Natural Health Tips

Mango: A Nutrient-Dense Superfood

This aromatic, sweet-flavored tropical fruit not only tastes delicious, it is a source of extremely powerful, protective antioxidants and a variety of phytochemicals and nutrients that qualify it as a superfruit.

The mango is an exotic fruit that varies in shape from oval to round to kidney-shaped. It belongs to the same family of plants as cashew and pistachio nuts.

Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and carotenes, including Beta-carotene. The vitamin content varies depending on the maturity and variety of the fruit. Green mangoes contain more Vitamin C (as it ripens the amount of Beta-carotene increases). The mango is also a good source of vitamin K and one of the few fruit sources of Vitamin E, and contains a variety of antioxidant components.

Health Benefits

Heart Health - Fruits and vegetables high in potassium and antioxidants such as Vitamin A, carotenoids, Vitamin C and flavonoids are associated with preventing and controlling hypertension and reducing the subsequent risk of stroke and heart disease.

digestion - Mangoes are a good source of fiber and contain enzymes that aid in digestion.

cancer - Deep yellow-orange vegetables and fruits are rich in Beta-carotene, which may protect cell membranes and DNA from oxidative damage.

In a preliminary study conducted at the University of Florida, mango juice extracts were tested for antioxidant and anticancer activity. The results demonstrated that mango juice and extracts of mango juice inhibit the growth cycle of cancer cells.

Lupeol, a triterpene present in mango and other fruits and vegetables, has shown to possess anticancer properties. A study has demonstrated the effectiveness of lupeol and mango pulp extraction in stopping prostrate cancer cell growth. Another study has shown lupeol to be effective in killing pancreatic cancer cells, a particularly aggressive form of cancer. Lupeol was not only found to suppress tumor growth, but also to impair head and neck (includes the nose, oral cavity, salivary gland, etc.) cancer cell invasion.

Kidney Stones - Preliminary studies have found lupeol from mangoes and other fruit to be effective in reducing the risk of kidney stone formation.

Tips on Using Mango

  • A ripe mango will have a slightly soft skin and sweet smell.

  • Mangoes should be kept at room temperature, rather than chilled, to maximize their flavor.

  • Puree the flesh of a mango and add to yogurt and other fruit for a delicious, creamy smoothie.

References

  • Pott I, Marx M, Neidhart S, Muhlbauer W, Carle R. Quantitative determination of Beta-carotene stereoisomers in fresh, dried, and solar-dried mangoes. J Agric Food Chem. 2003; 51:4527-4531.

  • Percival SS, Talcott ST, Chin ST, Mallak AC, Lounds-Singleton A, Pettit-Moore J. Neoplastic transformation of BALB/3T3 cells and cell cycle of HL-60 cells are inhibited by mango (Mangifera indica L.) juice and mango juice extracts. J Nutr. 2006 May;136(5):1300-4.

  • Prasad S, Kalra N, Shukla Y. Induction of apoptosis by lupeol and mango extract in mouse prostate and LNCaP cells. Nutr cancer. 2008 Jan-Feb;60(1):120-30.

  • Saleem M, Kaur S, Kweon MH, Adhami VM, Afaq F, Mukhtar H. Lupeol, a fruit and vegetable based triterpene, induces apoptotic death of human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells via inhibition of Ras signaling pathway. Carcinogenesis. 2005 Nov;26(11):1956-64.

  • Lee TK, Poon RT, Wo JY, Ma S, Guan XY, Myers JN, Altevogt P, Yuen AP. Lupeol suppresses cisplatin-induced nuclear factor-kappaB activation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and inhibits local invasion and nodal metastasis in an orthotopic nude mouse model. Cancer Res. 2007 Sep 15;67(18):8800-9.