“The king of the fruits," mango fruit is one of the most popular, nutritionally rich fruits with unique flavor, fragrance, taste, and heath promoting qualities making it a common ingredient in new functional foods often labeled “super fruits."
Mango is one of the delicious seasonal fruits grow in the tropics. The tree is believed to be originating in the sub-Himalayan plains of Indian subcontinent. Botanically, this exotic fruit belongs within the family of Anacardiaceae, a family that also includes numerous species of tropical-fruiting trees in the flowering plants such as cashew, pistachio,...etc.
Mango is a tropical tree cultivated in many regions of India and now distributed wide across the world in many continents. Usually, fruits grow at the end of a long, string like stem, with sometimes more than one fruit to a stem.
Each fruit measures 5 to 15 cms in length and about 4 to 10 cms in width, and has typical “mango” shape, or sometimes oval or round. Its weight ranges from 150 gm to around 750 gm. Outer skin is smooth and is green in un-ripe mangoes but turns into golden yellow, bright, yellow or orange-red when ripen depending upon the cultivar. Fresh mango season lasts from April until August.
Mango comes in different shapes and sizes depending upon cultivar types. Internally, the flesh is juicy, orange-yellow in color with numerous soft fibrils radiating from its centrally placed flat, oval-shaped stone (enveloping a single large kidney-shaped seed). Its flavor is pleasant and rich, and tastes sweet with mild tartness. A high-quality mango fruit should feature no or very less fiber content and minimal sour taste. Mango seed (stone) may either has a single embryo, or sometimes polyembryonic.
Health benefits of Mangoes
§ Mango fruit is rich in pre-biotic dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds.
§ According to new research study, mango fruit has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. Several trial studies suggest that polyphenolic anti-oxidant compounds in mango are known to offer protection against breast and colon cancers.
§ Mango fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin-A and flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. 100 g of fresh fruit provides 765 mg or 25% of recommended daily levels of vitamin A. Together; these compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in carotenes is known to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
§ Fresh mango is a good source of potassium. 100 g fruit provides 156 mg of potassium while just 2 mg of sodium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
§ It is also a very good source of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin-C and vitamin-E. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals. Vitamin B-6 or pyridoxine is required for GABA hormone production within the brain. It also controls homocystiene levels within the blood, which may otherwise be harmful to blood vessels resulting in CAD and stroke.
§ Further, it composes moderate amounts of copper. Copper is a co-factor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as co-factors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Copper is also required for the production of red blood cells.
§ Additionally, mango peel is also rich in phytonutrients, such as the pigment antioxidants like carotenoids and polyphenols.