Mangoes are in season. Yay! Mango lovers would be very excited and I do not mean those who spend time doing Nollywood love things under the mango tree. Mango is an easy source of Vitamin C and Folate (Folic acid) and contains some Vitamin A (βeta Carotene). The percentage of other Vitamins and minerals when looking at the daily recommended intakes are rather small. A lot of fruits have this type of composition: many micronutrients in very small quantities with some that are close to the daily recommended intake. This is why you see a lot of recommendations advising you to take more than one portion of fruit a day and most importantly a variety so that you get the opportunity of consuming all the necessary nutrients that would help you improve and maintain your health daily.
How do you eat your mangoes? Do you eat the pulp and throw away the skin? Please don’t throw the skin away. The skin contains antioxidants and other plant compounds (phytochemicals) that have health promoting properties. Mango skin contains anthocyanins and carotenoids which are important plant chemicals to us because they have antioxidant properties and play an excellent role in helping to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases (diseases of the heart and blood vessels), improve memory and mental function. You will find more of these in mango peels that are very ripe.
A super chemical found in mango is the Mangiferin. Mangiferin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, anticancer and antimicrobial (kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth), analgesic (relieves pain) and immunomodulatory (capable of regulating immune functions) properties and thus provides protection against a wide range of physiological disorders. Interestingly, the mango pulp, peel, leaves and stem bark have been used traditionally to treat different ailments for thousands of years. I remember when my mother would prepare ‘Agbo’, an herbal concoction made from boiling herbs and force us to drink it. Now that I can appreciate all the efforts she made back then, I am able to recall a number of times when she included mango leaves in the pot of herbs.
There are many mango varieties out in the market; it is the season after all. You can try different varieties or stick to the ones you like (though diversity is best) but just consume some mangoes this season; pulp and peel. You can make smoothies out of them or combine them with yoghurts and other fruits to get a nutrient rich and delicious snack. I am certainly going to make something from mango that I have not done in a long time (or not at all). When I get this done, I will surely let you know.
For some reason, some people are allergic to a compound in the mango peel called Urushiol. Apart from this, mango is safe to eat and can be enjoyed by infants, toddlers, teens and everyone.
Finally, do not forget to wash your mangoes thoroughly before eating. Bon Appetit.
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- Gold-Smith, Fuchsia; Fernandez, Alyssa; Bishop, Karen. (2016). “Mangiferin and Cancer: Mechanisms of Action.”Nutrients 8, no. 7: 396.
- Masibo Martin and He Qian (2009).Bioactive Compounds and Related Nutraceutical Properties—A Review. Food Reviews International, Volume 25, 2009 – Issue 4.
- Matkowski A, Kus P, Goralska E and Wozniak D. (2013). Mangiferin – A bioactive Xanthonoid, Not only from Mango and Not Just Antioxidant. Mini Rev. Med. Chem. 2013. Mar:13 (3): 439-55
- Saha, S., Sadhukhan, P. and Sil, P. C. (2016), Mangiferin: A xanthonoid with multipotent anti-inflammatory potential. BioFactors, 42: 459–474. doi:10.1002/biof.1292