Recent research indicates that there’s more to mangos than just vitamins and minerals – with numerous studies showing mango’s potential health-affirming properties in association with healthier diets and lower blood sugar levels.
Mangos are known for their superfruit status and strong nutritional profile – bursting with antioxidants and over 20 different vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, fiber, vitamin B6, and copper. But recent research indicates that there’s more to mangos than just vitamins and minerals – with numerous studies showing mango’s potential health-affirming properties in association with healthier diets and lower blood sugar levels. Also, there are possible cancer-fighting properties (observed in vitro), and some impact on bone health (animal study). In addition, mango demand is on the rise with an increase in mango consumption of 32% from 2005 to 2012. With mangos available all four seasons, and six primary varieties sold in the U.S., adding mango to mealtime is easy to do all year round.
Mango Consumption Associated with Healthier Diets
Researchers  comparing the diets of more than 29,000 children and adults participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2001 and 2008 noticed adults who consume mangos tend to have a higher intake of certain nutrients like potassium and dietary fiber, which help contribute to a balanced diet. Adult mango-consumers were also found to have lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation where high levels in the blood may be linked to increased risk for heart disease.
Compared to non-mango consumers, mango eaters, on average, had higher intakes of whole fruit, vitamins C, potassium, and dietary fiber (in adults only) while having lower intakes of added-sugars, saturated fats (in adults only), and sodium (in adults only). Both adults and children who consumed mangos scored higher on the Healthy Eating Index compared to those who did not eat mangos.
Mango Consumption Associated with Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Although more research is needed on the effects of mango consumption on human health, emerging research suggests that mango consumption may help lower blood sugar levels in obese adults. A pilot study  conducted by Oklahoma State University (OSU) examined the effects of daily mango consumption in obese individuals (twenty adults: 11 males and 9 females) over a 12 twelve week time frame and found both male and female participants had significantly lower blood sugar levels compared to their baselines; however there were no significant changes to body composition for either gender. These findings support the results from a previous OSU study , which found that adding 1% mango to high-fat diets in mice was effective in reducing body fat accumulation and lowering blood glucose levels.
Although the mechanism by which mango exerts its effects warrants further investigation, we do know that mangos contain a complex mixture of polyphenolic compounds. Research has shown that several other plants and their polyphenolic compounds, such as isoflavone from soy , epigallocatechin gallate from green tea , and proanthocyanidin from grape seed , have a positive effect on adipose tissue.
Some Polyphenolics in Mangos May Possess Cancer-Fighting Properties (In Vitro Study)
Published research  studied the antioxidant polyphenols in mangos to help determine how these potential anti-cancer bioactive compounds are broken down and absorbed. Such compounds, which are ingested as part of the diet, help to protect normal body cells from being damaged.
This preliminary research found that mango polyphenolics, particularly those from Ataulfo and Haden cultivars, inhibited the growth of SW-480 colon cancer cells by affecting pro-apoptotic genes and cell cycle control genes.
Possible Effects and Correlation between Mango and Bone Density in Mice
Preliminary research  examined the effects of mango on bone mass and bone strength in high-fat diets in mice. The researchers noted that both animal and human models have found that diets high in saturated fat can impair bone mineralization and that some treatments for chronic conditions such as diabetes can negatively impact bones.
This research study found that mango supplementation helped counteract the negative effects on bone parameters caused by a high-fat diet in mice. In addition, mango supplementation may have improved glucose levels without the side effects of bone loss that are associated with taking a blood glucose lowering drug (rosiglitazone). The study also found that mice receiving high fat diets supplemented with mango had better bone quality compared to those receiving rosiglitazone (those receiving the drug had the lowest bone mineral density).
Limitations and challenges to the study include determining the exact dose (amount of mango) and identifying the bioactive compound and the possible mechanism of action. The observed effects of mango may be attributed to synergistic actions of different bioactive compounds and not just due to one individual component. In addition, it is unclear whether the researchers would see the same effects in humans and if this dose is reasonable for human consumption. In humans, the 1% dose used in this animal study is equivalent to eating approximately 10 grams per day of freeze-dried mango (about 50-100 grams of fresh fruit or half a fruit). More studies are needed to identify the bioactive component(s) in mango and their mechanism(s) of action.
Information provided by the National Mango Board
The National Mango Board is a national promotion and research organization, which is supported by assessments from both domestic and imported mangos. The board was designed to drive awareness and consumption of fresh mangos in the U.S. One cup of mango is 100 calories, an excellent source of vitamins A and C, a good source of fiber and an amazing source of tropical flavor. Learn more and view recipes at www.mango.org.
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