In India, the onset of summer is marked by an abundance of mangoes flooding the markets! Mango is one of the yummiest fruits around, perfect for those scorching summers. Its amazingly delicious taste, unique flavor and fragrance as well as health promoting qualities have made it earn the name of “the king of fruits.” It is one of the most widely consumed fruit in tropical countries and is the national fruit of India. The mango tree is basically a tropical tree cultivated in many parts of India. It is believed to have originated in the sub-Himalayan plains of the Indian subcontinent. Mango is the delicious fruit of this tree, weighing about 250 to 750 grams with a typical mango shape, which is somewhat similar to that of a kidney. This fruit belongs to the family of Anacardiaceae, which also includes cashew, pistachio etc.
Mangoes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors depending on the type of cultivar. Mangoes can be as small as a ping pong ball or large enough to weigh 4 to 5 pounds. Their shape also varies from oval, round, heart shaped to kidney shaped or long and slender. They have a smooth outer skin, which is green when unripe but turns to golden yellow, bright yellow or orange-red on ripening, depending upon the cultivar type. The inner flesh is juicy and orange to yellow in color with several fibers emerging from its centrally located flat, oval shaped seed, which is usually a single embryo but sometimes can also be poly-embryonic. It has a pleasant and rich flavor, which is a combination of sweet with mild tartness. All varieties of mangoes have been hailed as delicacies and are used in several recipes including savory dishes, desserts and smoothies. Unripe mangoes are used to make pickles. They are a rich source of vitamins A, C and D. Mangoes are available from April to August.
Benefits of Mango for Health:
The main reason why we eat a mango is its amazing taste! The moment we eat a mango, we tend to get lost in its rich flavor, paying no attention to the numerous health benefits the fruit offers. But the fact is that mangoes have been included in the category of “super fruits” because of their combination of amazing taste and health benefits.
1. Anti-cancer Properties:
Research has proved that the mango polyphenols limit inflammatory response in both cancerous and non-cancerous breast cells. It contains antioxidant compounds like quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid, methyl gallate and other enzymes, which protect against colon, breast, blood, and prostate cancers. Vitamin A and flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin help prevent lung and oral cavity cancers. Antioxidants suppress the oxidation process by fighting the harmful free radicals in the body. Mango is also a rich source of dietary fiber called pectin, which inhibits the action of a protein called Galectin 9 that is known to trigger cancer cell growth. This lowers the risk of colon cancer. Lupeol present in mango works against prostate cancer too.
2. Digestive Health:
Being a rich source of dietary fiber, mangoes improve digestive health. Just like papayas, they contain enzymes that help in breaking down protein, thus facilitating digestion and elimination. The fiber in mangoes ensures proper bowel movement and keeps the digestive tract clean. Being alkaline in nature, mangoes can cure acidity. They also contain several bio-active compounds like Esters, Terpenes and Aldehydes which can further cure indigestion.
3. Boosts The Immune System:
Mangoes contain generous amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A as well as 25 different kinds of carotenoids, which keep your immune system healthy and strong. The antioxidants and minerals present in the fruit restrict microbial attacks and cell damage. In fact, a normal size mango is considered more nutritious than butter or almonds! It not only strengthens all the muscles, nerves, and tissues of the body but also cleanses the body from within to improve immunity.
4. Lowers Cholesterol:
The high levels of fiber, vitamin C, and pectin present in mango help to lower serum cholesterol levels, particularly the bad LDL cholesterol in the body. The fiber in mangoes restricts the secretion of a hormone called leptin, which produces fat cells. Vitamin B6 controls the levels of homocysteine, which is harmful to blood vessels and can trigger strokes and heart attacks. The high content of polyphenolic antioxidants prevents fat accumulation in the arteries, thus preventing plaque formation and artery blockage. Mangoes contain a compound called mangiferin, which decreases LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increases good HDL cholesterol.
5. Controls Blood Pressure:
Fresh mango is a good source of potassium, which is an important component of cell and body fluids. Potassium helps control heart rate, blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular diseases.
6. Good For Diabetics:
Apart from the fruit, mango leaves are particularly beneficial for diabetic patients as they can normalize blood insulin levels. The traditional remedy is to boil mango leaves in water, soak them overnight and then consume the filtered concoction in the morning. This will regulate the body’s insulin levels. Since mangoes have a low glycemic index, consuming them in moderate quantities will not increase your sugar levels.
7. Eye Health:
The high amount of vitamin A as well as flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin present in mangoes improves vision, fights dry eyes and prevents night blindness.
8. Improves Brain Health And Memory:
Mango contains abundant amount of vitamin B6, which helps in improving brain function and maintaining an efficient nervous system. It also enhances your mood by controlling stress and is known as an energy builder. Glutamine acid, present in mango, improves memory and concentration. Pyridoxine helps in the production of Gamma-Amino Butyric acid or GABA hormone in the brain. This hormone acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and inhibits nerve transmission in the brain, thus causing a calming effect.
9. Natural Remedy For Heatstroke:
Raw mango is considered a coolant that provides essential nutrients and minerals to the body. All you need to do is blend some chopped pieces of green mango, water, and a teaspoon of honey in a juicer. Drinking this juice will cool your body, thus preventing or curing heatstroke.
10. Aphrodisiac Qualities:
Mango is also referred to as the ‘love fruit’ due to its aphrodisiac qualities. Consumption of mangoes can increase virility in men. The abundant amount of vitamin E in mangoes helps to regulate sex hormones and boosts sex drive.
11. Aids Weight Loss:
Mango is low in calories and devoid of any sodium or fat. Being loaded with nutrients in concentrated form, mango can be a healthy snack substitute. The high fiber content helps burn additional calories by boosting the digestive function of the body, thus helping in weight loss. The vitamins and minerals in the fruit also helps to keep you satiated for a longer time.
12. Beneficial For Women:
Being a rich source of iron, consuming mangoes can prevent anemia. They are particularly beneficial for menopausal and pregnant women who often suffer from iron and calcium deficiencies. This fruit also contains moderate amounts of copper, which is a co-factor for the proper function of many enzymes such as cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase. It is also involved in the production of red blood cells.
13. Alkalizes The Body:
The combination of tartaric acid, malic acid and traces of citric acid in mangoes helps in maintaining the alkalinity of the body.
Benefits of Mango for Skin:
Mangoes are not only awesome for the taste buds but they can nourish your skin as well! This exotic fruit is rich in healthy vitamins and antioxidants which can provide you with beautiful and flawless skin.
14. Treatment Of Acne:
Vitamin C and vitamin A in mangoes are strong antioxidants that help in curing acne and pimples. Vitamin A is your skin’s best friend and its deficiency can lead to dull skin, open pores, eruptions on the arms and elbows. Vitamin C is involved in collagen formation and keeps your skin firm. If you have acne prone skin, you can prepare a raw mango astringent by boiling some unpeeled raw mangoes in water. After cooling, apply this solution on your skin for soothing effect. Drinking mango juice also prevents the outbreak of acne.
15. Lightens Complexion:
Vitamin A and beta carotene in mangoes rejuvenate your skin, thus providing you with a glowing complexion. You can prepare a face cleanser by mixing mango pulp, flour and honey to make a thick paste. Apply this on your face for about 15 minutes and wash off by scrubbing gently. Regular usage of this face pack will cleanse your face as well as remove summer tanning.
16. Anti-ageing Benefits:
Mango is a rich source of antioxidants, which can delay the onset of skin ageing and pigmentation. These antioxidants fight free radicals, thus preventing skin cancer and signs of ageing like wrinkles and fine lines.
17. Mango for Dry Skin:
Both consumption and application of mango acts as a natural moisturizer that can nourish and smoothen dry skin. You can prepare a face pack by mixing mango pulp with 6 spoons of yoghurt. Apply it on your face and wash off after 15 minutes to get smooth and radiant skin!
18. Mango for Oily Skin:
If you have oily skin, you can apply mashed mango pulp on it, allow it to stay for 10 minutes and wash off with cold water.
Benefits of Mango for Hair:
The benefits of mango are not limited to your skin alone. These fruits contain several nutrients, which help promote healthy hair. Some of its benefits in hair care are as follows:
19. Promotes Hair Growth:
Mangoes contain vitamin E, which improves blood circulation to the scalp and enhances oxygen uptake of the hair follicles. This in turn promotes hair growth.
20. Treatment Of Hair loss And Grey Hair:
Mango seed kernel has great moisturizing properties and mango seed oil is an excellent source of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, which are all vital for hair health. You can even prepare it at home! Remove the outer coat of the mango seed and add it to a jar of coconut, sesame or mustard oil. Place this jar in sunlight for a few days. Applying this concoction regularly will provide you with long, black and thick hair as well as prevent hair loss and premature greying.
Mango juice, also known as mango nectar, is a refreshing beverage, perfect for scorching summer months. It is packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. A cup of pure, unsweetened mango juice contains about 30 grams of sugary carbohydrates. Instead of going for bottled mango juices, you can prepare fresh mango juice at home. All you need to do is blend the peeled and chopped mango pieces along with crushed ice, water and sugar in a blender. Blend until smooth and filter the mixture through a sieve. This juice can be served in glasses with a piece of mango attached to the side as garnish. This juice can help facilitate normal body functions and prevent health risks and disease.
Mango for Kids:
Mango is loved and enjoyed by people of all ages. Kids love ‘the king of fruits’ and it is often included in kiddie food items like candies, cakes, ice creams, jams and jellies. This sumptuous fruit can be combined with other ingredients to make it more palatable for fussy kids and to boost its nutrient quotient.
- Mango Kebabs: Mango cubes can be put on a toothpick along with other fruits and eaten with yoghurt dip.
- Mango Smoothie: A simple mango smoothie can be prepared by blending mango pieces with Greek yoghurt in a blender. You can also add other fruits like peaches, strawberries, pineapples and bananas if you want.
- Mango Ice Pops: Fresh mango can be pureed in a blender or food processor and poured into ice cube trays. A popsicle stick or a toothpick can be placed and the mixture can be frozen to get mango ice pops!
- Mango Custard: Kids love custard and the addition of mango provides more flavor to it. Place some mango pulp in a blender and puree it. Mix ¼ cup of cold milk with custard powder and beat well to avoid lumps. Beat some fresh cream with powdered sugar to make a thick paste. Heat some milk in a pan, add sugar and stir for a few minutes. Add the custard powder and milk mixture and stir. Then add mango puree and stir for a minute to obtain a thick consistency. If you want you can add some fresh cream. Your custard is ready and you can garnish it with some chopped dry fruits like almonds, cashews, raisins and top it with small mango cubes. This makes a delicious and filling snack for children.
Mango Nutritional Value:
Mango is a low calorie, low fat and cholesterol free source of vital nutrients comprising of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds as evident from the table given below.
|Mango fruit (Mangifera indica), fresh,
Nutrition Value per 100 g
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.27 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||1.80 g||4.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.160 mg||1%|
|Pyridoxine (vit B-6)||0.134 mg||10%|
|Vitamin C||27.7 mg||46%|
|Vitamin A||765 IU||25.5%|
|Vitamin E||1.12 mg||7.5%|
|Vitamin K||4.2 µg||3.5%|
- Calories: One cup of mango provides about 105 calories.
- Dietary Fiber: Mangoes are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. A half small peeled mango provides nearly 3 grams of fiber which is between 8% and 11% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adult men and women.
- Vitamins: Mango is a rich source of vitamin A with 1 cup serving of this fruit providing 1785 IU which is equivalent to 35% of the RDA of this vitamin. It also contains 60 mg of vitamin C which is equivalent to 80% and 66% of the RDA for adult woman and man respectively. Folic acid is a B vitamin with various health benefits. A serving of 1 cup mango provides about 71 mcg of folate out of the 400 mcg RDA of this vitamin. It is also a very good source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin E.
- Minerals: Mangoes are high in potassium with a 100 gram serving providing 156 mg of potassium and just 2 mg of sodium. Other minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus are present in small amounts. It also provides trace amounts of minerals like zinc, selenium, manganese and copper.
Next time you bite into a juicy mango, remember what a blessing it is!