Mangoes are so abundant here in the Philippines. And like what all too often happens with something that one can see everywhere and eat anytime, mangoes are often just taken for granted. I remember how amused I was as I watched a Korean friend voraciously eat mangoes. She says mangoes are the most delicious fruits in the world! Given the choice between mangoes and grapes, she would pick mangoes anytime.
It isn’t just the taste that mangoes excel in. Mangoes offer the best of both taste and nutrition. This is hard to believe as we all seem to be hardwired into thinking that delicious and nutritious are mutually exclusive characteristics. That is why it is good news to know that mangoes offer so many health benefits. Consider these:
- Mangoes pack many antioxidants such as quercetin, isoquercetin, astragalin, gallic acid and enzymes which also do double duty as antioxidants.
- Mangoes abound in fiber and pectin which reduce bad cholesterol and keep the digestive and elimination process smooth.
- Despite their intense sweetness, mangoes have a glycemic index of only 40 to 60 which is quite low for most fruits.
- Mangoes are high in the ACE vitamins (Vitamins A, C and E) which are the beautifying, anti-aging vitamins.
- The naturally-occurring acids in mangoes are actually alkalinizing. Mallic acid, tartaric acid and the rest of them leave an alkaline residue on the body.
Here is what you will get from a single cup of chopped mangoes:
- 76% of your daily need for Vitamin C which plays a great role in enhancing immunity, fighting free radicals and keeping aging at bay
- 25% of your daily need for Vitamin A which is another super antioxidant that’s sneaked into most anti-aging moisturizers
- 11% of your daily need for Vitamin B6 which keeps your nerves and muscles healthy
- 9% of your daily need for copper which is an essential component of blood formation
- 7% of your daily need for potassium which balances out the sodium-potassium equation to keep blood pressure normal
FAQ on Mangoes
How much do mangoes cost in the Philippines?
Just in the range of 20 to 80 pesos or half a dollar to $2 per kilo. In summer, when mangoes are in season, you can eat mangoes practically every meal as they are ridiculously cheap.
What are the other uses of mangoes?
Mango fruit pulp can be used as facial mask. The carotenoids are converted in the body into skin-smoothening Vitamin A. The Vitamin C content helps speed up exfoliation and skin renewal especially in aging skin. The next time you eat mangoes, chop off a cube of mango flesh and rub on your face. Eat the rest.
If you want something different, try making a smoothie out of unripe or green mangoes. The combination of tangy and sweet plus the raspy texture makes for an interesting treat.
What is the best way to eat mangoes?
The best way to eat mangoes is to eat them fresh and raw. Smoothies are divine but the milk and sugar components are not that healthful. Mango smoothie with coco sugar and fresh carabao milk would probably be a good idea.
Is bottled mango juice as nutritious as fresh one?
First off, mango juice, either bottled or not, has been stripped of much of the fiber component. Commercial mango juice is also pasteurized and thus has some of the nutrients removed. Another disadvantage is that it is most probably preserved and added with artificial colorings and flavorings.
If you do buy processed mango juice, look for mango puree with no artificial additives.
Let me end this article with some of the most striking trivia on mangoes:
- The pith of mango seed can be eaten. I have yet to try this, though.
- There are 1,000 varieties of mangoes.
- Leaves of the mango tree are used here in the Philippines to wrap fish in a dish called paksiw. That is, fishes are wrapped in mango leaves and cooked in coconut vinegar and herbs. The leaves impart added dimension to the dish and serves to eliminate the fishy smell.
- Mangoes have been found in an Oklahoma study to facilitate fat metabolism and prevent deposition of fat in body tissues.
- Raw mango salad is commonly sold in the sidewalk here in the Philippines. Slivers of unripe green mangoes, fermented fish and soy sauce make a tangy, crunchy and flavorfully sour salad which you just might find as enticing as the ripe one.
Photo Credit: mango.org