10 Health Benefits of Mango
Written by Ryan Raman, MS, RD and Cecilia Snyder, MS, RD — Medically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition — Updated on November 3, 2021
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In some parts of the world, mango (Mangifera indica) is called the “king of fruits” (1Trusted Source).
It’s a drupe, or stone fruit, which means that it has a large seed in the middle.
Mango is native to India and Southeast Asia, and people have cultivated it for over 4,000 years. Hundreds of types of mango exist, each with its own characteristic taste, shape, size, and color (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
This fruit is not only delicious but also boasts an impressive nutritional profile.
In fact, studies link mango and its nutrients to several health benefits, such as improved immunity and digestive health. Some polyphenols found in the fruit might even lower the risk of certain cancers.
Here are 10 benefits of mango, including an overview of its nutritional content and some tips on how to enjoy it.
1. Packed with nutrients
Many people love mango — not only because it’s delicious but also because it’s very nutritious.
One cup (165 grams) of fresh mango provides (3Trusted Source):
- Calories: 99
- Protein: 1.4 grams
- Carbs: 24.7 grams
- Fat: 0.6 grams
- Fiber: 2.6 grams
- Sugar: 22.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 67% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Copper: 20% of the DV
- Folate: 18% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 6% of the DV
- Niacin: 7% of the DV
- Potassium: 6% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 5% of the DV
- Magnesium: 4% of the DV
- Thiamine: 4% of the DV
One of its most impressive nutrient facts is that just 1 cup (165 grams) of fresh mango provides nearly 67% of the DV for vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin aids your immune system, helps your body absorb iron, and promotes cell growth and repair (1Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Mango is also a good source of the minerals copper and folate, which are especially important nutrients during pregnancy, as they support healthy fetal growth and development (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
Mango is low in calories yet high in nutrients — particularly vitamin C, which aids immunity, iron absorption, and cell growth and repair.
2. Low in calories
Another benefit of mango is that it’s low in calories.
One cup (165 grams) of fresh mango contains fewer than 100 calories and has a very low calorie density, meaning that it has few calories for the volume of food it provides.
In fact, most fresh fruits and vegetables tend to have a low calorie density. One study found that consuming fresh fruit like mango at the start of a meal could help keep you from overeating later on in the meal (11Trusted Source).
Still, keep in mind this may not be the case for dried mango. Just 1 cup (160 grams)of dried mango contains 510 calories, 106 grams of sugar, and a higher calorie density (13Trusted Source).
Though dried mango is still rich in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it may be best to consume it in moderation due to its high calorie density and sugar content.
A 1-cup (165-gram) serving of mango contains fewer than 100 calories. Its low calorie density makes it a great choice if you’re looking to reduce your calorie intake while still feeling full and satisfied.
3. May help prevent diabetes
Fresh mango is relatively high in natural sugar compared with other fresh fruits, containing over 22 grams per cup (165 grams).
You might think this could be worrisome for people living with metabolic conditions like diabetes, or for those who are trying to limit their sugar intake.
However, no evidence suggests that eating fresh mango leads to diabetes or is unhealthy for people with this condition.
In fact, many studies have even linked a higher intake of fresh fruit with a lower risk of diabetes overall (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
Not much research has examined the specific relationship between fresh mango and diabetes.
However, one study did find that people who added 10 grams of freeze-dried mango to their diet every day for 12 weeks experienced significant improvements in blood sugar levels (18Trusted Source).
Another recent study concluded that consuming fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C and carotenoids could help prevent the onset of diabetes. Mango is high in both these nutrients, so it may provide similar benefits, though more research is needed (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
Still, because mango is high in natural sugars, it has the potential to cause a spike in your blood sugar levels if you eat too much at one time.
Thus, it may still be best to consume mango in moderation, meaning a typical portion size of about 1 cup (165 grams) at a time. It may also help to pair it with other foods that are rich in fiber and protein, as this may help limit blood sugar spikes.
As long as you eat fresh mango in moderate amounts, it will likely reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Keep in mind that fresh mango does not contain as much sugar per serving as dried mango does.
4. High in healthy plant compounds
Mango is packed with polyphenols, which are plant compounds that act as antioxidants to protect your body (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
This fruit has over a dozen different types concentrated in its flesh, peel, and even seed kernel. These include (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source):
- gallic acid
- benzoic acid
Antioxidants are important because they protect your cells against free radicals. These highly reactive compounds can damage your cells (24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
Research has linked free radical damage to signs of aging and chronic diseases (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source).
Among the polyphenols, mangiferin has gained the most interest and is sometimes called a “super antioxidant” since it’s especially powerful (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).
Test-tube and animal studies have found that mangiferin may counter free radical damage linked to cancers, diabetes, and other illnesses (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).
Mango has over a dozen different types of polyphenols, including mangiferin, which is especially powerful. Polyphenols function as antioxidants inside your body.
5. Contains immune-boosting nutrients
Mango is a good source of immune-boosting nutrients.
One cup (165 grams) of mango provides 10% of your daily vitamin A needs (3Trusted Source).
Vitamin A is essential for a healthy immune system. Not getting enough of this vitamin is linked to a greater risk of infection (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source).
Plus, 1 cup (165 grams) mango provides nearly 75% of your daily vitamin C needs. This vitamin can help your body produce more disease-fighting white blood cells, help these cells work more effectively, and improve your skin’s defenses (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).
Mango also contains other nutrients that may also support immunity, including (36Trusted Source):
- vitamin E
- several B vitamins
Mango is a good source of folate, several B vitamins, as well as vitamins A, C, K, and E — all of which may help boost immunity.
6. Supports heart health
Mango contains nutrients that support a healthy heart.
For instance, it offers magnesium and potassium, which help maintain a healthy blood flow. These nutrients help your blood vessels relax, promoting lower blood pressure levels (37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source).
Mango’s super antioxidant mangiferin also appears to be good for heart health (28Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).
Animal studies have found that mangiferin may protect heart cells against inflammation, oxidative stress, and cell death (39Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source).
In addition, it may help lower your blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and free fatty acids (42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source).
While these findings are promising, research on mangiferin and heart health in humans is currently lacking. Therefore, more studies are needed.
Mango contains magnesium, potassium, and the antioxidant mangiferin, which all support healthy heart function.
7. May improve digestive health
Mango has several qualities that make it excellent for digestive health (14Trusted Source).
For one, it contains a group of digestive enzymes called amylases.
Hi Digestive enzymes break down large food molecules so that your body can absorb them easily.
Amylases break down complex carbs into sugars, such as glucose and maltose. These enzymes are more active in ripe mangoes, which is why they’re sweeter than unripe ones (44Trusted Source).
Moreover, since mango contains plenty of water and dietary fiber, it may help with digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea.
One 4-week study in adults with chronic constipation found that eating mango daily was more effective at relieving symptoms of the condition than taking a supplement containing an amount of soluble fiber similar to that of mango (45Trusted Source).
This suggests that mangoes may have other components that aid digestive health, aside from dietary fiber. However, more research is needed.
Mango has digestive enzymes, water, dietary fiber, and other compounds that aid various aspects of digestive health.
8. May support eye health
Mango is full of nutrients that help support healthy eyes.
Two key nutrients they contain are the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
These are concentrated in the retina of your eye — the part that converts light into signals so your brain can interpret what you’re seeing. These nutrients are especially concentrated at the center of the retina, which is called the macula (46Trusted Source, 47Trusted Source, 48Trusted Source).
Inside the retina, lutein and zeaxanthin act as a natural sunblock, absorbing excess light. In addition, they appear to protect your eyes from harmful blue light (49Trusted Source).
Mangoes are also a good source of vitamin A, which supports eye health.
A lack of dietary vitamin A has been linked to dry eyes and nighttime blindness. Severe deficiencies can cause more serious issues, such as corneal scarring (50Trusted Source).
Mango contains lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin A, all of which support eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin may protect your eyes from the sun, while a lack of vitamin A can create vision problems.
9. May help lower your risk of certain cancers
Mango is high in polyphenols, which may have anticancer properties.
Polyphenols can help protect against a harmful process called oxidative stress, which is linked to many types of cancer (51Trusted Source).
Test-tube and animal studies have observed that mango polyphenols reduced oxidative stress. They’ve also been found to destroy or stop the growth of various cancer cells, including leukemia and cancer of the colon, lung, prostate, and breast (52Trusted Source, 53Trusted Source, 54Trusted Source, 55Trusted Source).
Mangiferin, a major polyphenol in mango, has recently gained attention for its promising anticancer effects.
In animal studies, it reduced inflammation, protected cells against oxidative stress, and either stopped the growth of cancer cells or killed them (30Trusted Source, 56Trusted Source).
While these studies are promising, more studies in humans are needed to better understand the potential anticancer effects of mango polyphenols in people.
Mango polyphenols may fight oxidative stress, which is linked to many health conditions, including colon, lung, prostate, breast, and bone cancers.
10. Versatile and easy to add to your diet
Mango is delicious, versatile, and easy to add to your diet.
However, you might find it difficult to cut due to its tough skin and large pit.
Here’s one good method for cutting a mango:
- With the mango skin still on, cut long vertical slices 1/4 inch (6 mm) away from the middle to separate the flesh from the pit.
- Cut the flesh on each of these slices into a grid-like pattern without cutting the skin.
- Scoop the cut flesh out of the skin.
Here are some ways you can enjoy mango:
- Add it to smoothies.
- Dice it and mix it into salsa.
- Toss it into a summer salad.
- Slice it and serve it along with other tropical fruits.
- Dice it and add it to quinoa salad.
- Add mango to Greek yogurt or oatmeal.
- Top burgers or seafood with grilled mango.
Keep in mind that mango is sweeter and contains more sugar than many other fruits. Moderation is key — it’s best to limit mango to about 2 cups (330 grams) per day.
Mango is delicious, and you can enjoy it in many ways. However, it contains more sugar than some other fruits, so consider enjoying mango in moderation.
The bottom line
Mango is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and it has been associated with many health benefits, including potential anticancer effects, as well as improved immunity and digestive and eye health.
Best of all, it’s tasty and easy to add to your diet as part of smoothies and many other dishes.
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