The sweet, unique, delicate flavor of a succulent mango brings the tropics to your plate. Although the tree is in the same family as poison oak and ivy, mango fruit is far from dangerous: it actually promotes human health in various ways, from digestion to immunity.
1. Eye Care
The bright orange-yellow flesh is a dead giveaway for mango’s vitamin A. Critical for eye health, vitamin A is also necessary for the development of bones and teeth.
Mango is also loaded with essential vitamin C, important for a fully-functioning immune system and collagen production. This vitamin also plays a role in iron absorption.
Enzymes and fiber in mango aid digestion. A study of eating mango as a remedy for chronic constipation found:
“Compared to the consumption of fibre, the consumption of mango in the treatment of chronic constipation had higher subject adherence, improved parameters of intestinal evacuation, reduced the production of endotoxins, reduced inflammation, and increased the concentration of short chain fatty acids, all of which have been established to contribute to intestinal health and wellness.” (1).
3. Alkalizes the body
Mango is an alkaline food that balances internal acid levels—a pH balance lower than neutral is linked to kidney disease, muscle impairment, and osteoporosis.
Antioxidants in mango act as anti-inflammatories in the body, with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects. Fisetin is one of the phytochemicals in mango shown to support brain health.
4. Fights Cancer
The colorful fruit contains cancer-fighting antioxidants like quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat.
A study performed at Texas A&M University found mango fruit reduced breast cancer cell proliferation and prevented new cancer cells from forming:
“These results of the study indicate that the cell-killing effects of mango polyphenols are specific to cancer cells, where inflammation was reduced in both cancer and non-cancer cells, seemingly through the involvement of miRNA-21 — short microRNA molecules associated with cancer…The tumor-fighting potential of mango polyphenolics may at least in part be based on those same properties which reduced cancer cell proliferation and reduce inflammation that may be involved in carcinogenesis.” (2).
5. Weight loss
Mango fruit works as well as pharmaceuticals in treating metabolic disorders and preventing the increase of fat mass, reducing LDL cholesterol in the process (3).
This may be due to the same phytochemicals that regulate blood sugar; mango itself is low on the glycemic index and stimulates pancreas function.
One study found that over a four-week period, diabetic patients’ blood sugar levels were the same as non-diabetics when their diets were supplemented with mangoes (4).
6. High Antioxidants Levels
Because of its high levels of urushiol—what makes the parts of the plant other than the fruit a skin irritant—mango leaves aren’t readily available in the local supermarket.
The leaves, however, have been used since ancient times to treat many infirmities: diarrhea, anemia, asthma, insomnia, snakebite, liver disorders, and many others (5).
The high antioxidant content—mangiferin the most abundant—found in all parts of the mango tree (including the fruit) is responsible for its ability to regulate healthy cell activity.