The mango, a tropical fruit with hundreds of varieties has been named "the king of fruits," and with good reason The mango is scientifically known as Mangifera indica L., is luscious, sweet, and fragrant, and packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C.
The fruit also has the potential to offer health benefits such as heart and eye health support. What's more, mangoes are versatile as they can be used during breakfast, as a snack, and in desserts.
Benefits of Mangoes
Mangoes have quite a few potential health benefits.
1. May Protect Against Some Diseases
The fruit packs plenty of polyphenols, which can be found in the peel, pulp, and seed kernel of the fruit. These plant compounds have antioxidant activity that shields cells from the DNA damage that can lead to degenerative diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cancer.
2. May Support Heart Health
Eating mango can be good for your heart in terms of managing the levels of lipids (e.g., cholesterol) you have in your blood. Mangoes contain a specific polyphenol called mangiferin, which can be found in plants and natural medicines. Consuming mangiferin has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease through a reduction in lipid levels and inflammation.
3. Boost the Immune System
Mangoes are a great source of carotenoids, a group of compounds that give yellow fruits their color. One of the benefits of consuming foods with carotenoids is that they are essential for boosting proper immune system functioning. The compounds also have antioxidant properties.
4. Improve Skin Health
Mangoes contain high levels vitamin C. This nutrient is needed to produce collagen, a type of tissue that gives skin its elasticity and helps prevent wrinkles and sagging.
Other parts of the mango plant can be beneficial for the skin as well. Researchers found that Mangifera indica extract from mango leaves was helpful in reducing acne in a small group of volunteers. However, more research is needed on the extract's effectiveness on a larger scale.
5. May Ease Constipation
Mangoes can be good for aiding digestion. One study found that participants who ate 300 milligrams of mango over the course of four weeks saw an improvement in their experiences of constipation.
6. Support Eye Health
Along with having the antioxidant vitamin C, mangoes also have beta-carotene—another antioxidant that helps promote eye health.
Additionally, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids found in mangoes, help your eyes in several ways. The two natural compounds, which protect the retina and lens, have been shown to:
- Increase visual range
- Lessen discomfort from glare
- Enhance visual contrast
- Reduce the time it takes the eyes to recover from the stress of bright lights
Nutrition of Mangoes
A cup of raw mango pieces contains the following:
- Calories: 99 calories
- Fat: <1 gram
- Sodium: 1.65 milligrams
- Carbohydrates: 24.8 grams
- Fiber: 2.64 grams
- Protein: 1.35 grams
- Vitamin A: 1,780 international units (IU)
- Vitamin C: 60.1 milligrams
- Folate: 71 micrograms
Some of the notable nutrients that mango has are vitamins A and C as well as folate. Vitamin A is essential for developing and maintaining multiple types of tissues (e.g., epithelial tissues like skin and hair) and multiple organs.
Other than being an antioxidant and assisting in collagen production, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Folate is a B-vitamin. It's necessary for the body to make genetic material like DNA and for cell division.
A Note About Mango Nutrients
It's a good idea to be aware of when you might be taking in little or too much of a nutrient. When eating mangoes, it's possible for the following to happen if you take in too much:
- Vitamin A: Severe headaches, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, muscle aches, or coordination problems
- Vitamin C: Diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, or iron overload
Risks of Mangoes
There are a few potential risks when it comes to eating mangoes.
Worsened IBS Symptoms
Mangoes are a high-FODMAP food (carbs that the small intestine has a hard time absorbing). As a result, they may trigger gas and bloating in some individuals, particularly those with irritable bowel syndrome.
Potential Allergic Reactions
Although it's rare, it's possible to have allergic reactions to mangoes.
One reaction may be the result of contact dermatitis, which is when you have a skin reaction following direct contact with something. Researchers have found that people might experience these reactions after coming into contact with the skin or fruit of mangoes.
You could also experience oral allergy syndrome (OAS) when eating mangoes. However, OAS is not the result of having a food allergy. It's a condition where you are pollen-sensitive and have an allergic reaction to proteins in fruit that are similar to those in pollen.
Tips for Consuming Mangoes
If you want to enjoy mangoes, you'll want to make sure they're stored properly depending on how quickly you want to use them.
Mangoes can reach their peak ripeness just three to four days after being harvested. Also, the shelf life of mangoes can vary. They may last four to eight days at room temperature, but when kept cold, they can last two to three weeks.
The great thing about mangoes is that they are easy to incorporate into any meal, sweet or savory.
How To Enjoy Mangoes
You can enjoy mangoes at any part of your day. Here are some ideas:
- Breakfast: Add sliced mango to avocado toast, Greek yogurt, or overnight oats
- Lunch: Add it to salsa, slaw, tacos, or salads (e.g., tuna, chicken, or garden)
- Dinner: Serve mango over cooked fish or mix it into whole grains, like quinoa or wild rice
- Dessert: Include it with chia pudding or coconut milk ice cream
- Drinks: Blend mango into a smoothie, a mango margarita, or a mango-mint-rum slush
A Quick Review
Mangoes are both deliciously sweet, and good for you. The fruit offers potential health benefits, including supporting the immune system, digestive system, and eyes. It may also support improvements in heart and skin health.
Eating mangoes can sometimes cause digestive issues for some individuals or, rarely, lead to allergic reactions. They also have a short shelf-life, so they should be stored appropriately. Finally, there are plenty of ways to enjoy mangoes in every meal of the day, including drinks and snacks.
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