Since I started thinking about writing some about mango nutritional value the mere thought of mangoes makes my mouth water already.
Who else is salivating alongside with me? It’s not that season of the year yet, but I can’t wait for the season of mangoes to be here.
For some persons, the day they spot the first mango of the season is their happiest day of the year, such love for our “ever yummy” mango.
Dear readers, please do follow me as I tell a short story about the History, Origin and Spread of Mango.
“It was thousands of years ago, specifically around the Indian sub-continent, the mango was originated and found to be intimately connected with folklore and legends across many religions. It was originated in the foot hills of the Himalayas of India and Burma.
Over the years, as the mango became cultivated, as early as 2000B.C., its flavour, size and texture developed.
The explorers who tasted the mango were enchanted with its aromatic qualities and ambrosial flavour. This made them introduce the fruit to other tropical countries.
As the mango adapted to new locales, new varieties evolved and many names were bestowed upon it such as “apple of the tropics”, “king of fruit” and “fruit of the gods”.
Mango (Mangifera indica), which belongs to the genus Angifera and a member of the plant family, Anacardiaceous, is one of the most extensively exploited fruits for food, juice, flavour, fragrance and colour and a common ingredient in new functional foods often called “superfruits”.
The ripe fruit is variable in size and colour and may be yellow, orange, red or green when ripe, depending on the cultivar.
When ripe, the unpeeled fruit gives off a distinctive resinous sweet smell. In its center is a single flat oblong seed that can be fibrous or hairy on the surface, depending on the cultivar.
As of 2018, according to world atlas.com, Nigeria holds the 9th position of top mango producers in the world (Wawuuuu!! What an achievement).
Let’s just say I’m proudly Nigerian when it comes to mango production.
There are eight(8) varieties of Mango in Nigeria. You can check out the various types of mango in the world here.
Types of Mango
So, if you’re reading this and you are one of those who gets confused when in front of a mango seller or don’t even know the particular variety of mango you prefer, and then you end up buying whatever variety, as long as it’s mango… knowing these varieties would help you when next you need to buy or consume mango.
Cotonou Mango: it’s that particular mango that appears large or ellipse-shaped with a green coloured skin and a little red blush. When the skin is peeled, the colour which will be seen is a pale lemon yellow colour. When put in the mouth, it tastes like pineapple; firm and not fibrous.
German/Opioro Mango: this is that long and large type of mango, with green skin colour and yellow flesh colour. It has a fresh and sour flavour.
Benue Mango: the skin colour could be green, with a little yellow or could be red with yellow.
The flesh colour of this variety ranges from pale yellow to light orange. When next you see a particularly large mango or one that is as big as melons, do not doubt that it’s a Benue Mango.
Ogbomosho Mango: It is the most preferred variety in the western parts of Nigeria. It’s bright yellow skin with orange and red blush, it’s yellow flesh and it’s flavour that is sweet with a hint of spice are qualities that the mango possesses.
Not forgetting it’s Oblong shape and texture which varies from firm to soft and juicy.
Sheri [Cherie/Sherry/Cherry] Mango: It’s that mango that has a firm flesh, such that it still holds shape when cut (unlike some other varieties). It’s why some persons prefer it to other varieties.
One can identify Sheri Mango through it’s green skin colour, it’s shape which is ellipse in nature and the colour of the flesh which ranges from dark yellow to orange.
Despite the fact that it’s sweet, rich and spicy, it leaves an aftertaste (well, some still love it that way).
Julie Mango: It’s the ovate and flat-shaped mango, with a green skin colour and a flesh colour, ranging from dark yellow to orange (just like the Sheri mango).
It also has a rich flavour, a juicy flesh and lastly…..a funny name (or don’t you think so too?)
Peter/Jane/Binta Sugar Mango: I bet you have a puzzled look on your face right now, just as I do too. This one has a very confusing name.
However, the most important thing is to know how to identify this “confused” variety.
So how can one identify it? It is simply a large-sized mango, with a green skin colour and orange-coloured flesh. It has a firm texture and of course, undisputedly sweet when it’s ripe.
Kerosene Mango: this has a skin colour which is quite different from other varieties. Its skin colour is pale peach and the colour of the flesh ranges from yellow to orange (just like the Julie mango).
When consumed (whether a bite or two), it has an aftertaste of kerosene or turpentine (most likely the reason why it is called “Kerosene Mango”).
It is an ellipse-shaped, and its texture varies from firm to soft and juicy. Has a fibrous flesh also.
THE KING OF ALL FRUITS
You might be wondering, “why is the mango termed as the king of all fruits?” Could it be because of its unique sweetness or because of its juiciness? Could it be its flavour?
This, you would find out as you keep reading
Beyond the sweet, luscious taste of mangoes, they are rich in a variety of phytochemicals and nutrients that qualify them as a model “superfruit”, a term used to highlight potential health value of certain edible fruits.
They contain an abundance of essential vitamins (Vit A, B-vitamins, C, E, K, Folate), dietary minerals (copper, potassium), amino acids and antioxidants that assure optimum health.
For decades, mangoes have been used to soothe the stomach. Similar to papayas, they contain certain enzymes with stomach comforting properties.
Mango is rich in fibre, so if you have at least one mango every day, you are almost guaranteed to prevent constipation, piles and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Research published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety has demonstrated that dietary fibre has a positive effect on eliminating degenerative diseases, including certain cancers and heart conditions. Now you have even more reasons to include this delicious fruit in your daily diet.
Research has shown that the more one participates in strenuous activities, the more potassium that is lost which is yet another helpful effect of mangoes – high potassium content!
Mango Nutritional Value
Consuming mangoes comes with a lots of benefits. Mangoes help to:
1. Support Weight Management
Mango is a good source of Fiber. Fibre makes one feel full faster and reduces over-eating. This, in turn, helps to support weight management.
2. Aid Digestion, Control Constipation and Prevent Diabetes
Mango consumption aids digestion, controls constipation and slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which is done via the good quantity of fiber present in Mango.
Hence, Mangoes are excellent for normalizing gut functions and control of diabetes.
3. Prevent Cancer
Research has shown Poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers.
Mangoes have high amounts of pectin, a soluble dietary fiber that efficiently contributes to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Pectin can help prevent the development of prostate cancer.
The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer also has come up with a strong association between eating a mango and lowering the risk of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.
4. Promote good Vision
Mango contains a very good quantity of Vitamin A, which is very good for vision. One cup of sliced mangoes supplies 25 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness and dry eyes.
5. Lowers Cholesterol
The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein (the bad stuff).
6. Boosts Immune System
The generous amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A in mangoes, plus 25 different kinds of carotenoids keep the immune system healthy and strong.
Mangoes are rich in beta-carotene, a powerful carotenoid. This element helps to enhance the immune system and make it impervious to bacteria and toxins.
Excess beta-carotene is also transformed into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is another antioxidant that gives additional protection against the free radicals harming the internal systems.
7. Control Heart rate and Blood pressure
Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help to control heart rate and blood pressure.
The Potassium content in mango is quite sizeable, hence, consumption of mango is just what you need to control your blood pressure.
8. Clears the Skin
Can be used both internally and externally for the skin. Mangos clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples.
Just blending up the mango and applying to the face is fast and easy. Mangoes contain beta-carotene, which is converted by your body to vitamin A. That and vitamin C are crucial to skin self-repair.
When eaten, mangos help resolve all skin problems including pimples.
9. During Pregnancy
Mangoes are beneficial for pregnant women since they fulfill the iron requirements during pregnancy. Mangoes also fulfill the requirements of Folate during pregnancy.
Meeting requirements of Folate before and during pregnancy help reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.
10. Promote Brain Health
Mangoes have abundant quantities of vitamin B6, which is vital for maintaining and improving the brain’s function.
These vitamins aid in the amalgamation of the major neurotransmitters that contribute to determining mood and the modification of sleeping patterns. They naturally provide significant quantities of this vitamin.
With mangoes as a part of your diet, you can be assured of a healthy brain and effective nerve functioning. You will also be avoiding medicinal supplements, which have a long list of side effects. The glutamine acid content in mangos also improves concentration and memory.
11. Delay Aging:
Mangoes contain high amounts of vitamin A and C, which help produce collagen proteins inside the body. Collagen helps protect blood vessels and the body’s connective tissues, thereby slowing down the natural aging process. Therefore, mangoes can rightly be called an anti-aging food .
12. Maintain Overall Health
Mangoes have an impressive vitamin content that assures overall health. They are rich in potassium and magnesium and are a great remedy for high blood pressure.
They also contain selenium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Mangos are vitamin powerhouses as they are rich in riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, niacin, folate, thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
The components help avoid a host of diseases that can come from deficiencies of these vitamins and minerals. Powerful antioxidants in mangos have the power to neutralize free radicals throughout the body. Heart diseases, premature ageing, cancer, and degenerative diseases are due to these free radicals that damage the cells.
Finally, for a fruit that comes with these numerous benefits, we can only say that indeed,it deserves to be called “the king of all fruits”.
If you are not a mango lover, I think it’s high time you start loving mangoes. Thanks for reading!