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Mango, which is popularly known as the “king of fruits”, perhaps, due to its cultivation or availability virtually all around the world, is a highly enriched fruit with nutrients that varies in its characteristic fragrance, flavor and other health benefits it possess.
The scientific or botanical name of mango is Mangifera indica, belonging to the family of flowing plants known as “Anacardiaceae”, other popularly consumed fruit in this family is the cashew. Mango is a tropical fruit as well as the National fruit of India, Phillipines and Pakistan. It is, however, grown in about 83 countries in the tropics and developing countries (such as Nigeria) are responsible for the production about 98% of its total production. The states which are majorly involved in the production of mango in Nigeria are Niger, Bauchi, Jigawa, Adamawa, FCT, Yobe, Taraba, Kano, Plateau, Kebbi, Benue, Sokoto and Kaduna. The fruit has been made available across the country (Nigeria) and it is being enjoyed by many.
There are different varieties of mango in Nigeria, most of them are named according to where they are cultivated or produced while others may be due to a nickname generated in a locality, these are but not limited to, Cotonou mango, German mango or Opioro, Benue mango, Normal mango (Ogbomosho/Calabar/Abuja), Sheri mango, Julie mango, Binta sugar mango, Kerosene mango, etc.
Mango can be consumed fresh or processed into other products such as fruit juice depending on the taste and selection of the consumer. Although, it should be noted that a fruit is consumed not only because of its sweetness, pleasant taste or availability. The health benefits it can offer should be evaluated in order to have a better understanding of what you are consuming. Hence, what are the health benefits of mango?
According to scientific research, mango contains chemical constituents known as antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemical substances that interact with and neutralize harmful by products in the body known as free radicals. These free radicals can lead to the development of oxidative stress thereby leading to different diseases such as atheriosclerosis, cancer, and the different form of cancers developed in the blood vessels (such as leukemia). Antioxidants protect the body from the effects of these free radicals. Examples of antioxidants contained in mango are isoquercitrin, quercetin, astragalin, fisetin, etc. these can reduce risk of cancer.
Obesity majorly results from the continuous deposition of fat droplets on the walls of blood vessels and other parts of the body. This is due to a particular substance which aid the transportation of fat molecules called the lipoproteins. Mango is very rich in pectin, fibers and Vitamin C, these help to lower the amount of lipoproteins, that is, blood cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of obesity.
Mango contains some proteins called “papain”. This protein functions as an enzyme in the breaking down of proteins digestion. Hence, its application in improving digestion. Also, the fiber contents aids in digestion.
Moderate quantities and consumption has the potential of normalizing blood sugar especially the leaves which is used as home remedy to reduce blood sugar. Increase in blood sugar can lead to diabetes. It has been reported that the leaves can help to regulate the level of insulin in the blood.
Mango is rich in vitamin A which helps to improve eyesight and to prevent night blindness. This is due to some chemical compounds called flavonoids such as alpha carotene and beta carotene which are very important for good vision and prevention of different form of eye disorders such as cataracts, dry eyes, macular degeneration, etc.
During a sunny day when there is high intensity of sunlight, extracting the juice of mango at this time and taking few gulps down can be refreshing and helps to restore lost electrolytes leading to rehydration which can help to prevent or reduce the risk of heat stroke.
The presence of Vitamin A and Carotenoids (that is, alpha carotene and beta carotene) in mango makes it very good in improving the quality of the skin especially in the treatment of pimples and acne. Hence, it is used in scrubs and face masks. It helps to increase the production of collagen which is a substance responsible for the elasticity of the skin. Mango may be applied to the skin by rubbing the peeled skin on the face and allowed to dry for about 10 to 15 minutes after which the face is rinsed with warm water. This helps to maintain a soft and blemish free skin.
The presence of carotenoids and different forms of vitamins (A, C, among others) helps to boost the immune system(read about the Immune system here) thereby helping the body to fight against germs and other form of diseases. Carotenoids are basically any class of substance which allows leaves and fruits have distinctive colours, also major constituents of vitamin A and a powerful antioxidant.
The body regularly undergoes a process called homeostasis, which is the maintenance of a fairly constant internal environment. In order to do this, the body needs a balance between acids and alkaline. These are majorly obtained from foods or its oxidation. Mango is a rich source of malic acid, tartaric acid and a little amount of citric acid which helps to conserve the alkaline reserve of the body.
Iron is a very important element in the body especially in its ionic state helps in the formation of hemoglobin which is a major constituents in blood formation. Mango is a rich source of iron and this can lower the deficiency of iron as well as anaemia in the body. It is also very important especially in pregnant and menopausal women because it can increase the level of iron and calcium in their blood.
In conclusion, these health benefits reveal how important and valuable mango fruit can be. Hence, the next time you see the availability of mango in your environment, you may really want to take a leap in adding more nutritional value to yourself. However, you can contact your physician in order to ascertain if you have any form of allergic reaction to mango as some may do. Stay healthy!!!
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