Mangoes for better health | Daily News


 

Mangoes for better health

There is a story that the mango fruit caught the fancy of Alexander the Great so much that he intended to take many mangoes back to ancient Macedonia. Green Thumbs speaks to Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S. D. Hapuarachchi on Mango, a fruit that Sri Lankans adore. It is not at all unusual for a mango sapling to be presented as a gift to a friend or family member. In fact a Sri Lankan home garden without a mango tree is rare. Last week on Green Thumbs we discussed mango juice, today we discuss the fruit itself.

Hapuarachchi points out that the unripe mango is used to make pickles and curries. The mature unripe is used to make curries and vegetable salads. The ripe mango may be consumed raw, or made into fresh juice. It can also be used for a fruit salad. It can even be combined with pineapple juice, frozen strawberries and used with yogurt. It can even be used as a jam and used with jellies. The unripe mangoes, especially the sour wild types are used for cooking or making chutney. Cooked mango curry, ‘amba maluwa’, is a favourite dish in Sri Lanka, and is served with rice. Salt and chili powder sprinkled on mature, unripe mango chunks is a favourite snack. Unripe mature and immature mangoes are pickled with salt, vinegar, and chili. However one of the best ways to enjoy a mango is diced fresh, just by itself. A tropical fruit salad can be made with fresh papaya, pineapple, and mango. Hapuarachchi points out that mangoes are grown in a majority of home gardens in Sri Lanka because it is so popular.

However Alexander is not the only conqueror to fall in love with the taste of mangoes. Jehangir the fourth Moghul Emperor once said that none of the fruits in Kabul could match up with the flavor of his much beloved mangoes.

“There are many different kinds of mangoes. They range in colour, shape, flavour, and seed size. Mango is delicious, versatile and easy to add to your diet. In my professional opinion mangoes can help protect and strengthen the body in so many ways. It is very sweet having more sugar that many other fruits and moderation is the key. Mango is low in calories but full of nutrients. In fact the health benefits it has to offer, address a variety of ailments. Prevention they say is better than cure and eating mangoes can prevent a possible condition. In fact it is not at all surprising to me that the mango is called the ‘king of fruits’. It is actually an astonishing fruit because there are numerous types of mango, each with a unique taste, shape, size and colour,” said Hapuarachchi.

Hapuaracchi pointed out that mangoes can be enjoyed thoroughly and people have their own ways of enjoying mangoes. “You can make a tropical fruit salad with fresh papaya, pineapple, and mango. Mango slices can be inserted into your glass of lemonade, iced tea, or water for a burst of fresh fruity flavour. You can make a fresh salsa with papaya, mango, jalapeno, red peppers, and chipotle pepper and use as a topper for fish tacos,” said Hapuarachchi.

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF MANGO

“Mangoes are a great source of nutrients. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like mangoes decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, and heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy,” said Hapuarachchi.

Age-related macular degeneration

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration is a medical condition which may result in blurred or no vision in the center of the visual field. A higher intake of mangos has also been shown to decrease the risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.

Asthma prevention

The risk of developing asthma is lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene, found in mangoes.

Cancer

Diets rich in beta-carotene may also play a protective role against prostate cancer. Mangoes have been shown to have some impact on all cancers tested but were most effective with breast and colon cancers.

Digestion

Mangoes, because of their fiber and water content, help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract. Fiber keeps our colon clean. In addition, mangoes contain certain digestive enzymes that break down proteins and aid digestion.

Heart disease

The fiber, potassium, and vitamin content in mangoes all help to ward off heart disease. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that cause heart disease.

Skin and Hair

Mangoes are also great for your hair because they contain vitamin A. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair.

May Help Treat Diabetes

Consumption of half a fresh mango for 12 weeks results in lowered blood glucose levels.

Mango during Pregnancy

Mangoes are rich in iron and vitamins A, C, and B6. All of which are beneficial for pregnant women. Vitamin A helps fight infections and prevents vision problems in newborns.

Aid Weight Loss

Certain studies have focused on the importance of not just the mango fruit, but its skin as well. The secret lies in the phytochemicals that act as natural fat busters, which are found only on the outer side of the fruit. Another study emphasized the importance of the mango peel for weight loss. Mangoes contain fiber, which can be a great contributor towards weight loss.

Improve Eye Health

The vitamin A and beta-carotene in mangoes help boost eye health.

Promote Brain Health

Mango, being a great source of iron and vitamin B6, is one of those ideal foods for brain health.

Regulate Blood Pressure

Mangoes are rich in potassium, a key mineral that helps lower blood pressure.

Improve Immunity

Being rich in vitamin C, mangoes play a major role in strengthening one’s immunity. Apart from vitamin C, mangoes also are a good source of zinc, which is important for maintaining the overall health of the immune system.

Can Help Treat Kidney Stones

The potassium in mangoes is also found to lower the risk of kidney stones.

Boost Bone Health

The presence of vitamin A is what makes mangoes one of the good foods for bone health

Mangoes have beneficial activity against inflammation and arthritis.

Might Treat Anemia

Given their iron content, mangoes are beneficial for individuals and pregnant women suffering from anemia

(furnished by Dr. Hapuarachchi)

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HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL FACTS ABOUT MANGOES

* Buddhists consider the mango sacred because the Buddha was accustomed to rest in the lush mango groves. Mangoes were also considered one of the best gifts to be exchanged amongst one another. Buddhists monks would also carry a few mangoes with them on their long expeditions, popularizing the fruit.

* In Ancient India, mango trees were a symbol of prosperity. Hsiun-Tsang, one of the earliest writer-travelers to ancient India, mentioned in his accounts how the ancient Indian rulers, planted mango trees along roadsides as a symbol of prosperity.

* The Mughal Patronage also played a role in mango grafting. For the longest time, it was allowed only in royal gardens, until Shah Jahan lifted the limitation.

* In one of the oldest Hindu myths, mango is said to be the daughter of Sun God Surya. A mango which falls to the ground miraculously turns into a beautiful princess named Surya Bai. A king having seen her falls in love with her and wishes to marry her and inadvertently arouses the anger of his first wife who curses the princess into ashes. Like a phoenix from the ashes, another mango tree arose. A fruit that fell onto the ground becomes the princess, reincarnated. The king recognizes her and they unite.

12 Interesting Mango Facts 


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