Mango (Mangifera indica) is a seasonal fruit that are mainly available during hot summer season, typically from late March to early September. The tropical fruit which is known as the “king of fruit” in India are believed to be originated in the sub-Himalayan plains of Indian subcontinent and now are widely distributed across the world in many continents.
There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes throughout the world, ranging in color from green, yellow, orange, red, or a combination. Although unripe mangoes are usually green, but coloring is not always an indicator of maturity. The best test of ripeness is how hard or soft the fruit is.
Mango is one of the most popular fruits in the world due to its unique flavor and excellent nutritional value. The fruit’s flavor is described as an exotic mix of peach and pineapple flavors, the perfect mixture of sweet and sour. A ripe mango is usually sweet, and unripe mango is sour. Both ripe and unripe mangoes can be eaten. The fruit will have the best flavor when picked ripe.
Aside from its delightful taste, mango is also one of the most nutritious fruits. One cup of mango provides nearly 25% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, two thirds of daily allowance for vitamin A, and good amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin E, pectin, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Below are the nutritional value of one cup of raw mango (165g).
In addition to that, mangoes are also rich in pythochemicals, like astragalin, beta-carotene, and quercetin, that can help to protect the body against free radical damage. Here are top 10 health benefits of mango:
- Prevents Cancer
The phenolic compounds found in mango, such as quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, and methylgallat, have been shown to have antioxidant and anticancer properties. Mango is also high in pectin. Research has shown that pectin has a protective effect against cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Aids in digestion
Mango is very helpful in treating digestion problems. Mango contains digestive enzymes that help break down protein to facilitate absorption in the body, thus improving digestion. The fiber content in mango also helps in digestion.
- Prevents Heart disease
Mango is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin E and Selenium which help to protect against heart disease. Mango is also rich in vitamin B6 which plays a role in preventing heart disease by lowering homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood which damages blood vessel linings.
- Lowers LDL Cholesterol
The high level of pectin and vitamin C in mango has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, particularly LDL (bad) Cholesterol.
- Lowers blood pressure
Since Mango is high in potassium, it may helps in regulating blood pressure levels. Therefore, eating mangoes regularly can help to lower blood pressure.
- Improves Memory
Mango contains Glutamine acid which is known to improve memory and keep brain cells active.
- Reduces Diabetes Risk
The mango leaves have been shown to able to normalize insulin levels in the blood. Boil about 15 fresh mango leaves in water. Leave it overnight, then consume the filtered decoction in the next morning. This will help reduce the blood sugar levels.
- Promotes Eye Health
Mango contains vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant known to promote eye health and protect against age-related macular degeneration.
- Beneficial for Skin
Being rich in vitamin A, mango is very beneficial for the skin. It helps stimulate the circulation of blood in the mucous membrane and skin, making it very helpful for relieving clogged pores of the skin.
- Treats Anemia
Mango is also packed with iron which is important in the treatment of anemia, particularly iron deficiency anemia. The vitamin C in the mango enhances the absorption of iron, making it beneficial for pregnant women and individuals suffering from anemia.
When buying mangoes, choose the ones that yield to gentle pressure with no dark spots or blemishes. A couple of dark spots are acceptable as these indicate a very ripe mango (the riper ones are sweeter). Unripe mangoes should be kept in brown paper bag at room temperature for few days to ripen. The ripen ones can be stored in the refrigerator and bring back to normal temperature when the fruit is to be eaten to get the natural taste and flavor.