In India, mango is commonly referred to as the "king of all fruits."
Mango (Mangifera indica) is one of the most popularly consumed fruits in the world; its sweet, juicy flavor means mangoes are celebrated as both an important culinary ingredient and a food in their own right. Originating in India over 4,000 years ago, mango cultivation has gradually spread across the globe, and now Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Israel, and the U.S. are all among the key producers of the fruit. But what benefits does mango offer besides their delicious flavor? Read on to discover the five important health benefits of mango that characterize it as a true super food.
1. Natural Digestive Aid
Fiber helps with absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and aids the passing of food through the digestive tract. Mango contains large amounts of fiber: the fruit offers nearly two grams of fiber for every 100 grams, so regular consumption of mango promotes the healthy passing of stools and prevents constipation.1,2
2. Body Fat Reduction
Aside from being low fat and only containing around 140 calories per fruit, mangoes – when eaten regularly – can also actively stimulate the reduction of body fat percentage. Leptin is a hormone that directly regulates both hunger cycles and the amount of fat cells in the bloodstream. Different studies have found that regular mango consumption is correlated to lower levels of leptin in the body, even when the same amounts of calories and fat are consumed but without mango.3 This can lead to a reduction in body fat over time.
3. Blood Sugar Regulation
Mangoes can reduce blood sugar levels and cholesterol, and thereby reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have found that mango has glucose and cholesterol-lowering properties, which compare to the effectiveness of the commercially used drug rosiglitazone, but without its side effects. This may be due to the high fiber content in mangoes, which is believed to suppress glucose absorption in the small intestines.4 It may also have a stimulating effect on the pancreas to promote the production of insulin, the molecule that carries glucose to cells.
4. Vision Protection
Regularly consuming mangoes is likely to offer protection against age-related sight problems, such as macular degeneration. This is due to the fruit's vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) content, which is greater than that of many other fruits. Vitamins A and C have antioxidant functions in the body, which means they neutralize potentially damaging cells in the bloodstream; vitamin A in particular has been found to maintain and protect vision.
5. Delaying Aging
The regular consumption of mango could also qprotect from cellular decay, which is the main cause of aging and a number of degenerative diseases. Mango is full of phenolic compounds, including polyphenols, which are absorbed into the small and large intestines, and - along with the antioxidant properties of mango - can protect the body's cells from free radicals damage.5
Mango can be easily incorporated into any diet. Serve the fruit fresh and raw as a snack or dessert, use it as an ingredient to add sweetness to rice, or include it as a chutney to accompany meat. As a rule, the riper the mango, the greater its health value; look for the fruits that are firm and free of blemishes. If you are unable to source fresh mango (e.g., if the fruit is not in season), using canned or frozen alternative is tasty and effective substitute.
- Food and Nutrition Research Institute - Philippines, The wonderful mangoes
- Harvard University, Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype
- Michigan State University, Benefits of mango consumption for the body
- Nutrients, Multifaceted Health Benefits of Mangifera indica L. (Mango): The Inestimable Value of Orchards Recently Planted in Sicilian Rural Areas, 2017
- Oklahoma State University, NSCI research finds health benefits in mangos
- University of Arizona, Mango: Nutritional Handout
- University of Florida, South Florida Tropicals: Mango Factsheet
- Foods. (2020). In Vitro Gastrointestinal Digestion and Colonic Catabolism of Mango (Mangifera indica L.) Pulp Polyphenols. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7764420/
- Food research international. (2020). A mango (Mangifera indica L.) juice by-product reduces gastrointestinal and upper respiratory tract infection symptoms in children. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from: https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/catalog/7003754
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences. (2019). Mangifera indica L. Leaf Extract Induces Adiponectin and Regulates Adipogenesis. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6651838/
- South African Journal of Botany. (2019). Mangiferin from Mangifera indica fruits reduces post-prandial glucose level by inhibiting α-glucosidase and α-amylase activity. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from: https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/catalog/6295219
- Tropical Life Sciences Research. (2020). Anti-aging Effects of Mangosteen Peel Extract and Its Phytochemical Compounds: Antioxidant Activity, Enzyme Inhibition and Molecular Docking Simulation. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7652251/