Are you fond of the mango fruit? Enjoy that lively smoothie now and then? If so, you’d be wise to enjoy it even more, as recent scientific laboratory studies have found the fruit to prevent or stop certain colon and breast cancer cells.
The National Mango board commissioned a variety of studies to help figure out just what the fruit had to offer, health-wise. It’s not one of the antioxidant powerhouses, like the blueberry or pomegranate, but the board wondered-did it have other talents? Indeed it does, as researchers at Texas AgriLife Research discovered that mango prevented or stopped cancer growth in certain lines.
“What we found,” said lead researcher Dr. Susanne Talcott, “is that not all cell lines are sensitive to the same extent to an anticancer agent. But the breast and colon cancer lines underwent…programmed cell death.” Better yet, the fruit left the normal, healthy cells unharmed.
The active ingredient in the mango is the gallotannin, bioactive compounds similar to those found in grape seeds, wine, and tea. The fruit is also rich in carotenoids; vitamins A, C, E, and B; and minerals like potassium, calcium, and copper. It’s also a good source of iron, and the peel and pulp also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. According to elements4health.com, mangoes also aid in digestion, as they have enzymes that help break down proteins.
The Texas AgriLife Research isn’t the only evidence that mango may be effective against cancer cells. Scientsts at the Industrial Toxicology Research Center found that mango pulp suppressed prostate tumor cells in mice. A 2001 study at the University of Florida showed that Mangoes contain several cancer-fighting components. A study in Mexico found that rats who consumed mango water had higher levels of antioxidants in their blood. And Indian researchers at the Department of Surgical Oncology found that mango consumption was associated with a reduced risk of gall bladder cancer.
Though these studies look promising, we need many more before we can be sure of the mango’s talents. In the meantime, this fruit is relatively low in calories and makes a healthy snack, so why not indulge a bit and gain the health benefits on the side? We’ve included a simple smoothie recipe at the end of this post (courtesy of Diana Rattray, writing for About.com). For more delicious mango goodies like mango-curry chicken and avocado-tomato-mango salsa, see allrecipes.com.
Simple mango smoothie:
- 1 cup mango, peeled and diced
- 1 cup plain or vanilla nonfat yogurt
- ½ cup crushed ice
- Milk (optional)
Place first three ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend. Add milk to achieve desired consistency. Makes 2 servings.
Do you have a favorite mango dish? Please share with us.
Photo courtesy Farl via Flickr.com.