The mercury levels have been soaring high and the newspaper headlines scream about how the country is bracing itself for the hottest summer this year. What’s summer without Mangoes?! This issue of Good Health Naturally, we will be discussing the madness of mangoes and why it is fondly called the King of Fruits.
History & Etymology:
Mango belongs to the Scientific family of Anacardiaceae and genus Mangifera. The widely popular Indian mango is known scientifically as Mangifera indica. It is widely cultivated in the tropical and subtropical areas. Known as Manga(Raw mango)/Mambazham(Juicy and pulpy mango) in Tamil and (Kachha/Paka)Aam in Hindi- Mango is one of the few edible items whose etymology dates back to India. Statistics have it that the first usage of the word is said to have been derived from the Malayalam word of manna and the Portugese word of manga- which eventually refined itself to Mango as in New English.
Pic courtesy: GIFFI
Also read: The Goodness Of Oats
The first description of Mangoes on a recorded text dates back to 1510- in Italian by Ludivico di Verthema. Ancient mythological scriptures also tell us many interesting aspects about Mangoes. The famous “Thiruvilayadal” story of how a Mango was used to test between Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga- and how when declared lost- Lord Muruga fumed away to the hills of Palani is known to all. Also- due to its sanctity- mango leaves are adorned on the entrance porch of a house where any celebration is being held. Also in Jainism, the Goddess Ambika is depicted as sitting below a mango tree.
India comfortably leads the world in Mango production, followed much behind by China, Thailand and Indonesia. Mangoes are rich in a variety of nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Dietary fibre, Vitamin B 6, and Potassium to highlight a few. The unparalleled juicy and pulpy taste of mango- that supersedes all its health benefits. The flavour that we all so relish is due to the chemicals such as terpene, furanone, lactone and ester classes. Mango has assumed epic proportions with regards to its taste that it is declared as the National Fruit of India, Pakistan and Philippines. It is also the national tree of Bangladesh.
The high levels of Vitamin C in mango help in lowering the serum cholesterol levels. Also the admissible levels of potassium in mango help in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. It is also known to be rich in a variety of antioxidants such as quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat – help in protecting the body against various illness. It also acts as a skin cleanser by unclogging the pores of the skin and adding freshness to the face. Due to the presence of dietary fibre in mango- it is known to boost the digestive function and helps in burning the additional calories and in turn- helps in weight loss. There are also reports that suggest regular consumption of mangoes aid in regulating the insulin levels and hence recommended for diabetics. With mangoes marching into the market during the summer- exam time, there are also studies that have proven that mangoes are rich in Glutamine acid- which is an essential protein responsible for concentration and memory power. Also- The tartaric acid, malic acid, and a trace of citric acid found in the fruit help to maintain the
There are also reports that suggest regular consumption of mangoes aid in regulating the insulin levels and hence recommended for diabetics. With mangoes marching into the market during the summer- exam time, there are also studies that have proven that mangoes are rich in Glutamine acid- which is an essential protein responsible for concentration and memory power. Also- The tartaric acid, malic acid, and a trace of citric acid found in the fruit help to maintain the alkali reserve of the body. If under any particular medication- consult your doc before feasting on mangoes this summer- as the elders in the family would have suggested that mangoes don’t work too well when having an upset stomach- or is a strict NO for a lactating mother. Clear your doubts with your doc well before.
There are a host of recipes that indulge in mangoes in India. Up North- just Aam Ras (pulp of mangoes- beaten smoothly with sugar or honey added) is a great accompaniment for Roti/Poori. Also Mango Lassi is another famous drink that combines the best of both worlds- Taste of mangoes and the chillness of Lassi for the maddening summer. In South- especially since it marks the beginning of the New Year (Ugadi/ Varsha Pirappu /Visu)- a sweet cum sour recipe of raw mangoes is made called as Manga Pachidi. Mangoes are also procured in large numbers and chopped into small pieces and made as te fantastic pickle- that go well with every dish ever cooked! Mago milkshakes are another healthy way to beat the heat. Brace the heat- go shopping and get home a bag full of lovely ripe and raw mangoes!