The best thing about July? Some varieties of mango are still abundantly available, are less likely to be artificially ripened for the May demand and so offer more natural goodness with each juicy slice (or bite, depending on how mango-crazy you are). The luscious golden fruit, much loved across India, has been around for thousands of years and was even mentioned in Vedic texts. Royalty and humble folk alike have succumbed to its delights every season.
The mango is not just delicious, it offers great nutritional value and advantages for health. If you eat your mangoes ripe, you benefit from a good dose of vitamin A. In fact, the fruit has more beta carotene (the parent compound of vitamin A) than any other fruit. In addition, it contains abundant levels of vitamins B1 and B2, niacin, iron and fibre. Ripened yellow mangoes act as a diuretic, helping those with water retention shed excess fluid and keep kidneys in good shape. The sweet mango also improves haemoglobin in the blood, its fibre promotes intestinal movement by acting as a laxative and delivers a boost of energy.
Green mangoes have a much higher proportion of vitamin C, which keeps skin glowing, helps clear clogged pores and prevents scurvy. The typical sour astringent taste comes from natural acids that combat heat-related problems (fix yourself a glass of aam panna) and reduces cysts.
What mangoes can do
The acids in green mangoes increase the secretion of bile and act as an intestinal antiseptic. Have it with honey and black pepper daily.
Aamchur (sun-dried raw mango powder) is great to aid the digestive system. Add it to your recipes as a souring agent.
Both varieties of the fruit are antioxidant rich and have been shown to help prevent cancer and heart disease. In addition, each bite delivers a dose of potassium, which is very good for maintaining blood pressure, and flavonoids, the compounds that boost our immune system.
Help you bulk up
Mangoes are sweet and calorific without being cloying. Mango with milk delivers a combination of easily digestible carbohydrates and protein for those looking to gain weight.
Look to the leaf, not the fruit. The soft young leaves of the mango tree prevent and control early symptoms of diabetes. Dry and powder the leaves. Take half a teaspoon of this powder, twice a day.
From HT Brunch, July 21
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