The mango is a member of the drupe family, a type of plant food in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell (what we sometimes call a pit) with a seed inside. Olives, dates and coconuts are also types of drupes.
There are many different kinds of mangoes that range in color, shape, flavor and seed size. While the skin color of mangoes can vary from green to red, yellow or orange, the inner flesh of the mango is mostly a golden yellow. They have a sweet and creamy taste and contain over 20 vitamins and minerals.
Mangoes have been named the most widely consumed fruit in the world. Some of the possible health benefits of consuming mango include a decreased risk of macular degeneration, a decreased risk of colon cancer, improvement in digestion and bone health and even benefits for the skin and hair.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown and an in-depth look at their possible health benefits, how to incorporate more mangoes into your diet and any potential health risks associated with consuming mangoes.
Possible health benefits of mangoes
Mangoes have been named the most widely consumed fruit in the world.
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.
Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like mangoes decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.
Age-related macular degeneration
The antioxidant zeaxanthin, found in mangoes, filters out harmful blue light rays and is thought to play a protective role in eye health and possibly ward off damage from macular degeneration.3
A higher intake of all fruits (3 or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene, found in mangoes, papaya, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin and carrots.
Diets rich in beta-carotene may also play a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition5 and has been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.4
In a study conducted by Texas AgriLife Research food scientists who tested mango polyphenol extracts in vitro on colon, breast, lung, leukemia and prostate cancers, mangoes were shown to have some impact on all cancers tested but were most effective with breast and colon cancers. The researchers are hoping to do a small clinical trial with individuals who have increased inflammation in their intestines with a higher risk for cancer for further proof for the efficacy of using mangoes in cancer prevention or treatment.7
Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption can be achieved by eating a proper intake of fruits and vegetables, and is important for improving calcium absorption essential for optimal bone health.6
Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One cup of mango provides about 3 grams of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams for men.
Mangoes, because of their fiber and water content, help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.
The fiber, potassium and vitamin content in mangoes all help to ward off heart disease. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Skin and Hair
Mangoes also great for your hair because they contain vitamin A, a nutrient required for sebum production that keeps hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair.
Adequate intake of vitamin C, which 1-cup of mango per day can provide, is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
Nutritional breakdown of mangoes
One cup of diced mango contains 100 calories, 1 gram protein, 0.5 grams fat, 25 grams of carbohydrate (23 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber), 100% of the daily need for vitamin C, 35% for vitamin A, 20% of folate, 10% of vitamin B-6 and 8% of vitamin K and potassium.2
Mangoes also contribute copper, calcium and iron to the diet as well as antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.
Incorporating more mangoes into your diet
Learn to not judge the ripeness of a mango by its' color. Look for fresh mangoes that yield slightly to pressure when ripe. Avoid fruits with many black freckles on the skin. Mangoes will continue to ripen at room temperature. When at the desired ripeness, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Mangoes taste best when slightly chilled.1
- One of the best ways to enjoy a mango is diced fresh, just by itself. Take the mystery of out how to cut a mango by watching this helpful video.
- Make a tropical fruit salad with fresh papaya, pineapple and mango.
- Muddle mango into your glass of lemonade, iced tea or water for a burst of fresh fruity flavor.
- Make a fresh salsa with papaya, mango, jalapeno, red peppers and chipotle pepper and use as a topper for your favorite fish tacos.
- Add a few slices of frozen mango to your smoothies. Combine with pineapple juice, frozen strawberries and Greek yogurt for a sweet tropical treat, or try this recipe for a Mango-Citrus Banan-za smoothie.
- Try these Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mango Guacamole for a great combination of plant-based proteins and complex carbs with a boost of antioxidants on top:
Best Ever Black Bean Burgers
Serves 4 in 20 minutes
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1 15oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- Handful of cilantro
- 3 tablespoons of diced onion
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
- Mix chia seeds with 2 tablespoons water and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add all ingredients except flour and olive oil to food processor. Stir the chia seed mix and add to food processor. Pulse until well combined.
- Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Remove bean mix from food processor and place in a large bowl. Mix in flour and olive oil and form 4 patties. Cook about 5 minutes on each side until slightly crisp on the outside and warm on the inside. Toast whole grain buns and serve topped with Chipotle Mango Guacamole (recipe below).
Chipotle Mango Guacamole
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 2 dried chipotle chiles, chopped with most seeds removed
- 1 avocado, diced
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 1/2 mango, diced small.
- In a small skillet, heat the olive oil to medium heat and stir in 1/2 the diced tomatoes and all of the onion and chiles. Cook 5-10 minutes until onion and chiles are softened. Remove mixture from heat. Place in a medium bowl and allow to cool.
- Add the avocado, lime juice, mango and stir.
Possible health risks of consuming mangoes
Those with a latex allergy may also have a cross-reaction to mangoes.
Consuming too much potassium can be harmful for those whose kidneys are not fully functional. If your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.
It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to consume a diet with variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.