Nutritional and health benefits of mangoes

Introduction

The mango is a juicy stone fruit (drupe) belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees, cultivated mostly for edible fruit. The majority of these species are found in nature as wild mangoes. They all belong to the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to South Asia, from where it has been distributed worldwide to become one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropics. The center of diversity of the Mangifera genus is in India.

While other Mangifera species (e.g. horse mango, Mangifera foetida) are also grown on a more localized basis, Mangifera indica—the “common mango” or “Indian mango”—is the only mango tree commonly cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions.

Description of mango

Mango trees grow up to 35–40 m (115–131 ft) tall, with a crown radius of 10 m (33 ft). The trees are long-lived, as some specimens still fruit after 300 years. In deep soil, the taproot descends to a depth of 6 m (20 ft), with profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots; the tree also sends down many anchor roots, which penetrate several feet of soil. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15–35 cm (5.9–13.8 in) long, and 6–16 cm (2.4–6.3 in) broad; when the leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark, glossy red, then dark green as they mature. The flowers are produced in terminal panicles 10–40 cm (3.9–15.7 in) long; each flower is small and white with five petals 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long, with a mild, sweet odor suggestive of lily of the valley. Over 400 varieties of mangoes are known, many of which ripen in summer, while some give double crop. The fruit takes three to six months to ripen.

The ripe fruit varies in size and color. Cultivars are variously yellow, orange, red, or green, and carry a single flat, oblong pit that can be fibrous or hairy on the surface, and which does not separate easily from the pulp. Ripe, unpeeled mangoes give off a distinctive resinous, sweet smell. Inside the pit 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) thick is a thin lining covering a single seed, 4–7 cm (1.6–2.8 in) long. The seed contains the plant embryo. Mangoes have recalcitrant seeds; they do not survive freezing and drying.

Historical background of mango

The mango has been known in India since very early times. It is referred to in Sanskrit literature as Amra and has been under cultivation by man for over 4000 years. It appears, however, that Hsiian-tsang, one of the early travelers to India (632-645), was the first person to bring mango to the notice of people outside India. This fruit occupied an important place in horticulture during the rule of the Mogul emperors in India, and Akbar the Great (1556-1605) planted an orchard of 100,000 mango trees.

The origin of most o the improved varieties in India have been traced to those days, and the encyclopedia Ain-e-Akbari (1590 AD) contains a good account of the mango regarding its quality and varietal characteristics. Phytogeographical data studies of the phylogenetic taxonomy of species of Mangifera indicate that this genus originated in the Indo-Burma region.

Most of the cultivated varieties have arisen from four main species – Mangifera indica, Mangifera sylvatica, Mangifera odorata, and Mangifera zeylanica. Mango cultivation is found in many countries of Southeast Asia – the Philippines, Indonesia, Java, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Introduction of the mango to East and West Africa and subsequently to Brazil is said to have occurred in the sixteenth century. Mexico acquired the mango in the nineteenth century, and it entered Florida in 1833. The cultivated mango varieties are the result of constant selection by man from original wild plants for over 4000 years.

The wild progenies are still available in India in two species, Mangifera indica and Mangifera sylvatica, which have small fruits with a big stone, thin acidic flesh and long fibers.The knowledge of vegetative preparation gained in the sixteenth century made it possible to produce a large number of cultivars which were far superior to the wild forms.

Varieties of mangoes

Throughout the year, you’ll most likely find at least one mango of the six varieties described below. Each mango has a unique flavor and texture, so try different varieties at different stages of ripeness and at different times of the year. The different varieties are:

 Ataulfos

Ataulfos have a very small seed, so there is a high flesh to seed ratio.

Flavor: Sweet and creamy

Texture: Smooth, firm flesh with no fibers

Color: Vibrant yellow

Shape: Small, flattened oval shape

Ripening Cues: Skin turns to a deep golden color and small wrinkles appear when fully ripe. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.

Peak Availability: March to July

Primary Source Country: Mexico

 

Francis

The Francis grows on small farms throughout Haiti.

Flavor: Rich, spicy and sweet

Texture: Soft, juicy flesh with fibers

Color: Bright yellow skin with green overtones

Shape: Oblong and sigmoid S-shape

Ripening Cues: Green overtones diminish and the yellow becomes more golden as the Francis ripens. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.

Peak Availability: May to July

Primary Source Country: Haiti


Haden

The fruiting of the Haden mango in 1910 inspired the creation of a large-scale mango industry in South Florida. The industry has since then been greatly reduced by the impact of development and hurricanes.

Flavor: Rich, with aromatic overtones

Texture: Firm flesh due to fine fibers

Color: Bright red with green and yellow overtones and small white dots

Shape: Medium to large with an oval to round shape

Ripening Cues: Green areas of the mango turn to yellow as it ripens. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.

Peak Availability: April and May

Primary Source Country: Mexico

 

Keitt

Keitts are popular in Asian cultures, where they are enjoyed in its mature-green stage or even as pickles.

Flavor: Sweet and fruity

Texture: Firm, juicy flesh with limited fibers

Color: Dark to medium green, sometimes with a pink blush over a small portion of the mango

Shape: Large oval shape

Ripening Cues: Skin stays green even when ripe. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.

Peak Availability: August and September

Primary Source Countries: Mexico, United States

 

Kent

Originating from Florida in the 1940’s, Kents are ideal mangos for juicing and drying.

Flavor: Sweet and rich

Texture: Juicy, tender flesh with limited fibers

Color: Dark green and often has a dark red blush over a small portion of the mango

Shape: Large oval shape

Ripening Cues: Kents have yellow undertones or dots that cover more of the mango as it ripens. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.

Peak Availability: January to March and June to August

Primary Source Countries: Mexico, Ecuador, Peru

Tommy Atkins

Hailing originally from Florida, Tommy Atkins is the most widely grown commercial variety coming into the United States.

Flavor: Mildly and sweet

Texture: Firm flesh due to fibers throughout

Color: A dark red blush often covers much of the fruit with green and orange-yellow accents

Shape: Medium to large with oval or oblong shape

Ripening Cues: This mango may not provide any visual cues. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.

Peak Availability: March to July and October to January

Primary Source Countries: Mexico, Guatemala,
Brazil,Ecuador, Peru

 

Other mango varieties

Although the six varieties above represent the most common mango varieties available in the U.S. marketplace, there are a few others you might find as well. With hundreds of varieties the possibilities are endless!

  • Alphonse – This Indian variety is a mild flavored, firm fleshed mango which can range from purple to yellow skin with an oblong shape
  • Edward – This sweet and spicy flavored, fiberless mango can range from pink to yellow skin with a round or oblong shape
  • Kesar – This Indian variety is a sweet flavored, fiberless mango which can range from green to yellow skin with a round shape
  • Manila – This sweet flavored, fiberless mango can range from orange to yellow to pink skin with a slender shape
  • Palmer – This mild flavored, firm fleshed mango can range from purple to red to yellow skin with an oblong shape

 

Nutritional profile of mango

Mango
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 250 kJ (60 kcal)
Carbohydrates 15 g
Sugars 13.7
Dietary fiber 1.6 g
Fat 0.38 g
Protein 0.82 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv.

beta-carotene

lutein zeaxanthin

(7%)

54 μg

(6%)

640 μg

23 μg

Thiamine (B1) (2%)

0.028 mg

Riboflavin (B2) (3%)

0.038 mg

Niacin (B3) (4%)

0.669 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5) (4%)

0.197 mg

Vitamin B6 (9%)

0.119 mg

Folate (B9) (11%)

43 μg

Choline (2%)

7.6 mg

Vitamin C (44%)

36.4 mg

Vitamin E (6%)

0.9 mg

Vitamin K (4%)

4.2 μg

Minerals
Calcium (1%)

11 mg

Iron (1%)

0.16 mg

Magnesium (3%)

10 mg

Manganese (3%)

0.063 mg

Phosphorus (2%)

14 mg

Potassium (4%)

168 mg

Sodium (0%)

1 mg

Zinc (1%)

0.09 mg

 

Culinary uses

Mangoes are widely used in cuisine. Sour, unripe mangoes are used in chutneys, athanu, pickles, side dishes, or may be eaten raw with salt, chili, or soy sauce. A summer drink called aam panna comes from mangoes. Mango pulp made into jelly or cooked with red gram dhal and green chillies may be served with cooked rice. Mango lassi is popular throughout South Asia, prepared by mixing ripe mangoes or mango pulp with buttermilk and sugar. Ripe mangoes are also used to make curries. Aamras is a popular thick juice made of mangoes with sugar or milk, and is consumed with chapatis or pooris. The pulp from ripe mangoes is also used to make jam called mangada. Andhra aavakaaya is a pickle made from raw, unripe, pulpy, and sour mango, mixed with chili powder, fenugreek seeds, mustard powder, salt, and groundnut oil. Mango is also used in Andhra to make dahl preparations. Gujaratis use mango to make chunda (a grated mango delicacy).

Mangoes are used in preserves such as moramba, amchur (dried and powdered unripe mango), and pickles, including a spicy mustard-oil pickle and alcohol. Ripe mangoes are often cut into thin layers, desiccated, folded, and then cut. These bars are similar to dried guava fruit bars available in some countries. The fruit is also added to cereal products such as muesli and oat granola. Mangoes are often prepared charred in Hawaii.

Unripe mango may be eaten with bagoong (especially in the Philippines), fish sauce, or with dash of salt. Dried strips of sweet, ripe mango (sometimes combined with seedless tamarind to form mangorind) are also popular. Mangoes may be used to make juices, mango nectar, and as a flavoring and major ingredient in ice cream and sorbetes.

Mango is used to make juices, smoothies, ice cream, fruit bars, raspados, aguas frescas, pies, and sweet chili sauce, or mixed with chamoy, a sweet and spicy chili paste. It is popular on a stick dipped in hot chili powder and salt or as a main ingredient in fresh fruit combinations. In Central America, mango is either eaten green mixed with salt, vinegar, black pepper, and hot sauce, or ripe in various forms. Toasted and ground pumpkin seed (pepita) with lime and salt are eaten with green mangoes.

Pieces of mango can be mashed and used as a topping on ice cream or blended with milk and ice as milkshakes. Sweet glutinous rice is flavored with coconut, then served with sliced mango as a dessert. In other parts of Southeast Asia, mangoes are pickled with fish sauce and rice vinegar. Green mangoes can be used in mango salad with fish sauce and dried shrimp. Mango with condensed milk may be used as a topping for shaved ice.

 Nutritional and health benefits of mango

  1. Prevents cancer: Research has shown antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. These compounds include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as the abundant enzymes.
  2. Lowers cholesterol: The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein (the bad stuff).
  3. Clears the skin: Can be used both internally and externally for the skin. Mangos help clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples.
  4. Improves eye health: One cup of sliced mangoes supplies 25 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness and dry eyes.
  5. Alkalizes the whole body: The tartaric acid, malic acid, and a trace of citric acid found in the fruit help to maintain the alkali reserve of the body.
  6. May help with diabetes: Mango leaves help normalize insulin levels in the blood. The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning. Mango fruit also has a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities will not spike your sugar levels.
  7. Improves digestion: Papayas are not the only fruit that contain enzymes for breaking down protein. There are several fruits, including mangoes, which have this healthful quality. The fiber in mangos also helps digestion and elimination.
  8. Helps fight heat stroke: Juicing the fruit from green mango and mixing with water and a sweetener helps to cool down the body and prevent harm from overheating. From an ayurvedic viewpoint, the reason people often get diuretic and exhausted when visiting equatorial climates is because the strong “sun energy” is burning up your body, particularly the muscles. The kidneys then become overloaded with the toxins from this process.
  9. Boosts the immune system: The generous amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A in mangos, plus 25 different kinds of carotenoids keep your immune system healthy and strong.
  10. Promotes healthy sex: Mangos are a great source of vitamin E. Even though the popular connection between sex drive and vitamin E was originally created by a mistaken generalization on rat studies, further research has shown balanced proper amounts (from whole foods) does help. Top of Form

Conclusion/recommendation

A closer look at the nutritional and health benefits of mangoes makes it necessary to be recommended for both young and old for adequate nourishment of the body.

 

References

Devika, B. (8th May, 2009). Mango’s wide influence in Indian culture. New Strait Times

Gholap, A. S. & Bandyopadhyay, C. (2007). Characterization of green aroma of raw mango (Mangifera indica L.). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 28, 885-888

Giri, A.P. & Gupta, V. S. (2012). Flavor of mango: A pleasant but complex blend of compounds. Edingburgh: Studium Press.

Gupta, V.S. (2009). Cultivar relationships in mango based on fruit volatile profiles, Food Chemistry, 144, 363–372.

Idstein, H. & Schreier, P., (2005). Volatile constituents of Alphonso mango (Mangifera indica). Phytochemistry 24, 2313-2316.

Jonathan, A. (10th May, 2006). Mango Mania in India. New York Times

Miell, J., Papouchado, M. & Marshall, A. (2008). Anaphylactic reaction after eating a mango. British Medical Journal 297 (6664), 1639–40.

Mintz, C. (24th May, 2008). Sweet news: Ataulfos are in season. Toronto Star.

Morton, J. (2007). Mango. Fruits of warm climates. California: Purdue University.

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