Mango enjoys the privilege of being called the king of fruits and this is indeed an apt title if you consider the great health benefits of mango. Derived from the Mangifera indica tree, this fruit belongs to the family Anacardiaceae. Mango grows abundantly in countries such as Burma, Africa, Malaysia, India, Java and Sumatra. Two races of mango are recognized: the Southeast Asian one and the Indian one. All varieties are rich in nutrients.
Why is Mango Beneficial ?
The health benefits of mango are enormous because it is a rich source of minerals, vitamins, enzymes that help in digestion and antioxidants. Vitamin A and C, the minerals potassium, calcium and phosphorus and beta carotene – the compound that yields vitamin A in the body are abundantly found in mango fruit. Another of the advantages of mango is that it combines a low caloric content with a high fiber content.
Ayurveda on Mango
Mango finds an important place in several Ayurvedic remedies. Besides the fruit, the leaves, stem and root of the tree have also been documented as possessing medicinal properties. Mangoes that are ripe are said to cause increase in body heat. However, unripe fruits of the mango tree are said to be cooling and having an astringent action. Although they may be used in combination with other vegetables, Ayurveda says that unripe mangoes should not be consumed alone. According to this system, some of the health benefits of mango include improvement of digestion, increase in blood count, reduction of blood glucose levels, loss of body weight, rejuvenation of male reproductive system and improvement of bowel health.
Mango Health Benefits
Health benefits of mango mainly arise from its rich content of nutrients and fiber and recent research is also finding evidence to support the uses of this fruit in traditional medicinal systems.
Digestive System Benefits : Eating the half-ripe mango fruit along with honey and salt is effective in treating gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion and diarrhoea. However, it is recommended to avoid eating excess of this because of its sap content that can lead to colicky pain, dysentery and irritation of the throat. Studies using extracts from the seed have found health benefits of mango in animals with diarrhea. The fruit also helps with regularizing bowel movements because of its high fiber content.
Anti-Cancer Benefits : Research on the health benefits of mango is showing it to be a potent agent to combat cancer. This is attributed to its antioxidant content which prevents damage to DNA which is an essential component of cancer. Laboratory studies indicate that mango extracts are effective against cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, pancreas and lungs and in leukemia.
Weight Loss and Anti-diabetic Benefits : Consumption of mango has been found to be effective in causing weight loss in animal studies. The same studies that observed a weight loss also found significant health benefits of mango in reducing blood glucose and cholesterol levels, lending credence to the traditional use of mango in people with diabetes. Mangoes were also found to reduce the levels of the hormone called leptin that plays a role in regulation of appetite. Lower levels of leptin indicate a lower concentration of fat in blood.
Great Anti-oxidant : Mango is rich in Vitamin C which helps against infections and eliminate harmful oxygen free radicals.
Liver Protection Benefits : In a study on Swiss albino mice, an extract from mango pulp was found effective in reducing damage to the liver cells.This may also be one of the reasons for the many health benefits of mango in digestive problems because digestion is closely related to an optimal functioning of the liver.
Blood pressure control : Mango which is great source of potassium which is an important component of cell and body fluids. Potassium helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
Benefits for brain : Mango is rich in Vitamin B-6 which is essential for Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA) hormone production. GABA is an amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It inhibits nerve transmission in the brain, calming nervous activity.
Benefits for heart : Eating mango helps in controlling homocystiene levels in blood. High homocystiene levels are harmful for blood vessels. Problems in blood vessels can lead to Coronary artery disease (CAD) and stroke.
Benefits for the Eye : Ripe mangoes are useful in treatment of eye problems such as night blindness and dryness of the eyes. Normal vision depends on the presence of vitamin A and persons with a deficiency of this vitamin develop an inability to see clearly in dim light – a condition called night blindness. The high vitamin A content in this fruit is the main reason why health benefits of mango include treatment of eye problems.img alt="Nutrition in Mango" src="/sites/default/files/health%20benefits/mango%20raw.jpg" style="margin-left: 4px; margin-right: 4px; float: right; width: 217px; height: 321px; " />
Benefits in sunstroke : Due to excessive heat, in summers small boils appear on skin and in many cases people suffer from sun strokes. Applying pulp of roasted unripe mango helps in healing these boils fast. It is advisable to take juice of unripe mangoes in case of sun stroke.
Benefits of Copper, manganese and zinc : Copper is one of the key metals required for human body health. It not only acts as a co-factor for many important vital enzymes (cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase). Copper is also essential for production of red blood cells in body.
How to Select and Store
Smell and touch are two indicators of the quality of mangoes. Ripe mangoes have a yellowish tinge to them although there are certain varieties that appear red, orange or green, too. When ripe, mangoes yield slightly to pressure and they smell very sweet. Raw mangoes smell sour and do not yield to pressure. To ripen a raw mango, store it in a paper bag; once it ripens, it is best to use it immediately although you may store it for a few more days under refrigeration.
Best way to cut a Mango!
You can enjoy the taste of "king of fruits" in numerous ways!. The fruit can be eaten ripe, unripe, peeled, unpeeled, and raw and cooked. You can use mangoes in gravies and pickles, make it into a juice or make a smoothie with milk. Pickled mangoes can last up to a year.
Caution while using mangoes
People with liver disorders and ascites should not eat mangoes. Eating excess of unripe mangoes may lead to problems such as loss of appetite, constipation, etc. It is advisable to take mangoes with milk or take milk after eating mangoes.
Health benefits of mango are numerous. The king of fruit is not only unique in its taste but also in its health benefits. Mangoes are grown all across tropical climate countries and are available in every corner of the world.