Loved by kids and adults alike, the aromatic mango is an incredibly sweet, juicy, tropical stone fruit with tangy pale-yellow, gold, green or orange flesh, a single flat inner seed (not easily separated from the fruit), surrounded by leather-like waxy skin. Mangoes are amazing eaten on their own and in sweet dishes but also make a fantastic addition to savory dishes too. Whether you prefer to eat them ‘hedgehog’ style, sliced or dried, this fruit is mango-nificent!
Mango (Mangifera indica) is native to India and Southeast Asia where it has been cultivated for over 4,000 years, resulting in two distinct types of modern mango cultivars – the “Indian type” and the “Southeast Asian type”. Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera, which consists of numerous species of tropical fruits in the family Anacardiaceae (including cashews and pistachios!) Over one thousand mango fruit varieties are available worldwide, although only a few are produced on a commercial scale (such as Tommy Atkins and Alphonso). Today, mango is the dominant tropical fruit and is cultivated in most frost-free tropical and warmer subtropical climates. India is the leading producer (with just shy of half of the world’s production) but interestingly, India only accounts for 1% of international trade since they consume most of their own production. Wow – that’s a lot of mangoes! With that level of popularity, it’s not surprising that mango is the national fruit of India, where it is used to decorate archways and doors in houses and during weddings and celebrations, in addition to featuring prominently in embroidery styles found in shawls and sarees. The mango is also the national fruit of Pakistan and the Philippines and the national tree of Bangladesh.
In the 1970s, horticulturist, Dr. Ramon Barba discovered the mango tree could be induced to flower with potassium nitrate. He based this on the traditional Philipino method of inducing flowering using smoke. This discovery was revolutionary for mango-producers as it enables double or even triple the fruit production, produces larger fruit and allows some trees to fruit twice in a year! With this treatment, flowers can emerge in as little as 7 days. Previously, mangoes were seasonal, only flowering every 16 to 18 months. Lucky for us, this method is now used in most mango-producing countries, which means lots more mangoes to enjoy!
Nutrivore Score for Mango – 342
Mango has a Nutrivore Score of 342, making it a medium nutrient-dense food! Plus, it is a low-calorie-density food; the calorie count of mango is 99 calories per cup.
Per serving, mango is a best source (>50% daily value) of carotenoids, polyphenols, and vitamin C; an excellent source (20-50% daily value) of copper; and a good source (10-20% daily value) of myo-inositol, vitamin A, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin E.
Mango Nutrition Facts
One serving of mango is standardized to 1 cup or about 165 grams (5.8 ounces). A typical mango (without refuse) weighs 336 grams which means: one serving of mango is roughly equivalent to half of a mango.
|Mango, raw||Nutrivore Score: 342||Nutrient Density: Medium|
|Serving Size: 1 cup or 1/2 fruit (165 grams)||Protein: 1.4 grams||Net Carbohydrates: 40.8 grams|
|Calories: 99||Total Fat: 0.6 grams||Dietary Fiber: 2.6 grams|
|Vitamin A||89.1 μg RAE||10% DV|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||46.2 μg||4% DV|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||62.7 μg||5% DV|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.1 mg||7% DV|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.3 mg||7% DV|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||196.4 μg||12% DV|
|Vitamin B7 (Biotin)||3.0 μg||10% DV|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||71.0 μg||18% DV|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)||0.0 μg||0% DV|
|Vitamin C||60.1 mg||67% DV|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||0.0 μg||0% DV|
|Vitamin E||1.6 mg||11% DV|
|Vitamin K||6.9 μg||6% DV|
|Choline||12.5 mg||2% DV|
|Calcium||18.2 mg||1% DV|
|Copper||183.2 μg||20% DV|
|Iron||0.3 mg||1% DV|
|Magnesium||16.5 mg||4% DV|
|Manganese||104.0 μg||5% DV|
|Phosphorus||23.1 mg||2% DV|
|Potassium||277.2 mg||6% DV|
|Selenium||1.0 μg||2% DV|
|Sodium||1.7 mg||0% DV|
|Zinc||0.1 mg||1% DV|
|AMINO ACIDS & PEPTIDES|
Health Benefits of Mango Nutrients
Let’s take a closer look at all of the best and excellent source of nutrients found in a 1-cup serving of mango and see how they benefit our health.
Mango Provides 67% DV Vitamin C
Mango is a best source of vitamin C, providing 67% of the daily value per 1-cup serving!
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that has powerful antioxidant properties (meaning it can help combat oxidative damage from free radicals and reactive oxygen species) and that serves as an enzyme cofactor (meaning it’s needed for enzymes to do their job, for example vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis, which is essential for bones, joints, teeth, blood vessels, skin and eyes) and playing important roles in immune system and skin health. Higher intakes of vitamin C are linked to reduced risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and gout. Vitamin C can also help regulate the stress response and reduce anxiety, and there’s preliminary evidence that it may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more about vitamin C here.
Mango Provides 438.9 mg of Polyphenols
Mango is a fantastic source of polyphenols, providing 438.9 mg of polyphenols per 1-cup serving!
Polyphenols play a huge role in protecting against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and other conditions associated with oxidative stress. In fact, a major reason foods like red wine and olive oil (as well as diets rich in both, such as the Mediterranean diet) show up as so beneficial may be due to their high polyphenol content! Along with chronic diseases, supplementing with polyphenols has been shown to protect against infections and reduce the signs of aging. Polyphenols exert their most potent effects by acting as antioxidants—preventing cellular damage by neutralizing hazardous oxygen radicals and improving cellular health as a result (which, in turn, benefits virtually every system in the body). As a result of their antioxidant properties, polyphenols also boost the immune system and protect against both chronic and acute diseases. In addition, polyphenols can help regulate enzyme function, stimulate cell receptors, modulate the functions of inflammatory cells (including T and B lymphocytes, macrophages, platelets, and natural killer cells), alter adhesion molecule expression, affect nerve cells and cardiac muscle cells, and exert antiviral effects. Learn more about polyphenols here.
Mango Provides 4631.2 μg of Carotenoids
Mango is also a best source of carotenoids, providing 4631.2 μg of carotenoids per 1-cup serving!
Carotenoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients that are responsible for giving fruits and vegetables vibrant red, orange, and yellow pigmentation. They were one of the earliest phytonutrients ever investigated by scientists (with research dating back to the 1800s!). Across studies, eating foods high in carotenoids appears to reduce the risk of head and neck cancers, supports vision health (particularly age-related eye diseases), may protect against metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and can reduce inflammation. Carotenoids have strong antioxidant properties, and help facilitate communication between cells by promoting the synthesis of connexin proteins, which create gap junctions in cell membranes that allow small molecules to be exchanged (which is part of how cells “talk” to each other!). Consuming carotenoids with fat significantly increases their absorption. Learn more about carotenoids here.
Mango Provides 20% DV Copper
Mango is an excellent source of copper, providing 20% of the daily value per 1-cup serving!
Copper is a trace mineral that’s essential for all living organisms. Copper serves as a component of numerous enzymes and proteins in the body, giving it diverse roles in the growth, development, and maintenance of various organs (including the heart and brain), bone, and connective tissue. Copper is also involved in glucose and cholesterol metabolism, helps regulate gene expression, can scavenge free radicals, and is needed for the production of red blood cells. Learn more about copper here.
How Much Mango Should We Eat Per Day?
Vilified for its higher sugar content, tropical fruit sometimes gets a bad rap even though these tasty fruits provide plenty of health benefits!
Consuming 800 grams of vegetables and fruits daily reduces all-cause mortality by 31% compared to eating less than 40 grams daily. A 2017 systemic review and meta-analysis looked at how all-cause mortality was impacted by varying intakes of 12 different food groups: whole grains and cereals, refined grains and cereals, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, eggs, dairy products, fish, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages. This analysis revealed non-linear relationships between how much of a particular food group we eat and how it impacts our health. While the results revealed no upper limit to the benefits of vegetable intake, the sweet spot for fruit intake was 300 grams daily. Intakes of fruit over 400 grams per day were not as beneficial as 300 grams, but the good news is that even intakes of 600 grams of fruits per day was superior to no fruit at all! This sweet spot for fruit intake translates to 2 to 3 servings of fruit daily.
Thus, a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 500 to 600 grams of vegetables (5 to 8 servings, depending on the vegetable, and as much as you want above that) and about 300 grams of fruit (2 to 3 servings, depending on the fruit) per day. Fruit makes a convenient snack, a healthy dessert, a whimsical addition to salads, and a sophisticated flavoring agent in the form of salsas, jams, and chutneys. A serving is standardized to 1 cup chopped for raw vegetables and fruits (typically translates to 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup once cooked). Learn more in Importance of Vegetables and Fruit
Mangoes contain a wide variety of polyphenols and carotenoids, with anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-atherosclerotic, pain-relieving, blood lipid lowering, immunomodulatory, anti-diabetic, and antiallergenic properties.
It’s always best to mix up the fruit and veggies you eat day to day (aiming for a wide variety of different vegetables and fruits throughout the week), and mango definitely has a place at the table.
Expand to see all scientific references for this article.
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USDA Food Central Database: Mangos, raw
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