibiting viral replication, these extracts can aid your immune system in its ability to fight off pathogens more effectively.

Additionally, people traditionally use rambutan peel to treat illnesses. It also defends your body against viral and bacterial infections.

5. Aids Weight Loss

Rambutan helps to reduce weight in the long run because of its low-calorie content. Additionally, it contains reasonable amounts of fibre. Studies suggest that fibre intake can aid in weight loss. 

The soluble fibre in rambutan can dissolve in water and produce a gel-like material in your stomach. Therefore, it slows digestion and nutrient absorption. It can also cause a decrease in appetite and provide an increased feeling of satiety. Furthermore, rambutan contains a lot of water and keeps you hydrated. Additionally, it might help you avoid overeating and help you lose weight. So, rambutan helps you feel fuller for longer and reduce food cravings. Consequently, it may help in the weight loss process over time.

6. Helps in Iron Absorption

Anaemia can occur due to low iron levels. There are several symptoms of anaemia like weakness, fatigue, and pale skin. Rambutan contains reasonable amounts of vitamin C. Studies suggest that vitamin C can improve iron absorption. They convert iron from food to a readily absorbable form. Ultimately it helps in preventing anaemia. 

Ways to Eat Rambutan

Rambutan has a fuzzy coat which can be tough to open. However, the skin is easy to cut open. The soft spines on the exterior are gentle and harmless. The fruit is around a plum’s size and has a pit within. The sweet taste and juicy flesh of rambutan make it a great complement to fruit salads, smoothies, and desserts.

Here are some methods to include rambutan into your diet:

  • Make a smoothie using rambutan fruits.
  • Make a rambutan fruit salad.
  • Eat as a topping for ice cream.
  • Make rambutan sorbet.
  • Frozen rambutans can be used in cocktails.
  • Make jam using rambutans.

Healthy Recipes using Rambutan

Rambutan Smoothie

Everything You Need to Know About Rambutan- HealthifyMe

Serves: 1

Preparation time: 10 minutes


  • Rambutans: 1-2 medium sized
  • Jaggery: 5g
  • Milk: 1 cup
  • Almonds: 2-3 g soaked


  1. Blend all the ingredients.
  2. Add ice and serve cold. 

Potential Risks of Consuming Rambutan

1. Diabetes

Rambutan has a hairy exterior and a sweet/sour pulp within. It is a sweet fruit full of natural sugar. Furthermore, overripe or dark red rambutans contain more sugar. That makes them a medium or mid range glycemic index food. 

Studies show that high GI foods lead to high blood glucose levels. Rambutan has a glycemic index of 59. In addition, the high sugar content makes it harmful for people with diabetes. If you consume it in excess, rambutan may spike blood sugar levels. However, eating them in moderation will not cause harm. So, consume a couple of half-ripe rambutans if you have diabetes and avoid overripe rambutans. Non-diabetics can eat ripened rambutans in moderation.

2. Pregnancy

Rambutans have a mid range glycemic index. Therefore, women with gestational diabetes should be cautious while taking them. They may cause a rise in blood glucose levels. In addition, studies suggest that high glycemic index foods causes congenital disabilities. Therefore, talking to your healthcare professional is safer before eating them when pregnant or lactating.

3. Allergies

Rambutan allergies are not very common. However, a study shows that people with allergies may develop several symptoms. For example, rambutan allergy shows signs of swelling in the throat, hives, itching in the eyes. Therefore, it is essential to talk to your physician. 

4. Digestive Issues

Overconsumption of rambutan may induce constipation. Therefore, it is a tested treatment for diarrhoea. For this, eat rambutans in moderation. Excess fibre consumption may lead to bowel problems. It may also cause stomach disturbances. Therefore, it is essential to consume them in controlled amounts.


Rambutan is a South Asian fruit with a furry husk and a smooth, cream-flavoured pulp. It belongs to lychee and longan fruit families, is high in nutrients and has low-calorie content. The fruit may help with digestion, immunity, and weight reduction. Although some individuals consume the peel and seed, they are typically inedible. Apart from eating it naturally, you can use the pulp to add a sweet taste to salads, curries, and desserts. Rambutan is a beautiful fruit with several health advantages, but only if you take it in moderation. It’s allergy may be harmful to your body and health. However, if you consume it appropriately alongside a balanced diet, rambutan is excellent for you!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How many rambutans can I eat a day?

A. You can eat 5-6 rambutans in a day. They are rich in vitamins C and B3. However, you should not consume them in excess. Although the fruit is very healthy, it has a high sugar content that may cause harm. 

Q. Is Rambutan good for the kidney?

A. Rambutan consumption aids in the removal of waste from the kidneys. The phosphorus in rambutan helps lower the load on the kidneys. In addition, rambutan has reasonable amounts of vitamin C, an antioxidant. It also has anti-inflammatory qualities and may help decrease bladder swelling.

Q. Is Rambutan good for skin?

A. Rambutan helps to revitalise the skin. It contains antioxidants such as manganese and vitamin C. It is also high in polyphenols, which help to stimulate collagen production. In addition, they protect your skin from free radicals and environmental pollutants.

Q. Is it OK to eat rambutan every day?

A. Rambutans are high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. So you can eat them every day. However, rambutan is abundant in natural sugars and may raise blood sugar levels. Thus it is safe to consume only 5-6 per day.

Q. Is rambutan good for hair growth?

A. Yes. Rambutan contains reasonable amounts of folate, and vitamin C. Vitamin C may improve iron absorption and prevent anaemia. Anaemia is a primary cause of hair loss. Additionally, vitamin C helps in collagen formation. Thus, it improves hair quality.

Q. Is rambutan high in cholesterol?

A. No, rambutan contains trace amounts of fat. Therefore, it is a heart-healthy food. Therefore, people with heart problems can safely consume them. However, you should always consume it in moderation.

Q. What is the nutritional value of rambutan?

A. Per 100 grams, rambutans have 73.1 kcals, 0.6 g of protein, and 0.1 g of fat.  Additionally, they contain many vitamins and minerals.

Q. Is lychee and rambutan the same?

A. No. Rambutan and lychee are pretty different. The primary distinction between rambutan and lychee is in the skin. Both fruits have rough pinkish-red skin. However, rambutan has a soft, orange, and green fur coat that lychee does not have. On the other hand, Lychee flesh is brighter, similar to mangosteen or watermelon.

Q. What is the glycemic index of rambutan?

A. The Rambutan fruit has a moderately high glycemic index of 59. Therefore, excess consumption is not suitable for people with diabetes. In addition, they may spike up blood glucose levels. However, one can take them in moderation. 

About the Author

According to Hiral, “Striving to be better than yesterday, is the key to achieving any goal that is ahead of you”. As a diet and lifestyle consultant, Hiral intends to help her clients inculcate habits such as healthy eating and regular exercise to improve their lifestyle holistically for a better tomorrow. She also aims to make her clients feel good from the inside-out and bring about a positive change to their overall life.

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