What is a mango?
Mango is one of the sweetest fruits. They are native to South Asia and have been an important food in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years. Today, they are loved all over the world. Most people can safely consume them in moderation.
Mangoes have been an important crop in India for thousands of years. Today, these colorful, sweet fruits are a mainstay of Indian cuisine and are popular around the world. Each mango can weigh from a few ounces to over 5 pounds, depending on the variety.
No matter which mango you buy, these fruits have some impressive health benefits. While mangoes were historically only available at the end of the dry season, they can now be found in grocery stores year-round.
Types of mango
There are many different types of mango, each with its own flavor and texture.
The six most common breeds in the United States are:
- Honey. The seeds of these mangoes are smaller than other mango types, so the ratio of pulp to seeds is higher.
- Frances. These are sweet and fruity.
- Harden. These are sweet and sour, with a slight bitter taste.
- Kate. They are popular in Asian cultures, where people often pick or eat them in their green stage.
- Kent. They are great for juicing and drying.
- Tommy Atkins. They are valued for their long shelf life and resistance to handling.
Mango health benefits
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in mangoes can provide important health benefits. For example, vitamin K helps with effective blood clotting and helps prevent anemia. It also plays an important role in strengthening bones.
Mangoes are also rich in vitamin C, which is important for forming blood vessels and healthy collagen, as well as helping you heal.
In addition, mangoes may provide other health benefits, such as:
Reduce the risk of cancer
Mangoes are rich in beta-carotene, a pigment that gives the fruit its yellow-orange color. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant, just one of many found in mangoes. The antioxidants in mangoes have been shown to fight free radicals, which can cause damage to cells and may lead to cancer.
Mangoes also help support the cardiovascular system. They are a great source of magnesium and potassium, both of which are associated with lower blood pressure and regular pulse. Additionally, mangoes are a source of a compound called mangiferin, which early research suggests may be able to reduce inflammation in the heart.
Mangoes can help stabilize your digestive system. They provide amylase compounds and dietary fiber that can help you avoid constipation. Amylase compounds can help dissolve other foods in the stomach and break down difficult starches. At the same time, the fiber in mangoes is more effective in relieving constipation than equivalent fiber supplements.
Mangoes are rich in folate, which is used for healthy cell division and DNA replication. Doctors recommend that pregnant women take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily as it is essential to avoid birth defects.
Mangoes are also an excellent source of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- folic acid
Nutritional Facts Per Serving
One medium mango contains:
- Calories: 202
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 50 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Sugar: 45g
Things to note
Mango peel contains a compound called urushiol, which is also found in poison ivy. Urushiol is responsible for the itchy red rash that occurs after exposure to the poison ivy plant. Although mango peel contains less urushiol than poison ivy, it can still cause rashes and allergic reactions. In rare cases, some people may even experience allergic reactions when eating peeled fruit. If you have a bad reaction to poison ivy, you should be careful when peeling the fruit and never try to eat the skin.
How to eat mango
Mangoes are available year-round in grocery stores, health food stores, and sometimes even at farmers markets. This delicious fruit is sweet and slightly sour. When cutting a mango, it's important to pay attention to the large, flat seed in the center, which can easily dull your knife.
If you have sensitive skin, you can peel the mango while holding it in place with a glove or towel to avoid direct contact. When ready to eat, the flesh of the mango should be soft and bright orange. You can eat it raw, grill it, or freeze it for dessert.
Whether you eat mangoes for their flavor or health benefits, mangoes are a great addition to almost any meal. Here are a few ways you can incorporate mangoes into your diet:
- Add mango to smoothies
- Make Mango Chutney
- Grilled mango as part of BBQ
- Try the mango sorbet
- Fish and Mango Pairing
- Make jam with mango
- Freeze mango chunks and add them to cocktails
Ripe mangoes can be refrigerated - this will slow down the ripening process. If they are whole, this will keep them for 5 days. Once they're peeled and cut, they can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days. You can freeze them for up to 6 months.
How to cut a mango
Cutting mangoes can be challenging because they have a long, flat seed in the middle. Be sure to wash the mango before cutting it. Use a clean knife and cutting board. Try these steps:
- Cut each side of the mango, cutting through the core, about 1/4 inch from the center.
- Slice the mango flesh but do not cut the skin.
- Scoop out slices with a large spoon.
Dried mangoes are usually sliced, which may contain sulfites to extend their shelf life and keep the mango soft. Organic varieties may be stickier and harder to eat. Freeze-dried mangoes are crispier and often have no added sugar. Candied or crystallized mangoes are soaked in a mixture of water and sugar before drying.
Dried mango is sometimes used as a folk remedy:
- strengthen immune system
- lower blood sugar levels
Some studies show some support for these claims, but more research is needed before dried mango can be recommended for this health benefit.
Dried mango nutrition facts
Four slices of unsweetened, unsulfured dried mango contain:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 28 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 20 grams
Dried mango is a good source of:
- Vitamin A
Many dried fruits are rich in antioxidants. Dried mango provides an especially powerful dose. Foods rich in antioxidants have been shown to protect against a variety of diseases, including several types of cancer.
The rich benefits of mango come from its seeds. Mango butter is made by extracting the contents of mango seeds and cold pressing them into a creamy butter.
Mango butter is a fat derived from mango seeds and is available in refined and unrefined forms. Mango butter is semi-solid and melts on contact with skin.
Like shea butter and cocoa butter, mango butter nourishes skin and hair and supports overall skin health. Some forms of mango butter are also edible. Mango butter is used as an ingredient in chocolate and other snacks.
Nutritional benefits of mango jam
Mango butter is rich in mangiferin, an antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of cell damage that can lead to diseases such as cancer.
It's also an excellent source of:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- folic acid