Mangos taste so good that people forget they are also healthy! Discover how the “king of fruits” can help you, plus learn fascinating trivia facts and a few mango cautions and concerns.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
1. Prevents Cancer: Research has shown antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. These compounds include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as the abundant enzymes.
2. Lowers Cholesterol: The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein (the bad stuff)
3. Clears the Skin: Can be used both internally and externally for the skin. Mangos clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples. (Read more on page 5.)
4. Eye Health: One cup of sliced mangoes supplies 25 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness and dry eyes.
5. Alkalizes the Whole Body: The tartaric acid, malic acid, and a trace of citric acid found in the fruit help to maintain the alkali reserve of the body.
6. Helps in Diabetes: Mango leaves help normalize insulin levels in the blood. The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning. Mango fruit also have a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities will not spike your sugar levels.
7. Improved Sex: Mangos are a great source of vitamin E. Even though the popular connection between sex drive and vitamin E was originally created by a mistaken generalization on rat studies, further research has shown balanced proper amounts (as from whole food) does help in this area.
8. Improves Digestion: Papayas are not the only fruit that contain enzymes for breaking down protein. There are several fruits, including mangoes, which have this healthful quality. The fiber in mangos also helps digestion and elimination.
9. Remedy for Heat Stroke: Juicing the fruit from green mango and mixing with water and a sweetener helps to cool down the body and prevent harm to the body. From an ayurvedic viewpoint, the reason people often get diuretic and exhausted when visiting equatorial climates is because the strong “sun energy” is burning up your body, particularly the muscles. The kidneys then become overloaded with the toxins from this process.
10. Boosts Immune System: The generous amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A in mangos, plus 25 different kinds of carotenoids keep your immune system healthy and strong.
Facts and Trivia
- According to some, more mangos are eaten fresh than any other fruit in the world.
- Originated 4,000 plus years ago.
- Biologically a close relative with other flowering plants like cashew and pistachio.
- Originated in sub-Himalayan plains.
- In India where they are most heavily grown and eaten, mangos are known as “safeda.”
- There are more than 1,000 different varieties of mangos.
Nutrition by the Numbers
One cup (225 gms contain) contains the following. Percentages apply to daily value.
- 105 calories
- 76 percent vitamin C (antioxidant and immune booster)
- 25 percent vitamin A (antioxidant and vision)
- 11 percent vitamin B6 plus other B vitamins (hormone production in brain and heart disease prevention)
- 9 percent healthy probiotic fiber
- 9 percent copper (copper is a co-factor for many vital enzymes plus production of red blood cells)
- 7 percent potassium (to balance out our high sodium intake)
- 4 percent magnesium
How to Prepare a Raw Mango Fancy Style
1. Hold the mango on its side and cut down on either side of the central seed. You will end with two big “halves” plus the central seed.
2. Place each half on the cutting board with peel facing down and cut the exposed flesh in a horizontal and vertical pattern, taking care not to cut deep through skin.
3 Then invert the whole half to push out the cubes as shown in the photo above.
Mangos for the Skin
Externally: Just blending up the mango and applying to the face is fast and easy. Mangos contain beta-carotene, which is converted by your body to vitamin A. That and vitamin C are crucial to skin self-repair.
Follow this link to see a more complete recipe: Mango Mud Mask. This has all the benefits of mango plus the exfoliating benefits of oatmeal and almonds.
For a less serious treatment of this mud mask, you can watch me making my own at … Randy’s Homemade Mango Mud Mast
Internally: When eaten, mangos help resolve all skin problems including pimples. Extract the large pit or seed from green mangoes. You can eat this seed raw or cooked, or try a recipe like this Cucumber-Mint-Mango Lightness.
Do Monkeys Know Something We Don’t?
Monkeys choose to eat the seed from the green mango. Ayurvedic healers suggest that it is the seed that gives the monkey its energy and powerful strength to jump in the tress.
- If you have a latex allergy, a reaction is possible with mangos and particularly green mangos. This reaction develops because of anacardic acid.
- Mango peel and sap contain urushiol, the chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac that can cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.
- Mangos are ripened by some dealers using calcium carbide which can cause serious health problems (one more reason to buy organic). If you do have inorganic mangos, do wash them properly before consuming or soak overnight in water.
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When hurricanes and other extreme storms unleash downpours like Tropical Storm Beta has been doing in the South, the floodwater doesn't always stay within the government's flood risk zones.
New research suggests that nearly twice as many properties are at risk from a 100-year flood today than the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood maps indicate.
Flooding Outside the Zones<p>About <a href="https://furmancenter.org/files/Floodplain_PopulationBrief_12DEC2017.pdf" target="_blank">15 million</a> Americans live in FEMA's current 100-year flood zones. The designation warns them that their properties face a 1% risk of flooding in any given year. They must obtain flood insurance if they want a federally ensured loan – insurance that helps them recover from flooding.</p><p>In Greater Houston, however, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01840.x" target="_blank">47% of claims</a> made to FEMA across three decades before Hurricane Harvey were outside of the 100-year flood zones. Harris County, recognizing that FEMA flood maps don't capture the full risk, now <a href="https://www.hcfcd.org/floodinsurance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends that every household</a> in Houston and the rest of the county have flood insurance.</p><p>New risk models point to a similar conclusion: Flood risk in these areas outstrips expectations in the current FEMA flood maps.</p><p>One of those models, from the <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/2020-national-flood-risk-assessment-highlights/" target="_blank">First Street Foundation</a>, estimates that the number of properties at risk in a 100-year storm is 1.7 times higher than the FEMA maps suggest. Other <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaac65" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">researchers</a> find an even higher margin, with 2.6 to 3.1 times more people exposed to serious flooding in a 100-year storm than FEMA estimates.</p>
What FEMA’s Flood Maps Miss<p>Understanding why areas outside the 100-year flood zones are flooding more often than the FEMA maps suggest involves larger social and environmental issues. Three reasons stand out.</p><p>First, some places rely on relatively old FEMA maps that don't account for recent urbanization.</p><p>Urbanization matters because impervious surfaces – think pavement and buildings – are not effective sponges like natural landscapes can be. Moreover, the process for updating floodplain maps is locally variable and can take years to complete. Famously, New York City was updating its maps when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 but hadn't finished, meaning flood maps in effect <a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nyc-flood/" target="_blank">were from 1983</a>. FEMA is required to assess whether updates are needed every five years, but the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/cis/nation.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">majority of maps</a> <a href="https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2017/OIG-17-110-Sep17.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are older</a>.</p><p>Second, binary thinking can lead people to an underaccounting of risk, and that can mean communities fail to take steps that could protect a neighborhood from flooding. The logic goes: if I'm not in the 100-year floodplain, then I'm not at risk. Risk perception <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab195a" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research</a> backs this up. FEMA-delineated flood zones are the major factor shaping flood mitigation behaviors.</p><p>Third, the era of climate change scuttles conventional assumptions.</p><p>As the planet warms, extreme storms are becoming <a href="https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/" target="_blank">more common and severe</a>. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at a high rate, computer models suggest that the chances of a severe storm dropping 20 inches of rain on Texas in any given year will increase from about 1% at the end of the last century to 18% at the end of this one, a chance of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1716222114" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">once every 5.5 years</a>. So far, <a href="https://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/195.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">FEMA hasn't taken into account the impact climate change is having</a> on extreme weather and sea level rise.</p>
Racial Disparities in Flooding Outside the Zones<p>So, who is at risk?</p><p>Years of research and evidence from storms have highlighted social inequalities in areas with a high risk of flooding. But most local governments have less understanding of the social and demographic composition of communities that experience flood impacts outside of flood zones.</p><p>In analyzing the damage from Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, I found that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aba0fe" target="_blank">Black and Hispanic residents disproportionately experienced flooding</a> in areas beyond FEMA's 100-year flood zones.</p><p>With the majority of flooding from Hurricane Harvey occurring outside of 100-year flood zones, this meant that the overall impact of Harvey was racially unequal too.</p><p>Research into where flooding occurs in Baltimore, Chicago and Phoenix points to some of the potential causes. <a href="https://www.nap.edu/read/25381/chapter/4#16" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In Baltimore and Chicago</a>, for example, aging storm and sewer infrastructure, poor construction and insufficient efforts to mitigate flooding are part of the flooding problem in some predominantly Black neighborhoods.</p>
What Can Be Done About It<p>Better accounting for those three reasons could substantively improve risk assessments and help cities prioritize infrastructure improvements and flood mitigation projects in these at-risk neighborhoods.</p><p>For example, First Street Foundation's risk maps account for <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/flood-model-methodology_overview/" target="_blank">climate change</a> and present <a href="https://floodfactor.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ratings</a> on a scale from 1 to 10. FEMA, which works with communities to update flood maps, is <a href="https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1521054297905-ca85d066dddb84c975b165db653c9049/TMAC_2017_Annual_Report_Final508(v8)_03-12-2018.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">exploring rating systems</a>. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently <a href="https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2019/03/new-report-calls-for-different-approaches-to-predict-and-understand-urban-flooding" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">called for a new generation of flood maps</a> that takes climate change into account.</p><p>Including recent urbanization in those assessments will matter too, especially in fast-growing cities like Houston, where <a href="https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1boBRyDvMFW6W" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">386 new square miles</a> of impervious surfaces were created in the last 20 years. That's greater than the land area of New York City. New construction in one area can also <a href="https://scalawagmagazine.org/2018/01/city-in-a-swamp-as-houston-booms-its-flood-problems-are-only-getting-worse/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">impact older neighborhoods downhill</a> during a flood, as some Houston communities discovered in Hurricane Harvey.</p><p>Improving risk assessments is needed not just to better prepare communities for major flood events, but also to prevent racial inequalities – in housing and beyond – from <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/688786177/how-federal-disaster-money-favors-the-rich" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">growing</a> after the unequal impacts of disasters.</p>
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