Mangoes are one of the most popular tropical fruits due to its delicious taste and excellent nutritional content. Now, let’s take a look at the nutrition facts and health benefits of mango.
Mango (Mangifera indica) is a juicy stone fruit that belongs to the cashew family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to South Asia, probably India, where it’s considered a sacred fruit in the region because it is said that Buddha himself meditated under a mango tree.
There are over 1000 varieties of mangoes throughout the world, each differing in size, shape, and color. However, only a very few varieties are grown commercially.
The mango has a leathery, inedible skin, which can be green, yellow, or red. The shape of the fruit can be round, oval, heart-shaped, or kidney-shaped. The flesh is soft, juicy and tastes sweet when ripe, and its color is yellow to orange depending on the state of ripeness.
Mango can be consumed raw or in the form of juices, milkshakes, and ice creams, and can be prepared in different types of salty and sweet dishes.
Mango Nutrition Facts
Mangoes are low in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. They are also packed with fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, which are needed for growth and development. According to the USDA FoodData Central, one cup of raw mango pieces (165 g) contains:
- 99 calories
- 0.6 g of fat
- 1.4 g of protein
- 24.7 g of carbohydrate
- 2.6 g of fiber
- 22.5 g of sugar
- 60 mg of vitamin C
- 1790 IU of vitamin A
- 0.2 mg of vitamin B6
- 277 mg of potassium
- 16.5 mg of magnesium
In addition to that, mangoes are rich in carotenoid and polyphenol compounds, including mangiferin, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help to protect the body against free radical damage.
Mango Health Benefits
1. Prevents heart disease
They are high in pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to significantly reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lowers your risk of heart disease. The high potassium content, vitamin B6 and fiber present in this fruit may also help promote the health of your heart.
2. Manages diabetes
Despite its sweet taste and high sugar content, some studies have revealed that mango may positively impact those with diabetes.
A study of 20 obese adults showed that the consumption of about one half of fresh mango fruit (100 g) for 12 weeks results in lowered blood glucose levels .
Another study, published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, found that mango peel contains dietary fiber, polyphenols, and carotenoids, which exhibited anti-diabetic effect .
3. Lowers blood pressure
Mangoes are rich in minerals like magnesium and potassium that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. The role of magnesium is to relax the muscles, including your heart muscle. Magnesium also decrease your stress levels, which can result in lower blood pressure. Potassium has a beneficial effect on blood pressure because it counteracts the blood pressure-increasing effect of salt (sodium).
A study conducted at the University of California, Davis found that mango consumption had beneficial effects on systolic blood pressure among healthy postmenopausal women .
4. Reduces cancer risk
Several studies have shown that a compound found in mangoes called mangiferin may help prevent or block cancer growth.
In a 2017 study from University of Missouri studied mangiferin with prostate tumors, the researchers found that mangiferin reduced tumor size by five times after three weeks of treatment .
Additionally, a 2013 study tested mangiferin against breast cancer cells. The researchers found that the compound inhibited malignancy and the progression of breast cancer cells .
5. Improves digestion
Mangoes contain dietary pectin which can help to regulate digestion. Moreover, mangoes contain the digestive enzyme amylase, which break down carbs from starch (a complex carb) into simple sugars and absorb them, thus improving digestion.
The amylase enzymes in mangoes become more active as the fruit ripens. This is why mangoes become sweeter as they start to ripen.
6. Enhances immune system
Mangoes are a great source of vitamin C, which helps keep your immune system strong. Beta-carotene is another important nutrient in mangoes that boosts immunity.
A study review in 1999 found that beta-carotene supplementation may help enhance the immune system .
7. Supports eye health
Mango is rich in vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy eyes. Mangoes also contain carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are natural compounds that protect the retina and lens from oxidative damage.
In a study published in the journal of Ophthalmology, the researchers found that these antioxidants can improve visual functions, reduce discomfort from glare, and decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) .
8. Keeps skin healthy
Mango contains riboflavin, which plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy, glowing skin. Mango also contains vitamin A, which is known to reduce fine lines by increasing cell turnover, which prevents dead skin cells from clogging pores.
A study conducted by the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine found that mango extracts may help fight off the UVB-induced skin aging . However, this study was conducted in mice and more research is needed to clarify whether these results translate to humans.
9. Maintains brain health
Mango is loaded with vitamin B6, which is essential for maintaining brain function. In fact, some research shows that vitamin B6 deficiency could affect memory and contribute to cognitive impairment .
In a mice study, published in the journal of Environmental Biology, researchers showed that certain compounds found in mango extracts could enhance the memory performance of mice .
10. Improves hair health
Mango is a good source of vitamin A, which encourages hair growth and the production of sebum, a liquid that helps moisturize your scalp to keep your hair healthy.
Aside from that, mango contains polyphenols, which are natural antioxidants that help protect hair follicles against damage from oxidative stress.
11. Treats scurvy
Mango is a rich source of vitamin C that makes it an effective treatment for scurvy, a condition caused by vitamin C deficiency. It is often characterized by bleeding gums, rashes, bruising, weakness and fatigue. If you’re having any of these symptoms, then you should definitely include it in your diet.
How to Ripen and Store Mangoes
If you buy unripe mangoes, keep them in a paper bag at room temperature; they will ripen within two days. Once ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
You can also store them frozen, either whole or precut. Frozen mangoes can last up to 6 months when properly stored. They are better for use as a puree or in smoothies.