What are the benefits of eating mango? Here, we explore the nutritional benefits of this summertime staple that include support for your skin, digestion, and more.
If there’s any fruit that immediately transports you to a tropical island, it’s mango. It also helps that mangos are among the healthiest, sweetest treats available.
Also known as “the king of fruits,” mangos have been around for over 4,000 years and are even esteemed as sacred in several cultures, including India, China, and the Philippines. Not only are they delicious and refreshing, but they also provide a multitude of health benefits.
Let’s get into greater detail about this summertime superfood by highlighting some great mango nutritional benefits.
6 Health Benefits of Mango
Here’s a closer look at the top five mango health benefits for optimal wellness.
1. Mangos Provide an Immune Boost
Mangos are rich in vitamin C, a vital micronutrient your immune system needs. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, meaning our bodies can’t create the vitamin itself. Instead, we have to obtain it through diet.
Vitamin C in mango is essential for our innate and adaptive immune system by being a necessary cofactor for immune system pathways. It also helps kill dangerous microbial organisms that can compromise your well-being. So, how much vitamin C is in one mango? One mango packs about 122 milligrams of vitamin C, which is more than enough vitamin C for an entire day. (For reference, the recommended daily amount for adults is 65 to 90 milligrams daily.) By consuming one mango, your body will have a sufficient daily amount of vitamin C to not only support but also enhance immune cell function.
2. Mangos Aid Digestion
In addition to its high vitamin C content, mangos boast another outstanding nutritional benefit: They’re an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber is just how it sounds; it’s not soluble (dissolvable)! It travels through the digestive tract attracting water as it goes, stimulating bowel movements leading to easier digestion. As a result, this aids constipation and promotes regularity.
Conversely, soluble fiber dissolves in water and can help lower blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
One single mango carries over 20 percent of the adult recommended daily value for fiber. All said, the ability to ingest both types of dietary fiber (and thus support digestion) is one of the biggest benefits of eating mango.
3. Mangos Fight Oxidative Stress
You may see the word “antioxidant” labeled on what seems like any healthy food. But what are antioxidants, exactly?
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that stop oxidation to ultimately prevent free radicals and reactive oxygen species from proliferating and harming our cells.
Our bodies create these reactive oxygen species in small amounts, which is beneficial as they help our bodies send important signals. However, due to environmental toxins such as pollution and toxins in food and alcohol, sometimes our bodies create too much, causing oxidative stress. This can lead to premature signs of aging as well as the development of greater health risks.
Fortunately, eating foods like mangos—which are packed with beneficial antioxidants—can combat an excess of reactive oxygen species and free radicals.
Specifically, mango contains antioxidants including:
- Ascorbic acid
- Phenolic compounds
These antioxidants work together to help combat cellular damage, further cementing mango’s status as a superfood with a range of nutritional benefits.
4. Mangos Support a Fresh Complexion
One of the best mango benefits is a beauty perk. Mangos are high in beta-carotene, which our bodies can convert into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is also a carotenoid that acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals to protect against oxidation.
By boosting your intake of fruits and vegetables with carotenoids such as mangos, you can protect your skin against oxidative stress and damage. In fact, in subjective studies, individuals with higher concentrations of carotenoids were perceived as younger than those with lower carotenoid levels.
Simply put, a major benefit of eating mango is that you’ll improve your carotenoid concentrations. As we can see, higher carotenoid levels can potentially stave off premature skin aging in tandem with other healthy diet and lifestyle habits.
5. Mangos Promote Heart Health
Finally, let’s round out the remaining nutritional benefits of mangos.
Mangos are rich in nutrients that support cardiovascular health. Here are some other nutrients and vitamins in mango:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
Eating just one mango provides around a third of the recommended daily intake of folate. It also gives you more potassium than a banana and about 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B6. Potassium is also known for enhancing the effects of a low-sodium diet.
In sum, incorporating mango into a balanced diet can help ensure you have enough micronutrients to support a healthy heart.
6. They Can Help Your Eye Health
Don’t you remember hearing that carrots are good for your eyesight? It’s because they’re in the carotenoid family, like mangos. “Mangos may help shield the eyes against damaging lights, including blue light. This is largely in part due to two antioxidants found in mangos: lutein and zeaxanthin, [two carotenoids] which have photoprotective properties,” explains Gaby Vaca-Flores, RN, CLE, education specialist at HUM. Also, another benefit of mango: If you have just one cup of mango, that amounts to 10 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, which is a key nutrient for eye health, Vaca-Flores adds.
As we learned above, the benefits of eating mango are plentiful and promote a variety of aspects of overall health.
Now, for the best part: discovering creative ways to eat (and drink) them! “Fortunately, mangos are a relatively easy fruit to incorporate into your diet. A ripe and slightly firm mango is best for cutting,” Vaca-Flores says.
While mangos are fantastic fresh by themselves, they’re also great to throw in the freezer for an extra cold treat or to add to a smoothie. You can cube or slice them before eating, but you’re all good to eat them fresh (just don’t eat the skin). For an even fresher flavor, add some lemon or sprinkle some low sodium chili lime powder, Vaca-Flores suggests.
You can also incorporate them into your hot dishes. Since mangos reign from India and are a staple in many South Asian cuisines, there are countless recipes to explore. Mango lassis from Indian cuisine, mango sticky rice from Thai cuisine, and Chè Xoài from Vietnamese cuisine are some of my personal favorites! No matter the execution, mangos are always a crowd-pleaser—and luckily, the nutritional benefits of mangos will do wonders for your body for years to come, too.