Mangos, referred to as the “king of fruits” are the perfect addition to your tacos, green smoothie, or salad. They’re not only delicious, but also boast an impressive nutritional profile, loaded with beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. We’re going to discuss mangos health and nutritional benefits and why you should be throwing these delicious fruits in your shopping cart this week.
What Are Mangos
Like peaches and cherries, mangos are what’s known as a stone fruit because of its center pit. Native to Southeast Asia, mangos are cultivated in many regions of the world, such as Mexico, South America, Central America, Sicily, Australia, and California. Mangos have been cultivated for over 4,000 years, and there are more than 1,000 mango fruit varieties worldwide.
Mango Nutritional Benefits
Mango contains a litany of powerful plant compounds and are a particularly rich source of polyphenols, a diverse group of organic micronutrients found in plants which exert specific health benefits [R]. Polyphenols identified in mango include mangiferin, gallic acid, gallotannins, quercetin, isoquercetin, ellagic acid, and beta-glucogallin [R,R]. Furthermore, mango contains up to 25 diverse carotenoids such as provitamin A, lutein, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene that account for the yellowish color of the fruit, which have also been found to benefit eye health.
Mango is also rich in other bioactive compounds and antioxidants, like vitamin C and vitamin E. Antioxidants are of large interest due to their extremely beneficial anti-inflammatory properties, which can eradicate free radicals and slow the progression of age-related disease and infection.
One cup (165 grams) of fresh mango provides [R]
- Calories: 99
- Protein: 1.4 grams
- Carbs: 24.7 grams
- Fat: 0.6 grams
- Fiber: 2.6 grams
- Sugar: 22.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 67% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Copper: 20% of the DV
- Folate: 18% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 6% of the DV
- Niacin: 7% of the DV
- Potassium: 6% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 5% of the DV
- Magnesium: 4% of the DV
- Thiamine: 4% of the DV
Mango Health Benefits
Mango Benefits Your Immune System
Mango contains immune boosting nutrients. One cup of mango provides 10% of your vitamin A, and an impressive 67% of your daily vitamin C intake. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, protecting your body against free radical damage and cumulative oxidative stress. A wide range of clinical trials have shown that while vitamin C does not exhibit a significant prophylactic effect of the cold, it does reduce the severity and duration of symptoms [R].
A 2013 review showed that a daily dose of 1,000 – 2,000mg of vitamin C can shorten the duration of a cold by 8% in adults and 14% in children [R].
Vitamin A is also essential to your immune health. Not getting enough vitamin A in your diet, has been linked to greater risk of infection [R].
Mango Benefits Your Eye Health
Mango contains two key carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are a class of phytonutrients, which are found in a wide variety of plants. Their function is to help plants absorb light energy for use in photosynthesis. Carotenoids are mainly yellow, orange, or red fat-soluble pigments, including carotene, which give color to mango. Provitamin A carotenoids include alpha carotene, beta carotene, and beta cryptoxanthin which are converted into retinol or vitamin A, which have also been linked to better eye health.
One of the leading causes of blindness is macular degeneration, degeneration of the retina. Long-term blue-light exposure can negatively affect the sensitive parts of the eye. Studies show that the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in the retina can help absorb blue light.
Researchers at Harvard found that incorporating at least six milligrams of lutein in your diet a day can decrease your risk of developing macular degeneration by 43%. Increasing the amount of lutein and zeaxanthin rich foods in your diet can also help to slow or halt current eye damage and prevent your current condition from progressing. Lutein is absorbed from dietary sources, and transported in large quantities, to the macula and lens of the eye. Lutein may lower the risk of developing AMD, cataracts, and prevent advancement of mild to moderate eye disease [R].
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Mango Benefits Weight Loss
Mangos are rich in nutrients, but also have a very low caloric density. One cup of mango contains fewer than 100 calories and is loaded with fiber and water, which make them the quintessential food to help with weight loss. Water dense foods will increase satiety and fruit in particular have a large amount of water. Soluble fiber also slows the digestive process, which can help keep you fuller for a longer period of time. However, don’t get fresh mango confused with dried mango. Dried mango is quite the opposite, and very high in calories. If weight loss is your goal, stick to fresh mango.
Mango May Benefit Digestive Heath
Mango contains a group of enzymes, called amylases, which have shown to benefit digestive health. Digestive enzymes help break down food molecules so that you can absorb them more efficiently.
Amylase helps break down complex carbohydrates into sugars. In addition to digestive enzymes, mango contains a robust amount of soluble fiber and water, which has been proven to help alleviate symptoms with constipation and improve digestive health.
A 4-week study investigated the effects of mango consumption on constipation and digestive wellness. Results showed that mango consumption significantly improve constipation more so than taking a supplement containing the same amount of soluble fiber [R].
Mango Benefits: Takeaway
All in all, mangos are a fantastic addition to your diet. Rich in powerful bioactive plant compounds, as well as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, mangos have been dubbed the almighty king of the tropical fruits, for a variety of great reasons. If you want to elevate your overall health, fight inflammation, and reduce the risk of chronic disease, grab yourself a mango.
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