(Natural News) Mango is one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the world. This sweet, tropical fruit hailed the “king of fruits” is highly nutritious – containing over 20 vitamins and minerals – and is also fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free. Let’s look at the reasons why you should be eating more of this superfruit.
Mangoes may ward off cancer
Mangoes are loaded with over a dozen types of polyphenols. These plant compounds exhibit antioxidant activity which protects cells from DNA damage that can result in degenerative diseases, such as cancer and Type 2 diabetes. In one animal study, researchers found that mango antioxidants suppressed the growth of breast cancer cells.
Mangoes improve blood sugar levels
Mangoes may be sweet, but they actually help improve blood sugar levels. A study conducted by researchers at Oklahoma State University examined the effect of mango consumption on obese men and women. For 12 weeks, the participants consumed 10 g of ground, free-dried mango pulp – which was equivalent to about half a fresh mango – every day. At the end of the study, the participants had lower blood sugar than when they started the experiment. The researchers attributed this blood sugar-lowering effect to the antioxidants in mangoes.
Mangoes are good for your eyes
Mangoes contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are natural compounds that protect the retina and lens and support overall eye health. In a study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, researchers found that these antioxidants can increase visual range, reduce discomfort from glare, and improve visual contrast. They can also shorten the time it takes for the eyes to recover from the stress of bright lights. Another study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that lutein and zeaxanthin can protect eyes from harmful ultraviolet rats, and fight or delay the progression of cataracts and macular degeneration.
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Mangoes strengthen your immune system
Mangoes contain high amounts of vitamin A. In fact, a cup of mango gives about a quarter of your daily target for the vitamin. Vitamin A helps in the production and activity of white blood cells, and is therefore needed by your immune system to function properly. A deficiency in vitamin A is linked to a greater susceptibility to infections.
Mangoes enhance skin and hair health
Vitamin A is also important in developing and maintaining multiple types of epithelial tissues, including hair, skin, and sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands, which are attached to hair follicles, keep the hair moisturized and healthy. In an animal study, researchers found that the lack of vitamin A was associated with hair loss. Moreover, mangoes are rich in vitamin C, providing nearly 75 percent of the daily minimum vitamin C intake per cup. This vitamin helps produce collagen, which gives skin its elasticity and prevents wrinkling and sagging.
Mangoes may relieve constipation
Having digestive problems? A study on people with chronic constipation revealed that eating mangoes helps relieve constipation better than taking an equivalent amount of isolated fiber. However, mangoes may trigger gas and bloating in some people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome. Mangoes are a high-FODMAP food, which some people can’t digest. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.
Tips for picking good mangoes and storing them
When choosing mangoes, pick based on aroma and touch instead of appearance. Ripe mangoes smell sweet and rich and are slightly soft to the touch. Color is not a good indicator of ripeness because it varies depending on the type of mango. Mangoes come in different varieties. Some are better for drying, some are good as a puree, and others are best consumed fresh.
Mangoes should be stored at room temperature until they are soft, then move them to the refrigerator. You can also freeze them as a whole or pre-cut. Frozen mango is best used as a puree or in smoothies.