The delicious health benefits of mango

Read Time:   |  3rd February 2022

Mango is one of the most delicious fruits on the planet, and they're also packed with health benefits too!

Mango trees probably originally come from India but have been cultivated in South and Southeast Asia for millennia.

From there, they spread thanks to trade routes first to Africa, then Brazil, the Caribbean and Mexico.

Eventually, they made their way also to Spain, Florida, California and Hawaii and became popular all over the world.

Top 10 health benefits of mango

As well as tasting amazing, mango is bursting with a myriad of health benefits too.

1. Great source of antioxidants

Fresh mango is a treasure trove of antioxidants, including mangiferin, catechins, quercetin, kaempferol, anthocyanins, gallic and ellagic acids and others1,2.

These help to protect your tissues and DNA from damage, defend you from environmental toxins and assist your immune system in keeping you healthy.

2. Provides healthy energy

Natural sugars found in mango will fuel your day the healthy way. The energy will last longer thanks to mango’s fibre that slows down sugar digestion and keeps your gut healthy.

It’s the perfect morning or pre-workout snack.

3. Helps to protect your eyesight

Mango is an excellent source of beta-carotene that your body converts to vitamin A which is essential to eye health and vision.

It is also rich in other carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin – which protect the retina of the eye from sunlight and from the blue light emitted by digital devices.

4. Boosts your immunity

With its antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C, mango supports your immune system and helps to defend you against infection.

5. Keeps your digestive system happy

Mango has anti-inflammatory effects on your gut and encourages beneficial gut bacteria to thrive3,4. This doesn’t just help resolve digestive issues, a healthy gut also means better immunity and increased energy levels!

And research shows mango can offer natural relief from constipation, too5.

6. Mango may help to protect you from cancer

Mango’s powerful antioxidants have anti-cancer properties, mangiferin in particular6.

They are not so strong as to treat cancer or prevent it completely but researchers are exploring how to use mangiferin in the fight against cancer.

7. Good for your heart

Not only is mango a great source of antioxidants that protect your blood vessels from damage, it also contains potassium which plays a role in healthy blood pressure and vitamin K responsible for healthy blood clotting.

8. Makes your skin glow

Mango has a whole bunch of nutrients important for healthy skin, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and other antioxidants.

Vitamin C is important for the formation of collagen – a protein that keeps your skin firm and plump.

9. May protect your brain

The antioxidant mangiferin found in mangos protects the blood vessels in your brain from damage and helps to protect your neurons too7.

Scientists say it may even help to prevent and treat some neurological disorders.

10. Helps to keep you hydrated

Mango is 83% water so while you’re enjoying its sweetness and delicious flavour, it contributes to your fluid intake and so helps to keep your kidneys happy!

Mango isn’t the only food bursting with health benefits. These foods are nutritional powerhouses too:

Nutritional info of mangoes

Each 100 grams of fresh mango contains:

  • 60 kcal/250 kJ
  • 13.5 g natural sugars
  • 1.6 g fibre
  • 0.4 g fat
  • 0.8 g protein
  • 60% of recommended vitamin C intake
  • 22% of recommended vitamin A intake
  • 11% of recommended folate intake
  • 5 % of recommended vitamin E intake
  • 5% of recommended vitamin K intake
  • 5% of recommended potassium intake
  • Small amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6

Is dried mango just as healthy as fresh?

Almost! If we’re talking unsweetened dried mango, it retains much of the nutrients but its antioxidant content goes down, as well as beta-carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin E.

How much of each they contain depends on the temperature used in the process of drying.

Perhaps surprisingly, its vitamin C decreases only a little and vitamin K content is even higher than in fresh mango.

The best option is sun-dried mango as it hasn’t been exposed to excessive heat which helps to preserve its nutritional value.

If you’re tempted to snack on sweetened dried mango, don’t – it’s infused with sugar so you may as well be eating sugar lumps!

Sweetened dried mango is infused with sugar so it is better to enjoy sun-dried mango as part of a healthy diet.

Sweetened dried mango is infused with sugar so it is better to enjoy sun-dried mango as part of a healthy diet.

How to eat mango

The first step is to wash your mango. The next step is up to you – either peel and then slice your mango, or slice most of the flesh off the stone first and then dice it and cut it out of the peel – the ‘hedgehog method’.

The crucial part is to get as close to the large fibrous stone when slicing to get the most of your mango.

Once you have your prized golden pulp, you can add it to a smoothie or fruit salad, eat it on its own, dice it and sprinkle on top of your morning cereal, pancakes or desserts.

You could even grill it as part of a barbecue or blend it with plant-based cream to make mango ice cream.

Are mangoes sustainable?

Mangoes only grow in tropical and some subtropical regions, so when we want to enjoy them in Europe, it means they have to travel from far away.

There are also ethical issues with many workers not being paid living wages and the questionable use of fertilizers.

Taken together, it means that it’s best to buy fair trade mangoes and enjoy them as a treat rather than a daily indulgence.

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References

  1. Masibo M, He Q, 2008. Major Mango Polyphenols and Their Potential Significance to Human Health. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 7(4):309-319.
  2. Naraki K, Rezaee R, Mashayekhi-Sardoo H, Hayes AW, Karimi G, 2021. Mangiferin offers protection against deleterious effects of pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, and environmental chemicals. Phytotherapy Research. 35(2):810-822.
  3. Kim H, Venancio VP, Fang C, Dupont AW, Talcott ST, Mertens-Talcott SU, 2020. Mango (Mangifera indica L.) polyphenols reduce IL-8, GRO, and GM-SCF plasma levels and increase Lactobacillus species in a pilot study in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Nutrition Research. 75:85-94.
  4. Kim H, Castellon-Chicas MJ, Arbizu S, Talcott ST, Drury NL, Smith S, Mertens-Talcott SU, 2021.Mango (Mangifera indica L.) Polyphenols: Anti-Inflammatory Intestinal Microbial Health Benefits, and Associated Mechanisms of Actions. Molecules.26(9):2732.
  5. Venancio VP, Kim H, Sirven MA, Tekwe CD, Honvoh G, Talcott ST, Mertens-Talcott SU, 2018.  Polyphenol-rich Mango (Mangifera indica L.) Ameliorate Functional Constipation Symptoms in Humans beyond Equivalent Amount of Fiber. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 62(12):e1701034.
  6. Morozkina SN, Nhung Vu TH, Generalova YE, Snetkov PP, Uspenskaya MV, 2021. Mangiferin as New Potential Anti-Cancer Agent and Mangiferin-Integrated Polymer Systems-A Novel Research Direction. Biomolecules. 11(1):79.
  7. Walia V, Chaudhary SK, Kumar Sethiya N, 2021. Therapeutic potential of mangiferin in the treatment of various neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Neurochemistry International. 143:104939.

Written by

Veronika Charvatova

Veronika Charvátová MSc is a biologist and Viva! Health researcher. She studied MSc Biology and Teaching of Biology at the University of South Bohemia and is a Human Biology lecturer at the University of New York in Prague. Veronika has spent years uncovering the links between nutrition and good health and is an expert on plant-based diets.

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