Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Before you eat another mango ...

Published:Wednesday | August 9, 2023 | 12:06 AM

MANGOES ARE sweet, creamy fruits that have a range of possible health benefits. The nutrients they contain may help boost eye, skin, and hair health and prevent cancer and heart disease.

The mango is a tropical stone fruit and member of the drupe family. This is a type of plant food with a fleshy outer section that surrounds a shell, or pit. This pit contains a seed. Other members of the drupe family include olives, dates, and coconuts.

There are many different kinds of mango. They vary in colour, shape, flavour, and seed size. Although mango skin can be green, red, yellow, or orange, its inner flesh is mostly golden yellow.

Consuming mangoes has a variety of health benefits that can help protect and strengthen the body, such as improved immunity and digestive health.

However, eating too many mangoes, especially for persons that are diabetic, can spike blood sugar levels. The fruit is mostly carbohydrates so it is hard to believe, but even natural fruit sugars may act like refined sugar in large amounts.

If eaten, more than one mango may help in gaining weight. The approximate calories in one mango are 201. Therefore, it is advisable to eat only two cups (330 grams) per day.

Dr Orlando Thomas, medical doctor and functional medicine practitioner at Thomas Medical Centre, said mango, like many other fruits, contains a significant amount of sugar. “Persons who are struggling with weight gain, or who have cancer, too much sugar in your diet, even from fruits can be harmful for you,” he said.

Based on the glycaemic index (GI) which is a rating system for foods that show how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten alone, mango, melon and pineapple are particularly well known to increase your blood sugar level.

“At this time of the year, you want to be cautious. Your glycaemic, load which is the amount of sugar that is dumped into your system, is relevant where mangoes are concerned. Jamaicans generally do not eat one mango. So, the amount of sugar that you dump into your system will increase your blood sugar level and there will be even more significant weight gain,” Dr Thomas said.

“Diabetic patients should avoid mangoes, but especially having four, five and six at one sitting is a bad idea,” he added.

Dr Thomas advises that persons should focus on foods that are low on the glycaemic index, and have low amounts of sugar. “For example, cherries, blueberry, raspberries, Otaheite apples, guavas are not too bad, bananas in moderation. Focus on these fruits rather than the sweet ones,” he said.

Overall, fruits are known to be amazing ingredients in fruit juices. According to Dr Thomas, juices are not the most ideal way to have fruits. “Juicing takes out the fibre that holds the sugars and release them slowly into your system and converts it into a fibre-less drink that is consumed in seconds and spikes your blood sugar,” he said.

“Fruit juices aren’t healthy for anyone, especially for persons trying to lose weight, and diabetic patients. Instead focus on your green juices – cucumber, celery and kale – among others,” he added.