New Research Suggests World’s Most Popular Fruit May be One of the Healthiest

Already one of the world’s most popular fruits, scientists are discovering that mangos may also be one of the healthiest. New research, presented this week at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) meeting in San Diego, not only suggests people who eat mangos have a better diet, but the fruit also contains a substance that may have an effect on breast cancer cell proliferation.  

Mango consumers may have better diets
The first study presented at the meeting suggests that individuals who consume mangos tend to have a better diet than consumers who do not. The researchers compared the diets of over 13,000 individuals participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2001 and 2008 to the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), a quantitative measure of diet quality relative to federal dietary guidance. They found that those that regularly ate mangos scored higher on the HEI than those that did not.

Mango consumption was also compared to overall nutrient intake and physical health.  Compared to non-mango consumers, mango consumers had, on average, significantly increased intake of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and dietary fiber, while having lower intake of sodium and total fat. In addition, they had a lower average body weight.

Additionally, lower C-reactive protein levels were found in adults who added mango to their diet.  C-reactive protein measures inflammation and it has been suggested that high levels of it in the blood are linked to increased risk for heart disease, however the evidence is inconclusive. Additional research is needed to determine whether the lower levels of C-reactive protein are attributable to mango consumption or other factors.

“We found that adults who ate mangos tended to have a lower body weight, higher intake of fiber and lower intake of fat, all of which are associated with better cardiovascular health,” stated Dr. Victor Fulgoni, of Nutrition Impact, LLC and lead researcher on this study. The National Mango Board funded this research with the goal of better understanding how mangos can promote healthy diets.

Phytochemicals found in mangos may target breast cancer cells
Another exploratory study presented at FASEB this week and conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University discovered that a polyphenolic compound found in Keitt mangos may be toxic to breast cancer cells. The study, done in vitro (in cells) and in mice, found decreased proliferation of breast cancer cells treated with the polyphenolic extract, and reduced tumor size and weight in mice. Though more research is needed, including human clinical trials, researchers hypothesize that the effects of the polyphenolic extract might extend to the consumption of fresh mango.  

“In summary, the anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory activity of mango polyphenolics in breast cancer cells were at least in part due to targeting proteins that play an important role in the survival of breast cancer cells,” noted one of the study’s lead researchers, Dr. Susanne Talcott.  “The ability for bioactive components in mangos to reduce cancer promoting cells may be the next big thing in the battle against breast cancer, but more research is needed at this time.”

Mango nutrition
According to the National Mango Board, results from both studies will help add to the existing body of evidence suggesting mangos are a nutritional powerhouse. “Mangos are not only delicious, but a nutritious way to add tropical flavor to your plate. With more than 20 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and availability year-round, mangos are great addition to anyone’s diet,” stated Megan McKenna, National Mango Board’s director of marketing.

For more information about fresh mango varieties and availability, storage, handling tips, recipes and nutrition, visit www.mango.org.

About 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 only 100 calories, an excellent source of vitamins A and C, a good source of fiber and an amazing source of tropical flavor.
 
Mango availability per capita has increased 35% since 2005 to an estimated 2.53 pounds per year in 2011.  Mango import volume for 2011 was 810 million pounds Learn more at www.mango.org
 

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