I don’t know about you, but for me, mango is spelt – L-I-P-S-M-A-C-K-I-N-G.
Honestly. How can one forget those wonderful days from childhood when we used to compete with our siblings and devour all the mangoes stocked in the kitchen?
The truth is – we can’t. Not once. Not ever.
Not just because of their toothsome quality, but also because what they can offer to us. Rightly called the king of fruits, there are myriad benefits of mangoes – exactly what we are going to talk about in this post.
About Mango – A Brief
What is a mango? Well, frankly speaking, the mango needs no introduction. Belonging to the genus Mangifera (mango scientific name is Mangifera indica) that contains numerous tropical fruiting trees (that are cultivated for edible fruit), the mango is native to South Asia. It is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines and also the national tree of Bangladesh.
Mango is available in numerous varieties, but the most popular one among all (yes, you guessed it right!) is Alphonso. It is the most superior variety in terms of richness, flavor, and sweetness. Also one of the most expensive varieties, the Alphonso is primarily cultivated in the western part of India, including Ratnagiri and Raigad, and the Konkan region of India.
The ripe mango fruit varies in color and size. Mangoes can be yellow, orange, green or red. The mango leaves are 15 to 35 cm long and evergreen. The young leaves are orangish pink, but transition to dark glossy red and turn dark green as they mature.
The mango fruit has just one seed that contains the plant embryo. The seed is recalcitrant, meaning it doesn’t survive freezing or drying conditions.
Well, that’s about mango fruit information. But are they so good that we have an entire post on them? Let’s see.
Are Mangoes Good For You?
That’s an irrelevant question, isn’t it? Since childhood, we have listened to stories from our grandmothers and mothers about the many great benefits of mangoes. If there was another reason to devour mangoes (apart from their delectable taste), it is because of what we have been told – that the fruits provide us with oodles of energy.
So yes, mangoes are good for you. No doubt about it. We will go further and check the specific benefits. But before that, let’s consider a few research studies that link mangoes to general overall health.
One Australian study linked mangoes to great health as they contain certain bioactive compounds (1). A report published by the Iowa Department of Public Health states that mangoes contain the greatest amount of beta-carotene, which is known to protect the body from numerous diseases (2). Mango contains about 20 different minerals and vitamins, making it one of the most nutrient-dense fruits available (3).
Mango Nutrition Facts
We have seen they contain nutrients. But which of them? And in what amounts? how many calories in a mango?
A single mango has about 107 calories. It also contains the following nutrients:
Vitamin A (1262 IU) is the most prominent nutrient in mangoes. Other vitamins include vitamin C (45.7 mg), vitamin E (1.8 mg), vitamin K (6.9 mcg), thiamin (0.1 mg), riboflavin (0.1 g), niacin (1 mg), vitamin B6 (0.2 g), folate (23.1 mcg), pantothenic acid (0.3 mg), and choline (12.5 mg).
A single mango contains iron (0.2 mg), potassium (257 mg), calcium (16.5 mg), phosphorus (18.2 mg), sodium (3.3 mg), zinc (0.1 mg), copper (0.2 mg), and selenium (1 mcg).
The fruit also contains protein (0.8 g), fiber (3 g), and carbohydrates (28 g).
These vitamins and minerals render mangoes their many benefits – which are what we will look at now!
Health Benefits Of Mangoes
We have already seen a brief about how mangoes can be good for your health. Now, we move to the specifics. Following are the many ways mangoes can benefit you.
1. Prevent Cancer
The pulp of the mango fruit contains carotenoids, ascorbic acid, terpenoids, and polyphenols – all of which are responsible for the fruit’s cancer-preventing properties (4). Mangoes are also found to contain unique antioxidants that are absent in other fruits and vegetables (5). A Texas study conducted in 2010 also supported the anti-carcinogenic effects of mangoes (6).
The anticancer properties of mango are also attributed to mangiferin, a compound primarily found in the fruit (7). Another study conducted in 2015 found that mango polyphenols suppress breast cancer (8). Mangiferin has also been found to inhibit the growth of colon and liver cancer cells and other tumor cells as well (9).
According to a report published by the Texas A&M University, the polyphenolic compounds in mangoes have antioxidant properties that help decrease oxidative stress (oxidative stress can lead to chronic diseases like cancer). In addition, these compounds were also found to be anti-inflammatory (10).
2. Prevent Heart Disease
Mangoes could help reduce body fat and control blood sugar. According to a report published by the Oklahoma State University, mangoes contain numerous minerals and phytochemicals that were found to have positive effects on body fat and glucose (11).
Mangoes are a rich source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that cause heart disease (12).
3. Help Lower Cholesterol
Mangoes contain pectin that was found to decrease the serum cholesterol levels (13).
In another study conducted by the University of Madras, mangiferin (one of the primary compounds in mangoes) lowered the cholesterol levels in lab rats (14). It was also found to increase the levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), the good cholesterol (15).
4. May Help Treat Diabetes
What is the relation between mango and diabetes? A study of 20 obese adults showed that the consumption of half a fresh mango for 12 weeks results in lowered blood glucose levels. This effect, according to researchers, was attributed to the presence of fiber and mangiferin, a phytochemical (16).
Another study conducted in Mysore proved that the extract of a mango peel has antidiabetic properties (17).
A Japanese study showed that mangiferin might have beneficial effects on type 2 diabetes patients (18).
5. Promote Healthy Sex
Mangoes can be good aphrodisiacs too (19)!
The fruit is rich in vitamin E, which is known to boost sex drive (20). In an Australian study, the combination of vitamin E and beta-carotene was found to improve sperm health in men (21). This combination was also found to be the best defense against sperm damage (22). In another report published by the US National Institutes of Health, vitamin E was found to protect the sperm membrane from oxidate damage (23).
Zinc is another important mineral for male and female fertility, and mangoes are rich in it (24).
6. Improve Digestion
One primary reason mangoes are great for digestion is the presence of fiber that prevents constipation. Fiber also keeps us full for long (25). It keeps our colon clean and allows it to work optimally. In addition, mangoes contain certain digestive enzymes that break down proteins and aid digestion.
Fiber has also been found to maintain the health of the digestive tract, which invariably enhances digestion (26).
7. Mango During Pregnancy
Mangoes are rich in iron and vitamins A, C, and B6 – all of which are beneficial for pregnant women.
Vitamin A helps fight infections and prevents vision problems in newborns (27).
8. Aid Weight Loss
Mango for weight loss? Yes, you heard it right. Certain studies have focused on the importance of not just the mango fruit, but its skin as well. The secret lies in the phytochemicals that act as natural fat busters, which are found only on the outer side of the fruit (28).
Another study conducted by the University of Queensland emphasized the importance of the mango peel (which most of us usually throw away) for weight loss (29).
Mangoes contain fiber, which can be a great contributor towards weight loss. In a University of Minnesota study, it was proved that dietary fiber, especially obtained from the consumption of fruits and vegetables, can aid weight loss (30). This is related to the ability of fiber to decrease food intake in general, thereby promoting weight loss.
9. Help Prevent Asthma
Asthma, though common, can have serious repercussions. But with a bowl of mangoes on your kitchen counter, you probably don’t have to worry much.
Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamin C (31). Though most studies have warranted further research on the link between vitamin C and asthma treatment, they do state that vitamin C might have beneficial effects in certain cases (32), (33).
10. Improve Eye Health
The most delicate, but one of the most important organs of your body – the eye. And coming to your eye health, mangoes are more than good. They are incredible.
The vitamin A and beta-carotene in mangoes help boost eye health (34). The severest cases of vitamin A deficiency can even lead to blindness. A report published by the Oregon State University seconds the fact. Vitamin A improves eye health and vision. Specifically speaking, the vitamin is essential for the optimal functioning of the retina (35).
According to a Boston study, mangoes contain a carotenoid called cryptoxanthin that was found to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration in elderly Japanese (38). And according to the University of Utah Health Care, zeaxanthin in mangoes also helps prevent macular degeneration (39).
11. Promote Brain Health
Mango, being a great source of iron and vitamin B6, is one of those ideal foods for brain health. Iron aids the normal functioning of your brain and vitamin B6 supports its cognitive development (40).
A study conducted in Greater Noida, India proved that mango extracts contain certain principles that enhance memory (41). Another Thailand study attributed the neuroprotectant properties of mangoes to its extracts (42).
12. Regulate Blood Pressure
Mangoes are rich in potassium, a key mineral that helps lower blood pressure (43), (44). As per a report published by Stanford Hospital and Clinics, mangoes are a rich source of potassium and can help prevent hypertension (45).
13. Enhance Skin Health
The skin is the largest organ of the body, and we seldom take care of it. With mangoes around the corner, this shouldn’t be a problem anymore. In a Korean study conducted in 2013, mango extracts were found to act against the UVB-induced skin aging in mice (46).
As already discussed, mangoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, and as per a German study, these carotenoids can help enrich skin health (47). Beta-carotene is also a photoprotective agent and it quenches the photochemical reactions in the epidermis, thereby protecting the skin from the ultraviolet rays (48).
According to a Chinese study, the polyphenols in mangoes exhibit anticancer activity and hence can prevent skin cancer (49).
Vitamin A has also been found to reduce oil production on the skin. So, if your acne has been bothering you, including mangoes in your diet can be a wise idea (50). The vitamin can also aid skin growth and repair, and reduce fine lines as well (51).
14. Improve Immunity
Being rich in vitamin C, mangoes play a major role in strengthening one’s immunity (52). Apart from vitamin C, mangoes also are a good source of zinc, which is important for maintaining the overall health of the immune system (53).
As per a study conducted in Rajasthan, India, vitamin C is known to reduce the severity of allergies and helps fight off infections (54). And according to an article published by the Oregon State University, vitamin C primarily protects the body’s cells from reactive oxygen species (that are generated by the immune system to kill pathogens) (55).
15. Can Help Treat Kidney Stones
Mangoes are rich in vitamin B6, and as per an American study, this vitamin might reduce urinary oxalate (the oxalate stones) (56). The potassium in mangoes is also found to lower the risk of kidney stones (57).
16. Boost Bone Health
The vitamin C in mangoes aids the formation of collagen, which has a role to play in the making of bones and connective tissues (60).
Mangoes also contain lupeol, a compound that exhibits beneficial activity against inflammation and arthritis (61).
17. Might Treat Anemia
Mangoes, given their vitamin C content, even help in the proper absorption of iron in the body (64). This ultimately helps combat anemia.
18. Help Fight Heat Stroke
Ripe mangoes are considered refreshing. The juice can be used as a restorative tonic to fight heat stroke (65).
Raw mangoes have also been found to be energizing, allowing one to cool off the heat. Mangoes also keep the body well hydrated, which is one more reason they are preferred in hot summers.
Also, since mangoes are a rich source of potassium, they help maintain the levels of sodium in the body. This regulates the fluid level in the body and prevents heat stroke.
19. Improve Hair Health
Mangoes are rich sources of vitamin C, and hence promote collagen production for healthy hair (66). If you have dull hair and are wondering how to make it shiny, include vitamin A in your diet – it has scalp conditioning properties (67).
Orange fruits, like mangoes, are also known to provide nourishment to hair and treat dandruff (68). This can be attributed to the presence of beta-carotene.
20. Might Help Treat Diarrhea
Not the fruit, but its leaves. Mango leaves are rich in tannins and can be dried and consumed for treating diarrhea (69). In some parts of the Caribbean Islands, the mango leaf decoction is used to treat diarrhea (70).
Other Benefits Of Mangoes
- Mangoes are also found to exhibit anti-ulcer activity, given the presence of tannins, flavonoids, and saponins (71).
- The mango fruit peel can also help cure hangovers (72).
- Mangoes can improve liver health as well (73).
- The fruit also keeps your thyroid gland functioning optimally (74).
Not just the benefits, there are also certain facts about mangoes you would want to know!
Mango Facts And Trivia
- Mango is known as the king of fruits throughout the world.
- Having originated in East India, the Andaman Islands, and Burma, mangoes are popular across the world today. It is believed that way back in the 5th century BC, Buddhist monks introduced the fruit to Malaysia and Eastern Asia.
- India is the leading producer of mangoes. But it has very little export as most of the produce is consumed within the country.
- You can tell if a mango is ripe or not by squeezing it. Ripe mangoes give slightly with a gentle squeeze.
- The right way to slice a mango is to find the eye (the seed runs directly behind it) and the cheeks. Simply place a mango on the cutting board, such that it is looking up at you. Make a cut off center about half an inch. Turn the mango around and cut the other side. Now you have the two cheeks. Take one cheek and cut through the flesh, making parallel spears. Repeat with the other mango.
- Mango trees can grow very tall, some as much as 100 feet. And more interestingly, mango trees can bear fruit for up to 300 years.
- There are about 400 varieties of mangoes in the world today.
How To Use Mangoes For Consumption
There are various ways you can eat a mango. Following are a few ways of consuming a mango that can enrich your mango experience.
1. Firstly, you need to ensure the mango is ripe. Push your fingers in and if you see a dent forming, then yes, the mango is ripe. If not, keep it aside for a few days till it is ripe.
What you must do next is wash it. Yes, you would be peeling off the skin anyway – but still, the fruit must be clean.
Gather your tools. A knife, a cutting board, and a bowl. You can simply cut the mango like you usually do and have it.
2. You can also eat a cubed mango. You can cut the mango into two or three slices as you avoid the large pit. Take the piece into your hands and make vertical cuts in the flesh (to form a checkered pattern). Ensure you don’t cut through the skin, as doing so will spoil the fun.
Once done, take hold of the skin at the back and push it forward. You will see the mango chunks opening up like a flower. Slide these chunks onto a plate or into a bowl and eat them one by one.
You can also add these mango cubes to a fruit salad or a dessert. Ice cream, pudding, yogurt – they would be a fantastic addition.
3. You can also eat a sliced mango. Just avoid the large pit in the center, though. Slice the mango as you would slice an apple. Cut wedges out of the mango, and make sure they are not more than an inch thick.
Once done with slicing, you can either eat the mango as it is (leaving out the skin) or scoop the flesh from the skin and have it.
You can add this sliced mango to numerous dishes and enjoy.
If you are wondering how you can include mangoes in your diet, we have a couple of scrumptious recipes for you.
Just in case eating mangoes the usual way seems too monotonous, we have something for you. A couple of delectable mango recipes that are easy to make but hard to live without.
1. Mango Tango Black Bean Salsa
What You Need
- 1 mango
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can of kernel corn with peppers, drained
- Finely chopped onions, ½ cup
- Fresh and coarsely chopped cilantro, ½ cup
- Lime juice, 2 tablespoons
- Garlic salt, 1 teaspoon
- Ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon
- Wash and peel the mango. Cut it lengthwise. Remove the seed and cut the fruit into ¾-inch cubes.
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
- Refrigerate and serve.
2. Mango-Oat Milkshake
What You Need
- The pulp of 1 mango
- Oat flakes, 2 tablespoons
- Honey, 1 tablespoon
- Milk, 200 ml
- Mix the ingredients in a blender. Refrigerate and drink.
- We have seen the many benefits of mangoes and how to use them. But how do you select the right ones and store them? That’s where we are heading to.
How To Select A Good Mango?
Selecting the best out of all tempting options can get really messy (in a literal sense). Mangoes are available in large amounts during the peak season, and you might be tempted to buy a boxful when they are available at a reasonable price (which is truly what I want to do all the time). But, if we want simply the best, we need to have a little patience and hawk’s eyes (just kidding!). Let me tell you little pointers on how to pick the perfect mango.
- You should know that mangoes should be selected by their aroma and not by their color, which varies from variety to variety. Their aroma should be distinct and ripe.
- While buying mangoes, I suggest you choose the ones without dark spots, blemishes, or splits.
- Fresh mangoes, on an average, measure about four inches in length and weigh about nine ounces to four pounds each.
- Also, did you know that larger fruits have a higher fruit to seed ratio? No? Okay, let me share some scientific and observational opinions on the selection of mangoes. Though unripe mangoes are green, and ripe mangoes have colors ranging from yellow or orange to red, color is not always an indication of maturity. There are some varieties where ripe mangoes retain their green color. So, avoid mangoes that have no fragrant aroma.
- Also, never choose underripe mangoes as they have an unpleasant taste when eaten raw (unless you like the peculiar taste). A ripe mango generally has a full fruity aroma emitting from the stem end, is soft to touch, and yields to gentle pressure.
It goes without saying that buying fresh and juicy-looking fruits is not everything. Proper storage is necessary to ensure that the fruit stays fresh. As I have observed, storing a particular fruit is totally dependent on the fruit type and conditions (weather and all). I recall buying a whole wooden box of mangoes that looked and smelled awesome (and they were yummy too!). But we had to consume the whole box (mind you, the whole box) in three days because it started rotting the day I brought it home. So, from personal experience, I suggest you be very clear about the quantity to be bought. No worries, I have a solution for everything (mistakes do teach you a lot!).
- Mangoes generally have a shelf life of one to two weeks and can be refrigerated for up to three days.
- If the mangoes are hard and green, they should be placed in a brown paper bag for a few days to ripen. They should be stored at room temperature and away from the sun until they ripen. Once ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator.
- Mangoes can also be frozen. Freezing them makes their skin black, but the inner flesh stays in good condition.
- They can be frozen either entirely or in the form of chopped up pieces. When freezing peeled mangoes, sprinkle sugar over the chopped fruit and stir gently with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar in the fruit’s own juices. Seal these pieces in an airtight container, leaving a ½-inch airspace, or in plastic freezer bags after squeezing all the air out.
Yes, mango is the king of fruits and is replete with benefits. But like most other ingredients, it has its share of side effects.
Mango Side Effects
Certain individuals were found to be allergic to mangoes. These allergies include contact dermatitis, food hypersensitivity, etc. A study conducted by the University of Delhi stated that this could be due to sensitivity to mango in packaged or canned forms (like jams, juices, etc.) (75).
2. Itchiness, which can lead to other severe side effects
Also called the mango latex allergy, this causes extreme irritation at the angles of the mouth, lips, and the tip of the tongue. Severe cases can include vomiting, respiratory difficulties, and even diarrhea (76).
Though the fruits come with certain side effects, they are largely outweighed by the benefits. And what’s best – they are tasty and juicy, and there wouldn’t be a soul who doesn’t love them!
But if you are someone with a medical condition, it always is better to consult your doctor before consuming the fruit.
Let us now take a look at a few frequently asked questions.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What are the different types of mango?
There are close to 400 varieties of mango across the world. Here are a few of the most popular ones in India, the largest producer of the fruit.
Banganapalli – Available from April to June and originating in Andhra Pradesh.
Pairi – Available from May to June and originating in Gujarat.
Alphonso – Available from May to June and originating in Maharashtra.
Himsagar – Available in May and originating in West Bengal.
Neelam – Available from May to July and a favorite in Hyderabad.
Kesar – Available from June to early July and originating in Gujarat.
Totapuri – Available from June to July and native to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.
Are mangoes good for dieting?
A half cup of sliced mangoes contains just about 50 calories. You can replace any of your high-calorie snacks with a mango. It fills your stomach and curbs your hunger.
More importantly, mangoes are a rich source of fiber that is known to aid digestion and keep you feeling full for longer periods. Hence, if you are dieting, mangoes can be a very good addition to your diet.
How to ripen mangoes?
There are a few tricks that can help.
You can place the mango inside a paper bag and leave it on the kitchen counter overnight. The fruit releases ethylene, an odorless gas that accelerates the ripening process. But ensure you don’t close the bag completely – there must be some way for the air and gas to escape so that you can prevent mold formation.
You can also submerge the mango in a bowl of uncooked rice. The reason being the same as before – rice helps trap the ethylene gas and accelerates ripening.
Can babies have mangoes?
Yes, mangoes are safe for babies. They aid digestion and even build the baby’s immunity. They also promote brain development, something vital for babies.
However, there are certain allergy concerns with respect to the skin of the fruit. Touching the skin of the mango can cause an allergic reaction around your baby’s mouth. This allergy, according to certain experts, can be found in the form of diaper rash.
The best way to deal with this is to peel the mango completely before feeding it to your baby. You can mash the fruit and even add it to the food.
Are mangoes high on sugar?
A half cup of diced mango contains about 70 calories, most of which come from sugar. So yes, mangoes are high in sugar (roughly about 31 grams per mango). But the good news is mangoes don’t affect your blood sugar levels as much as other fruits with a high sugar content.
The fruit is also low in calories (110 calories per fruit), and its sweetness can deter you from having other sugary (and unhealthy) snacks.
What fruits go well with a mango?
The fruit goes well with bananas. Especially if you are preparing a smoothie, this combination works wonders. Mango also goes well with coconut, orange, and pineapple.
Can you eat mango peel?
As we have already discussed, the peel contains essential nutrients. It might taste bitter, but contains healthful compounds like mangiferin. So yes, you can eat the mango peel.
However, if you happen to develop a reaction to mango skin, it’s better you don’t eat it. Certain individuals develop allergies around their mouth when they consume the peel.
How to peel a mango?
You can simply peel the mango with a knife. Make a shallow cut under the skin and slice off a thin strip. Repeat the process on the entire body of the mango.
You can also use a vegetable peeler. Place the mango on a cutting board and peel off the skin.
You can even use your hands to peel the fruit. Simply find the stem of the ripe fruit, and slowly remove a section of the peel around the area. Repeat the process till you have peeled the entire fruit.
No doubt, these benefits of mangoes are amazing – and including them in your diet will surely make you healthier and stronger.
Why wait, start reaping the best mango benefits today! You will definitely thank yourself!
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