Sep 2, 2009

Mangoes … Tasty and Healthy

Mango (Mangifera indica) is a globally popular fruit, with production exceeding 23 million tones a year according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Over 1000 varieties of mangoes exist which differ in their chemical composition, colour, size, shape and taste. Known popularity as the king of fruit, mangoes are not only delicious in their natural state but also form the base for number of delicious pickles and chutneys (sweet and sour). Mangoes also have many myths associated with them; one of the more peculiar ones is displaying mango leaves during weddings in order to bring good luck to the newly wed couple.

Mango health benefits:

  1. A medium sized mango provides about 50% of the daily requirement of the daily requirement of those dietary fibers that have the ability to lower cholesterol. These fibers also help heal piles, spastic colon and other digestive disorders.

  1. The fruit is an excellent source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber and minerals and helps in the digestive tract.

  1. The peel and pulp provide sufficient phytonutrients, particularly B-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A during metabolism.

  1. Mangoes supply omega 3 and 6 fatty acids generously; these are known to prevent the hardening of arteries. They protect against coronary heart diseases, strokes, mental disorder etc.

  1. A substance called Lupeol found in mangoes helps to inhibit prostrate and skin cancer.

  1. Manages are rich in potassium and help maintain the body’s electrolyte balance. This is especially helpful during hot summer days when the body tends to lose a lot of minerals through sweet.

  1. Mango juice is a nutritional punch and is anti-arthritic, anti-malarial and anti-lipidemia.

  1. Mango extract neutralizes free radicals (toxins which induce cellular damage through a number of ways) and prevents injuries to cells.

  1. The mango tree also has curative proper5ties. Chewing on slicks taken from the tree has an antimicrobial effect and prevents a variety of oral diseases including bad odour.

Just a word of caution for all those planning to consume their fair share of mangoes this season; some people may be allergic to mangoes due to the presence of urushiol, a mixture of chemical compounds that is found in the sap of tree.

By Profeesor. Dr. Rashida Ali: The write works at the Division of Food Research, H.E. J Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi.

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