Healthy foods are not always known for being the most tasty, but mangos are both a great source of many beneficial nutrients and happen to be incredibly delicious. There are a particularly high concentration of vitamins, antioxidants and other helpful substances in the peel of the fruit. This is because it has adapted to protect the fruit from a variety of threats like mold or fungal infections, viruses, bacteria and parasites. When ingested, some of the compounds contained in the peel will serve to protect the cells and tissues in a similar fashion, promoting better health in a number of areas. Consuming mango peels can assist with regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol levels, aid digestion and ease constipation, get weight and skin problems under control, reduce inflammation and may even help prevent various types of cancer.
Mediating Blood Sugar
Mango peels are known to help reduce the concentration of glucose in the blood and maintain normal levels of insulin. How this is done is not fully understood yet, but sugar absorption in the intestines is reduced and it is suspected a compound called mangiferin is at work in the process. The glycemic index of the mango fruit is also relatively low and do not cause the glucose levels to jump when eaten in moderate amounts.
Improving Cholesterol Levels
Not all cholesterol is bad, but high levels of LDL can lead to cardiovascular problems and other health issues. The soluble fiber and pectin in mango peels lowers the lipid levels in the blood, which helps prevent hardening of the arterial walls.
Lowering Risk of Cancer
Mango peels can help prevent certain types of cancer, including breast, colon and prostate cancer. The high concentration of antioxidants like polyphenols and others help remove harmful free radicals from the cells and tissue. These cause damage to repair mechanisms in the cell and can lead to unregulated and ultimately malignant growth.
Another great benefit provided by mango peels is their anti-inflammatory effect. Increased inflammation is associated with a number of different illnesses, many of which can be minimized or avoided if the initial inflammation can be brought under control. The carotenoids and phenolic compounds in mango peels suppress the inflammation response and have strong antimicrobial properties that help stave off infections.
Controlling Weight Gain
There are several compounds in mango peels that interfere with the production of fat cells. Mature fat cells never go away and can only reduce in size, making difficult to keep weight off once it has been gained. Mango peels also quickly create a sensation of fullness and curbs the desire to continue eating.
Mango peels are rich in prebiotic fiber, which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The acids in the fruit help aid digestion and prevent over production of acid in the stomach. The peel’s anti-inflammatory effects extend throughout the digestive tract and can help relieve conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Promoting Skin Health
The fats and oils in mango peels are excellent for hydrating the skin and a great source of Vitamins A and C, which aid in repairing sun damage. The anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties also helps clear up acne and prevent breakouts.
For those wanting to take advantage of these health benefits, there are several ways mango peels can be prepared and eaten. Some like them just as they are, skin and all, but this is usually an acquired taste and not for everyone. One of the most popular methods is to blend them into a smoothie, especially because they are easy to make and can be mixed with other fruits and ingredients. Dried mango chips are also a good and versatile snack and can be eaten on the go, with dip or used in a variety of other dishes. Mangos can also be pickled in the same way as cucumbers, making a great topping or just a simple snack.
Though it is not common, a small percentage of people are allergic to urushiol, which is found in the stems and leaves of the plant. Those who are sensitive to this substance will most likely be aware of the allergy. Anyone able to hold an unpeeled mango without developing any irritation should not have any problems, but it is advisable to check with a doctor if uncertain.