Mango – Super Food Super Nutrition
Posted by Trudy Prevost on December 25, 2009
Mango season is on! Hillborn always gets me mangos first crop for Christmas!
Juicy, flavourful mangos are a cultural phenomena in Dominica; people of all ages; all walks of life; gather under these beautiful trees looking for the perfect mango.
They knock down these mangos by throwing something at the stem that holds the mango. Then they calmly reach out one hand to catch it! Amazing!
I have flung many a stone or old mango working to perfect my skills and get that perfect mango - ripe but firm; aromatic; without a bruise or mark. Success is rare but I never give up as I enjoy those mangos a lot more than the ones I get at market!
Mango (Magnifera indica), known locally as mangue is native to East Asia and now grown in nearly all tropical areas of the world. Locally it is related to the Cashew, Hog Plum and Golden Apple.
Interestingly it is also related to the Poison Ivy and Poison Oak family as well as Pistachio.
The ripe mango, half ripe mango, unripe mango, unripe small mango (about torch bulb size), mango kernel or seed, the skin, the sap, the leaves, the wood and the bark are used.
The ripe mango fruit is a nutritional powerhouse; containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, folate, C, E, beta-carotene, flavonoids, amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, fluorine, iodine, copper, selenium, sulphur and potassium.
They are high in pectin and fibre which is useful in lowering blood cholesterol levels. In “Plants Against Cancer” Jonathan L Hartwell describes mango as rich in phenols and enzymes with cancer preventative and cancer healing qualities.
Fully ripe mangos have a rich aromatic flavour. Ripe mangos are used fresh or frozen in juices, preserves, jams, jellies, custards, compotes, toffee, salads, desserts or puréed into baby food, sorbets, ice creams, smoothies and sauces.
Half ripe mangos are used in some of the ways ripe mangos are; as well they are particularly suited to being dried or made into cereal flakes, dried fruit bars and fruit leather.
Unripe fully developed mangoes contain citric acid. As the fruit ripens, acid content decreases. Chutney, pickles, salads, juice and salted dried slices are prepared from unripe, green mangoes.
The leaves contain calcium, phosphorus, iron, Vitamin A (carotene), thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid. In Manilla; Thailand and other countries the immature mango leaves are cooked and eaten.
The mango kernel contains protein, amino acids, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and carbohydrates. In India, after soaking, the kernels are dried and ground to flour which is mixed with wheat flour to make bread and puddings. In times of food scarcity in India, the kernels are roasted or boiled and eaten.
The traditional or cultural uses of this plant are many.
The ripe and half ripe fruit have been used traditionally as a: laxative, diuretic, anti-haemorrhagic (stops bleeding), antiscorbutic (anti-scurvy), astringent, antidiarrhoea, anti-syphilitic & tonic.
The unripe fruit is acidic, astringent and antiscorbutic, a drink made from boiled unripe mango with salt and sugar is used in India as a remedy for heat stroke.
The leaves are traditionally taken in a tea as remedy for diarrhea, fever, chest complaints, diabetes, hypertension, and other ills; in some places a combined decoction of mango and other leaves is taken after childbirth. Indians also chew the leaves to improve gum health. Some cultures used a leaf extract rubbed on the forehead to treat headache.
The mango kernel tea and powder are used as vermifuges and as astringents in diarrhea, hemorrhages and bleeding hemorrhoids.
The skin of the fruit is astringent. In India the fried skin of the unripe fruit is given with sugar in menses disturbances2; its powder is given with milk and honey for bleeding dysentery and as a tonic for the digestive organs.
The young unripe mango (of about torch bulb size) is claimed to clear stones from the kidneys.
The resinous liquid or gum contains mangiferen, resinous acid, mangiferic acid, and the resinol, mangiferol. It has been used traditionally for rheumatism, diphtheria, syphilis and a dressing for scabies and other skin diseases such as cracked feet.
Dried mango flowers, have traditionally been used in tea in cases of diarrhea, chronic dysentery and urinary diseases.
Mango butter is extracted from the de-shelled fruit kernels. It has many beneficial natural properties: emollient, oxidative, healing, and regenerative (good for scars and stretch marks). It is also said to have a protective effect against UV radiation. Mango butter is most commonly used as a base ingredient in body care formulas, skin care products, hair care products and soaps.
The bark contains mangiferine and has been employed against diarrhea, rheumatism, malaria and diphtheria in India and Africa.
Recent studies support some of the traditional uses of mangos.
Experts say mango fruits: – can help to prevent colon cancer, especially in cases where there is a lack of fibre in the diet; – contain a compound called mangiferin, which has several medicinal attributes; – contain the chemicals gallic acid and quercetine, which give protection against viruses.
“We think mangoes have some unique antioxidants as well as quantities of antioxidants that might not be found in other fruits and vegetables,” said Percival, an associate professor with a US University.
Another University study analyzing how individual components of the fruit affect human cells suggests mango components act on the same pathways that diabetes and cholesterol drugs target.
Other studies have shown magniferin has an effect against herpes simplex 2 and that extracts of unripe fruits and of bark, stems and leaves have shown antibiotic activity.
Sounds like a mango a day will keep the doctor away.
Eat Healthy! Eat Local! Eat Mangos!
CAUTION! Some people are allergic to mangos as they are relatives of poison ivy and poison oak.
Locally - people burn the wood and they make furniture with it. The trees provide much needed shade and many “yards” have a mango tree or two.
Internationally - burning of mango wood, leaves and debris is not advised – it is warned that toxic fumes can cause serious irritation to eyes and lungs. Sap of tree and unripe fruit, especially peel, contains mangiferen, resinous acid, mangiferic acid, and the resinol, mangiferol; it can be severe irritant for some people, with typically delayed reaction, as with Poison Ivy; hypersensitive people may react with considerable swelling of eyelids, face, and other parts of body; condition referred to as “mango poisoning”.
This information is provided for general interest only. It is not intended as guidance for medicinal use.