Mangoes are one of those foods that are satisfying at all times of the day. Not only are they a nutrient-packed fruit, but they are also surprisingly sweet and can be quite juicy. Interestingly enough, many consider them the “king of fruits”. Furthermore, they provide health benefits that you may not expect.
Mangoes can be prepared in a variety of ways and are sure to please any taste buds.
Keep reading to find out all you need to know about mangoes.
Fun Fact:The mango is the national fruit of Pakistan, India, and the Philippines. It is also the national tree of Bangladesh.
Table of Contents
- History and Facts
- Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits
- Ways to Consume
- Potential Risks
- Frequently Asked Questions
History and Facts
Mango is a stone fruit that is produced by the tropical tree Mangifera indica (1). Part of the drupe family, it is similar to other foods including apricots, almonds, dates, and coconuts. It is believed to have originated in southern Asia (2). It is cultivated in tropical and warmer climates, in countries like Asia, East, and West Africa. Today, world production of mangoes is over 57 million tons per year with India being the leading producer (3).
Mangoes may vary in color, shape, and flavor however they typically always have a fleshy outer section with a soft peel and a large seed in the center. The skin of the mango itself can vary from green, red, yellow, and orange and the inside is typically yellow/orange (4). The color of the mango can sometimes help determine its ripeness.
Fun Fact:The heaviest mango on record weighed 7.5 pounds, and measured over 12 inches in length, 19 inches in circumference and 7 inches in width.
If you didn’t already know, mangoes are packed full of some awesome nutrients. Below is a summary of the macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients they contain.
In one cup of raw mango, there are the following macronutrients (5):
- Calories: 99 calories (kcal)
- Protein: 1.3 grams (g)
- Total fat: 0.6 grams (g)
- Carbohydrate: 24.8 grams (g)
- Fiber: 2.64 grams (g)
As you can see, one serving of mango is relatively low in calories for the volume that it provides. It also is higher in fiber, meaning it can help make you feel full more quickly and help with digestion and other health benefits (6). Most Americans do not get adequate fiber in their diets. Eating a diet rich in fiber can help increase the feeling of fullness, reduce blood sugar spikes, lower cholesterol, and promote gut health (7).
Summary:Mango is low in calories and contains adequate amounts of carbohydrates and fiber. Consuming foods with fiber may help promote satiety, reduce blood sugar spikes, lower cholesterol, and promote gut health.
Vitamins and Minerals
In one cup of raw mango, there are the following vitamins and minerals (8):
- Calcium: 18.2 milligrams (mg)
- Magnesium: 16.5 milligrams (mg)
- Phosphorus: 23.1 milligrams (mg)
- Potassium: 277 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin C: 60.1 milligrams (mg)
- Folate: 71 micrograms (mcg)
- Choline: 12.5 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin A: 89.1 micrograms (mcg)
- Beta carotene: 1060 micrograms (mcg)
- Alpha-carotene: 14.8 micrograms (mcg)
- Beta cryptoxanthin: 16.5 micrograms (mcg)
- Lycopene: 4.95 micrograms (mcg)
- Lutein + zeaxanthin: 38 micrograms (mcg)
- Vitamin E: 1.48 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin K: 6.93 micrograms (mcg)
Mango is jam-packed with several vitamins and minerals, in addition to antioxidants like beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin (9). One of the other major highlights is that it contains a lot of vitamin C. Getting in vitamin C is an excellent way to aid the immune system, promote cell repair and growth, and also help iron absorb more effectively in the body (10).
Summary:Mango contains tons of vitamins and minerals, some of the highlighted including vitamin C and antioxidants.
From boosting your immune system to improving your digestion, mangoes are a true superfood that you don’t want to miss out on.
Let’s explore the various health benefits of eating mangoes. Below are just a few of them.
May Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s automatic response to injury or illness. Chronic inflammation, however, can lead to serious health problems. That’s where the humble mango comes in! Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, it can help keep inflammation at bay.
One of the key compounds found in mangoes is mangiferin, which has been shown to possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (11). A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism found that supplementing with mangiferin reduced markers of inflammation in obese adults.
Another study found that mangiferin improved insulin sensitivity in overweight individuals. However, mangiferin is not the only anti-inflammatory compound found in mangoes. The fruit also contains quercetin, another potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects (12).
Quercetin has been shown to reduce inflammation in several conditions, including allergies, asthma, and arthritis (13). Moreover, mangoes are a rich source of vitamins C and A, both of which have antioxidant properties and can help fight inflammation. Vitamin C is particularly important for collagen synthesis, which is essential for maintaining healthy skin, joints, and bones (14).
Summary:Mango contains different compounds that combat inflammation, including mangiferin and quercetin. Both have found to improve inflammatory markers in the body.
May Aid in Digestion
Studies have shown that eating mangoes daily can improve our digestive health. Firstly, the high fiber content in mangoes aids in regular bowel movement, preventing constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders (15). This high fiber content also helps in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, promoting the growth of good bacteria in our gut, which in turn, boosts our immunity and overall health (16).
Moreover, mangoes are rich in enzymes like amylase, which helps break down carbohydrates, and protease, which helps digest proteins. These enzymes facilitate the process of digestion, making it easier for our body to absorb and utilize the essential nutrients from the food we consume.
Mangoes also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which can help prevent inflammation in the gut, may reduce the risk of colon cancer, and can protect against other digestive disorders.
Summary:Consuming mango may help improve digestive health, likely due to the high fiber content and enzymes like amylase that help digest proteins in foods much more easily.
May Boost Heart Health
Mangoes also contain other heart-healthy nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, while magnesium helps keep your heart rhythm steady.
Fiber, which is found in the skin of the mango, helps lower cholesterol levels and keeps your digestive system running smoothly. Research has shown that eating mangoes regularly can help improve several risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels (17).
Additionally, mangoes have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help protect against the development of heart disease (18).
Summary:Mango contains potassium, magnesium, fiber, and others, all of which have been found to promote heart health by regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and having anti-inflammatory effects.
Ways to Consume
Mangoes can be prepared and consumed in a variety of ways. They typically have the best flavor when slightly chilled.
They can be eaten on their own or added to other foods such as:
- Make a fresh mango salsa with peppers, onions, and other fruits.
- Make a tropical fruit salad with your choice of fruit such as papaya, berries, bananas, and pineapple
- Combine it with other ingredients into your favorite smoothie recipe
- Muddle mango into a glass of lemonade, iced tea, or water for a burst of fresh, fruity flavor
- Make a sweet-savory guacamole
- Dehydrate them for a nice to-go snack
- Make fruit kabobs with mango as one of the featured fruits
- Puree mango and make into mango pops in the freezer
- Sprinkle tajin on freshly cut pineapple for a flavor kick
- Top it on your favorite desserts or breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles
Fun Fact:Spanish explorers brought mangos to South America and Mexico in the 1600’s. The first attempt to introduce the mango into the U.S. came in 1833 to Florida.
In general, mango is safe to eat and provides numerous health benefits. However, there are some risks that some should be aware of.
- May Cause Upset Stomach: Eating too many mangoes can lead to an upset digestive tract such as diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. This is because mangoes contain a chemical called urushiol, which is also found in latex, poison ivy, and cashews (19).
- May Cause Allergic Reaction: For most people, mango is safe to consume and does not cause issues. However, some allergies have been reported. People sensitive to latex may have similar reactions to mango, too. A mango allergy may be symptomatic with mouth itching, hives, vomiting, and/or breathing issues (20). A rash may also occur later on. If you have any adverse reactions, consult a healthcare provider and let them know.
Summary:Mangoes are overall part of a healthy diet. However, some may need to be cautious of them due to the digestive issues they may cause and their potential to trigger a food allergy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know when a mango is ripe and ready to eat?
When deciding when a mango is ripe and ready to eat, there are a few things to look out for. Ripe mangoes usually turn yellow, orange, red, and/or even purple but do not always look like this. One of the best ways to determine ripeness is to feel it. By squeezing the mango gently, a ripe mango will have a little give to it. A medium-ripe mango will be somewhat firm, and an unripe mango will be very firm to the touch. Select slightly firm mangos that have a little give when squeezed with a sweet aroma near the stem end.
What is the best way to store mangos?
There are several different ways to store mango. It is usually best to keep mangoes that are unripe at room temperature. If you are looking to speed up the ripening process, placing them in a paper bag at room temperature can help. If they are already ripe but not ready to be eaten, simply keep them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or so. Mangoes can also be frozen.
Is it ok to eat the skin of the mango?
100% yes, it is okay to eat the skin of the mango. The skin actually contains a high amount of the nutrients that have been discussed so far. This is where fiber content is at its highest. It may have an unpleasant taste compared to the mango and should be washed thoroughly prior to consumption.
Fun Fact:The oldest living mango tree is thought to be 300 years old, found in East Khandesh in Central India and still producing fruit to his day.
Mangoes are one of those foods that should not be overlooked when incorporated into one’s diet. They can be added to foods in so many ways such as smoothies, salsas, and purees, and are just as tasty eaten on their own.
They provide a ton of health benefits, including promoting heart health with the potential of improving inflammation and digestion.
Look no further and add mangoes to your shopping cart today!