There is a reason why mangoes have been declared the most widely consumed fruit in the world. A staple food item in tropical regions, mango is used in everything from juices to milkshakes, ‘achars’ and ‘murabbas’. It is gaining popularity as an exotic ingredient in salads and chutnis as well. Yielding a rich, creamy, golden mesocarp, mangoes are as delicious as they are aesthetically pleasing. Boasting over 20 important vitamins and minerals, this ‘King of Fruits’ is also a powerhouse of nutrition. Even the peel is good for you! It’s loaded with phytonutrients, including carotenoids and polyphenols.
Let’s delve deeper.
Mangoes are rich in the antioxidant zeaxanthin. This substance is reputed to maintain eye health and diminish the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration. Mangoes are a great source of Vitamin-A and flavonoids like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These nutrients have a multiplicity of beneficial effects. They are proven to decrease the risk of developing asthma. Moreover, they even improve vision and prevent night-blindness. Adequate doses of Vitamin A are linked to healthy skin and hair, as Vitamin A is responsible for sebum production. It gets better. This delectable delicacy is packed with Vitamin C, crucial for collagen synthesis, strengthening those locks of hair and allowing your skin to look younger and fuller. Vitamin C also goes a long way in combating antioxidants (did we mention that it helps you look younger?) and fighting off infections. Vitamin C is even known to help keep cholesterol levels in normal limits.
Possessing a low glycemic index (41-60), mangoes can be consumed regularly without any guilt trips from your dietician (and/or spouse).
Perhaps most important, these antioxidants are proven to play a role in fighting a number of cancers, ranging from prostate, colon, breast, lung and leukemia (studies show that out of all of these, it is most effective against breast and colon cancers).
Mangoes are an impressive source of fiber, with one cup of diced mango containing close to 3 grams. Understandably then, mangoes play a role in alleviating constipation and facilitating a smooth flow in the digestive tract. Studies show that high fiber diets improve blood sugar, lipid and insulin values in diabetic patients. But wait, it gets better. Rest assured that you’ll meet your daily potassium intake requirement by consuming a mango a day. Why is this good for you? Because potassium plays a vital role in maintaining body fluid homeostasis and stabilizing heart rate and blood pressure. So have lots of mangoes, K?
I bet you weren’t expecting this! Mangoes are known aphrodisiacs, increasing virility in men and regulating sex hormones. No wonder it’s referred to as the ‘love fruit’. Mango is rich in iron content that makes it a go-to fruit for anemics and menopausal women.
Mangoes can be made useful in a plethora of ways. It’s a great way to clear out clogged pores, and a natural remedy for acne. The procedure simply involves slicing a mango and leaving the strips on your face for 10-15 minutes. Voila! The results will speak for themselves.
How best should you consume this ridiculously healthy ‘king of fruits’? Cut it lengthwise into three horizontal pieces. Proceed to slice and dice it any way you want. It tastes infinitely better when chilled. Squeeze it in a juicer to produce one of the sweetest nectars known to man. Or even blend it with milk to make a milkshake. If you’re a real gourmet foodie, add cubes to your tacos and salads. Pickle it or preserve it to make some delicious jams.
It’s the perfect summer fruit, as beautiful as it is delicious. Enjoy!
Note: Avoid consumption of mangoes if you’re on Warfarin therapy.