When you savor delicious and succulent mangoes every season, you probably don’t think about the immense health benefits coming with every bite. A common nickname for mangoes is actually ‘the king of fruits’. Beyond the sweet, luscious taste of mangoes, they also contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that assure your optimum health.
For decades, mangoes have been used to soothe stomachs. Similar to papayas, mangoes contain certain enzymes with stomach comforting properties. As the popularity of mangoes has spread, many food manufacturers have introduced jellies, jams, squash, pickles, marinades and spices that include pure mango flavor.
Mango is rich in fiber, so if you have at least one mango every day in your diet, you are almost guaranteed to prevent constipation, piles and symptoms of a spastic colon. Research and studies published at Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety have demonstrated that dietary fiber has a positive effect on eliminating degenerative diseases, including certain cancers and heart conditions. Now you have even more reasons to include this delicious fruit in your daily diet. The more you participate in strenuous activities,the more bodily potassium you lose, which is yet another helpful side effects of mangoes – high potassium content!
The Origin of Mangoes
Mangoes belong to the same family as that of pistachios, gandaria, mombin and cashews. Some common names for mango are mangot, manga, and mangou, depending on the region or nation.The mango originated in southern Asia, more specifically in Burma and eastern India, almost 4,000 years ago. Many stories in Indian mythology include the mention of the mango plant, and Lord Buddha is said to have often meditated in a mango grove. Mango cultivation first spread to Malaysia, eastern Asia and eastern Africa and was finally introduced to California around 1880. Mangoes were introduced to Africa and Brazil by Portuguese explorers, while mango cultivation started in Hawaii and Florida around the 19th century.
According to Indian beliefs, mangoes symbolize life (it is the national fruit of India) and is used in almost every sacred ritual. Mango leaves are almost always used for festivals and wedding decorations. ‘Chutney’ made from Indian mangoes is the original chutney and has become universally popular. Today, India remains the world’s major producer of mangoes, but Thailand, China, Brazil and Mexico also cultivate this highly beneficial fruit.
Health Benefits of Mangoes
Mangoes are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamin B6, as well as a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C. Mangoes are rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium and copper, and they are one of the best sources of quercetin, betacarotene, and astragalin. These powerful antioxidants have the power to neutralize free radicals throughout the body. Ailments like heart disease, premature aging, cancer and degenerative diseases are due to these free radicals that damage the cells.
In China, mangoes are sweet and sour and offer a cooling sensation. The tonic made from mangoes in Chinese herbal medicine is known as yin tonic, and it is used to treat bleeding gums, anemia, cough, constipation, nausea, fever, sea sickness and as a cure for weak digestion.
Keeps Blood Pressure Under Control
Mangoes have an impressive vitamin content that assures overall health. They are rich in potassium (4% in 156 mg) and magnesium (2% in 9 mg), and mangoes are great natural remedies for high blood pressure patients. They also contain selenium, calcium, iron and phosphorus. Mangoes are said to be vitamin powerhouses as they are rich in riboflavin, vitamin B6, A, C, E, K, niacin, folate, thiamin and panthothenic acid. These components help you to avoid a host of diseases that can come from deficiencies of these vitamins and minerals. The vitamin E content in mangoes can even help to boost your sex life by triggering the activity of your sex hormones.
Cancer Prevention and Heart Health
Mangoes have high amounts of pectin, a soluble dietary fiber that efficiently contributes to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Pectin can also help prevent you from developing prostate cancer. Recently, studies at The Institute for Food Research discovered that a compound within pectin combines with galectin 3 (a protein playing significant role in all the stages of cancer). The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer also has come up with a strong association between eating mango and lowering the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Mango consumption is one of the easiest ways to gain weight. 150g of mango has around 86 calories, which can be absorbed easily by the body. Moreover, mangoes contain starch, which transforms into sugar that aids in gaining weight. Some people work hard to put on weight for a variety of reasons, and mango should definitely be a part of their diet. Mango milkshakes will accelerate the process of gaining weight since they also contain milk, and are notoriously delicious!
Mangoes play a prominent role in eliminating problems such as indigestion and excess acidity. The digestive enzymes in mangoes help to promote natural, efficient digestion. The bioactive ingredients in mangoes like esters, terpenes and aldehydes contribute in enhancing appetite and also improve the function of the digestive system.
Cures Anemia & Helps in Pregnancy
Mangoes are rich in iron, which makes them beneficial for people suffering from anemia. A regular, moderated intake of mangoes can help eliminate anemia by increasing the red blood cell count in the body.
Mangoes are also very beneficial for pregnant woman, since the iron requirements during pregnant is extremely essential. Doctors often prescribe iron tablets during pregnancy, but instead of supplementation, you can enjoy a healthy iron-rich diet with juicy mangoes. The taste buds during pregnancy usually lose some of their sensitivity, so mangoes will surely prove to be the delight of your day, for more than just its health benefits.
Perhaps you are surprised to know that mangoes are closely related to skin health. Other than bringing a healthy glow to your face, mangoes also help to lighten skin color. You can easily enhance your beauty by including this tasty fruit in your diet on a regular basis.
Mangoes effectively treat acne by opening 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 mangoes every day; you need to remove the mango pulp and apply it on the skin for around 10 minutes, then rinse it off.
Slows the Signs of Aging
Mangoes contain high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C, which both help to produce collagen proteins inside the body. Collagen helps to protect blood vessels and the body’s connective tissues, thereby slowing down the skin’s natural aging process. Therefore, mangoes can rightly be called an anti-aging food. Dietary supplementation is the best way to restore your youth in a natural and delicious way.
Promotes Brain Health
Mangoes have abundant quantities of vitamin B-6, which is vital for maintaining and improving the brain’s function. These vitamins aid in the amalgamation of the major neurotransmitters that contributes in determining mood and the modification of sleeping patterns. Mangoes naturally provide significant quantities of this vitamin. With mangoes as a part of your diet, you can be assured of a healthy brain and effective nerve functioning. You will also be avoiding medicinal supplements, which have a long list of possible side effects. The Glutamine acid content in mangoes also improves concentration and the power of your memory.
Boosts Body Immunity
As mentioned earlier, similar to carrots, mangoes are rich in beta-carotene, a powerful carotenoid. This element of mango helps in to enhance the immune system of the body and make it impervious to bacteria and toxins. Excess beta-carotene is also transformed into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is another antioxidant vitamin and gives you additional protection against the free radicals that can harm your internal systems. Thus, mangoes are great choice for food items to add into your regular diet. They not only increase your chances of living a disease-free life, but is also a pleasure to eat due to its magnificent taste.
Diabetes Management and Prevention
Further research is still ongoing, but some studies have already revealed that mangoes are a great natural remedy for diabetes. It was a long-told myth that diabetic patients should avoid mangoes because of its sweet taste; now it is being shown that other than the fruit, the mango leaves are also helpful in curing 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 has shown positive results for diabetic patients in the management of their blood sugar levels.
What are Mango Allergies?
It is possible to suffer from mango allergies. Some people can be sensitive to mangoes, since they belong to the Anacardiaceae family and are therefore a distant relative of poison ivy. Mangoes contain a small amount of a substance called urushinol, which is a toxic resin that can cause dermatitis. The severity of this skin allergy varies between individuals. However, the peel and juice of mangoes are more responsible for this allergy, while the flesh of the fruit has a relatively low chance of inducing this allergic reaction.
How to Buy and Store Mangoes
Some varieties of mangoes do not turn red, orange or yellow. If you prefer to buy these alternative green varieties, try to look for other signs of ripeness like a sweet aroma. Green mangoes are popular in many dishes from Thailand, India, and Malaysia. In Indian markets, you will find dried green mangoes that are processed into mango powder or amchoor/amchur, which is a very popular East Indian seasoning.
The ripe mangoes should give slightly to light pressure from the fingertip and you should see a slight depression on the surface. Even if you buy them unripe, keep the mangoes in a paper bag in a warm place; they will ripen within two days. If you keep the unripe mangoes at room temperature, it may take them up to 1 week to fully ripen.
You will be able to recognize fresh mangoes by their size; they should be about 4 inches in length while the weight can range from 9 ounces to 4 pounds. The larger the fruit, the higher the fruit-to-seed ratio. The mango peak season is from May through September, but there are many markets that import mangoes from warm climates year-round.
You can store ripe mangoes in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, or they can be dried, frozen, cooked in syrup or puréed. In the commercial market, you can buy mangoes in canned, fresh, and dried forms. If you buy dry mangoes, be sure to rehydrate them in warm water for about four hours before adding them to your recipe.
If you want to freeze uncooked mangoes, just sprinkle sugar over the seeded, peeled, and sliced fruit. Stir lightly with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts in the juice of the mango itself. Make sure the pieces are well sugar coated. Seal them in an airtight container and refrigerate.
A Few Final Facts About Mangoes
Mangoes are found in two varieties, one from India and the other from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Indian mangoes have a bright yellow or red color, while the Philippines 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 in warm, dry weather.
Mango trees create a scenic landscape and grow up to 65 feet. Mango trees 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 2 to 9 inches long and shape may vary between being kidney shaped, oval or round. The flesh of mangoes is a similar consistency to peaches. The flesh is excessively juicy and radiates from the husk of a singular oval shaped seed. Mango fruit takes 100 to 150 days after flowering to fully mature.
Proper growth of mango trees is possible only in dense shade and good drainage. Mango trees grow in any well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. The plant needs a deep area of soil to spread its extensive root network, and the tree requires frost protection when it is at its youngest, tender age. Bacterial spots, pests and other plant diseases can develop, and there are many known treatments to keep the trees healthy.
Mangoes are mainly grown in tropical countries, but California, Florida, Central America and Mexico have developed their mango cultivation greatly and have become major suppliers to U.S. markets.