The Health Benefits of Mangoes
July 8, 2011
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Mangoes are abundant during the summer season. Mango is widely known as the “king of fruit”, and that is not without a purpose. It is regarded as a valuable item of diet and a household remedy. It is rich in amino acids, vitamin C and E, flavonoids, beta carotene, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium
About 4000 BC ago, the wild mango originated in the foothills of the Himalayas of India and Burma, and about 40 to 60% of these trees still grow in India and Southeast Asia. Also known as Mangifera Indica, this exotic fruit belongs to the family of Anacardiaceae. Though native to Southern and Southeast Asia, the fruit is now also grown in Central and South America, Africa and the Arabian Peninsula also. Today there are over 1,000 different varieties of mangos throughout the world.
Below are the numerous health and nutrition benefits of eating mangoes:
- Anti cancer: The phenols in mangoes, such as quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as the abundant enzymes, have cancer-preventing capacities. Mango is also high in a soluble dietary fiber known as pectin. Scientist have identified a strong link between eating lots of fiber and a lower risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. A cup of sliced mangoes (around 165 gram) contain 76 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant which helps protect cells from free radical damage and reduces risk of cancer.
- Eye health: One cup of sliced mangoes supplies 25 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight. Eating mangoes regularly prevents night blindness, refractive errors, dryness of the eyes, softening of the cornea, itching and burning in the eyes.
- Helps in digestion: Mangoes contain digestive enzymes that help break down proteins and aid digestion. It is also valuable to combat acidity and poor digestion because of an enzyme found in the fruit which soothes the stomach. Due to the high amounts of fiber found in mango, it can be a helpful in keeping you regular, thereby helping or preventing constipation.In India, a decoction of the mango peel is given to people with inflammation of the stomach mucus membranes. Eating one or two small tender mangoes in which the seed is not fully formed with salt and honey is found to be very effective medicine for summer diarrhoea, dysentery, piles, morning sickness, chronic dyspepsia, indigestion and constipation.
- Benefits to skin: Mango is effective in relieving clogged pores of the skin. What this means is that people who suffer from acne, which is caused by clogged pores, will benefit from mango. Just remove the mango pulp and apply it on your skin for about 10 minutes before washing it. Eating mango regularly makes the complexion fair and the skin soft and shining.
- Helps in diabetes: Mango leaves help normalize insulin levels in the blood. Boil a few mango leaves in water and allow it to saturate through the night. Consume the filtered decoction in the morning for diabetic home remedy. The glycemic index of mango is low, ranging between 41-60. So, mango does not have any significant effect in increasing blood sugar levels.
- For better sex: The Vitamin E that is abundantly present in mangoes helps to regulate sex hormones and boosts sex drive.
- Beneficial for anemia: Mangoes are beneficial for pregnant women and individuals suffering from anemia because of their iron content. Also, vitamin C in the mango enhances the absorption of iron from vegetable food like rice. Generally women after menopause become weak and they should take mangoes and other fruits rich in iron.
- Boost memory: Mangoes are useful to children who lack concentration in studies as it contains Glutamine acid which is good to boost memory and keep cells active.
- Avoid heat stroke: Unripe mangoes, a rich source of pectin, when steamed and juiced with cumin (jeera), rock salt and sugar, provide an excellent remedy for heat stroke and heat exhaustion in summer.
- Weight gain: Mangoes can be beneficial for people wanting to gain weight. A 100 gram of mango contains about 75 calories. Also, raw mangoes contain starch which get converted into sugar as the fruit ripens. So ripe and sweet mangoes when consumed with milk (rich in protein) can be very helpful in weight gain.
Mangoes can be eaten both raw and ripe. Mangoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals essential for the human body. Always have mangoes in your daily diet as this can benefit your health more than you usual non fiber diet.
Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter