Health Benefits of Mango
Mangoes have been cultivated for over 4,000 years in India and Southeast Asia. Nowadays, there are over 500 varieties of this delicious fruit. In this article, we’ll break down all the health benefits of mangoes and provide you with a few ways to incorporate this miraculous fruit into your diet.
Overview of Mangoes
The mango is a drupe or stone fruit, named after the large seed in its center. Although mangoes are a crucial part of Indian cuisine, they are enjoyed all over the world today. Given that there is such a wide variety of mangoes available, they can weigh anywhere from a few ounces to several pounds.
In general, mangoes have an oval shape with a ride that can vary in color from pale yellow to a deep, dark red. Before they are ripe, the skins of mangoes are green. The inside coloring of a mango can range from yellow to orange. The texture of the fruit also varies from stringy to incredibly smooth. Once they are ripe, mangoes are sweet and juicy.
Health Benefits of Mangos
Although there are over 500 varieties of mango, regardless of what kind you get, it will surely offer some impressive health benefits. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the incredible health benefits of mangoes.
Source of Nutrients
One of the best reasons to incorporate mango into your diet is because this tropical fruit is low in calories but chock-full of nutrients. One cup of mango contains 67% of your daily intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin which means that you need it to have a healthy balanced diet, but your body cannot produce it. Vitamin C has several impressive health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, improving iron absorption, boosting immunity, and reducing your risk of heart disease.
Another essential mineral found in mangoes is copper. Copper is crucial because it allows the body to form red blood cells, maintains healthy bones, blood vessels, and nerves, and contributes to iron absorption. It is also thought that people who suffer from heart failure could benefit from a supplement containing copper.
Alongside vitamin C and copper, mangoes are also rich in folate. One cup of mangoes can provide approximately 18% of the suggested daily intake of folate. Folate plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells and promotes cell growth and function in general. Usually, folate is found in leafy greens, beans, peas, nuts, and fruits.
Mangoes also contain small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B5, vitamin K, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, manganese, thiamine, magnesium, phosphorus, pantothenic acid, calcium, selenium, and iron.
Good for Hair and Skin
The vitamin C found in mangoes also has the potential to do wonders for your hair and skin. Vitamin C is a crucial part of the production of collagen in your body. Collagen is the protein that keeps your skin bouncy and counteracts the effects of aging.
Vitamin A, another vitamin found in mango, is an important part of the growth and production process of sebum. Sebum is a liquid that keeps your hair healthy through scalp moisturization and hydration. Vitamin A also protects your skin from the sun.
Source of Antioxidants
Another incredible health benefit of mangoes is that they are an amazing source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds produced by your body or naturally found in food that help protect your cells against damage. Specifically, antioxidants protect your cells from the harmful effects of free radicals, compounds that are highly reactive and can bind to and damage cells in your body.
When free radicals build up in your body, they can put your body in a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has the ability to damage both your DNA and other crucial components of your cells. This state can also leave you vulnerable to diseases like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Luckily, consuming foods that are high in antioxidants such as mangoes can help protect you from the harmful effects of free radicals. The antioxidants in mangoes come from polyphenols which are plant compounds that function as antioxidants in the body.
There are several types of polyphenols in mangoes, including catechins, mangiferin, and quercetin. Mangiferin is a particularly powerful antioxidant that has attracted attention in recent years because of its potential ability to combat chronic diseases. Another antioxidant found in mangoes is beta-carotene. Alongside acting as an antioxidant, beta-carotene is also the pigment that gives mangoes their distinct yellow-orange color.
The nutrients in mangoes also help support heart health, another great reason to try this tasty tropical fruit. Both magnesium and potassium help your body maintain a healthy, safe pulse and allow your blood vessels to relax. By relaxing your blood vessels, these nutrients promote lower blood pressure levels which leads to a healthy heart.
As mentioned in the last section, mangoes also contain the antioxidant mangiferin. This powerful antioxidant might be able to protect heart cells against the harmful effects of inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis. It also might be able to lower blood cholesterol and free fatty acid levels, both of which would also promote heart health.
Digestive System Boost
If you aren’t quite convinced yet, another reason to incorporate mangoes into your diet is that they can give your digestive system a boost. Mangoes can help stabilize your digestive system by reducing the likelihood of constipation. Both the amylase compounds and the dietary fiber in mangoes make them a great snack option for when you are having trouble passing bowel movements.
Incorporating Mango Into Your Diet
Now that you know a few of the impressive health benefits of mango, you might be wondering how you can incorporate it into your diet. This section will provide you with a few easy ways to make mango a regular part of your diet.
Peeled and Sliced
The easiest way to enjoy a mango is to simply chop it up and eat it in pieces. That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to eat your mango raw. The skin of mangoes contains urushiol, which is the compound in poison ivy that triggers a red, itchy rash. Although there’s far less urushiol in mangoes than in poison ivy, the skin can still provoke allergic responses.
Another easy way to incorporate mango into your diet is by adding it to your favorite drinks. You can add mango, either fresh or frozen, to fruit smoothies to give them a delicious tropical twist. You can also use mango to flavor tepache, a delicious Mexican street beverage made from fermented pineapple peels. Oftentimes, mango is paired with chili to give tepache a refreshing, delicious kick!
Other Options to Incorporate Mango Into Your Diet
If you are looking for a more adventurous way to cook with mango, try one of the following options:
- Make a mango chutney
- Freeze mango and water to make mango ice cubes for drinks
- Make mango sorbet
- Grill mango for a barbecue
Mangoes are a remarkably healthy food and, the best part, they are delicious, too! Whether you want to give your immune system a boost or help your heart stay healthy, mangoes can provide a wide range of benefits to your overall health. You can incorporate them into your diet by simply peeling, slicing, and eating them raw, or mixing them into drinks like tepache!