It is another time of the year where there will bumper harvest of fruits, providing the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of fruits. Fruits such as oranges, tangerine, mangoes, papayas (pawpaws) and pineapples will soon glut the markets and stalls.
Fruits have often been touted for their rich antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre contents and the health benefits associated with them. However, these dialogues only highlight the fleshy parts of the fruits.
In this article, special attention has been accorded the less-consumed parts of the mango fruit, the second most cultivated tropical crop behind banana. Evidence-based thoughts on the health-giving components values of the mango peels and the seed kernel are expounded in this article.
Mango is a tropical drupe (a fleshy fruit with a thin skin and a central stone) which has over 1000 varieties across the world and also cultivated in more than 103 countries. Notwithstanding the several varieties, very few are known and grown on a commercial scale in India and other Asian countries and as well traded globally because of the growing knowledge about the nutritional value of the fruits.
The mango tree, like other fruit trees, has several useful parts which have either found use as food or in medicine. The leaves, flowers, bark, fruits, pulp, peels and seeds have found many beneficial use in present day. The major edible part of the mango plant is the succulent, scrumptious and juicy fruits. Commonly, fruits are eaten prior to meals or as “sweet after meals” (desserts). In many cases fruits are eaten wholly or in freshly pressed juice. In more modernized settings, products such as mango puree, slices in nectar, syrup, leather, pickles are patronized by consumers. In other industrialized communities, the quest to further extend shelf-life and guarantee a whole year availability of the fruit has resulted in canned mango slices. In India, raw mango fruits are added to other fruits, spiked with vinegar, spices and sugar, and the mixture termed chutney.
Mango fruits contain vitamin C which helps maintain good skin and gum health. Mangoes are also a good source of antioxidants that prevent heart diseases and skin damage. The fruit is refreshing with about 80% of it being water.
Health benefits of mango peels
Most people don’t eat the mango peels and seed kernel hence generally regarded as waste, which is thrown away, served to domestic animals or used as manure. Scientific research suggests that waste or by-products in the form of mango peels contain high levels of dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins, other natural chemicals (magniferin, kaempferol, anthocyanins, quercetin) that significantly contribute to good health.
In addition to all the other benefits of mango peels, there are certain chemicals (chiefly, ethyl gallate and penta-O-galloyl-glucoside) that have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumours, reduce the risk of heart diseases and protect the liver in humans. Some chemicals (flavonoids) in the peels (mangiferin, gallic, protocatechuic and syringic acids, kaempferol and quercetin) have also been found to have the potential to slow aging and prevent cancer. Some scientists indicate that mango peels contain more healthful chemicals (polyphenols) than the flesh of the fruit. Generally, ripe peels contain more of these healthful chemicals than unripe peels. Other studies indicate that the presence of these healthful chemicals in the mango peels contributes to the lowering of the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts and Parkinson’s disease.
Health benefits of mango seed
The often neglected or discarded seed kernel (the softer part of a nut, seed or fruit stone contained within its hard shell or beany substance contained in the cracked seed) of the mango fruit is also endowed with several components that are of nutritional, medicinal and also other health imparting substances. Mango seed kernel has about 7.1 – 15% fat. The presence of a special, and complex mixture of the fat makes it suitable for use in chocolates. Hence, you shouldn’t be surprised to see mango seed kernel extract on the ingredients list of the next chocolate you buy. The fat obtained from the mango seed kernel is considered as safe and edible and it does not contain any trans fatty acids (“bad fat”).
Application of the mango seed kernel has been shown to control hair loss, dandruff as well as early greying of hair. Further, the seed kernel helps cure skin breakouts and acne. In Ayurveda (a type of medicine), mango seed is used to treat heart diseases, diabetes and even high blood cholesterol.
With this knowledge of the medicinal benefits of the peels and seeds of the mango fruits, you can try the peels and the kernel.
Share your thoughts with us below.