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Is regular consumption of mangoes associated with improved health? Here’s what experts say

Seasonal fruits are known to be extremely healthy as they help fight infections and illnesses that weaken immunity. Therefore, experts suggest consuming them regularly. And as summer intensifies, two new studies have indicated that consuming mangoes can help better one’s overall health by controlling blood glucose, and also preventing chronic conditions of the kidney, along with other lifestyle disorders .

While mangoes, nicknamed the king of fruits, are often advised to be avoided by diabetics, regular consumption can help avoid chronic disease complications, mentioned the studies published in Nutrients and Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.

According to the study published in Nutrients, regular mango consumption was associated with positive outcomes in nutrient intakes, diet quality, and weight. The study used United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2018 data to compare the diets and nutrient intakes of mango consumers to people who did not consume mangoes.

It further indicated that children who regularly consumed mango had higher intakes of immune-boosting vitamins A, C and B6, as well as fibre and potassium. The study also showed similar results in adults with regular consumption associated with reduced intake of sugar and sodium.

“We have known for a long time that there is a strong correlation between diet and chronic disease,” said Yanni Papanikolaou, a researcher on the study. “This study reveals that both children and adults eating mangoes tend to have significantly better diet quality overall along with higher intakes of fibre and potassium compared with those who don’t eat mangoes. It is also important that mango fits into many diverse cuisines. Whole fruits are under-consumed, and mango can encourage fruit consumption, especially among growing diverse populations.”

Another study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases indicated that snacking on mangoes is associated with better glucose control and lower inflammation in the body.

Twenty seven adults who were overweight or obese based on Body Mass Index (BMI), but reported no known health conditions, participated in the study. They were given either mango or low-fat cookies as a snack while maintaining their usual diet and physical activity levels for 12 weeks, and after a four-week wash-out period, the alternating snack was given for another 12 weeks. Researchers measured the effects on glucose, insulin, lipid profiles, liver function enzymes and inflammation. At the end of the trial period, findings indicated that mango consumption improved glycemic control (an individual’s ability to manage blood glucose levels, an important factor in preventing and managing diabetes), and reduced inflammation.

While there was no drop in blood glucose when participants snacked on low-fat cookies, the results showed that with snacking on mangoes, there was statistically significant (p= 0.004) decrease in blood glucose levels at four weeks and again at 12 weeks, even though there was twice as much sugar, naturally occurring, in the mangoes compared to the cookies. The study noted that there was statistically significant improvements to inflammation markers, total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and C-reactive protein (CRP), when snacking on mangoes.

TAC is an indication of antioxidant capacity or how well foods prevent oxidation in cells. CRP helps measure inflammation in the body. The study suggested that mangoes are abundant in antioxidants that offered protection against inflammation compared to the cookies.

Health benefits of mangoes:

In many of her videos, celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar has pointed out the need to eat local, seasonal and fresh. And mangoes tick mark all these categories besides having other health benefits.

According to Rujuta, one must consume mangoes for three basic reasons:

a) They are local fruits
) They are in season
c) They are genetically compliant with our bodies: “You can consume mangoes in the form of pickle, aamras, panna or simply eat the slices,” says Rujuta. Since mangoes are something we have grown up eating, it cannot do any harm to our body.

“Moreover, the potassium and magnesium in mangoes allow the body to maintain a steady pulse and keep the blood vessels relaxed. Mangoes are also loaded with mangiferin, which protects the heart cells against getting inflamed. The magical fruit contains vitamin A that improves vision and reduces dry eye symptoms,” Dr Jinal Patel, dietitian, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Mumba told that.
Rujuta listed down the following nutrients in mangoes, that make it “perfectly okay” for diabetics and weight-watchers to eat it:
Beta-carotene: A nutrient found especially in yellow foods, beta-carotene helps give a flawless complexion.
Vitamin C: “This will help your bones and joints”
Fibre: Since fruit fiber is good for our digestive tract, eating mangoes will sort out your worries concerning constipation. Along with this, mangoes will help in reducing your cholesterol.

Vitamin B6: Won’t make you feel bloated when you get up in the morning or late in the evening.

Can diabetics have one mango a day?

According to Rujuta, mangoes are excellent for diabetics and in fact, “one mango everyday will help diabetics”. Since mangoes are rich in antioxidants and fibre, it helps with insulin sensitivity which in turn helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Dr Patel explained that the fruit which is rich in fibre, eases digestion, and keeps stomach problems at bay, is high in vitamin C and carotenoids that can help prevent the onset of diabetes. “Mango is high in sugar but eating it in the quantity recommended by the expert will help control high blood sugar levels as it contains fibre and protein. The fruit is also rich in vitamin A and helps with a robust immune system by cutting down the risk of infections,” said Dr Patel.

“A mango serving size should be around ¾ cup of mango slices, which is around 50-60 calories — making it an ideal light snack. ¾ cup of mango provides 50 per cent of your daily vitamin C, eight per cent of your daily vitamin A, and eight per cent of your daily vitamin B6,” said Preety Tyagi, lead health coach, nutritionist, and founder of MY22BMI.

Things to keep in mind

Dr Patel mentioned that it is okay to have one small-size mango a day for breakfast. “Remember that moderation is key. Going overboard is not recommended at all. It is always a good idea to consult an expert about your diet in general,” said Dr Patel.