My Magic 8 Ball tells me mango fruit is about to become the next acai berry, the next pomegranate juice, the next coconut water. Lately several food science and nutrition journals have been reporting the health benefits of this tropical fruit, so it’s only a matter of time before popular media catches on. Some call this sudden interest a fad but, regardless, I think anything that gets people excited about eating fruits and vegetables is a good thing.
To truly reap the benefits of this potential phenomenon, look out for these traps:
Trap #1: With any super-fruit, keep in mind that the health benefits discovered in scientific studies relate to the fruit itself.
Remember that study that labeled popcorn a healthy snack? That study did NOT involve “Butter Lovers” or “Cheese Explosion” popcorn. When blueberries were touted for their superb content of antioxidants, blueberry muffins went flying off the shelves. There’s also the (short-lived) boost in sales for pomegranate flavored vodka after pomegranate was labeled a super-fruit.
Mango Tip #1: Eat a REAL mango.
Mango fruit does offer real health benefits, (as this article discusses: Mango is good for reducing inflammation and for controlling blood sugar ) but eating dried mangoes does not give one the same benefits. Remember when the Center for Science in the Public Interest publicly scolded the Girl Scouts of America for their new Mango Creme Nutri-Fusion cookies? (If you don’t, read it here: CSPI awards Badge of Shame to Girl Scouts of America) Granted, the mango cookie was not made with real mangoes and mangoes aren’t even part of the “whole food concentrate powder” on the label. Still, are there that many people that actually fall for any claim that eating a Girl Scout cookie is as healthy as eating the real fruit? I’d like to think we know better, we just like eating cookies.
Trap #2: With any super-fruit, the easier it is to consume, the more likely people will consume it.
Have you ever tried to cut a mango? It’s quite the challenge. Even if the most famous daytime TV doctor endorsed mangoes as a miracle fruit, one wonders how many people would be detered by the sheer act of trying to cut the darn thing open. It was easy for people to hop on the Cranberry Juice wagon because the hardest part is finding a product that’s 100% (CRANBERRY) juice.
Trap #3: With any super-fruit, the health benefits are subject to availability.
In other words, if you decide to try a mango for the first time in January, your first impression of your New Favorite Fruit could be drastically different than if you’d bought the fruit in May. Any time you’re trying a new fruit, you should try to buy it when it’s in season to get the best sense of how much you like it. I can’t speak for anyone else but I find Cuties not-so cute and delicious in December.
Mango Tip #3: Know when it grows.
There’s a phenomenal overview of the different mangoes commonly found in grocery stores, how to tell them apart and when each type is in season *HERE* (It’s a Yahoo Answer page).
I’ve included a synopsis of the mango seasons below:
“You can usually find good mangoes on the market from January through September. The poorest time is toward the end of the year – November and December. Mangoes are good early in the season, but like oranges, they’re at the peak of flavor toward the end of the season.
* Mexican mangoes: Peak season begins in late March and lasts through September
* Florida mangoes: May through September
* Haitian mangoes: January through September
* Brazilian mangoes:September through January”
Mangoes are delicious and nutritious, and knowing how to navigate these common super-fruit traps will help you reap the benefits of these a-peel-ing tropical fruits.