We have reached the peak of the summer season, and for many the heat may be becoming unbearable. However, the summer season also has its benefits. It is the season of a much-loved fruit, the fleshy and juicy mango, the king of fruits. Mangoes vary in colour, shape, flavour, and seed size, and although their skin can be green, red, yellow, or orange, their inner flesh is mostly golden yellow.
Apart from the fact that they taste sweet, mangoes are also loaded with nutrients. They’re rich in protein, fibre, Vitamins C, A, B-6, and K, folic acid, and potassium. They are also rich in iron. People who suffer from anaemia can benefit from eating mangoes, and they are also especially good for women after menopause.
Mangoes can help in reducing the risk of lifestyle-related health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. They promote a healthy complexion and hair, give increased energy, and help in maintaining a healthy weight.
Here are some of the health benefits of mangoes:
Fighting heat stroke: Eating mangoes helps to protect and strengthen the body in the scorching summer heat. Juicing the fruit from a green mango and mixing it with water and a sweetener helps to cool the body and prevent harm from overheating.
Boosting the immune system: Mangoes are rich in Vitamin C, which boosts our immune system, and Vitamin A, which helps our body to fight various infections. They also contain more than 25 different kinds of carotenoids that keep our immune system healthy by producing more white blood cells.
Promoting weight loss: Mangoes contain a lot of Vitamins and essential nutrients. Eating them in moderation can make you feel fuller. Their fibrous content boosts the digestive system and helps to burn unwanted calories, resulting in reducing body fat and blood sugar.
Improving digestion: Mangoes are rich in pre-biotic dietary fibre, Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. They’re also rich in amylases, which help in the breakdown of large food molecules, thus improving their absorption by the body. Their dietary fibre content helps in the digestive system.
Regulating diabetes: Mangoes have a relatively low glycemic index, so moderate quantities will not increase your sugar levels. The dietary fibre in mangoes also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and the mangiferin in them also has eminent anti-diabetic potential. Mango leaves can help normalise insulin levels in the blood, with one traditional home remedy involving boiling five to six mango leaves in water. Soak overnight and drink the filtered water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Cleansing the skin: Eating mangoes in moderation is the key to radiant skin and bouncy hair. Applying a mango scrub on your face or body can also give you smooth and glowing skin. The Vitamin C in mangoes can help to fight acne and clear up clogged pores, and the Vitamin A is responsible for clear skin and healthy hair. Mangoes also protect the skin from the damage caused by harmful ultraviolet rays, thus acting as a natural sunblock.
Slowing ageing: Mangoes are rich in the polyphenol mangiferin, which acts as a powerful antioxidant that protects our body from free radical damage, thus slowing the effects of ageing.
Improving eye health: Mangoes are rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that are known to prevent macular degeneration of the eyes. They also act as a natural sunscreen for the eyes, preventing harmful blue light from entering them. They are rich in beta-carotene, which helps in the production of Vitamin A, known to boost eye health. They can also help to prevent and treat night blindness, dry eyes, and redness.
Lowering cholesterol: Mangoes have high levels of soluble fibre, pectin, and Vitamin C that can help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in our blood.
Preventing cancer: The antioxidant compounds in mangoes as well as their abundant enzymes make them super healthy and tasty to eat. Research has shown that the antioxidant compounds in mangoes help to protect against colon, breast, blood, and prostate cancers.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 11 August, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.