Mangoes are sweet, creamy fruits that have a range of possible health benefits. They are highly popular around the world.

The mango is a tropical stone fruit and member of the drupe family. This is a type of plant food with a fleshy outer section that surrounds a shell, or pit. This pit contains a seed.

Other members of the drupe family include olives, dates, and coconuts.

There are many different kinds of mango. They vary in color, shape, flavor, and seed size. Although mango skin can be green, red, yellow, or orange, its inner flesh is mostly golden yellow.

This feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. In this article, we explore the many benefits of mangoes, explain their nutritional breakdown, and provide a few healthy recipe ideas.

picture of mangoesShare on Pinterest
Peter Karasev/Offset

Consuming mangoes has a variety of health benefits that can help protect and strengthen the body. The sections below discuss these benefits in more detail.

Age-related macular degeneration

Mangoes contain an antioxidant called zeaxanthin.

A 2017 review suggests that zeaxanthin may play a protective role in eye health and could prevent damage from macular degeneration. This is an eye condition that gets worse with age.

The review cites the anti-inflammatory properties of zeaxanthin as a possible cause of this protective mechanism.

Cancer

A 2017 review found that mangiferin, a bioactive compound of the mango, can protect against several human cancer types, including lung, colon, breast, and neuronal cancers.

Additionally, the Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that a diet rich in beta carotene content can help protect against skin cancer. Orange fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, contain beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body.

Research also suggests that vitamin A can boost the action of the immune system against disease.

Diabetes

A 2019 rodent study evaluating mango leaves found that some plant compounds had a powerful effect when it came to reducing risk factors for diabetes. These included lower body weight, reduced blood sugar levels, and lower levels of fats in the blood.

Research shows that functional compounds in the mango peel also have antidiabetic properties.

Neither study clarifies whether or not mango flesh provides the same benefits. However, one 2014 study found that eating freeze-dried mangoes reduced blood sugar levels in people with obesity.

Learn which fruits are good for diabetes here.

Heart disease

Health experts consider mangoes to contain medium to high amounts of potassium. A 165-gram (g) cup of raw mango provides 277 milligrams (mg) of potassium, or 5.89% of an adult’s daily needs.

The content of fiber, potassium, and vitamins in mangoes helps keep the arteries working and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Increasing potassium and decreasing sodium in the diet can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

What are some heart-healthy foods?

Skin and hair

Mangoes also support hair health, as they provide a good amount of vitamin A. Substances that derive from vitamin A help provide sebum, which moisturizes the hair.

Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including the skin and hair.

A cup of sliced mango provides 60.1 mg of vitamin C. This is most of a person’s daily requirement, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Consuming enough vitamin C supports the development and maintenance of collagen. This provides structure to the skin and hair.

Which foods boost healthy hair growth?

A 165-g cup of raw mango provides the following:

  • calories: 99
  • protein: 1.35 g
  • fat: 0.63 g
  • carbohydrate: 24.8 g
  • sugar: 22.6 g
  • fiber: 2.64 g
  • potassium: 277 mg
  • vitamin C: 60.1 mg
  • vitamin A, RAE: 89.1 micrograms (mcg)
  • beta carotene: 1,060 mcg
  • lutein and zeaxanthin: 38 mcg
  • folate: 71 mcg

Mangoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They can contribute to the daily requirement for several nutrients.

According to recommendations for adults aged 19 years and over from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, a 165-g cup of raw mango provides the following:

NutrientApproximate percentage of the daily requirement for adults
Vitamin C67%
Vitamin A10%
Folate18%
Vitamin B612%
Potassium6%

Mangoes also contribute copper, calcium, and iron to the diet, as well as the antioxidants zeaxanthin and beta carotene.

It is best not to judge the ripeness of a mango solely by its color. While one should expect a slight color change during the ripening process, they should also look for fresh mangoes that yield slightly to the touch when they are ripe.

Mangoes should not have black freckles on the skin. They will continue to ripen at room temperature. When they reach the ideal ripeness, it is best to store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for no longer than 2–3 days.

Mangoes taste best when slightly chilled, if not eaten straight from the tree. One of the best ways to enjoy a fresh mango is by dicing it and eating it without any extra ingredients.

Other options include:

  • making a tropical fruit salad with fresh papaya, pineapple, and mango
  • muddling mango into a glass of lemonade, iced tea, or water for a burst of fresh, fruity flavor
  • making a fresh salsa with papaya, mango, jalapeno, red peppers, and chipotle pepper and using this as a topper for fish tacos
  • adding a few slices of frozen mango to smoothies and combining them with pineapple juice, frozen strawberries, and Greek yogurt for a sweet, tropical treat

Alternatively, people can try the following recipe for black bean burgers with chipotle mango guacamole. It provides a combination of plant-based proteins and complex carbohydrates with an additional antioxidant boost.

Black bean burgers

Use the following ingredients to make these wholesome plant burgers:

Preparation

  1. Mix the chia seeds with 2 tbsp of water and let the mixture sit for 5–10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add all the ingredients except the flour and olive oil to a food processor. Stir the chia seed mix and add it to the food processor. Pulse until well combined.
  3. Heat a large skillet over a medium heat. Remove the bean mix from food processor and place in a large bowl.
  4. Mix in the flour and olive oil and form four patties.
  5. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until slightly crisp on the outside and warm on the inside.
  6. Toast 2 whole grain buns and serve them topped with chipotle mango guacamole.

Chipotle mango guacamole

The following ingredients add the mango punch to this flavorsome meal:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 dried chipotle chillies, chopped and with most seeds removed
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • juice from half a lime
  • half a small mango, diced

Preparation

  1. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium heat.
  2. Stir in half of the diced tomatoes and all of the onion and chilies.
  3. Cook for 5–10 minutes, until the onion and chilies soften.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat.
  5. Place in a medium bowl and allow to cool.
  6. Add the avocado, lime juice, and mango.
  7. Stir the mixture.

There are over 1,000 different types of mango in the world, but not all of them are available commercially. They all grow in warm, tropical areas, such as India and Africa, but they have their own unique flavors and textures.

Here are six of the most popular mangoes around the globe.

Honey

Honey, or Ataulfo, mangoes are sweet and sour and have a tropical, peachy aroma. The small, flattened exterior reveals a vibrant yellow color when peeled away. Honey mangoes have very small pits, with a high flesh-to-seed ratio.

Honey mangoes are primarily grown in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil.

Francis

This sweet and fruity mango variety grows on small farms throughout Haiti. Its skin is bright yellow and has green overtones. The fruit has a soft, juicy texture.

Francis mango has one large brown pit.

Haden

The Haden mango variety has a sweet and sour flavor and a slightly bitter aftertaste. The medium to large oval-shaped fruit is bright red with green and yellow overtones. It also features small white dots.

The Haden mango variety is primarily grown in Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. It is also grown in the United States in Florida.

Keitt

Keitt mangoes are large and oval-shaped, with a tangy, citrus flavor and juicy flesh. They turn a medium green color when ripe and have thin seeds.

Keitt mangoes are mainly grown in Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, and the U.S.

Kent

Kent mangoes originate in Florida and have a sweet, peachy flavor with hints of sour notes. The skin is a dark green and may have a patch of dark red blush over a small section of the fruit.

The large oval-shaped fruit has seeds surrounded by a thick woody case.

Tommy Atkins

Originating in Florida, the Tommy Atkins mango is the most widely grown commercial variety coming into the U.S. The tart fruit is a dark red color and includes small hints of tropical fruit and citrus notes.

The Tommy Atkins mango is primarily grown in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, and Guatemala.

Every mango variety is different, but there is usually a color change in the fruit as it ripens. It also tends to soften and sweeten as it gets riper.

Here are some tips for storing mangoes:

  • Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature.
  • Place them in a paper bag to speed up the ripening process.
  • Once they are ripe, store them in the refrigerator to slow down the process of ripening.
  • Store whole, ripe mangoes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

People can store peeled and sliced mangoes in an airtight container for several days in the refrigerator. They can store cubed mangoes placed in an airtight container in a freezer for up to 6 months.

People with an allergy to latex may have a cross-reaction to mangoes.

This results from oral allergy syndrome, which is when a person has similar reactions to different potential allergens — including pollens, fruits, and materials such as latex — because the body recognizes them as being the same.

Symptoms can include a sensation of tingling, burning, or both on the lips, tongue, or throat, as well as swelling, within a few minutes of eating a mango.

People with an allergy to poison ivy or poison oak may also have a reaction to mangoes. This is due to a substance called urushiol, which is present in trees that mangoes grow on.

Urushiol is the same substance that causes an itchy rash after skin exposure to poison ivy and poison oak.

In very rare cases, mango can cause a reaction similar to a poison ivy rash on a person’s face within hours. It lasts for several days. A mild reaction is not dangerous, but it can be uncomfortable.

Health experts call a severe allergic reaction anaphylaxis. Symptoms can begin within minutes of eating the fruit and include:

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening. The symptoms develop suddenly and include:

  • hives
  • swelling of the face or mouth
  • wheezing
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • a fast heart rate
  • clammy skin
  • anxiety or confusion
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • blue or white lips
  • fainting or loss of consciousness

If someone has these symptoms:

  1. Check whether they are carrying an epinephrine pen. If they are, follow the instructions on the side of the pen to use it.
  2. Dial 911 or the number of the nearest emergency department.
  3. Lay the person down from a standing position. If they have vomited, turn them onto their side.
  4. Stay with them until the emergency services arrive.

Some people may need more than one epinephrine injection. If the symptoms do not improve in 5–15 minutes, or they come back, use a second pen if the person has one.

To test for allergies, a person should ask a doctor about a skin test or other allergy test. These can help the person understand their reactions.

If a test shows that an allergy is present, it can help the person avoid contact with or consumption of foods and products that trigger symptoms.

People should try to adopt a well-rounded, varied diet, which provides access to a broad range of nutrients, rather than focusing on the benefits of one particular fruit or vegetable.