In India, people wait for the summers to arrive despite the scorching heat just for the sake of mangoes. Mango, is a favourite not just in India [Mango is India’s national fruit] but even in other countries.
Mango as a fruit is nutrient dense. It is high in energy and beta carotene—an essential antioxidant that helps prevent major illnesses like tuberculosis and cancer.
It also contains trace nutrients like tryptophan [an essential amino acids that helps the body synthesise proteins], calcium and phosphorous in good amounts. Mango has a moderate glycaemic index [41 – 57] and therefore can be eaten by diabetics, but in moderation.
Being rich in simple sugars, it is a good instant-energy snack. However, overeating mangoes can lead to weight gain.
Since it generates more body heat, it needs to be balanced with enough fluid intake. The skin of the mango contains an enzyme called ‘urishiol’, which can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Mango as a fruit and the mango tree has various health benefits. Some of them are as follows…
- Mango is a rich source of B complex vitamins and vitamin C; it helps strengthen the nervous and the immune system.
- Mango contains vitamins A and E, which are good for eye and skin health.
- Enzymes present in ripe mango, break down proteins, thus helping the digestive system.
- Mangoes are abundant in trace elements like copper and minerals like potassium and magnesium. The high potassium content helps keep blood pressure under control.
- Thanks to the high levels of vitamin C, mango aids in better iron absorption and, in turn, helps cure anaemia along with iron-rich foods.
- Mango pulp helps retard the growth of cancer cells, according to research by National Mango Board of Orlando, Florida.
- Mango flowers are also used to cure diarrhoea, chronic dysentery and urinary tract infections.
- Mango peels have high anti inflammatory properties and are therefore commonly used in the cosmetic industry.
- Mango bark is beneficial in controlling pain experienced in rheumatism.
- Pulp of the raw mango is a cooling agent and excellent to ward off ill effects of excess heat.
- Mangoes are fibre-rich—and 40 per cent of its fibre content is soluble. This helps bring your cholesterol levels down.
Mango as a fruit can be eaten raw or ripe. The beneficial effect could vary a few degrees in terms of its beta carotene content, but not otherwise.
Although mango is a summer fruit, it has to be stored in a cool and dry place for better shelf life. Green raw mangoes last without refrigeration for 4 – 5 days or in the refrigerator for 8 – 10 days.
To ripen a tender green mango, cover it with hay. This is a natural ripening method, which helps retain its nutrients. This may take anywhere from 6 – 8 days, if stored correctly.
You can even store mangoes through the whole year in pulp or in dried form. Mango pulp needs to be stored in air-tight containers. You can add a little preservative like benzoic acid or citric acid for longer shelf life.
In India, many people store juice for future use. Raw mango is a popular tenderiser for meat preparations.
Mango can be stored in various forms like pulp, dried mango bits, squash, juice, cocktail pieces, pickles, morrabas and chutneys.
In your diet
Mango can be used in various forms. Raw mangoes are used in curries, chutneys, vegetables, as seasoning for snacks and cooling drinks and squashes.
You can eat ripe mangoes whole or in the form of jellies, puddings, ice creams and toffees. Raw mango, dried and powdered [called amchur powder] is commonly used in Indian, Malaysian and Thai cuisines.