Mango is a tropical fruit which weights from 300 g to 2 kg. It is a drupe (or stone fruit); its flesh adheres to a large, flat and slippery core. It can be round, oval or kidney-shaped, and has a skin which can be yellow, green or red. Its flesh is dark yellow, creamy, rich and sweet. It has a taste almost between peach and flower. Mango has a very pleasant smell. Depending on the varieties or when the fruit is too ripe, the flesh can be stringy.
Health Benefits of Mango
Several prospective epidemiological studies have shown that a high consumption of fruits, including mangoes, and vegetables decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers and other chronic diseases that appall our society. The presence of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables play a major role in these protective effects. The mango is a good source of vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, and E, as well as some minerals such as zinc. It is great for your skin, eyes, lungs, prostate (see mango and prostate cancer), and other others.
Mango and Cancer Prevention
One of the few studies conducted specifically on mango demonstrated that the juice has anticancer effect on cells in vitro. However, other studies are needed to determine if these properties remain after digestion or absorption of the juice by the human body. Overall, the researchers believe the anticancer effect of mangoes can be explained by their polyphenol content. The scientists study different types of the fruit. They conclude the varieties Haden and Ataulfo possess superior anti-cancer properties than others. But this is not conclusive considering there are so many varieties of mango all over the world.
Mango and Breast Cancer
There is no conclusive findings yet on mango and breast cancer. But it is known that regular consumption of the fruit helps prevent many cancers; Women are therefore encouraged to eat plenty of fruits including mangos to reduce their risk. Mangos are sweet and tasty; even children love them. Another good thing is the fact you don’t need to prepare extract to obtain the benefits. Just wash and eat them, and you will receive all the health benefits. Mango is rich in polyphenols, carotenoids, and fiber.
Mango is greatly different from other tropical fruits due to its high content of polyphenols (or phenolics). The main polyphenol found in a ripe mango is gallic acid, a type of a water soluble phenolic acid. Phenolic compounds are found in plant foods. Their antioxidant capacity would protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals. They decrease the risk of developing several diseases, including cancer. Their abundance and composition differ depending on the variety. For example, the Ataulfo variety contains more polyphenols, vitamin C and beta-carotene and antioxidant capacity greater than the other varieties such as Tommy Atkins, Haden, Kent and Keitt. The concentration of phenolic compounds can also vary greatly between fruit of the same variety, within the same culture and similar maturity.
Mangoes also contain mangiferin, one of the most potent antioxidants; gallotannin, also known as Tannic Acid; tannin, a water-soluble polyphenol that binds and precipitates proteins. These three compounds are however present in much higher proportion in the core and the skin of the fruit. Mangiferin has been studied mainly from extracts of the bark of the mango tree. In addition to cancer, studies show it has beneficial properties against diabetes, inflammation, oxidative stress and high cholesterol. However, the fruit would contain 400 times less mangiferin than that the bark of the tree, which is not sufficient to cause the observed effects.
Beta-carotene and violaxanthin are two major carotenoids in the fruit. These pigments, which have antioxidant properties, give an orange-red color to fruits and vegetables that contain them in large amount, such as mango. In some varieties, beta-carotene, would account for 20% to almost 100% of total carotenoids. Beta-carotene is an important precursor to vitamin A in the body; it helps prevent lung cancer (see mango and lung cancer). However, the different varieties of mango as well as the ripening stage greatly influences the amounts of these carotenoids. One study showed that ripe mangos should have a higher antioxidant activity than the unripe. Mangos also contain other types of carotenoids such as beta-cryptoxanthin, but in smaller quantities.
As of today, there is no scientific study on mango and colon cancer. But the fact the edible part of the fruit contains fiber, half of which is soluble fiber, scientists believe it can health the colon tissue to remain healthy. The proportion tends to increase with ripening of the fruit. Soluble fibers help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers through their ability to lower blood cholesterol. Most soluble fibers in mangoes would arise in the form of pectin in an amount comparable to that of apple or banana, 2 fruits well known for their high pectin content.
Mango can interact with anticoagulant (blood thinner) warfarin, and alter blood concentration. Warfarin is prescribed as an anticoagulant medication. Therefore, it is recommended that people taking the drug to consult with their health care professional before consuming mangoes or other foods that may alter the effects of warfarin on blood clotting.
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