Mango: The nutritional
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HEALTHY FOODS — By Mini Padikkal — It is mango
season! Mangoes, grown throughout the tropics, are seasonal and mainly available
during the summer. Mango is a nutritional superstar among fruits, being very
rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and E. Their orange flesh contains more
beta-carotene, which can protect against some cancers and heart disease, than
Mangoes are a very good source of fibre. One cup mango provides 2.5-3.5 gm of
fibre. An adult man generally requires 30-35g of fibres and a woman requires
20-25g of fibre daily. Advantages of fibre include weight control, improving
your heart’s health, low cholesterol, promoting digestive functions of the body
and appetite control. Below are the numerous health and nutritional benefit of
l Mangoes are very beneficial for people suffering from acidity. Its enzymes
help relieve indigestion problems. The bio-active elements such as Esters,
Terpenes and Aldehydes present in mango aids in easy digestion.
l Eating mangoes regularly prevents night blindness, refractive errors, dryness
of the eyes, itching and burning in the eyes. One cup of mango gives
approximately 180-190 per cent of the daily value of vitamin A, which helps in
maintaining healthy skin and bones. It also protects one’s night vision.
l Mangoes contain many minerals, most notably — potassium (320 mg per fruit) and
magnesium. These minerals are necessary for the growth, contraction and
relaxation of muscles. They are also believed to help maintain a steady
l Mangoes can be beneficial for people wanting to gain weight. A 100 gm mango
contains about 75 calories. Also, raw mangoes contain starch which gets
converted into sugar as the fruit ripens. So ripe and sweet mangoes when
consumed with milk can be very helpful in weight gain.
l The phenols in mangoes such as quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin,
gallic acid and methyl gallate, as well as the abundant enzymes, have cancer
preventing capacities. A cup of sliced mangoes (around 165 gm) contains 76 per
cent of the needed daily value of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant which helps to
protect cells from free radical damage and reduce the risk of cancer. The
vitamin content varies depending on the variety and maturity of the fruit. Green
mangoes contain more vitamin C (as it ripens, the amount of beta-carotene also
increases). Unlike most other fruits, they also contain a significant amount of
the antioxidant vitamin E, which can boost the body’s immune system and maintain
l Mango is slowly gaining new acclaim as a diabetes fighter. Earlier, there was
a myth that people with diabetes should not eat mangoes but that’s not true. The
glycaemic index of mango is low, ranging between 41-60. So mangoes do not have
any significant effect in increasing blood sugar levels. Not only the fruit, but
the leaves also fight against diabetes. Boil a few mango leaves in water and
allow them to saturate through the night. Consume the filtered decoction in the
morning as a diabetic home remedy.
l Mangoes are beneficial for pregnant women and individuals suffering from
anaemia because of their iron content. Also, vitamin in the mango enhances the
absorption of iron from vegetables and rice.
l Mangoes are useful to children who lack concentration in studies as it
contains Glutamine acid which is good to boost memory and keep cells active.
Avoid heat stroke: Unripe mangoes are a rich source of pectin when steamed and
juiced with cumin (jeera), rock salt and little sugar. They provide an excellent
remedy for heat stroke and heat exhaustion in summer.
If you buy unripe mangoes, put them in a paper bag and store in a dark place.
They will ripen within a few days. Eat mangoes for maximum vitamin C content, or
eat them with a little fat, such as full-fat yoghurt or in a salad dressed with
olive oil, to better absorb their carotenes. Try and have mangoes in your daily
diet as much as you can. This will benefit your health more than usual non-fibre
— The writer is a dietician at Atlas star Medical Centre, Al Khuwair, Muscat.
( Courtesy: The Oman Observer.
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