Mangoes

Contributed by Donna Hargrove, D.O., Nutrition Editor

 

 

Tropical Indulgence and Antioxidant-Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition Factoids:

Most adults need about 2 cups of fruit each day.  One half cup of fresh fruit is considered one serving.  When sliced, a fresh mango yields about 2 servings, or 1 cup and about 110 calories.  Mangoes are a good source of dietary fiber with one cup of sliced mangoes providing 3 grams.

Mangoes are rich in vitamins B, C, E, K and beta carotene, along with potassium, copper and 17 amino acids. The antioxidants in mangoes help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals that are present in the environment and naturally produced by the body.  Consuming an antioxidant-rich diet may help protect the body from chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Vitamin C plays a role in supporting immune function, growth and repair of tissues throughout the body and wound healing.  Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A by the body.  Vitamin A contributes to healthy vision as well as healthy bones, skin, teeth and other tissues.  Like vitamin C, vitamin A plays an essential role in immune function.

 History:

The versatile mango is one of the world’s most popular fruits.  There are over a 1,000 different varieties of mangoes each with their own unique flavor, texture, aroma and color.  In the US, six varieties make up the bulk of mangoes available at grocery stores and they have overlapping seasons, so mangoes can be enjoyed year-round. Most of the mangoes sold in the US are imported from Mexico, Haiti, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Due to the need for a tropical climate, US production comes from Florida, California, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mango trees require hot, dry periods to set and produce a good crop of fruit. They are an evergreen that will grow to 60 feet, requiring 4-6 years to mature after planting before bearing fruit.

The mango originated in Southeast Asia and India where it has been grown for over 4,000 years.

Fresh mangoes come in all shades of green, yellow and red, with many mangoes showing more than one color on their skin.  When choosing a mango, don’t focus on just the skin/peel color – it’s not the best indicator of ripeness.  A ripe mango will have a slight “give” when gently squeezed.  If you’re looking for a mango that you can eat today, choose one that is slightly soft.  A firmer mango would be a good choice if you plan to eat it several days from now.

How to Store and Handle Fresh Mangoes

To ripen mangoes, keep them at room temperature.  They will continue to ripen, becoming sweeter and softer over several days.  Once ripe, move them to the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat them.  Whole, ripe mangoes may be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator.  Never refrigerate mangoes before they are ripe. You can store peeled, cut slices of mango in the refrigerator in a covered bowl. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the slices to keep them from turning dark.

Cutting a mango is really quite simple.  A mango has a long, flat seed in the center of the fruit.  Once you work around the seed, the rest is easy. Always wash the mango before cutting.

The slice and scoop method is an easy way to cut the mango:

Stand the mango on the cutting board stem end down and hold.  Place your knife about ¼” from the widest center line and cut down through the mango.  Flip the mango around and repeat this cut on the other side.  The resulting ovals of mango flesh are known as the “cheeks”.  What’s left in the middle is mostly seed.

Cut parallel slices into the mango flesh, being careful not to cut through the skin.

Scoop the mango slices out of the mango skin using a spoon.

Allergic Reactions

The mango peel and sap contain urushiol, the chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac that causes the contact dermatitis (itchy rash) in people allergic to this chemical. Cross-reactions between contact with mangoes and urushiol have been observed. People with a history of reactions to poison ivy may be at risk for a reaction with mangoes. Urushiol is also present in mango leaves and stems.

Nutrition Factoids:

Most adults need about 2 cups of fruit each day.  One half cup of fresh fruit is considered one serving.  When sliced, a fresh mango yields about 2 servings, or 1 cup and about 110 calories.  Mangoes are a good source of dietary fiber with one cup of sliced mangoes providing 3 grams.

Mangoes are rich in vitamins B, C, E, K and beta carotene, along with potassium, copper and 17 amino acids. The antioxidants in mangoes help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals that are present in the environment and naturally produced by the body.  Consuming an antioxidant-rich diet may help protect the body from chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Vitamin C plays a role in supporting immune function, growth and repair of tissues throughout the body and wound healing.  Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A by the body.  Vitamin A contributes to healthy vision as well as healthy bones, skin, teeth and other tissues.  Like vitamin C, vitamin A plays an essential role in immune function.