This ‘royal fruit’ isn’t just delicious, it’s bursting with health benefits too.
The spotlight this month is on the national fruit of India, the delicious and fragrant mango which is also known as one of the three royal fruits alongside the banana and jackfruit. Sour, sweet, ripe or unripe, the mango is eaten raw and also cooked. From curries to smoothies, this unassuming fruit packed with vitamins and enzymes is also an excellent source of nutritional goodness.
This fragrant fruit is an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. We all know that vitamin A is essential for our eyes especially the retina, however, it is also beneficial for organ health and also helps maintain normal skin health.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, mangoes contain a whopping 44% of our Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C! Furthermore, that’s just in 100 grams of mango flesh! Vitamin C is also well known as an immune system booster and helps stimulate the production of collagen.
Mango also contains vitamin E which has been proven to improve skin condition and also improves blood circulation which can aid the libido. Vitamin A, C and E are antioxidants which are known to fight free radicals that cause us damage without us knowing.
Mangoes also contain folic acid (Vitamin B9) which is essential during pregnancy to protect against birth defects. Folic acid is also a necessary nutrient for fertility and helps with depression.
Apart from essential vitamins, mangoes also contain digestive enzymes such as magneferin and katechol oxidase which helps fight bad bacteria in our digestive system. Its digestive enzymes are also used in face packs and are especially useful for people with sensitive skin who cannot take chemical exfoliants containing AHA and BHA, or physical exfoliants. The enzymes will clear dead skin cells without causing any damage to the skin.
Mango seed oil can be harvested via cold pressing the dried mango kernel. Mango seed oil is solid at room temperature and is often referred to as mango seed butter. This makes mango seed butter a popular ingredient in lotions. This luxurious butter melts at 35-43 degrees Celsius which means that it will melt as soon as it is applied to the body. Mango seed butter is an excellent moisturiser and is also beneficial when applied to hair. It has moisture sealing properties which makes it excellent at keeping hair, skin and nails moisturised and soft.
When handling mangoes, especially for those who have had a history of poison ivy contact dermatitis, one must exercise caution. Urushiol, a chemical found in poison ivy has been linked to the mango peel, leaves and stem. It is advised to wear gloves when coming into contact with the fruit. Wash the mango thoroughly before slicing and eating.
The mango is such a versatile fruit that even its leaves are also used to decorate doorways and archways during Indian celebrations and weddings. It is also the inspiration behind the paisley design made popular by a town in west Scotland. The name of the design in various Indian and Pakistani dialects relate to the mango.
It is no wonder then why so many people are mad about mangoes!
Face Pack Ideas
Yogurt and honey – Honey is a natural humectants which moisturises skin. Yogurt fights bad bacteria and also smoothes rough skin.
Oatmeal – Use this mixture as a leave-on scrub. Oatmeal sloughs off dead skin gently and also absorbs excess oil.
Apply liberally and leave for up to 30 minutes. Wash off with warm water and pat dry with a towel. Enjoy!
Did you know?
- In India, the mango is known as the King of Fruits.
- Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib was so fond of mangoes that he wrote poetry declaring his love of mangoes.
- In the West Indies, the phrase ‘go on a mango walk’ is to go and steal someone else’s mangoes.
- Buying local mangoes are a great way to lessen your carbon footprint.