Everything you need to know about mangoes
The mango is a member of the drupe family, a type of plant food with an outer fleshy part surrounding a shell (what we sometimes call a pit) that contains a seed. Olives, dates, and coconuts are also types of drupes.
There are many different kinds of mangoes. They 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.
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.
Mangoes are a great source of nutrients.
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, and heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
Mangoes can possibly help protect and strengthen the body in the following ways:
Age-related macular degeneration
A higher intake of all fruits (three or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease the risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
The risk of developing asthma is 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 Nutrition and has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer in a Japanese study.
In a study conducted by Texas AgriLife Research, food scientists tested mango polyphenol extracts on colon, breast, lung, leukemia, and prostate cancer tissue; mangoes were shown to have some impact on all cancers tested but were most effective with breast and colon cancers.
The researchers are planning to do a follow-up study; they will focus on individuals with increased inflammation in their intestines and therefore a higher risk for cancer.
Low intakes of vitamin K are associated with a higher risk of bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption can be achieved by eating a proper intake of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin K is important for improving calcium absorption, essential for optimal bone health.
Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels; and individuals with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup of mango provides about 3 grams of fiber.
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 hypertension.
Skin and Hair
Mangoes are 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, found in just 1 cup of mango per day, is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
One cup of mangoes delivers a day's worth of vitamin C.
One cup of diced mango contains:
- 100 calories
- 1 gram protein
- 0.5 grams fat
- 25 grams of carbohydrate (24 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber)
- 100 percent of the daily need for vitamin C
- 35 percent of vitamin A
- 20 percent of folate
- 10 percent of vitamin B-6
- 8 percent of vitamin K and potassium
Mangoes also contribute copper, calcium, and iron to the diet as well as antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.
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.
- One of the best ways to enjoy a mango is diced fresh, just by itself. Take the mystery out of 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 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 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
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1 15 ounce 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 of water and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, add all ingredients except flour and olive oil to a food processor. Stir the chia seed mix and add to the food processor. Pulse until well combined.
Heat a large skillet over a 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 for 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 over a medium heat and stir in half of the diced tomatoes and all of the onion and chilies. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the onion and chilies are softened. Remove the mixture from the heat. Place in a medium bowl and allow to cool.
Add the avocado, lime juice, and mango, and stir.
Those with a allergy to latex may also have a cross-reaction to mangoes (as well as to bananas, avocado and a few other fruits and vegetables).
Consuming too much potassium can be harmful to 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.