The tropical fruit known as the king of fruits is refreshing, juicy, and, most importantly, delicious. Similar to most fruits, mangoes come with a treasure trove of nutritional benefits. However, to understand the potential benefits of mangoes, you must understand what a mango is.
What Are Mangoes?
The mango, known scientifically as Mangifera indica, belongs to the cashew species. This tropical stone fruit is the size of a grapefruit and has a rounded, oval shape.
The mango’s versatile skin can be yellow, green, or reddish-green color, but this depends on the kind of mango you purchase. Though the skin is inedible, the vivid yellow flesh is not only soft but edible and hides the solid stone.
Mangoes can only be cultivated in warm climates. Therefore, they are indigenous to Southern Asia. However, they are also produced in the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
History Of Mangoes
Mangoes emerged in India more than 4,000 years ago. It is commonly reported that Buddha meditated under a mango tree. Thus, Indians view mango as a divine fruit.
Unlike most plants, because of the large size of the mango seed, it depended heavily on humans to transport them worldwide. Thanks to the expansion of Buddhism into Southeast Asia, mangoes slowly expanded their range throughout Asia and eventually to the rest of the world.
Persians transported mangoes across western Asia in addition to planting seeds in eastern Africa during the 10th century. Next, Portuguese navigators imported mangoes to Brazil in the 16th century.
From Brazil, mangoes were transported to the US, Barbados in 1742, and Mexico at the beginning of the 19th century. Though mangoes are grown in several regions of the world, Asia cultivates 75 percent of the world’s mangoes.
Interesting Facts About Mangoes
Mangoes are cousins to pistachios and cashews. They are also referred to as the king of fruit because their flavor profile is a unique combination of oranges, peaches, and pineapples.
Mangoes are also consumed more than any other fruit worldwide. One of the more interesting facts about mangoes is that Indian folklore says mango trees can grant wishes.
Moreover, green mangoes have more vitamin C than ripe mangoes, and ripe mangoes have more vitamin A than green mangoes. Mangoes can also ripen after they have been harvested.
Health Benefits Of Mangoes
Mangoes are not only delicious, but they contain a healthy amount of beneficial nutrients. They are rich in antioxidants, may lower the risk of certain cancers and type 2 diabetes, and may impact inflammatory bowel disorders.
Rich Source Of Antioxidants
Mangoes are an excellent source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant composites that operate as antioxidants. Mangoes have more than a dozen polyphenols, a few of which include mangiferin, catechins, quercetin, and protocatechuic acid.
The mangoes’ antioxidant capacity allows it to protect human cells against damage caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress may eventually lead to lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, and the onset of many degenerative diseases. These antioxidants can also scavenge free radicals and prevent the inhibition of cell communication.
Furthermore, mangiferin is a xanthone. Commonly called super antioxidants, xanthones are one of the most potent antioxidants in existence. Xanthones are thought to be more effective than vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Comprehensive research studies have shown mangiferin to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, anti-cancer, antimicrobial, analgesic, and immunomodulatory properties.
May Decrease Risk Of Certain Cancers
Mangoes’ excellent polyphenolic volume may also possess anti-cancer properties. As mentioned above, polyphenols help protect against oxidative stress associated with several kinds of cancers.
One animal study found mango polyphenolics suppressed tumor growth in breast cancer xenografts in mice. Other studies have found mango polyphenols may prevent the growth of cancer cells and destroy several types of cancer cells, including leukemia, prostate, colon, and lung cancer. Though these studies yielded positive results, more clinical trials on humans need to be conducted to comprehend mangos’ potential anti-cancer benefits.
May Reduce Risks Of Type 2 Diabetes
Mangoes may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. One animal study fed mice on a high-fat diet freeze-dried mangoes. The results showed that mangoes decreased the epididymal fat mass, percentage of body fat and improved glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.
Other animal studies using extracts made from mango bark and stem found that it lowers blood glucose levels in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats and hyperglycemic rats and mice. Additionally, one study conducted over 8 weeks found the polyphenol compound mangiferin significantly lowered plasma glucose and triglyceride levels in diabetes-prone mice.
May Have An Effect On Inflammatory Bowel Disorders
Mangoes are a rich source of mangiferin. Mangiferin may have beneficial effects on inflammatory bowel disorders. Research studies have shown that mangiferin decreases intestinal inflammation and impaired gastrointestinal motility and facilitates gastrointestinal transit. Additionally, mangiferin possesses anti-ulcerogenic potential.
Furthermore, mangiferin also demonstrated antioxidative and gastroprotective capabilities against ethanol and endomethacin-induced gastric lesions, ulcer scores, and depletion of gastric mucosal non-protein sulfhydryl content in mice. In addition to this, mangiferin also demonstrates its ability to efficiently destroy Helicobacter pylori, the most toxic bacteria responsible for chronic gastrointestinal inflammation, ulcer, and gastric cancer.
Mangoes are an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Not only are they incredibly delicious, but they possess several potential health benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes, anti-cancer properties and may have an impact on inflammatory bowel disorders.
Though there is evidence supporting mangoes’ potential benefits, more human research needs to be conducted.
Nevertheless, mangoes seem to be good for human health. However, just like any other food, mangoes should always be consumed in moderation.