Mango is one delicious fruit to savor every time you have the opportunity. The mango fruit is considered in many circles and cultures as the king of all fruits. The fruit is common as it is the most widely eaten fruit in the world. However, beyond the delectable quality of this fruit, you will find its many health benefits.
Mangoes belong to the family of tropical fruit-bearing trees called Mangifera. This fruit is quite ubiquitous, but its origin can be traced to the Indian subcontinent that includes India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Philippines. It is no wonder that the world’s highest producer of mangoes is India.
Although there are many varieties (more than 300) of the mango tree, all kinds of the tree and, in extension fruit, offer a lot of health benefits to the body. That said, the most popular and highly-ranked variety is the Alphonso variety, which is native to Western India.
Nutritional facts about mango
Mango or “Mangifera indica” offers a ton of health benefits due to the presence of important nutrients and minerals in the fruit. An average mango fruit is known to contain about 107 calories. The mango fruit is also rich in vitamins, especially vitamin A – the chief vitamin in mangoes; other vitamins are vitamins C, E, K, and the B vitamins. Besides the vitamins, mangoes also contain minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, iron, selenium, and copper.
Other important nutrients in mango are carbs, fiber, and proteins. The combination of these minerals and nutrients gives mango its medicinal properties which we shall soon look into.
Health benefits of eating mangoes
The following are some of the numerous benefits of eating mangoes:
- Good for the eyes
Since mangoes have significant amounts of vitamin A, they are helpful in promoting good eye health. Moreover, mangoes contain zeaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that helps to protect the eyes against macular degeneration.
- Aids digestion
Mangoes contain fiber and water, which are important for proper digestion. Eating mangoes in moderate amounts can help to prevent digestion problems such as constipation and bloating as well as in relieving such conditions. Apart from this, it is known that the mango fruit has digestive enzymes that aid digestion.
- Good for diabetics
Experts have hinted that the consumption of foods rich in fiber can help to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. In addition, mango contains a phytochemical, mangiferin which is also helpful in reducing blood sugar levels, especially in people with type 2 diabetes. A separate study also found out that the peel of mangoes has anti-diabetic properties.
- Good for pregnant women
Mangoes contain vitamins and minerals including iron, which are needed by pregnant women. Vitamins like vitamin A are also important for preventing eye problems in neonates.
- To maintain blood pressure
Mangoes are packed with many nutrients including potassium, which is an essential mineral for maintaining healthy blood pressure in the body. Hypertensive patients can benefit from the consumption of mangoes as it helps to lower high blood pressure levels.
- To reduce bad cholesterol levels
The presence of mangiferin in mangoes helps the fruit to lower bad cholesterol levels in the body. In a study conducted on rats, it was shown that mangiferin can help to increase good cholesterol levels while also lowering the levels of the bad cholesterol.
- For prevention of asthma
Mango contains beta-carotene, which helps to lower the risk of asthma development. Some other fruits that have this same chemical substance are papaya, broccoli, carrots, and pumpkin. Eating any of these fruits will help to prevent asthma.
- Good against cancer
Various studies have shown that the consumption of foods rich in beta-carotene can help in lowering the risk of development of colon and prostate cancers. A separate study even proved that the polyphenols in mango can help in the treatment of colon and breast cancers. Although more studies and research are yet to be done on this subject, the little successes suggest that mango can also be added to your list of cancer-fighting foods/fruits.
- Good for the heart
The effect of mangoes on blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels means that it also affects the heart – in a positive way. High blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and high LDL (bad) cholesterol levels contribute to heart problems. By helping to regulate these parameters, eating mangoes helps to maintain a healthy heart. Furthermore, the presence of beta-carotene in mango also helps to reduce the risk of heart disease due to its antioxidant properties.
- Remedy for heat stroke
Eating ripe mangoes can be refreshing, especially in a hot weather. Although mangoes don’t contain as much water as some fruits like cucumbers, diluting mango juice in water and mixing with honey can help to refresh the body. This makes them highly beneficial in treating heat stroke. The presence of potassium in mangoes also means that fluid circulation and blood flow are unrestricted in the body, thereby, preventing heat stroke.
- An immune booster
We have already stated that mangoes contain many essential body nutrients and minerals. This means that the consumption of mangoes regularly can help to bolster the body’s immune system against diseases and infections. So, when next you are eating mangoes remember that you are not just eating to enjoy the taste of the fruit, but also to protect yourself from diseases.
- Good for the hair and skin
There are many antioxidants in mango such as carotenoids and other chemical compounds that help to fight off free radicals in the body. These free radicals when left untreated can lead to various skin conditions. The presence of vitamin C in mango is also beneficial to the skin while vitamin A in mango helps to keep the hair moisturized.
- As treatment for anemia
Vitamin C helps to promote the assimilation of iron in the body. A deficiency of iron in the body can lead to a type of anemia (iron deficiency anemia). Eating mangoes will help to remedy this situation due to the presence of iron, albeit in trace amounts, in mangoes, and also due to the vitamin C content of mangoes.
- A natural aphrodisiac
Mangoes are rich in vitamin E, which helps to stimulate the activities of the sex hormones in both men and women. Men who regularly eat mangoes can improve their virility due to this.
- Promotes weight loss
The high fiber content of mangoes helps in making one feel full quickly. This means that you get to eat less when you eat mangoes regularly. Also, the presence of fiber in the fruit helps to promote digestion and metabolism leading to weight loss.
Studies have also shown that the mango peel can aid weight loss due to the presence of phytochemicals on the peel. So, when next you are eating your mangoes and you want to throw away the peel, remember this point.
- For healthy bones
Mango contains vitamins A, C, and K, which are essential for strong bones. Vitamin A plays a role in bone development while vitamin C promotes the formation of collagen, and vitamin K promotes the absorption of calcium in the body. All these are essential for healthy bones and eating mangoes can provide the body with these vitamins.
- For kidney stones
Eating mangoes can help to reduce the risk of kidney stone development. Mangoes contain potassium, which is a diuretic – promotes urination – and is essential for keeping the kidneys free from infection. Aside from this, mangoes also contain pyridoxine (vitamin B6), which can help to reduce oxalate stones in the kidney.
- Aids metabolism
The fiber content in mangoes help to promote body metabolism. There are beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract called probiotic bacteria which are essential for digestion and the absorption of vital vitamins needed for metabolism. These bacteria are dependent on the presence of fiber, which is packed in mangoes.
- For brain health
Eating mangoes can help to reduce the risk age-related brain problems such as Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that the consumption of mangoes can help to promote proper cognitive function and in protecting the brain from the effects of a trauma. Also, mangoes are packed with a memory-boosting compound – glutamine acid – to improve concentration and memory in kids.
Risks and side effects of eating mangoes
Eating mangoes can be relishing as well as nourishing; however, you need to apply moderation in consumption as overeating mangoes can have adverse effects.
- Risk of diarrhea
An average-sized mango contains about 3 grams of fiber, which is just enough for the body. Eating too many mangoes means that you are feeding your body with so much fiber that can lead to diarrhea.
- Risk of increasing the blood glucose level
Ripe mangoes are packed with sugars, so eating too many of them can rapidly elevate the blood sugar level. Diabetes patients are advised to avoid ripe mangoes for this reason.
- Risk of allergies
Though there are many healthy benefits of eating mangoes, you should be aware that there is also a risk of allergic reactions, especially when the mangoes are raw. Mangoes belong to the same family as pistachios and cashews; hence, people allergic to this fruits can also be allergic to mango.
- Weight gain
You might be wondering how this is possible since the consumption of mangoes aids weight loss. Well, that is the unfortunate truth. However, this does not happen when you eat a few mangoes, it is only when you excessively consume mangoes that this can happen. Thus, if you want to maintain your weight, you should apply moderation when eating mangoes.
Mango is not called “the king of fruits” for no reason; this fruit packs a lot of nutrients and minerals that are much needed by the body. And although the benefits of eating mangoes far outweigh the risks and side effects, moderation is the watchword when consuming them.