Mangoes are one of the most popular fruits in the world, but not in the United States. That may change now that new information about this tropical fruit is being revealed. Here's some sweet news to help you take a bite of good health.
What tastes delicious and has some recently discovered health benefits? Researcher Sue Percival, Ph.D., serves it up. Besides a sweet taste and smooth texture, she has found another reason to eat mangoes.
"We did a study with cells in culture and found that mangoes were able to inhibit the formation of cancerous-type cells," says Dr. Percival, a nutritionist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
It is known that mangoes contain carotenoids, disease-fighting substances found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. But inside the mango is yet another extract that is even more potent. After removing the carotenoids, Dr. Percival added cancer-causing cells to the remaining portion of mango.
"The water soluble portion was about 10 times more effective," she says.
Dietician Elaine Turner, Ph.D., R.D., studies the benefits of fruit.
"People who eat more fruits and vegetables have lower rates of cancer, what we still need to figure out is exactly why that is and what is it in the particular fruits and vegetables," says Dr. Turner, who is also with the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at University of Florida in Gainesville.
Does she prescribe a mango a day?
"It may be a cost effective way to get more fruits in your diet plus they're more interesting sometimes than some of the traditional fruits. So if today it's a banana, maybe tomorrow it's a mango and the next day it's a grapefruit," says Dr. Turner.
The study is underway to find out exactly what is in the mango that makes it so nutritious. Studies of other fruits such as passion fruit and persimmons are also being done. Researchers want to remind us that fruits contain not only antioxidants, but also vitamins, minerals and fiber essential to our daily diet.
If you would like more information, please contact:
Sue Percival, Ph.D.
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
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