The mango, which is widely called the ‘king of asiatic fruits’ is a summer fruit, and is indigeneous to India. It is very nutritious and has great health benefits both, when eaten raw and as a ripe fruit. The fruit (ripe and unripe), bark, leaves, seed, root and even the smoke of burning mango leaves have healing properties. The mango is known to be a very good source of vitamins such as vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, and ß-carotene. Mangos contain numerous polyphenolic and phytonutrient compounds that have been shown to exhibit antioxidant properties. These compounds, are linked to anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activities in the body.
Botanical name – Mangifera indica
Hindi – Aam
Common Name – Mango
Health Benefits of Mango
Mango fruit is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds. The mango fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin-A and potassium. 100g fruit is said to provide 156 mg of potassium while just 2 mg of sodium. Potassium helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. The mango fruit is also a good source of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin-C and vitamin-E. Vitamin B-6 or pyridoxine is required for GABA (Natural relaxation agent) hormone production within the brain. It also controls homocystiene levels within the blood, which may otherwise be harmful to blood vessels resulting in CAD (Coronary artery disease) and stroke. Mango contains tartaric acid, malic acid and a trace of citric acid that alkalize the whole body and help maintain its alkali reserve.
The compound mangiferin has been reported in various parts of the the tree – the leaves, bark, stem and roots. Mangiferin protects against harmful effects of radiation. It is also considered antibone resorptive – anti resorptive meds help rebuild bone and increase bone density. One of the main parts used is the bark which is reported to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. An aqueous extract of M indica stem bark has been developed in Cuba, which is proposed as a nutritional supplement and as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic and immunomodulatory treatment to prevent progress of diseases and increase quality of life in AIDS, cancer, asthma and gastric and dermatological disorders. Medicinal uses of Mangifera indica bark worldwide and pharmacological activities of mangiferin
Mango Health Benefits for Cancer
According to new research study, the 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. The results from various studies suggest that mangiferin has potential as a naturally-occurring chemopreventive agent. Significant cytotoxic activities has been demonstrated by the stem bark extract of mango against some of the breast cancer, colon cancer and renal cancer cell lines. More on Mango health Benefits for cancer
Mango Leaf Health Benefits for Diabetes
Mango leaves help normalize insulin levels in the blood. Studies show that mangiferin exhibits potent antidiabetic, anti hyperlipidemic properties without causing hypoglycaemia. The traditional home remedy is to boil the mango leaves in water, and soak it overnight, and then consume the filtered decoction in the morning. Mango fruit also has a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities do not spike the sugar levels. In a study of drug induced diabetic animals, the results indicated that the aqueous extract of the leaves of Mangifera indica possess hypoglycaemic activity. They believe this action may be due to an intestinal reduction of the absorption of glucose.
Mango Health Benefits to Reduce Cholesterol
Mangoes’ high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically low-density lipoprotein or the bad cholesterol. Animal studies show that Mangifera indica extracts might offer a natural key in hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective (prevents damage to the liver) activity. Flavonoids from mango effectively reduced lipid levels in serum and tissues of rats with induced-hyperlipidemia. Also, oral administration of flavomoids showed significant antioxidant action in cholesterol-fed experimental rats. Free radical-scavenging enzyme activity were significantly elevated and lipid peroxide content was reduced in flavonoid treated hypercholesterolemia rats.
Mango Health Benefits for the Skin
The skin can also benefit from the fruit, whether it is eaten or applied. The fruit clears clogged pores and eliminates pimples. Mangoes contain beta-carotene that the body converts into vitamin A which, like vitamin C, is crucial to skin self-repair. Mangoes help to cure many skin problems including pimples. Even the large pit or seed of green mangoes, eaten raw or cooked, is healthy. Mango oil or butter is very good for hydrating the skin. It is an excellent moisturiser.
Mango Health Benefits for the Eyes
Mango is one of the highest vitamin A containing fruit. Vitamin A, flavanoids like beta carotene and antioxidants helps to maintain healthy eyes and skin. For eye health, 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.
Mango Health Benefits for Digestion
Mango helps to improve digestion. Malic acid, found in mangoes is good for digestion and detoxification. It is known to be rich in prebiotic fiber which helps in growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This helps to deal with acidity problems, prevent constipation and prevent a whole lot of diseases associated with the gastrointestinal tract like Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease and antibiotic related disorders.
Other Health Benefits of Mango
Like papaya, mangoes contain enzymes for breaking down protein. The fibre in mangoes also helps digestion and elimination. It is hence a good laxative. It is rich in Iron which is beneficial for aneamia and being a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B6, it helps build immunity and develop reisistance against infections. One must include mango peel in the diet, as it is rich in phytonutrients, carotenoids and polyphenoids which are healthy antioxidants.
Natural remedies with Mango
- An infusion prepared from the tender leaves of mango is useful in early diabetes. Soak the leaves in water overnight, filter and have in the morning.
- Dried mango seeds are very effective for diarrhoea. Dry the mango seeds in the shade and powder them. You can store it and use when required.
- Make a decoction out of of a tbsp of the pounded dry bark of the mango tree and two glasses of water. Add two tbsp of this decoction to half a glass of water and gargle with it 2-3 times a day to cure sore throat.
- Make a herbal decoction with mango flowers. This acts as an astringent, and soothes inflammation and pain in case of a toothache. Use this as a mouthwash. Do not drink it as a tea.
- A tooth powder made from burnt mango leaves relieves toothache.
- For diarrhoea, powder a handful of dried mango flowers and store this in the form of a powder. Take a tsp of this powder with honey once a day.
- Fresh tender leaf from mango and neem tree, should be crushed and made into a coarse paste. A tsp of each taken once a day, has a cleansing action on the digestive system and helps to get rid of toxins.
- Mix dried mango flowers with an equal amount of dried jambul seed powder and store it. Taking a tbsp of this every morning with hot water is good for diabetes.