Mango - Sweet and Healthy

Mango - Sweet and Healthy

Mango - sweet and healthy
Mango - sweet and healthy

Mangoes are the ideal fruit for those who love it sweet, healthy and exotic. The sun-yellow fruits taste wonderfully raw, but are also used in desserts, hearty dishes, jams and juices.

Mango: from India to Europe

The mango (Mangifera indica) belongs to the sumac family like the cashew and pistachio tree. It is at home in the tropical rainforest and originally comes from India, where it has been grown for at least 4,000 years. In pre-Christian times, the mango reached the Philippines via Southeast Asia and China, from where it was brought to Africa, Brazil and Europe by Portuguese seafarers only in the 16th century.

Then as now, the focus is on the fragrant and sweet-tasting fruit, the mango. It hangs on a long stem on the tree and can weigh up to two kilograms. The mangoes on the market usually only weigh up to 500 grams.

The mango fruit is wrapped in a thin, smooth skin and, depending on the variety and degree of ripeness, the flesh is soft to fibrous. Even the bright color of the fruit, which ranges from green to yellow to red, exudes an exotic charm and invites you to enjoy. In the mostly golden yellow fruit there is a large stone core in which the seed is located.

The mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines and is now grown worldwide in the tropics and subtropics. The main growing area is still their home country India, where an incredible 15 million tons of mangoes are harvested every year - about half of the world's production.

Mango - The sweet food of the gods

"Only two seasons in India, known as the monsoon and the mango. One refreshes the earth, the other the soul."
This saying clearly shows the close connection between the Indians and their "Aam", as the Mango is called in Hindi.

Every year in early summer there is hardly any other topic in India that heats the mind more than the mango. If you ask a hundred Indians which mango is the best - there are around 1,000 on the subcontinent alone - you will get a hundred different answers.

The mango was made around 1200 BC. BC Discovered in the Hindu Vedas. Praised as God's judgment. This appreciation is still found in the Hindu belief. So the lush fruits are still often offered as offerings. In addition, the mango has a religious meaning for Buddhists. Buddha himself is said to have preferred to meditate in the shade of a mango tree, so that it has become a symbol for (inner) strength and strength.

For thousands of years, poets have also been inspired by the mango tree, its flowers, leaves and fruits. Mango trees symbolize love and the leaves are considered good for weddings and other celebrations.

The mango in folk medicine

The list of health problems that are treated with active ingredients from mango fruits and other parts of the mango tree in Asia is very long.

The tan-rich, bright red flowers are used, for example, to treat diarrhea and dysentery as well as chronic cystitis. The ground bark has an astringent effect and is used for rheumatism, diphtheria, bronchitis and as a stomach tonic. Resin diseases are cured with the resinous tree sap.

With the help of the branches and leaves, dental diseases such as periodontitis are prevented. A tea made from the leaves is used as a gargle for angina, bronchitis and asthma, and the ashes of the leaves are used for burns. The powdery core of the mango is said to be helpful for rheumatism, diarrhea and worms.

Mango seed oil is obtained from the seeds, which is used on the one hand for the production of chocolate and on the other hand as a component of natural cosmetics. The so-called mango butter is due to the moisturizing and moisturizing properties, e.g. B. creams, lotions and lip balm and helps the skin with regeneration and healing.

Last but not least, the meat of immature and ripe fruit is used medicinally. There are various preparations that are used as drainage and laxatives. Mango mus is recommended for heat stroke and sunstroke.

The macronutrients in the mango

Since the mango contains a lot of its own sugar, it is often referred to as a cream cake among fruit types. The mango convinces with almost 60 calories per 100 grams. It is particularly advantageous that the mango has a water content of more than 80 percent and is also regarded as a saturation. The nutrient profile for 100 grams of mango is as follows:

0.4 g fat
0.8 g protein
12.8 g carbohydrates (including 12.5 g fructose)
1.7 g fiber

The mango is sweet and healthy

Fructose has been discredited in recent years because it is associated with being overweight and, according to a study at Tufts University in Boston, is said to even promote the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver.

As a rule, however, it is not mentioned that the test subjects did not receive fresh fruit, but fructose in an isolated, concentrated form. Such studies are therefore far from the actual situation and are not meaningful.

There is no question that fructose syrup, which is added to many drinks and convenience products, particularly in the United States, can play an important role in the development of obesity. However, if you eat sweet fruits like mango in normal amounts, you don't have to be afraid of the naturally contained fructose (unless there is a fructose intolerance).

Two servings of fruit a day are not a problem for diabetics either, since the increase in blood sugar remains within the limits given the amount of fructose they contain. This also applies to particularly high-sugar fruits such as mango. The fiber, vitamins and minerals that are also contained in the mango make the seductive fruit an almost indispensable part of a healthy diet.

The minerals in the mango

While many fruits generally contain few minerals, the mango can make a significant contribution to covering the daily mineral requirement (RDA). A mango of approximately 300 grams contains the following amounts of minerals:

  • 570 mg potassium (28.5 percent of the recommended daily dose): regulates the water balance of the cells and strengthens the heart.
  • 360 µg copper (24 percent of the recommended daily dose): Strengthens the immune system and helps the body to stay fit.
  • 54 mg magnesium (18 percent of the recommended daily dose): is important for bone formation, energy metabolism, has an anti-inflammatory effect and much more.

The mango contains more than 10 vitamins

The mango contains more than ten different vitamins, some of which are also relevant for meeting the recommended daily requirement (RDA). In just 100 grams of fresh mango, for example:

460 µg vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene (over 50 percent of the recommended daily dose): Vitamin A protects the eyes and keeps the mucous membranes healthy throughout the body.

130 µg vitamin B6 (6.5 percent of the recommended daily dose): Strengthens the nerves and the immune system.

43 µg vitamin B9 (11 percent of the recommended daily dose): is important for protein metabolism and the development of neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine).

39 mg vitamin C (40 percent of the recommended daily allowance): The antioxidant inhibits the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines, which increase the risk of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes.

1,000 µg vitamin E (8.4 percent of the recommended daily dose): also belongs to the antioxidants and slows down the aging processes due to its cell protection function.

10 µg vitamin K (14.3 percent of the recommended daily dose): Has degenerative processes such as bone decalcification, joint wear and arterial calcification.

Mango: 25 carotenoids contribute to health

Analyzes have shown that the mango contains a total of 25 carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect against diseases of the retina of the eye and can accompany the relevant therapy.

In terms of beta-carotene, the mango is one of the best sources with up to 3,000 µg beta-carotene per 100 grams of all fruits. According to official sources, the daily requirement is between 2,000 and 4,000 µg beta carotene. A little more than half a mango is enough to know that you are well supplied with beta-carotene.

However, it should be noted that the beta-carotene content can vary greatly depending on the type of mango. While e.g. For example, if the Tommy Atkins variety contains only 500 µg beta-carotene per 100 grams, the Ataul variety has about 2,600 µg.

Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, which is crucial for the visual process. Studies have shown that beta-carotene sometimes prevents heart disease, protects against cancer and works against inflammation.

Mango: Beta carotene and vitamin C reduce the risk of Alzheimer's

Beta-carotene has a positive effect on brain function, as it improves communication between brain cells and even extends the lifespan of brain cells. German scientists from the University of Ulm have also found that there is a connection between a lack of beta-carotene and Alzheimer's.

74 subjects with mild dementia aged between 65 and 90 years were compared to a control group of 158 healthy peers. The study found that the concentration of the two antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C in the blood of the demented subjects was significantly lower than that of the subjects in the control group.

The experts are certain that fruits like mango, which are very rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, can lower the risk of Alzheimer's and other dementias because they protect the brain from aging processes.

In traditional Brazilian medicine, mango has long been used for diseases (such as dementia) that are associated with oxidative stress, inflammation and an acetylcholine deficiency in the brain. Acetylcholine is a messenger that is involved in learning and memory processes. According to Brazilian researchers, the mango is an ideal fruit against dementia because it has an antioxidant and cholinesterase-inhibiting effect.

Cholinesterase is an enzyme that over-degrades acetylcholine in dementia, leading to an acetylcholine deficiency. Therefore, some dementia drugs inhibit cholinesterase to avoid or at least alleviate the impending acetylcholine deficiency. In addition to beta-carotene, the bioactive secondary plant substances contained in the mango probably also play an important role.

The phytonutrients in the mango

Whether flowers, leaves, bark, fruit, peel or seeds: all components of the mango tree are very rich in secondary plant substances. These include in particular substances from the group of polyphenols, allegedly mangiferin, catechins, quercetin, kaempferol, anthocyanins as well as gallic acid and ellagic acid as well as many other medically valuable substances.

A team of researchers from Jiangnan University in China closely examined the polyphenols of mango and their healing properties. They first investigated in which mango parts the individual secondary plant substances are preferred: for example, gallic acid sets the tone in the fruit, mangiferin is the main component in the leaves and in the bark, and ellagic acid mainly occurs in the fruit skin. The mango kernel, however, is particularly rich in tannins and surpasses many other fruit kernels in terms of its polyphenol content.

The scientists found that the polyphenols have an antioxidant effect and consequently protect the body cells from oxidative stress and DNA damage and thus protect us from numerous degenerative diseases, such as B.: Can preserve atherosclerosis, diabetes and cancer.

However, it was particularly revealing that the knowledge that the phytonutrients in the mango interact harmoniously and that isolated substances are nowhere near as effective as the natural mixture.

The Mangiferin of Mango - An active ingredient for all cases

Mangiferin is often regarded as the main active ingredient in the mango tree and has therefore been researched particularly intensively. The powerful antioxidant has the following properties:

antimicrobial and antiviral
cardio-, hepato- and neuroprotective (protects heart, liver and nerve cells)
Memory improvement
Anti allergic
In the countries where the mango tree is native, countless traditional remedies are made from its ingredients. Since mangiferin protects the skin from UV radiation, among other things, mango extracts are often used in the manufacture of cosmetic preparations.

A bark extract that is very rich in mangiferin is particularly popular in Cuba. Since herbal medicinal products are frequently questioned and ridiculed in conventional medicine, this mango extract has been extensively examined in more than 7,000 patients at the Universidad de La Habana for over ten years. As a result, its effectiveness under numerous conditions such as e.g. B. skin diseases, diabetes, asthma, infertility, prostatitis, indigestion and cancer confirmed.

In addition, several other studies - including at the University of Pavia in Italy - have shown that mangiferin prevents cancer and can help cure tumors in the lungs, prostate, cervix and brain, and leukemia. But here, too, it has been shown that mangiferin in combination with all other active ingredients of mango has a significantly stronger effect than in isolated form.

The mango is a fat burner

As already explained, the high fructose content of the mango is not a problem for overweight people and diabetics. A laboratory study at Oklahoma State University has also shown that eating mangoes regularly strengthens the intestinal microflora and can even reduce body fat and blood sugar levels. This nutritional effect is attributed to the hormone leptin, among others.

Leptin actually has the job of inhibiting the occurrence of hunger and therefore plays an important role in regulating fat metabolism. This also works wonderfully for lean people, but this effect doesn't work for overweight people.

Most overweight people have a particularly high level of leptin. Those who are constantly plagued by hunger do not lack leptin, but suffer from leptin resistance, which is linked to the overproduction of the hormone. The leptin therefore no longer works as it should. The mango counteracts this faulty control, since it can inhibit hormone production if you are overweight.

The same research team carried out another mango study in 2014, in which 20 overweight subjects between the ages of 20 and 50 participated. After eating 10 g of freeze-dried mango pulp daily for 12 weeks, no weight gain was observed, which corresponds to half a fresh mango. In addition, the blood sugar level among the study participants improved.

According to a Swiss study published in 2017, mango not only has a positive effect on glucose metabolism, but also on endothelial function (e.g. regulation of blood pressure) and microcirculation (blood flow to the smallest blood vessels), which reduces the risk of cardiovascular Diseases is reduced illness illnesses.

Mango is not the same as mango

In 1979 only around 700 tons of mangoes were imported to Germany, today there are over 50,000 tons. The aromatic tropical fruits have thus secured a permanent place among the top 5 in the ranking of imported exotic species and are available all year round in practically every supermarket.

Apart from the home country of India, mangoes come from all over the world in Europe today. B. from Thailand, Brazil and South Africa, but also from Spain and Italy on the market. Therefore, the selection of mango varieties is growing continuously. They differ considerably in size, shape, color, structure of the meat and taste.

For example, the Indian Alphonso is round, green-yellow with orange-colored, tender flesh, the Honduran Lancetilla with blood-red color and lemon-yellow flesh, while the Florida Tommy Atkins has purple skin and a fibrous flesh.

What needs to be considered when buying a mango?

The ripeness of a mango has a decisive influence on enjoyment. If it is still immature, it is hard and pure inedible, it is too ripe, fermented and rotten. The color of the skin says nothing about the ripeness of a mango. A ripe mango smells intensely fruity and gives way with light finger pressure.

The best way to save the mango

Although the mango has been known to Europeans for a long time, it only really gained a foothold in the 21st century. This is due to the fact that it is a very sensitive fruit that withstands even the smallest of injuries and must be consumed in a ripe state within a few days.

Most mangoes are therefore harvested unripe and come to Europe by sea. After spending about two weeks in the refrigerated container, they are still rock hard when they arrive and have to mature. This process is accelerated by gasifying the fruit with the plant hormone ethylene.

Since artificially ripened mangoes suffer from loss of taste, experts recommend buying so-called "flight mangoes". Although more expensive, they are harvested when fully ripe and transported to Europe within 36 hours.

If you buy a ripe mango, you should eat it within two days. Immature fruits, however, are suitable for purchase in stock. They ripen at home at room temperature. If you want to speed up the ripening process, you can wrap the fruit in a newspaper or place it next to an apple.

Do not keep in the fridge. This does not extend the shelf life of the mango, but damages the fruit. At temperatures below 8 ° C, the meat loses its taste over time.

Nevertheless, peeled and diced mangoes or mango can be frozen for a short time to prepare a fine vegan mango ice cream without additives. For this, the frozen fruit pieces are simply mixed in a mixer with a little lemon and ginger or even pure and served immediately.

Preparation tips for the mango

Unlike in Europe, it is e.g. B. unusual in Asian countries to throw away the valuable mango peel. It is often simply eaten. Of course, it is particularly important to use organic mangoes. Because there is Urushiole in the bowl, which can cause skin irritation if sensitive, you should exercise caution the first time.

If you simply don't like the bowl, peel the mango after washing it thoroughly with a peeler (or a special mango knife) and then cut lengthways with two parallel cuts - each on the side of the core. This creates two halves, which you can cut into fine strips or cubes depending on the recipe. You can then remove the pulp remaining on the core with a sharp knife.

If the fruit is already quite ripe, the peeler is not so suitable. You can cut through the unpeeled mango and then spoon it out like a kiwi or conjure up a so-called "mango hedgehog". Simply carve the flesh of the two halves across without damaging the skin, creating a grid pattern. If you then turn the mango halves over, the mango cubes can be eaten or processed.

Mango - a seductive exotic in the kitchen

The flesh of the ripe mango is very juicy and, depending on the variety, has a very sweet or slightly sour taste. The aroma is somewhat reminiscent of a peach.

The mango fruit is an all-rounder in the kitchen because it tastes just as good in its pure form as in sweet dishes, for example in fruit salads, in muesli, as a cake topper or in sorbets or ice cream. You can also process mangoes into compote, jam, mus (without industrial sugar) or juice. Mango juice and mango puree are ideal for the preparation of cocktails, punch bowls, smoothies and other fruity drinks.

In addition, the sweet mango goes very well with hearty and fiery dishes, e.g. For example in salad, combined with avocado, chicory or radiccio, in soup, in vegetable stew - for example with kohlrabi, celeriac and tomatoes - or in curry with coconut milk and whole grain basmati rice.

In Indian cuisine, immature, sour mangoes are often used, either seasoned with salt or chilli - or for the production of mango chutneys, which are an excellent companion for legumes.

In addition, unripe mangoes are often used to make mango cucumbers in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These are mangoes that are preserved in oil, spices and salt and can also be mixed with other types of fruit and vegetables - e.g. B. with limes, garlic, ginger, carrots or cauliflower - can be combined (mixed pickles).

Last but not least, filleted mangoes are ideal for nicely decorating cold plates and plates.