The mango season is here, and people are having their fill of the mango fruit. Mango has been known in India since very early times.
There are over 1,000 different varieties of mangos. Most of the cultivated varieties have arisen from four main species – Mangifera indica, Mangifera sylvatica, Mangifera odorata, and Mangifera zeylanica.
Mango cultivation is found in many countries of Southeast Asia – the Philippines, Indonesia, Java, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Introduction of the mango to East and West Africa and subsequently to Brazil is said to have occurred in the sixteenth century.
Mexico acquired the mango in the 19th Century, and it entered Florida, United State of America (U.S.A) in 1833. The cultivated mango varieties are the result of constant selection by man from original wild plants for over 4000 years. The wild progenies are still available in India in two species, Mangifera indica and Mangifera sylvatica, which have small fruits with a big seed, thin acidic flesh and long fibers.
Mango trees can grow up to 35 to 40 meters tall. The trees are long-lived, as some species still produce fruit after 300 years. In deep soil, the taproot descends to a depth of six meters (20 ft.), with profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots; the tree also sends down many anchor roots, which penetrate several feet of soil. The leaves are evergreen. When the leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark, glossy red, then dark green as they mature. The fruit takes three to six months to ripen.
There are over 1,000 different varieties of mangos, many of which ripen in summer. It is said that mangos are eaten fresh than any other fruit in the world. Below are some of the health benefits of Mango
Research has shown antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers.
These compounds include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as the abundant enzymes.
The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C in Mango help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein, referred to as bad cholesterol.
Promotes eye health
One cup of sliced mangoes supplies 25 per cent of the needed daily value of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness and dry eyes.
Alkalizes the whole body
The tartaric acid, malic acid, and a trace of citric acid found in the fruit help to maintain the alkali reserve of the body.
Mango leaves help normalise insulin levels in the blood. The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning. Mango fruit also has a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities will not spike your sugar levels.
- Improves sex
Mangos are a great source of vitamin E. Even though the popular connection between sex drive and vitamin E was originally created by a mistaken generalization on rat studies, further research has shown balanced proper amounts (as from whole food) does help in this area.
- Improves digestion
Pawpaw is not the only fruit that contain enzymes for breaking down protein. There are several fruits, including mangoes, which have this healthful quality. The fiber in mangos also helps digestion and elimination.
- Remedy for Heat Stroke. Juicing the fruit from green mango and mixing with water and a sweetener helps to cool down the body and prevent harm to the body. This is also good for those who suffer from internal heat, hot flashes and anxiety.
Boosts Immune system
The generous amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A in mango, plus 25 different kinds of carotenoids makes it an important natural immune booster. A strong and healthy immunity is essential for a healthy life. A good immunity protects against common illnesses such as colds, coughs and general weakness, and also against more serious and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis and high blood pressure.
- Skin food
Do you know that mango is one of the best skin friendly medicine around? Just blending up the ripe mango along with the peel and applying to the face is fast and easy. Mangos contain beta-carotene, which is converted by your body to vitamin A. Both Vitamin A and vitamin C are crucial to skin self-repair. Mangos clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples. For those who want smooth, shinning and healthy looking, I advise you give mango a trial. Apply the fresh paste of mango to your face every night. It is a matter of weeks before you hear people commenting on your glowing skin.
- Blood tonic
While we tend to focus attention only on the mango fruit most of the time, it is important to remind ourselves of the other part of the mango tree. The stem bark of mango trees are good natural blood tonic. Boil half a kilogram of the stem of Mango in 10 liters of water and allow to infuse overnight. Drink half a glass twice daily.
The soft, immature leaves of mango are good remedies for fevers. Boiling the matured leaves of mango along with other leaves such as Neem (dogoyaro) orange and lemon grass is a popular recipe for fever in Nigeria. However, the tender leaves of mango alone can be used for fever with very good results.
Research has shown antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers
The generous amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A in mango, plus 25 different kinds of carotenoids makes it an important natural immune booster