Are mangos the nutrient filled superfood we need for better health?

By Emma Jane Cash

- Last updated on GMT

iStock / j_markow
iStock / j_markow

Related tags: Nutrition

Mangos have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties according to a comprehensive review of all available science literature on the fruit.

Published in the May issue of Food & Function,​ the review examines the nutrient profiles of mangos and their health boosting properties, including better nutrient intake and diet quality.

The research suggests that consumption of mangos is important for glycemic control and the microbiome, as well as vascular, brain, skin and intestinal health.

Mangos contain 60 calories/100 g, are a source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, and are mainly used in salsas, fruit salads, chutneys and ice creams.

According to the authors of the review, this is the first review focusing on the flesh and pulp of the mango, as previous papers have concentrated on the bark, leaves, peel and seeds of the fruit.

Combatting obesity and diabetes

“Not only are mangos one of the popular fruits in the world, they contain a variety of essential nutrients and distinctive bioactive components that may play a role in supporting metabolic functions including anti-inflammatory activity,”​ said Britt M. Burton-Freeman, PhD, MS of the Center for Nutrition Research, Institution for Food Safety and Health, Illinois Institute of Technology, and lead author of the paper.

The fruit is also a source of phytochemicals, including phenolic acids, mangiferin, carotenoids and gallotannins, which have suggested health benefiting properties such as anti-inflammation, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity and anti-cancer.

With the prevalence of obesity and diabetes increasing worldwide over the past two decades, a solution to reducing both diseases has never been so important.

Researchers are hoping that eating more mangos could be this solution due to their ability to aid nutrient intake.

The review found 11 articles studying the effects of consuming mango flesh on obesity and in particular looked at seven different human trials where mango was fed to individuals with type 2 diabetes or who were obese.

Results from these trials have suggested that eating mangos could moderate glucose response in people with diabetes mellitus.

Further research is needed to better understand the full impact of mango consumption on those at risk for diabetes, however in animal studies mango consumption has been shown to reduce risk factors of both cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

In these animal studies, mango consumption reduced total cholesterol, total cholesterol to high-density cholesterol ratio, triglycerides and glucose concentrations.

Emerging areas of mango health benefits

The review has also shed light on some emerging health benefits of mango consumption, including brain, skin and intestinal health.

Due to the potential neuroprotective activities of mangos, animal studies have suggested that eating the fruit could support brain health.

Previous studies in cell culture and animal models have suggested that mangiferin and gallotannin, two phytochemicals found in mangos, have the ability to restore mitochondrial membrane potential in neuronal cells, which could prevent against Alzheimer’s disease.

The review comments that all relevant data supports the understanding of mango fruit having many health and protective benefits to the brain.

Despite there being few research papers on the subject, the review has found that the little that does exist suggests mangos are also good for the skin, especially when it comes to ageing.

The authors say the data looks “promising”​ and shows that the hydrophilic and lipophilic components of mangos inhibit the increase in epidermal thickness and epidermal hypertrophy, as well as protected the skin against UVB induced collagen fiber damager and increased collagen bundles.

Reductions in collage damage and loss can help to maintain a healthy and young appearance, with fewer wrinkles.

Finally, the review pointed at promising data on the effects of mangos on intestinal health, particularly in helping to prevent against ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease.

Mice studies have suggested that mangos have benefits for the microbiome, however the authors conclude that more research needs to be conducted to fully understand its effects on humans.

Source: Food & Function
Published online, doi:  10.1039/c7fo00190h
“Mangos and their bioactive components: adding variety to the fruit plate for health”
Authors: Britt M. Burton-Freeman, et al

Related topics: Research

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