When you understand mango health benefits, you can use them to help with everything from fighting depression to controlling blood sugar.
Sweet, juicy mangos are more than a tasty snack or a salad topping; they also pack a strong nutritional superfood punch. Research into mango health benefits is still relatively new, but studies have shown that the fruit may help with a wide range of conditions, from obesity to poor digestion.
Mango as a Superfood
Though the mango receives less publicity than other nutrient-dense foods such as the acai berry, it is commonly regarded by nutritionists and researchers as an excellent source of nutrients. The mango is very rich in:
For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015
In total, the mango contains over twenty different vitamins and minerals. It also contains phytochemicals, which help the body function properly. Mangos are free of sodium, cholesterol, and fat, making them a healthy part of a balanced diet.
Mango Nutritional Benefits
Mangos are an excellent source of vitamin C, which:
- Supports strong neurologic function, collagen formation, immune function, and wound healing.
- Contributes to gum and tooth health.
- Helps your body absorb iron from plant-based foods.
Mango also contains high levels of vitamin A, which:
- Helps your vision.
- Supports your immune system.
- Maintains healthy skin, keep skin even healthier with coconut oil.
- Supports bone growth, for more bone support try brazil nuts
For expectant mothers, the health benefits of mango during pregnancy are particularly important. Mangos contain high levels of folate, which may help reduce the chances of spinal cord and brain defects at birth. They also contain vitamin B6, which, according to the US National Library of Medicine, helps your body fight depression.
What Are the Health Benefits of Mango?
According to the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Oklahoma State University, mangos may help your body regulate blood sugar and reduce body fat. In studies, mangos helped reduce body fat and modulate glucose levels in obese rats; researchers believe that the fruit may be a healthier alternative to drugs when it comes to treating type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife found that mango helped prevent or stop the growth of certain types of breast and colon cancer. Though the research into mango is still underway, initial findings indicate that the fruit has the potential to fight diseases when consumed regularly. For another cancer fighter try arugula.
Alternative Mango Supplements
Some companies promote the use of African mango supplement pills. Though the African mango is similar to other mango species, supplements are made from its seed rather than its flesh. Use caution when you see an advertisement or nutritional guide touting African mango health benefits; according to WebMD, not enough research has been done to verify the benefits of these supplements.
Mango Nutritional Profile
According to the National Mango Board, one cup of sliced mango contains just 100 calories, as well as:
- 1 gram of protein
- 25 grams of carbohydrates, including 3 grams of dietary fiber
- 35 percent recommended daily allowance of vitamin A
- 100 percent RDA of vitamin C
- 10 percent RDA of vitamin B6
- 20 percent RDA of folate
- Iron, for more iron try mulberries
- Vitamin K
Dried mango health benefits and nutrients are similar to those of fresh mango, but the dried version is more calorie dense, with twelve small dried mango pieces contain 320 calories, which is the equivalent of 3.2 cups of fresh mango.
How to Choose and Store Mangos
According to the National Mango Board, ripe mangos are slightly soft to the touch, and some ripe mangos will smell fruity near the stem. Ripe fruits come in a range of colors; don’t assume that brighter mangos are ripe. If you don’t live near a mango farm, the mangos you find in the grocery store may not be fully ripe. Though green mango health benefits are no different from ripe mango benefits, eating ripe fruit is easier.
If you have unripe fruit, leave the mangos at room temperature until they soften. To make the process go faster, place the mangos in a paper bag. Refrigerate mangos once they are ripe; doing so will slow the aging process, enabling you to keep them fresh for longer. If you want to refrigerate cut mango, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. In the freezer, mango will be good for up to six months.
How to Cut Mangos
Wash your mangos before cutting them to prevent surface chemicals from transferring to the flesh. Find the mango’s eye—the small bump on the surface that indicates the location of the seed. Place the mango on a cutting board with the eye facing up. Put your knife about a quarter of an inch away from one side of the eye, and slice through the fruit. Do the same on the other side. Cut parallel lines through the flesh but not through the skin on both pieces. Use a spoon to scoop the slices out of the skin.
Ways to Consume and Prepare Mangos
Mangos have the most flavor when served fresh. They make excellent salad additions, mix well with burrito ingredients, and can be an unexpected pizza topping. You can also use mangos in place of apples and pears in many dessert recipes. Dried mangos make a convenient snack; just watch your portion sizes. Juicing is also an option, but according to WebMD, the health benefits of raw mango juice are not as plentiful as those of fresh fruit. When it comes to getting the most mango health benefits, fresh, uncooked fruit is the best option.