History of Mango
Called the King of Fruits, the mango fruit is popular throughout the entire world. However, the Asian continent was the first to enjoy this succulent, exotic fruit when it appeared there over 5,000 years ago, in the Hindo-Berma region (spanning East India to South China across the Southeast Asian region). Written records of mangoes in Hindi writings were found dating back to 4,000 B.C. Mango was first named as “Amra-Phal”. It was also referred to as “Rasala” and “Sahakara” in Indian ancient literature. In South India, the fruit was called “Aam-Kay”, but was pronounced “Maamkaay” by people in that region, and they further changed it to “Maanga”. The final name, “Mango”, stuck because it was introduced to the world by the Portugese when they carried it with them from Kerala.
Part of the mango’s popularity in Southeast Asia is due to spiritual reasons – it is believed that Buddha used to meditate and rest under a mango tree. Buddhists monks carried it with them on their journeys, and rulers exchanged them as gifts, which further contributed to the fruit’s popularity in the region. Similarly, in India, the mango tree was associated with Manmatha, the God of Love, and were also considered as a sign of good luck. Many people put up mango leaves on their front door, believing that the mango tree has the power to fulfill their wishes. Also, gifting someone with a bunch of mangoes is thought to be an act of friendship.
Ancient Indian rulers were known to plant mango groves along roads as a mark of prosperity, such as the Marathi ruler Raghunath Peshwa who planted an incredible 10 million mango trees. So great was the value of mangoes to them that they also exchanged them as gifts, and even had family feuds over them – for example, the Indian Emperor Shah Jahan had his own son punished and kept in house arrest over hiding all the mangoes in the palace and keeping them for himself.
As years passed, new mango varieties were cultivated and introduced to other producers in different regions in the world. There are currently more than 1,000 different types of mangoes produced all over the world, mostly in tropical and subtropical climates where they can reach their full potential. They come in different colors as well – the outer skin can be green, red, yellow and orange, while the inner skin is usually a golden yellow.
Nutrition Facts of Mango
Mangoes are one of the most nutritious fruits out there, containing a variety of different vitamins and minerals. A single cup of mango slices has 100 calories, 28 grams of which are carbohydrates, almost 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of fiber. It also contains the following vitamins:
Vitamin / Mineral
Percentage of Daily Value
|Vitamin C||46 mg||75%|
|Vitamin A||1262 IU||35%|
|Vitamin B6||0.2 mg||11%|
|Vitamin E||1.8 mg||9%|
|Vitamin K||6.9 mcg||8%|
Mangoes contain a range of antioxidants that improve overall health, such as beta-carotene, astragalin, zeaxanthin, and quercetin. They also provide the body with decent quantities of calcium, iron and magnesium.
20 Health Benefits of Mango
Mango is a natural skin cleanser and is suitable for all skin types. Placing thin slices of mango on your face and keeping it for 15 minutes would do a great job of unclogging the pores and, as a result, reduce acne formation. It also gives a nice glow to the skin without having to resort to expensive, chemical-injected skin products.
Helps the Body Fight Cancer
Several anti-oxidants are present in the mango fruit which help guard the body against various types of cancers, such as leukemia, colon, prostrate, and breast cancer.
Alkalizes the Body
Mangos are effective in keeping the alkali reserves of the body in check as well as maintaining its level due to the presence of three acids, namely tartaric, citric and malic acids.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
The high Vitamin C, pectin, and fiber content in mangos keep the cholesterol levels of the body under control. In addition, potassium in the mango aids in stabilizing heart rate as well as blood pressure, contributing to maintaining overall heart health.
Aids the Digestive System
There are enzymes in the mango which assist the breakdown of protein, thus helping digestion. Also, the rich prebiotic fiber in the mango helps the digesting and toxin removal process.It eases the flow of waste through the digestive tract and prevents constipation. Mango leaves are also effective for this very reason – before bed, soak 10-15 mango leaves in some warm water in a lidded container. In the morning, remove the leaves and drink the leftover water on an empty stomach.
It’s a Natural Aphrodisiac
Called the “love fruit”, the mango can potentially improve your sex life through its aphrodisiac qualities. It increases sexual virility in men, can regulate sex hormones as well as increase sex drive.
Help Lose Weight
Because of the richness of the mango in terms of the vitamins and nutrients it contains, it can make you feel full and is great as a small meal or snack between breakfast and lunch if you are trying to lose weight. In addition, the fiber it possesses gets the digestive system working by burning extra calories, thus aiding weight loss. In short, snacking on tasty mangoes instead of other unhealthy junk food is a great way to help you control binge eating, and thus can help weight loss.
Improves Eye Health
Mangoes are a good source of Vitamin A; a single cup of mango slices easily fulfills one-fourth of your daily Vitamin A requirements. This fruit can potentially help improve your eyesight, hydrates the eyes as well as prevents night blindness, contributing to keeping good eye health.
For patients with diabetes, boiling mangoes leaves and drinking its water is a great, inexpensive remedy to regulate their insulin levels and keeping their blood sugar levels under control.
Cools Down the Body
Mango drinks are a great way to cool the body down in the summer – just toss in some mango slices in the juicer with some water and a teaspoon of honey, and enjoy the refreshing, cool drink. It moderates your temperature and helps avoid heat stroke in cases of high-temperature environments.
Improves Memory and Other Brain Functions
Mangoes contain glutamine acid which is an important enzyme contributing to concentration and memory functions. It’s great for children and adults alike – the former to improve their concentration during exams, and the latter for protecting them from age-related memory diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Decreased Kidney Stone Formation
Ancient Chinese medicine has considered the mango to be capable of decreasing the risk of kidney stone formation.
For individuals suffering from anemia, eating mangoes everyday can substantially improve blood levels due to its high iron and calcium content.
Strengthens the Immune System
Mangoes not only contain Vitamin C and A, but also a wide variety – 25, in fact! – of carotenoids. This powerful combination works to keep your body healthy and strengthens the immune system.
Boosts Heart Health
Mangoes are vitamin dynamos and contain nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, selenium, calcium, iron and phosphorus which are essential for heart health, and help keep blood pressure in check for those suffering from high blood pressure. They are also effective in keeping cholesterol levels low.
The presence of calcium and a good quantity of the bone-building Vitamin K contributes to strengthening the bones and ensures adequate calcium absorption. Deficiency in Vitamin K increases chances of bone fractures.
Improve Respiratory Functions
A nutrient called beta-carotene can considerably reduce a person’s chances for developing asthma, and mangoes are filled with them.
Hydrates the Body
Mangoes are an excellent thirst-quencher in the summer. Especially when consumed unripe and with some salt, they tend to prevent loss of fluids (water, iron and sodium chloride) due to sweating from the body.
Improves Liver Health
Mangoes may help treat liver problems, due to it increasing levels of bile acid as well as cleansing the intestinal tract of bacteria.
A great way to relieve and heal burns is by applying some mango leaf ash paste on the affected areas and leaving it to dry. This should be repeated as needed until improvement is noticed.
Helps in Pregnancy
Pregnant and lactating women need extra iron and calcium for proper fetus development. Adding mangoes to their diet during this period is an excellent option for consuming additional nutrients.
Possible Side Effects of Mango
- The mango belongs to the same plant family as pistachios and cashew nuts, so people with an allergy to either of these nuts should avoid mangoes.
- Also, poison ivy is distantly related to mangoes, so certain individuals may be sensitive to mangoes.
- Mangoes contain a miniscule quantity of an oily resin called urushinol found in certain plants, which may trigger skin inflammation conditions such as eczema in some people.
- For people with only partially functioning kidneys, the high potassium content in mangoes can be life-endangering, as the kidneys may struggle with exposing the excess potassium from the body.
- Mangoes are a high-calorie fruit being rich in sugar, so it’s best to eat only one at a time to avoid possible weight gain.
- Those with latex allergies should avoid mangoes in its unripe form due to the presence of anacardic acid which can cause itchiness on areas of the mouth and lips. In extreme cases, it can cause swelling, breathing problems, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Mangoes are high in sugars, which can potentially increase blood sugar levels and prove dangerous for diabetic patients.
- Overeating mangoes can cause diarrhea due to its high fiber content.
The best ways to eat Mango (a few quick serving tips)
- To get the best of the mango’s deliciousness, simply slice it open and have it raw without any additions.
- Chop a fresh mango into cubes and add to fruit or vegetable salad for that extra zing.
- Prepare a fresh mango juice drink and add ice cubes to cool down on a hot day.
- It can also be had as a smoothie – blend some fresh mango slices with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and some milk.
- Mangoes can also be consumed in the form of pickles, homemade jams, and chutneys (spicy Indian dips).
- Mangoes can be used to make salsa along with some papaya, jalapeno, chipotle and red peppers, and used to drizzle over tacos and other wraps.
- If you have an overripe mango, massage the fruit gently until it feels like that flesh underneath the skin is soft and juicy. Then, trim off the tip of the mango and suck out all of its juicy goodness – a natural smoothie!
- Grill mango slices on the barbecue grill for a delicious dessert.
- For a healthy snack, chop mangoes into cubes, stick a toothpick into a cube and dip into yogurt. Enjoy!
Simple Tips for better Consumption
- Moderate use of mangoes is advised when adding to smoothies
- Add mango cubes into a green salad to add a zesty flavor to an otherwise boring salad
- Select ripe mangos – unripe mangoes are usually green in color, so best avoid those unless you do not plan to consume them immediately.
- Examine the mango skin to ensure there is no decay or bruising
- Avoid mangoes with spotty skin, as it may have grown on a tree that was attacked by bacteria or insects
- Fleshy mangoes are usually better than thin ones in flavor and are best used in salads and shakes.
Two Popular Mango Recipes
- 1 whole mango, peeled and chopped into cubes – dispose of seed
- 3 tbsp red capsicum, diced
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
In a bowl, blend together the mango, red capsicum, green onion, coriander, jalapeno and both lemon and lime juices. Cover with some plastic wrap and keep in a refrigerator for half an hour before serving. This recipe is perfect to serve with grilled fish.
Healthy Mango Smoothie
- 2 whole mangoes, peeled and chopped into cubes – dispose of seed
- ½ cup low-fat milk
- ½ cup ice
- ¼ cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 tbsp honey
Place all the mango, low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, ice and honey into a blender, and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into glasses – ready to serve!