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Mangoes are growing in popularity, and some research suggests that the fruit may combat high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.
In addition, mangoes provide polyphenols, triterpene, and lupeol. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
In the United States, Florida produces the largest numer of mangoes, but farmers also grow them in California, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The U.S. is also the world’s largest importer of mangoes.
Fast facts on mangoes
- Some evidence suggests that mango consumption can help regulate blood sugar
- Mangoes contain a range of vitamins, including B vitamins
- In South Asia, mangoes have been cultivated for thousands of years
- Mangoes are relatively high in carbohydrate
There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
High levels of LDL cholesterol can build up inside the walls of blood vessels and increase the risk of cardiovascular complications.
The medical community sometimes calls HDL cholesterol “good cholesterol” because it helps to remove LDL cholesterol, “bad cholesterol,” from the body, lowering the risk of cardiovascular issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that, in 2011 and 2012, 78 million American adults had levels of LDL cholesterol high enough to require treatment or other conditions that gave them a high risk of strokes and heart disease.
Researchers and health authorities hope to identify dietary changes that can help reduce the number of people at risk.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2011 looked at the effects of mangoes on levels of glucose and fat, or lipids, in the blood of mice.
The mice consumed a high-fat diet. The researchers added freeze-dried mango to the diet of one group and drugs to the diets of other groups.
The drugs were either fenofibrate, which lowers lipid levels, or rosiglitazone, which reduces sugar in the blood.
The researchers found that the mice that had consumed mango had a lower percentage of body fat, lower blood cholesterol levels, and lower blood sugar levels than they had before.
The impact of mango was similar to the effects produced by the drugs.
High blood glucose, or blood sugar, is a sign of diabetes. For this reason, monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels is essential.
Results of a study in mice, mentioned above, suggest that mangoes can lower levels of blood glucose in the animals.
Twenty individuals with obesity each consumed 10 g of ground, freeze-dried mango pulp every day for 12 weeks. The researchers concluded that blood glucose levels fell in males and females who consumed the mango.
In the male participants, hip circumference also decreased, but there were no significant changes in the body’s weight or composition.
The authors concluded that regular consumption of freeze-dried mango might have a positive impact on fasting blood glucose levels.
However, this study was small. Confirming the conclusions will require further trials with more participants.
In 2015 and 2016, obesity affected 93.3 million adults in the U.S., or nearly 40 percent, according to the CDC.
Obesity appears to increase the risk of various health conditions, including strokes, heart disease, and diabetes.
No studies have shown that consuming mango leads to weight loss in humans. The results of the study above indicated a decrease in hip circumference in men, but no significant change in overall body fat or weight.
However, findings presented in 2016 provide hope that compounds in mangoes can help curb obesity.
Researchers studied the effects of mango on fat cells in the laboratory. Mangoes contain a range of chemicals called polyphenols, and the scientists reported that some of these chemicals reduced the ability of fat cells to multiply.
Confirming these findings will require more studies in humans. However, the researchers suggest that a mango-rich diet “might be helpful in the prevention of obesity and obesity-related diseases.”
Diabetes is a major health concern, in the U.S. and worldwide.
A person with prediabetes has levels of blood sugar that are high, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.
People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
A study from 2015 investigated the effects of mango on blood sugar in people with prediabetes.
Participants who consumed 10 g of freeze-dried mango every day for 12 weeks had “decreased blood glucose and increased insulin levels.” The control group, who did not eat mango, did not experience these changes.
Some people with diabetes think that they should stop eating fruit because it can contain high levels of sugar.
However, a moderate amount of fruit can be beneficial, especially because fruit contains important nutrients, including fiber and a range of vitamins and minerals.
In moderation, mangoes can be a healthful addition to a varied diet.
Mangoes score 51–56 on the glycemic index (GI) chart, similar to orange juice.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) consider this a low or medium score.
The ADA suggest the following tips for eating fruit:
- Consume fresh, frozen, or canned fruit without added sugar.
- A serving of fruit should contain about 15 g of carbohydrates. Two-thirds of a cup of mango contains approximately this amount.
- Remember that fresh fruit may be more satisfying than dried fruit, as the serving size for dried fruit is much smaller.
Adding mangoes to a healthful diet could benefit levels of blood sugar and lipids, and it may help to combat obesity. However, confirming the findings mentioned here will require more research.
Fresh and dried mangos are available for purchase online.