Excerpt: Fix it With Food; Superfoods to become Superhealthy by Kavita Devgan
This chapter on the benefits of the marvellous mango tells you why you should treat yourself to this king of fruits. Like you need an excuse!Updated: Apr 29, 2020 11:37 IST
There has to be something right with mangoes for they have been a part of the diet in India for more than 4,000 years. Like most people I know, I too love my mango and eat them with abandon. I actually eat them straight off the peel, no dainty, pretty-looking cubes for me. That’s how I have eaten mangoes as a child and continue to do so as an adult. And now I know that eating mangoes like this pays rich dividends as the concentration of the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory antioxidants that mango is rich in is maximum just below the skin. So, eating it the old-fashioned way (my way!) is actually the best way to score maximum health benefits.
Mango is a perfect comfort food: Just tasting one makes you feel good. It does effectively chase away the blues. It has many advantages over other fruits. For starters, it has minimal fat and sodium, and zero cholesterol. It is not very steep in calories (about 120 calories for a medium-sized fruit), so it makes a perfect in-between snack or/and a delicious dessert.
Ever noticed how your constipation simply clears up during the mango season? That’s because mango delivers lots of fibre (3 gm), and works like a natural laxative. It’s in fact a brilliant gut food.
Also, it is an alkaline food that helps keep the pH of the body alkaline. An acidic body is a seat for disease, and eating mangoes can help check that effectively.
Mangoes are loaded with more beta-carotene than most other fruits — about 2164 IU in 200 gm. Beta-carotene gets converted into vitamin A in the body, which is needed for good eyesight, healthy lungs, bones and skin. Also, these powerful antioxidants are good for a healthy immune system and help repair cell damage.
Mango is also a great source of vitamin C, which again helps boost our immune system. It is rich in glutamine acid, a protein that improves our concentration and memory.
Ripe mangoes possess loads of phenolics (antioxidants), which have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
You score loads of potassium too and our body needs potassium to help regulate blood pressure (thus keeping hypertension away).
Did You Know?
Even though mangoes are a rich source of fructose (a type of fruit sugar), they needn’t be forbidden from a diabetic’s diet. Just incorporate them safely and responsibly. It’s safe as its glycemic load (a useful measure of the ability of a food to spike blood sugar and insulin levels) is low-medium. So, diabetics need not be scared of this fruit.
Finally, it is time to really bury the myth that mangoes can be fattening. Eating a mango has been shown to reduce the level of leptin hormone in the body, which affects our appetite. So, in effect, mangoes may help control blood sugar and cholesterol and also reduce body fat. Mango peel extracts are also known to inhibit fat cell formation, very similar to the action of resveratrol (the antioxidant found in red wine, grapes and peanuts).
All this from that tasty, juicy fruit? Not a bad deal at all!
So, whether or not you are on a weight-loss diet, I’d say one mango a day while it is in season is mandatory for everyone. There are enough reasons to enjoy this fruit, and the joy they give is just one of those!
Easy Tips to Eat Mangoes
You can just bite in, of course. And I suggest you eat it the traditional way — with the peel — so that when you suck on the flesh, you can absorb some antioxidants from the skin as well.
Make mango lassi in a blender by combining 1 mango, 1 cup yoghurt, 1 tbsp honey, 2 dates and ice. Blend until smooth. Then pour into glasses and serve.
To make mango salsa, mix together mangoes, cucumber, finely chopped white onion, lime juice, orange juice, roughly chopped mint leaves, salt and pepper. It goes perfectly with nachos.
Also try this for breakfast some day: Put milk, chia seeds and honey in a jar and refrigerate it overnight. Add fresh mango puree or chopped mangoes to it the next morning and enjoy a healthy breakfast.
At a Glance
The benefits of eating mangoes include,
•Delivering potassium to keep your blood sugar under control
•Providing fibre to keep your constipation away
•Sharpening concentration and memory
Mangoes were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago. It is believed that Lord Buddha meditated under the cool shade of a mango tree.