The nutritional benefits of Mango – The King of all fruits

With the arrival of summer, the markets are flooded with a variety of mangoes. Mango is one of the most nutritionally rich fruits. Aptly known as the king of all fruits, mango is a delicious seasonal fruit with a unique flavour, fragrance, taste and health promoting properties which can be attributed to the host of nutrients that this fruit delivers.

Mango is rich in calories and carbohydrates and is a good food option for weight gain. One hundred grams of raw mango provides 44 Kilocalories, while a ripe mango provides 74 Kilocalories. This fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre as well as poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds. Mangoes can be eaten either raw or ripe. Raw mangoes have a sharp sour taste while ripe mangoes are juicy and sweet. They are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. Raw mangoes or green mangoes contain more vitamin C as compared to a ripe mango. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. The characteristic yellow orange flesh of ripe mangoes indicates high levels of beta-carotene making them an excellent source of vitamin A. Besides beta-carotene they also contain alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These antioxidant caretenoids help protect the body from certain types of cancer. Vitamin A is also essential for healthy vision.

Mangoes are also rich in dietary fibre. The soluble dietary fibre present in mangoes also helps reduce cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Thus mangoes help keep cancer at bay. The fibre along with pectin and vitamin C also help lower serum cholesterol levels. They are rich in diverse poly phenols like quercetin, kaempferol, gallic acid, caffeic acid, catechins and tannins. Mangoes contain two unique poly-phenols, xanthonoid and mangiferin, which help protect against damage from free radicals. These poly-phenolic antioxidant compounds are known to offer protection against certain types of cancers.

Mangoes are also a good source of vitamin B6 or pyridoxine and vitamin E.

Mangoes supply ample amounts of potassium. Potassium helps control heart rate and blood pressure and is an important component of cell and body fluids.   Due to its high potassium content it is an ideal fruit to consume after a strenuous workout. Mangoes are also rich in iron, and thus beneficial to those suffering from anaemia. Another mineral found in mangoes in moderate quantities is copper, which is a co-factor for many important enzymes in the body. Copper is also required for the production of red blood cells. Mango also contains large amounts of Tryptophan which is a precursor to the ‘Happiness Hormone’ Serotonin. The nutritional value of mango makes it good for weight gain, eye disorders, hair loss, heat stroke, prickly heat, diabetes, piles, indigestion, constipation, scurvy, spleen enlargement and liver disorders.

Diabetics and those on weight loss plans are advised to cut down on their intake of mangoes as ripe mangoes have high sugar content. Excessive intake of mangoes is also said to increase heat in the body leading to skin breakouts. So make sure you enjoy this delicious fruit in moderate amount.

Mangoes are a part of traditional Goan cuisine. Raw mangoes are used in the preparation of pickles, chutneys, salads and refreshing drinks. Dried mango powder is used as a spice and dried mango stones or pieces are also used in many recipes. The ripe fruit is relished just as it is, or it may be used in jams, juices, fruit salads, milkshakes, desserts, lassi, yogurt, ice cream as well as in gravies and sauces.

Include fresh mangoes in your diet this summer to reap all the wonderful benefits that it has to offer.

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