Mangoes Are Hard to Eat but Good For You

Mango is a fruit that is very common in the tropics. You may have seen it in the fruit section of your grocery store, but never had the courage to buy one. Mangoes have a distinct taste; they can be eaten alone, added to a fruit salad to add zest, or part of other interesting recipes.

Mangoes (genus Mangifera) belong to the botanical family Anacardiaceae and are related to pistachios and cashews, even though they do not resemble their nutty cousins. Mangoes are native to south-eastern Asia, extending from India to the Philippines. Mangoes have been in the human diet for over 6,000 years. Unripe mango has a hard texture and contains starch which gradually changes in glucose, sucrose and maltose as the fruit begins to ripen. The fruit has a large, flat central seed and a thin skin that can have orange-yellow, green, and/or reddish coloring. Once mangoes are ripe they are soft, stringy in texture and juicy and can be very messy to eat. Some suggest that ripe mangoes should only be eaten in a bathtub!

In less developed countries, mangoes are used to treat a variety of diseases and conditions. It is believed that immature mango, in which the seed has not fully formed, can be combined with salt and honey to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, piles, morning sickness, chronic dypepsia, indigestion and constipation. Treaments for heat stroke, bilious disorders and scurvy have also been recorded. Although not as high as other fruits, mangoes are a source of vitamin C, and therefore the connection with scurvy is apparent.

The flesh of the mango is a brilliant yellow and it is an excellent source of vitmain A. It is not surprising that mangoes are prescribed in some countries to treat eye disorders - dryness of the eyes, softening of the cornea, itching and burning in the eyes. It is well known that vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness.

Mango is a tropical plant but is now available in stores throughout the world. Like other such products, it is picked when the fruit is under ripe and allowed to ripen during shipping. It is not clear whether fruit and vegetables ripened in this manner have the same nutrient composition as field ripened produce.

Table 1:
Vitamin A and C in Mango and Other Fruit
Tropical FruitVitamin, A
(IU / 100g)
Vitamin C
(mg/100g)
Mango76527.7
Orange22553.2
Banana648.7
Pineapple5636.2

Other articles on vitamins §

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