Here in America, mangoes may seem like a bit of an exotic tropical stone fruit. But this popular South Asian food is the most consumed fruit in the world.
Often referred to as King of the Fruit, mangoes are consumed worldwide 3 times more than bananas and 10 times more than apples! It’s easy to see why this favorite fruit has become such a staple in countries around the world. Mangoes are high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and low in fat.
The mango is a delicious, juicy sweet fruit that is surprisingly more closely related to nuts (it’s part of the cashew family that also includes pistachios). Mangoes are the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
The mythology and cultural impact of mangoes are vast and beautiful. In Indian culture, mangoes are a symbol of life and are used in most sacred rituals. Mangoes have even been linked to the Lord Buddha who is believed to have meditated in a mango grove. Offering a basket of mangoes in India is a sign of friendship and loyalty. Mango seeds are also believed to have traveled with explorers from Asia to the Middle East, Africa, and possibly even South America as early as 300 or 400 A.D.!
While cultivation was initially limited to South Asia for thousands of years, mangoes finally made their way to California in 1880. Shortly after this, mangoes were grown and harvested on a more regular basis in other countries, including Africa and Brazil by way of Portuguese explorers. Mangoes finally made their way to Hawaii and Florida in the 19th century.
Over half of the world’s mango production currently takes place in India, but mangoes are still grown globally. China is the second most significant producer, with other countries, including Brazil, Mexico, and Thailand, also producing the delicious fruit.
Mangoes are packed with beneficial phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, like vitamins B6, A, C, and minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium, and copper. Mangoes are also high in fiber, which provides a healthy balance to the sugar content, designating mangoes a low glycemic fruit.
Health Benefits of Mangoes
Mangoes have every reason to be popular just for their deliciously juicy profile. But there’s a lot more to love about mangoes, including their many health benefits.
Mangoes May Help Prevent Cancer
Perhaps one of the most impactful benefits of mangoes is their high antioxidant content, which has been shown to be a preventative against several forms of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Mangoes May Help Lower Cholesterol
Mangoes are high in fiber, pectin, and vitamin C, which have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Even the “bad” type of cholesterol called LDLs (low-density lipoprotein).
Mangoes May Help Prevent Diabetes
These cholesterol-lowering superfruits have a low glycemic index, making them a natural choice to keep your sugar levels from spiking. Introducing low glycemic fruits like mangoes as part of a low glycemic diet, and in moderate quantities, helps to regulate blood sugar levels. One study showed that adding mangoes to the diet lowered lipid levels in laboratory mice fed a high-fat diet, but more studies are needed to verify the precise effects in humans.
Also, a home remedy involving mango leaves has revealed some evidence that mango health benefits may provide relief from diabetic symptoms. To make your own, merely soak 10-15 mango leaves in warm water in a sealed container. First thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything else, drink the mango-leaf water. Studies have shown that by incorporating this method into a regular morning routine, you may be able to manage diabetes-related blood sugar levels without the addition of medications. Of course, you should always follow the guidance of your doctor when it comes to managing and treating prediabetes and diabetes symptoms.
Mangoes and Skin Health
Mangoes are believed to be beneficial as an aid against acne and as a way to exfoliate and prevent pimples. You can apply mangoes directly to the skin as a salve or as part of a face mask to increase relief and reduce inflammation.
Mangoes and Eye Health
Mangoes are extremely rich in vitamin A. In fact, just 1 cup of chopped mangoes can provide 25% of the RDA of vitamin A. Vitamin A has been touted as a helpful nutrient for preventing night blindness and dry eyes and promoting good eye health in general.
Mangoes and Digestion
The high-fiber content (about 3 grams per 1 cup) contributes to a healthy digestive system. Mangoes are also beneficial in preventing problems caused by acid-induced indigestion. The digestive enzymes in mangoes include esters, terpenes, and aldehydes that help improve overall digestive health.
Mangoes and Anemia
Mangoes are extremely rich in iron, which makes them a great diet addition for those dealing with the side effects of anemia.
Mangoes and Pregnancy
This high iron count is also beneficial for women who are pregnant. Iron is essential to the building blocks of human creation. Many pregnant women may notice a decrease in their iron supplies due to the increase of blood flow and production of blood to support the growing fetus.
It’s possible for some women to consume mangoes as a rich source of iron and an alternative to taking an iron supplement. Mangoes are also rich in vitamin B6, another vitamin commonly associated with a deficiency during pregnancy.
Mangoes and the Immune System
As we’ve mentioned already, mangoes are full of vitamin C, vitamin A, and several other essential immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. Loading up on fresh sweet mangoes is a delicious way to maintain a healthy body during cold and flu season.
Mango Vitamins and Minerals
While mangoes are high in dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin A, and C, they are also very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Mangoes are also rich in potassium, magnesium, and copper. Mangoes happen to be one of the best fruit sources of beta-carotene.
Eat More Mango
Lucky for us, mangoes are available year round. Many organic varieties can be found frozen and conveniently already chopped into chunks at your local grocery store. Fresh mango, on the other hand, tends to be more readily available in the spring and summer.
To get more mango into your diet is pretty simple. It’s delicious all on its own! Or consider beefing up its nutritional value with a scoop of our Veggie Shake, and tossing it in with your other favorite smoothie ingredients. Mango chunks can be added on top of oatmeal, or even baked with sticky rice (the Thai food way) as a delicious dessert. Mango is sweet, but also savory once heated.