11 Surprising Benefits of Mangos

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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When you savor delicious and succulent mangos every summer, you may not realize the immense health benefits that come with every bite.

What is a Mango?

Known as the king of fruits, mangos are tropical fruits that belong to the same family as that of pistachios, gandaria, mombin, and cashews. Common names for mangos are mangot, manga, and mangou, depending upon the region or nation. Beyond the sweet, luscious taste of mangos, they contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that ensures optimum health.

Similar to papayas, mangos contain certain enzymes that can be beneficial to our health. Mango is rich in fiber, so if you have at least one mango every day, you may alleviate constipation, piles, and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Research published in the Journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety has demonstrated that certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber in mango have a positive effect on eliminating degenerative diseases. This includes certain cancers and heart conditions. One specific example is its potassium content, which can help replete losses from the body during strenuous activities.

Mango is native to South-East Asia. So beloved is it in these countries that it is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the national tree of Bangladesh. In India, it is also used in many Hindu sacred ritual. The leaves are used for festivals and wedding decorations. ‘Chutney’ made from Indian mangos has become universally popular. As the popularity of mangos has spread, many food manufacturers have introduced jellies, jams, squash, pickles, marinades, and spices that include pure mango flavor.

Fresh ripe mango - whole and sliced on a light wooden background

Mangos Nutrition Facts

Mango is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. It is an excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamin B6, as well as a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C. As per the USDA National Nutrient Database, it is rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, and copper. It is one of the best sources of quercetin, beta-carotene, and astragalin.

Health Benefits of Mangos

Let’s look at some of the other health benefits of mangos in detail:

Maintain Overall Health

According to a 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients, mangos have an impressive vitamin content that contributes to overall health. They are rich in potassium (4 percent in 156 mg) and magnesium (2 percent in 9 mg). Mangos are vitamin powerhouses, rich in B-vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. These components help you avoid a host of diseases that can come from deficiencies of these micronutrients. Powerful antioxidants in mangos can help neutralize free radicals throughout the body and help prevent heart diseases, premature aging, cancer, and many other degenerative diseases.

Anticancer Potential

Mangos have high amounts of pectin, a soluble dietary fiber that helps to lower cholesterol. Pectin can also help prevent the development of prostate cancer. Recently, studies at The Institute for Food Research discovered that a compound within pectin combines with galectin 3 – a protein playing a significant role in all the stages of cancer. The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer has also come up with a strong association between mango and lowering the risk of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.

Further, comprehensive research published in the Journal of Nutrition Research suggests that the polyphenols in mango have a chemotherapeutic potential against breast cancer.

Promote Weight Gain

Eating and combining mangos into other dishes is one of the easiest ways to promote weight gain – if that is what you desire. Less than one cup of mango (150 grams) has around 86 calories, which can be absorbed easily by the body. Mangos contain starch, which transforms into sugar and aids in gaining weight. Mango milkshake will accelerate the process of gaining weight since it contains sugar, as well as fat and protein from milk.  It is also notoriously delicious!

Nutrition Facts

Mangos, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]83.46
Energy [kcal]60
Protein [g]0.82
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.38
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]14.98
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.6
Sugars, total [g]13.66
Calcium, Ca [mg]11
Iron, Fe [mg]0.16
Magnesium, Mg [mg]10
Phosphorus, P [mg]14
Potassium, K [mg]168
Sodium, Na [mg]1
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.09
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]36.4
Thiamin [mg]0.03
Riboflavin [mg]0.04
Niacin [mg]0.67
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.12
Folate, DFE [µg]43
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]54
Vitamin A, IU [IU]1082
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.9
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]4.2
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.09
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.14
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.07
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Aid in Digestion

Although many people consider mango not suitable for an upset stomach, research shows otherwise. As per a 2018 animal study in the Journal Food and Function, mangos contain dietary pectin that helps regulate digestion. Mangos play a prominent role in eliminating problems such as indigestion and excess acidity. The digestive enzymes in mangos (such as amylase enzyme mangiferin) work to promote natural, efficient digestion. The bioactive ingredients in mangos like esters, terpenes, and aldehydes contribute in enhancing appetite, and also improve the function of the digestive system.

Treat Anemia

Mangos are rich in iron, which makes them beneficial for people suffering from anemia. A regular, moderated intake can help reduce the possibility of developing anemia by increasing the red blood cell count in the body. The tonic made from mangos in Chinese herbal medicine is known to many as yin tonic, and it is used to treat anemia, bleeding gums, cough, constipation, nausea, fever, seasickness, and as a cure for weak digestion.

Useful in Pregnancy

Mangos are beneficial for pregnant women given their iron content, as mentioned above. Doctors often prescribe prenatal vitamins or iron tablets during pregnancy. Mangos may help you supplement a healthy diet. Some women become uninterested in food during their pregnancy. The delicious mangos can help kickstart their lackluster appetite.

Reduce Acne

Mangos are thought to be an effective homemade remedy for treating acne. By applying the pulp topically to the skin, it can open the clogged pores of the skin. Once these pores are opened, acne formation will eventually stop. Unclogging the pores of the skin is the most effective way to eliminate acne. To enjoy this benefit, there is no need to eat them every day; you need to remove the pulp and apply it on the skin for around 10 minutes, then rinse it off. However, excessive intake of mango may not be beneficial for people who are prone to skin breakouts. The book Herbilogy Three Traditional Medicines for Acne recommends moderate consumption of mangos for people with acne problems as per Chinese traditional medicine.

Delay Aging

Mangos contain high amounts of vitamin A and C, which help produce collagen proteins inside the body. Collagen helps protect blood vessels and the body’s connective tissues, thereby slowing down the natural aging process. Therefore, mangos can rightly be called an anti-aging food.

Promote Brain Health

Mangos have abundant quantities of vitamins, such as C, B6, and folate, which are a few nutrients vital for maintaining and improving the brain’s function. These vitamins help in shaping our mood and the modification of sleeping patterns. With mangos as a part of your diet, you can be assured of a healthy brain and effective nerve functioning. The glutamine acid content in mangos also improves concentration and memory.

Boost Immunity

Mangos are rich in beta-carotene, a powerful carotenoid. This element helps to enhance the immune system. Excess beta-carotene is also transformed into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is another antioxidant that gives you additional protection against the free radicals harming your internal systems.

Manage Diabetes

Despite its sweet taste and high sugar content, some studies have revealed that mangos may positively impact those with diabetes. It was a long-told myth that diabetics should avoid mangos because of the sweet taste and high sugar content. Research published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that mango peel contains carotenoids, polyphenols, and dietary fiber that can be therapeutic for people with diabetes.

Place 10 or 15 mango leaves in warm water and close it with a lid before going to bed. In the morning, drink the water on an empty stomach after filtering the leaves. Regular practice of this method can help in the management of blood sugar levels of diabetics.

What are Mango Allergies?

Some people can be sensitive to mangos since they belong to the Anacardiaceae family, making them a distant relative of poison ivy. Mangos contain a small amount of a substance called urushiol, which is a toxic resin that can cause dermatitis. The severity of this skin allergy varies among individuals.

How to Buy & Store Mangos?

Buying: Mangoes are available at many health food stores. Many people buy look for its bright yellow, red or orange hues when buying. However, it’s important to note that some varieties of mangos do not turn into these colors when ripe. If you prefer to buy these alternative green varieties, try to look for other signs of ripeness like a sweet aroma. Green mangos are popular in Thailand, India, and Malaysia.

Selecting: To select a ripe mango, lightly press its surface to check if it is not too hard. If you buy raw or unripe mangos, keep them in a paper bag in a warm place; they will ripen within two days. If you keep the unripe mangos at room temperature, it may take them up to 1 week to fully ripen.

You will be able to recognize fresh mangos by their size; they should be about 4 inches in length while the weight can range from nine ounces to four pounds. The larger the fruit, the higher the fruit-to-seed ratio. The peak season is from May through September, but there are many markets that import mangos from warm climates year-round.

Storing: You can store ripe mangos in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, or they can be dried, frozen, pureed or cooked in the form of a syrup or puréed. In the commercial market, you can buy them in canned, fresh, and dried forms. If you buy dried mangos, be sure to rehydrate them in warm water for about four hours before adding them to your recipe.

Freezing: If you want to freeze uncooked mangos, just sprinkle sugar over the seeded, peeled, and sliced fruit (raw and uncooked). Stir lightly with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts in the juice of the mango itself. Make sure the pieces are sugar-coated. Seal them in an airtight container and freeze.

A Few Facts About Mangos

They originated in southern Asia, more specifically in Burma and eastern India, almost 4,000 years ago. Many stories in Indian mythology mention the mango plant. Lord Buddha is said to have often meditated in a mango grove. Mango cultivation first spread to Malaysia, eastern Asia, eastern Africa and was finally introduced to California around the year 1880. They were introduced to Africa and Brazil by Portuguese explorers, while mango cultivation started in Hawaii and Florida around the 19th century.

Mangos are found in two varieties, one from India and the other from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Indian mangos have a bright yellow or red color, while the Philippine species has a pale green color. The mango plant requires a frost-free climate because the flowers and fruits will be damaged if the temperatures drop below 40° F. The fruits are favored by warm, dry weather.

Mango trees create a scenic landscape and grow up to 65 feet. They are also known for their longevity; some specimens are known to live for more than 300 years and continue to bear fruit. The leaves of mango trees are usually pale green in color, which darkens as they grow and increase in height. The young leaves are usually red in color. The flowers appear on a mango tree at the branch terminals. The reddish flowers are found in dense panicles of up to 2,000 tiny flowers. These flowers emit a volatile substance that may be an allergen to some people and potentially cause respiratory trouble.

The fruiting bodies of a mango tree grow at the rear end of the string-like stem (the former panicle). The size of the fruit is usually around two to nine inches long, and the shape varies between kidney-shaped, oval and round. The flesh of the mango has a similar consistency to that of peaches. The flesh is excessively juicy and radiates from the husk of a singular oval shaped seed. Mango fruits take 100 to 150 days after flowering to fully mature.

Proper growth of mango trees is possible only with good sunlight and soil. They grow in any well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. The plant needs a large, deep area of soil to spread its extensive roots, and the tree requires frost protection. The trees can develop bacterial spots, pests, and other plant diseases, but there are many known treatments to keep them healthy.

Mangos are mainly grown in tropical countries. But California, Florida, Central America, and Mexico have also developed their mango cultivation. The last two have become major suppliers to U.S. markets.

 

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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