Sweet and tangy, mangoes are a fruit native to southern Asia that are in the same family as the cashew and poison ivy. Mangoes aren’t as common as apples or grapes, but this exotic fruit has become common in the United States. Today, it is grown in the Caribbean and Southwestern United States. Mangoes can be bought in almost every grocery store for a comparable price to other fruits when in season. When shopping for mangoes, look for a ripe mango by giving a gentle squeeze. Like a pear or avocado, ripe mangoes will be slightly soft to the touch. You may also smell near the stem for a fruity scent, indicating its ripeness.
In many parts of the world, mangoes are more than just a delicious fruit; they are sacred! In India, the mango tree is a symbol of love and believed to grant wishes. Asian culture use mango leaves as a fertility blessing to newlywed couples. Leaves from mango trees are hung outside the home of the newlyweds to ensure the blessing of many children.
Hindu culture uses mango tree wood to brush their teeth on holy days. However, this is not advised as a replacement for toothpaste; the wood and leaves of the mango tree are extremely toxic to humans and livestock. Burning wood from a mango tree releases toxic fumes that are very dangerous. Also, it is not uncommon for harvesters of the mango fruit to develop dermatitis from the sap of the plant. So, here’s an important tip… Do not eat the peeling; you will get sick!
So, what are the health benefits of a mango?
• High fiber will help to keep your digestive system happy and regular while protecting against high cholesterol
• Low calorie; only around 130 calories per medium sized mango
• High in vitamin A and vitamin C
• Good source to potassium, which is especially important to replace after a hard workout
Still need more convincing that mangos are an incredible fruit? How about the fact that they can actually make you feel happier? An enzyme found in mangoes is released in the stomach and bring about a calming feeling. Your not imagining that calm and satiated feeling after eating a mango!
Here is a delicious summer recipe to try with mangoes…
* 1 mango, peeled and diced
* 1/2 cup peeled, diced cucumber
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
* 1/3 cup diced red onion
* 1 tablespoon lime juice
* 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
* Salt and pepper
Combine the mango, cucumber, jalapeño, red onion, lime juice and cilantro leaves and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy mangoes?
Research Assistance by Kaylee O’Connell