Often dubbed as the ‘king of fruits’, mangoes are finally here to make the summer season sweeter. For all the cribbing we do about the heat and sweat that come with summer, the juicy sweet mangoes compensate for it all. It’s a rich fruit with exclusive flavour, aroma and taste, which makes it the king of all fruits. However, there are myths attached to this luscious fruit. People often think that mango leads to weight gain and it is unhealthy for diabetic patients. But this tropical fruit contains intrinsic health benefits too despite being sweet. Mangoes are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to assure you good health. The mix of vitamins, minerals and secondary plant properties also makes the delicious tropical fruit a particularly healthy fruit.
Mangoes are one of the most popular fruits in the world. From Alexander the Great to Mughal emperor Jehangir, the collective obsession for mangoes has unified kingdoms, solidified trade relations, influenced myths and folklores. It is hard to think even one fruit that has been even half so popular. Mangos were first cultivated in India 5000 years ago. Today, 20 million tons of mangos are grown annually.
It is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, while also being the national tree of Bangladesh. The mango is cultivated in most frost-free tropical climates, with almost half the world’s mango supply harvested in India, with the second-largest source being China. Pakistan is the world’s sixth-largest mango producer, with an annual production volume of about 1.7 million tons. While most of the harvest comes from Punjab, the Sindh province has the second-largest yield and is known for the Sindhri variety of mango, famous for its honey-like sweetness and deep, thin yellow peel.
Health benefits of mangoes
Boosts immunity: Mangoes are full of vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Vitamin A is anti-inflammatory; it boosts the immune system by improving cellular immune response against diseases. One cup of mango provides about a quarter of the daily target for vitamin A. Vitamin E and Vitamin C act as antioxidants, protecting the body against free radical damage.
Improves heart health: The potassium found in mangoes improves heart health. Potassium helps trigger the heart to pump blood throughout the body.
Can be consumed by the diabetic patient: Often people think that it’s unhealthy for a diabetic patient to eat mangoes. However, this is not true! Mangoes are low on Glycemc index and thus they help to regulate the blood sugar level. Thus, it’s safe to eat mangoes in moderation even if you are a diabetic patient.
Maintains blood pressure: Mangoes are packed with potassium and beta-carotene, which reduce sodium content in your blood – high levels of sodium are responsible for high blood pressure. Eating a mango before bed can also lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin secretion.
Promotes sleep: Mangoes contain sleep-promoting vitamins and minerals, like vitamins B6, magnesium, and potassium. Vitamin B6 increases the production of melatonin, a natural hormone that maintains the circadian rhythm. Magnesium reduces nerve activity by slowing down nerve impulses and relaxing muscles. Potassium is a mineral and natural muscle relaxant.
If consumed in moderation, mangoes help to lose weight. They are loaded with fibres which help us to stay satiated for a longer time and thus suppress our hunger. A one-cup serving of mango has 2.6 grams of fibre, which can help you stay feeling full longer. Also, the presence of phytochemicals in mangoes helps to burst the natural fat. Plus, it makes a great substitute for junk food when you’re in the mood for something sweet! One thing to note – mango is high in sugar, so don’t go overboard.
Good for Digestion: This sweet fruit is a good source of dietary fibre and curbs those late-night cravings. Fibre also improves digestive health by keeping the digestive tract working efficiently, so there’s less risk of developing stomach diseases, like irritable bowel syndrome.
Promotes healthy eyesight: Mangoes contain beta carotene which helps to produce vitamin A. It is also loaded in antioxidants which help to keep the eyes healthy and prevents macular degeneration.
Keeps the skin healthy: Mangoes are rich in carotene. As a result, it helps the skin to glow. Often people think consumption of mangoes leads to acne on the skin, however, this is not true as mangoes are rich in antioxidants.
Use mango as body scrub: Ladies, here is a secret of that will surprise you all. Apart from eating a mango, applying the scrub of this pulpy fruit on your body gives you a smoother and tender skin. Make paste by mashing mangoes and adding honey and milk to it. Gently massage and leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then wash it off to get a great skin.
Known for its refreshing taste, mango is versatile enough to be incorporated into a number of sweet dishes and beverages and in its raw form can be used to make pickles and ‘sherbets’.
The mango is an all-rounder in the kitchen, it tastes just as good in fruit salad, with cereal, as a cake topping or in ice creams. Mango juice and puree are great for making cocktails, bowls, smoothies and other fruity drinks.
Whip mango into a smoothie; add it to salsa, slaw, tacos, tuna or chicken salad, and garden salads. Serve mango over cooked fish, or mix it into whole grains. Mango also makes a delicious and colourful addition to desserts and treats, including pudding, coconut milk ice cream, even mango margaritas!