Mangoes are a tropical delight often referred to as “The King of Fruits.” They’re king all right—people around the world eat mangoes more than any other fruit. Mangoes are an integral part of many cuisines, including Indian, African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and South American. And though it’s more than 5,000 years old, the mango is a staple in many contemporary recipes. From simple mango chutney and sliced mango sprinkled with chili powder, to coconut shrimp with ginger mango sauce and pavlova featuring mango and blueberries, it’s hard not to love this versatile and healthy fruit.
Benefits from each mango serving include your daily requirement of vitamin C, a boost of beta carotene for better skin and eye health, and even properties to ease the effects of aging. Slip a little frozen mango into your next post-workout smoothie, and you’ve scored a health home run!
Mangoes are large, oval-shaped fruits, usually broader than your palm. The exterior is often a rich yellow, with maybe a slight blush of green and red. The interior is a bright yellow. Popular mango varieties in the US include the Tommy Atkins, Haden, and Kent.
Many people prefer Honey or Ataulfo mangoes because they have a sweeter taste and more plump flesh. They’re shaped more like a kidney than an oval.
Many people love mangoes because they taste like a wonderful tropical combination of sweet peaches and pineapples.
Fresh mangoes are readily available in major supermarkets and Asian specialty stores. Farmers’ markets in certain regions of the US may also have an easy supply during high season. Dried mango and canned mango are also available in most groceries.
May through September is prime mango season in the US, and April through July is optimum for Europe, especially for Indian mangoes. Imported fruit is available all year long.
To choose the best mangoes, find heavy, yellow ones. A hint of red on the skin is fine, although color change isn’t an indicator of ripeness. Do give the fruit a slight squeeze: if it gives a bit under pressure, it’s ready to eat.
Avoid fruit with shriveled or blemished skin, or loose skin pulling away from the pit.
Some studies indicate that organic fruits and vegetables have a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals than conventionally raised produce.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an environmental health advocacy and research organization in the United States. From cosmetics to produce, water to cleaning products, EWG provides insight regarding the impact of pesticides, manufacturing practices, and product ingredients on our health and environment. EWG produces a consumer guide ranking 48 fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue. The higher the rank, the lower the residue. In this ranking, the 12 most affected fruits and vegetables belong to the “Dirty Dozen,” and the least affected are part of the “Clean Fifteen.” Mangoes rank #8 on the EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” list, a good sign that pesticides have less likely affected the fruit, so in this case, enjoy it both conventionally grown and organic.
Keep ripe, unwashed mangoes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days. Place under-ripe fruit in a paper bag on the counter until it reaches your desired ripeness, usually up to two days.
Wash the mango and pat dry. Using a sharp knife, place the fruit on its wide end, and slice vertically into the fruit until you reach the pit, then turn and make another long cut on the other side, so you’re left with two halves of fruit and an exposed pit. Bend each half slightly and make cross cuts so you have cubes of mango to release from the peel.
This immune-system-building vitamin offers a host of benefits. Vitamin C is an important nutrient necessary for collagen production, and is essential for maintaining the integrity and function of skin and bone tissue. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, fighting free radicals and protecting the heart, kidneys, and lungs from disease. This essential nutrient, often found in large amounts in citrus fruits and raw vegetables, may play a role in reducing systolic blood pressure, reducing heart disease risk.
A fat-soluble nutrient, vitamin A is involved in the development of rhodopsin, a molecule in the eye that promotes healthy vision. Vitamin A is also responsible for promoting the immune system, cell growth, skin health, and the formation of the heart and lungs as well as other bodily organs.
Vitamin K, specifically vitamin K2, is helpful for regulating and directing dietary calcium in and out of the bones. It is also responsible for proper blood clotting and may aid in protecting the arteries from calcification.
Amino acids and lipids are the main nutrients metabolized by vitamin B6, helping to promote proper energy levels throughout the body. It is also an important aspect of the formation of hemoglobin and neurotransmitters, protecting both the cardiovascular system and brain.
A mineral that plays a role in producing collagen and keeping the immune system in proper working order, copper is an essential nutrient needed by the body in small amounts. Copper may also fight against free radicals, helping to delay the aging process. Energy production is also one of the many benefits of this important mineral.
Mangoes contain as much vitamin C as oranges, boost your immunity, and provide protection from free radicals. If you want smooth, healthy skin, include mangoes in your diet each week, as their beta carotene acts as an internal sunscreen, and the vitamin C stimulates collagen production. Mangoes also have properties to help lower bad cholesterol and prevent certain types of cancer cells from forming.
- The popular paisley pattern was inspired by the shape of an Indian mango.
- Mangoes are in the same plant family as pistachios and cashews.
- Mango tree leaves and bark, as well as the fruit’s pit and skin, are common ingredients in folk remedies to aid against skin disorders, digestive issues, and menstrual conditions.