Summer is here, and all of us are looking forward to gorging on the “king of fruits” otherwise known as the “mango”. Consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of many lifestyle-related chronic health conditions. The summer speciality of India is the mango, which is loaded with essential nutrients. Like everything else, it should be eaten in moderation.
A medium-sized mango provides Vitamin A and C, fibre, magnesium, iron and anti-oxidants and no cholesterol thereby making it highly nutritious. It also has a medium glycemic index ranging from 41-60 making it safe for diabetics to eat in moderation.
Health Benefits of Mangoes
- Lowers Cholesterol: The fibre, pectin and Vitamin C in mango lower serum cholesterol levels especially the LDL which we also know as bad cholesterol.
- Helps in Digestion: It prevents constipation because it is rich in fibre and water thereby keeping the digestive tract healthy.
- Asthma Prevention: Anti-oxidants and high beta-carotene in mango lower the probability of developing asthma.
- Bone Health: Calcium absorption and bone health improve through Vitamin K which a medium-sized mango contains in sufficient quantity approx around 15mg.
- Eye Health: One mango every day provides sufficient Vitamin A to ensure good eyesight and prevent night blindness and dry eyes.
- Boost Immune System: Immune system is kept healthy and strong with a daily dosage of vitamin C and A found in a mango.
- Prevents Heart Disease: Heart is kept healthy with daily consumption of a mango because it contains enough fibre, potassium and vitamins.
- Prevents Cancer: It has been found that beta-carotene, quercetin, isoquercetin, astragalin, fisetin and gallic, etc present in mango may prevent prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and leukaemia.
- Good for Skin and Hair: Vitamin A and Vitamin C help the growth of body tissues including skin and hair keeping them healthy and moisturised.
Do Mangoes make you gain weight?
It is often said that excess of anything is bad. It is true for mangoes too. One should not go berserk while gorging on this delicious fruit. It is suggested that instead of eating it after meals one should eat it during mid-morning or evening. Adding a mango to low-fat yoghurt or low-fat milk before putting them in a blender to make a smoothie is such a delicious drink to look forward to in summer.
Mango is nutritious and can be savoured regularly but one should not go overboard hogging it. Malic acid, tartaric acid and some citric acid present in mango help to maintain the alkaline content in the body. Mango juice keeps the body cool and fresh in summer preventing heat stroke. Eating a mango should be preferred over drinking mango juice for it as a healthier option. The fruit has plenty of fibre and also gives a feeling of satiety as it is eaten properly. Mangoes are not fattening by themselves. But they need to be incorporated as part of the meals being taken rather than being taken in addition to regular meals.
Diabetes and Mangoes
Mangoes are high in sugar and carbohydrate. Therefore, diabetics are advised to eat mangoes in moderation and during the daytime. Mangoes have been found to lower insulin resistance and improve glucose tolerance in diabetics as per the study done by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and one study one in Oklahoma University. So take your nutritionist’s advice for understanding the right amount for yourself.
The American Diabetes Association also recommends mango in its list of fruits that can be eaten by diabetics. Mangoes can be substituted for starches, grains or dairy products which are usually eaten according to them.
So welcome the summer and enjoy the succulent fruit which is full of goodness if eaten in moderation and on time when it is not added to a full meal. I suggest you have a mango 30 minutes before your workout session so that you feel fresh and energetic to perform your best
Avni Kaul is a Nutritionist and Wellness Coach. She holds a postgraduate degree in Food and Nutrition Sciences from University of Delhi (Gold Medalist). Also a Certified Diabetes Educator from Project Hope and International Diabetes Federation.