While they’re one of the most popular fruits in the world, mangoes are still considered exotic in the US. If you’re unfamiliar with all this fruit has to offer, read on to learn 6 surprising facts that might make you mad for mangoes.
1. Mangoes may help whittle your middle.
They may seem more like a decadent dessert than a healthy fruit, but mangoes are diet-friendly. Because they’re naturally sweet, eating them can help quash your cravings for candy or other sugary foods. A one-cup serving of fresh mango has 100 calories, and because that same serving has three grams of filling fiber, you’ll feel fuller on fewer calories. In fact, mangoes are 83% water by weight, and research from Penn State University has shown that eating foods that have a high water content (and lower energy density) help to keep you fuller while eating less. In fact, one of their studies found that eating a piece of fruit before a meal reduced the calories consumed at that meal by 15 percent.
2. They pack a powerful nutrition punch.
Bursting with over 20 vitamins and minerals, mangoes are loaded with good nutrition and health benefits. Just one cup provides 100% of our daily vitamin C needs, helping to strengthen our immune system, keep our teeth and gums healthy, and support collagen formation–hello, beautiful skin! Mangoes are also rich in fiber, a nutrient that helps you to fill up—not weigh you down.
3. Mangoes may temper inflammation.
Mangoes contain several anti-inflammatory compounds, including vitamin C and beta carotene. And a recent study published in the journal of Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, found that mango has the potential to enhance the diet as a source of gallic acid and gallotannins which may possess anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
4. They’re easier to cut and peel than you think.
Stumped about the best way to slice a mango? Just place the fruit on the cutting board stem-end down and hold. Then, take a sharp knife and cut just off-center, about ¼ of an inch. Repeat on the other side so that you have two mango cheeks. Take the first half and cut parallel slices or a checkerboard pattern into the mango flesh, being careful not to cut through the skin. Scoop the slices or cubes out with a spoon. If you want smaller cubes for a recipe, simply make the cuts closer together. Easy!
5. Red doesn’t equal ripe.
A red mango isn’t always a ripe mango! To know if it’s ready to eat, squeeze it gently. A ripe mango will give slightly. Like more familiar fruits, such as peaches and avocado, mangoes also become softer as they ripen. If a mango is firmer than desired, set it on the countertop, where it will continue to ripen. To speed up the process, place mangoes in a paper bag at room temperature. Once ripe, mangoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
6. Fresh mangoes are available year-round
Good news – whether you need your mango fix in June, December or any month of the year, you’ll likely be able to find at least one of the six main varieties. Each variety has a unique flavor and texture, so try different ones throughout the year.
So, consider adding mangoes to your fruit line-up – there’s no limit to how you can use them. You can whip up a tropical mango salsa to use as a topper for grilled fish, create a crab-mango crostini hors d’oeuvre, mix with low-fat yogurt and ice cubes for a refreshing smoothie, treat yourself to a light and delicious mango sorbet or slice this versatile fruit into thin strips and roll with a slice of deli meat. You can also purée mango and drizzle over grilled chicken or fish for a splash of color and blast of vitamins and minerals—the possibilities are endless!