Mango and Inflammation Reduction

  • Sophie Olah Master of Science - MS, Science Communication, Imperial College London

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Overview

Mangos are a popular fruit used in many dishes and desserts worldwide and are known for their sweet, acidic taste.1 Not only do they have a delicious taste, but they also are highly nutritious. Mangos contain both micro- and macronutrients that have great health benefits.2 There are substances in mango skin, pulp, and seed kernels that can have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, particularly in the digestive system.3 Inflammation occurs due to the immune system fighting infection; however, sometimes a person’s immune system can become overactive, and cause constant, inflammation that is detrimental to their health, called chronic inflammation. Mangos may improve chronic inflammation by balancing the response of an overactive immune system.

Understanding inflammation

Inflammation is caused by the immune system when it is activated by infection, injury, or disease. Injury, cancer, or inadequate blood supply in a specific region of the body can cause inflammation in that area.4 Bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, as well as autoimmune diseases, can cause inflammation all over the body.4,5 The effects of inflammation can be widespread on a cellular and organ system level.5

There are two main types of inflammation: acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is the response to infection or damage to your body, characterised by swelling, heat, redness, and pain.6 Chronic inflammation is characterised by constant, activation of the immune system either in a specific area or throughout the body. This can either be after an injury, infection or inappropriate activation of the immune system. Chronic inflammation can lead to reduced cell functioning and tissue damage, exacerbating conditions such as autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.3,5,6 Chronic inflammation can manifest as:

  • Digestive issues (bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain)
  • Swollen skin/face
  • Fatigue or insomnia 
  • Frequent infections
  • Depression, anxiety, and mood swings
  • Body and joint pain

By taking steps to reduce chronic inflammation, it can reduce the risk of chronic diseases that are associated with inflammation. One method of reducing chronic inflammation is through dietary changes.6 However, it is vital to investigate the causes of the inflammation with a doctor to determine if there is an underlying health issue that requires medical treatment.

Nutritional composition of mango

Mangos, or Mangifera indica L., are known for their sweet flavour and nutritional benefits. . The pulp, peel, and seed kernel of mangos all hold high nutritional value with a variety of uses.1 

The pulp of mangos is a great source of carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars, fibre, protein, and fatty acids.1 The pulp also contains micronutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.1,7 It contains an anti-inflammatory substance called polyphenols as well as iron, calcium, and phosphorus.1,8

The peel is a source of fibre, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E. It also contains polyphenols, specifically mangiferin, and beta-carotene..1,7

The seed kernel is rarely eaten, however, it contains oils that can be extracted from it and added to foods or used as a supplement.1 It also contains antioxidants and polyphenols.

Potential health benefits

There are many potential health benefits provided by the nutritional properties of mangos. Multiple  studies have explored the effects of mango products on chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, hypertension, and autoimmune diseases.1 They also possess antimicrobial effects that can prevent infection.1 

Vitamins A and C

Vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta-carotene help to lower the activity of some immune cells, resulting in a reduction in chronic inflammation.1,7,8 Vitamin A can be beneficial to vision, and because the content is high in mangos, they can be eaten to treat a vitamin A deficiency.1 Vitamin A, and vitamin C are antioxidants, which can reduce the risk of cancerous cells forming in the body.1,7 Vitamin C also helps with the absorption of iron(5).1

Polyphenols (mangiferin and gallic acid)

Polyphenols like mangiferin and gallic acid may reduce chronic inflammation by interacting with the immune cells that cause the inflammation.1,6,7,9 Specifically, polyphenols may be beneficial to gut health.1 One study suggests that the polyphenols in mango reduce inflammation of the bowels by adjusting the immune response pathways and thus could aid in relieving chronic inflammation.2,8 Other studies suggested that polyphenols improve the balance of the microbiome in the gut, helping the balance of good bacteria in your digestive system.2,7,8,9 

As well as having anti-inflammatory properties polyphenols have been linked with reducing the risk of cancer and infection. Mangiferin has been associated with reducing the effects of allergies and potentially offering pain relief.1

Carbohydrates and fibre

The carbohydrates found in mango are natural sugars that balance blood sugar levels.1 The fibre found in the pulp and skin can potentially reduce inflammation and is known to aid digestion, promoting healthy bowel movements.1,6,9

Incorporating mango into the diet

Incorporating mango into your diet can be easy if you love fruits and their sweetness. They can be eaten fresh in a fruit salad or on their own. Another way to incorporate them into your diet is in a smoothie that can either accentuate the mango flavour or hide 

Summary

Mango has a multitude of health benefits. Within the skin, pulp, and seed kernel, it is rich in macro- and micronutrients that can potentially improve chronic inflammation and aid digestion. Chronic inflammation can be very detrimental to your health, exacerbating autoimmune conditions, gut problems, heart problems, and arthritis affecting your mental state, and causing fatigue. This overactivity of your immune system should not be ignored, and along with medical advice and treatment from healthcare professionals, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods such as mango into your diet can be beneficial. There are many ways, to add mango to your diet while exploring new and delicious meals. 

References

  1. Lebaka VR, Wee Y-J, Ye W, Korivi M. Nutritional Composition and Bioactive Compounds in Three Different Parts of Mango Fruit. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021;18:741. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020741.
  2. Maldonado-Celis ME, Yahia EM, Bedoya R, Landázuri P, Loango N, Aguillón J, et al. Chemical Composition of Mango (Mangifera indica L.) Fruit: Nutritional and Phytochemical Compounds. Frontiers in Plant Science 2019;10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2019.01073.
  3. Cronkite DA, Strutt TM. The Regulation of Inflammation by Innate and Adaptive Lymphocytes. J Immunol Res 2018;2018:1467538. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1467538.
  4. Azab A, Nassar A, Azab AN. Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Natural Products. Molecules 2016;21:1321. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules21101321.
  5. Gusev E, Zhuravleva Y. Inflammation: A New Look at an Old Problem. Int J Mol Sci 2022;23:4596. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23094596.
  6. Margină D, Ungurianu A, Purdel C, Tsoukalas D, Sarandi E, Thanasoula M, et al. Chronic Inflammation in the Context of Everyday Life: Dietary Changes as Mitigating Factors. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:4135. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114135.
  7. Lauricella M, Emanuele S, Calvaruso G, Giuliano M, D’Anneo A. Multifaceted Health Benefits of Mangifera indica L. (Mango): The Inestimable Value of Orchards Recently Planted in Sicilian Rural Areas. Nutrients 2017;9:525. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9050525.
  8. Kim H, Banerjee N, Barnes RC, Pfent CM, Talcott ST, Dashwood RH, et al. Mango Polyphenolics Reduce Inflammation in Intestinal Colitis—Involvement of the miR-126/PI3K/AKT/mTOR Axis In Vitro and In Vivo. Mol Carcinog 2017;56:197–207. https://doi.org/10.1002/mc.22484.
  9. Kim H, Castellon-Chicas MJ, Arbizu S, Talcott ST, Drury NL, Smith S, et al. Mango (Mangifera indica L.) Polyphenols: Anti-Inflammatory Intestinal Microbial Health Benefits, and Associated Mechanisms of Actions. Molecules 2021;26:2732. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092732.
  10. Saleh HA, Yousef MH, Abdelnaser A. The Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Phytochemicals and Their Effects on Epigenetic Mechanisms Involved in TLR4/NF-κB-Mediated Inflammation. Front Immunol 2021;12:606069. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.606069.
  11. Peng Y, Ao M, Dong B, Jiang Y, Yu L, Chen Z, et al. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Curcumin in the Inflammatory Diseases: Status, Limitations and Countermeasures. Drug Des Devel Ther 2021;15:4503–25. https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S327378.

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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