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11 February 2018

Everything you need to know about mangoes

Mangoes have been named the most widely consumed fruit in the world. They have a range of possible benefits.

The mango is a member of the drupe family, a type of plant food with an outer fleshy part surrounding a shell (what we sometimes call a pit) that contains a seed. Olives, dates, and coconuts are also types of drupes.

There are many different kinds of mangoes. They range in color, shape, flavor, and seed size. While the skin color of mangoes can vary from green to red, yellow, or orange, the inner flesh of the mango is mostly a golden yellow. They have a sweet and creamy taste and contain over 20 vitamins and minerals.

This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown and an in-depth look at their possible health benefits, how to incorporate more mangoes into your diet and any potential health risks associated with consuming mangoes.

Benefits

Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.

Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like mangoes decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, and heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Mangoes can possibly help protect and strengthen the body in the following ways:

Age-related macular degeneration

The antioxidant zeaxanthin, found in mangoes, filters out harmful blue light rays and is thought to play a protective role in eye health and possibly ward off damage from macular degeneration.

A higher intake of all fruits (three or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease the risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.

Asthma prevention

The risk of developing asthma is lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene, found in mangoes, papaya, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and carrots.

Cancer

Diets rich in beta-carotene may also play a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition and has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer in a Japanese study.

In a study conducted by Texas AgriLife Research, food scientists tested mango polyphenol extracts on colon, breast, lung, leukemia, and prostate cancer tissue; mangoes were shown to have some impact on all cancers tested but were most effective with breast and colon cancers.

The researchers are planning to do a follow-up study; they will focus on individuals with increased inflammation in their intestines and therefore a higher risk for cancer.

Bone health

Low intakes of vitamin K are associated with a higher risk of bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption can be achieved by eating a proper intake of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin K is important for improving calcium absorption, essential for optimal bone health.

Diabetes

Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels; and individuals with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup of mango provides about 3 grams of fiber.

Digestion

Mangoes, because of their fiber and water content, help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.

Heart disease

The fiber, potassium, and vitamin content in mangoes all help to ward off heart disease. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of hypertension.

Skin and Hair

Mangoes are also great for your hair because they contain vitamin A, a nutrient required for sebum production that keeps hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair.

Adequate intake of vitamin C, found in just 1 cup of mango per day, is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.

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