How Healthy are Mangos?
There are many fruits that are popular for their taste and nutritional content. In South Asia, Mangos are considered to be “King of Fruits” because of its heavenly taste and numerous health benefits.
But what is a mango? Many people think that mango is a citrus fruit but the truth is it is not. The Mango is an ancient tropical fruit that originally came from the Anacardiaceae family of flowering plants cultivated in South Asia thousands of years ago. It is a member of the drupe family and has a fleshy outer part and a hard shell containing a single seed; Olives, dates and peaches are other examples of drupes.
There are over 1000 varieties of mangos all over the world and their colors, shapes, flavor and sizes differ. The outer skin color vary from green to yellow to red and orange but the inner flesh is usually the same, golden yellow. Mangos has a succulent flesh that has a sweet, creamy taste and contains more than 20 vitamins and minerals.
History and Cultivation
It was first cultivated in South Asia thousands of years ago. It then reached Southeast Asia in between the 4th and 5th centuries. During the 10th century people started planting mangos in East Africa. The mango reached the USA, specifically the state of Florida, in 1833 where it was first attempted to be cultivated. However, due to several factors with weather conditions the commercial production of mango was minimized.
Mangos are now being cultivated in warm, frost-free states that have tropical to subtropical climates.
Health Benefits of a Mango
The Florida mango offers the same health benefits as other mango varieties. Mango benefits include:
- Cancer prevention from antioxidant compounds found in the fruit.
- Lowers cholesterol from the high vitamin C content that helps decrease the serum cholesterol levels, specifically LDL.
- The high fiber in mangos helps improve digestion and eliminate constipation.
- Mangos contain high amounts of vitamin C and A as well as carotenoids – nutrients that can help improve the immune system.
- Other health benefits of a mango are the use as a remedy for heat stroke, better eye sight and clearer skin.
A 3.5 ounce mango contains 46% of your daily vitamin C requirements. Calories in a mango of the same size is 65 and has 20 other vitamins and minerals.
Aside from eating it fresh out of hand you may be wondering how else to eat a mango. You can pickle unripe mangos and serve them as side dish while ripe mangos can be made into jams, fruit preserve, ice cream, pies and smoothies.