Superfruit mango could help fight off obesity

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Eating plenty of mangoes can combat cancer and obesity related diseases, according to new research.

Dubbed the ‘king of fruits’, it has been found to reduce the adverse effects of unhealthy diets and destroy fat cells. It also slowed the growth of breast tumours in mice.

A study also showed the superfood boosted bowel movements in humans and eased inflammation after constipation.

The findings, presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in the United States, adds to evidence of the benefits of the tropical fruit which is rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fat busting phytochemicals.

In one study nutritionist Babajide Ojo, of Oklahoma State University, found mice put on less weight when freeze dried mango pulp was added to a high fat diet.

Mr Ojo, a doctoral student, said: “These findings demonstrated mango supplementation in high fat feeding modulated some of the adverse effects that accompanies high fat diet-induced obesity.”

In lab tests food scientist molecular biolgist Chuo Fang, of Texas A&M University, also found mango boosted metabolism of fats.

She said: “These results suggest a diet abundant in mango might be helpful in the prevention of obesity and obesity related diseases.”

Obesity is estimated to affect around one in four adults and one in five children in the UK and can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke.

A third study by toxicologist Matt Nemec, also at Texas A&M University, found a polyphenol in mango called pyrogallol, a microbial metabolite of gallotannin, suppressed the growth of breast cancer in mice.

Mr Nemec said: “It is estimated one in ten newly diagnosed cancer cases will be female breast cancer, and therefore there is an ongoing need to research novel treatment options.

“Polyphenolics are secondary plant metabolites that have been shown to have anti cancer effects in multiple cancer models without the deleterious side effects of conventional small molecules.

“Findings indicate a diet rich in gallotannins that are microbially metabolised to pyrogallol may prevent the advancement of breast cancer.”

Finally, his colleague Vinicius Paula Venancio, studied the consumption of 300 grams of mango compared to an equivalent teaspoon of a fibre supplement and found it decreased discomfort in otherwise healthy patients with constipation, and helped them to go.

Mr Venancio said: “Chronic constipation is a common gastrointestinal condition associated with intestinal inflammation and a considerably impaired quality of life, affecting approximately 10 to 20% of the population in the US.

“Compared to the consumption of fibre, the consumption of mango in the treatment of chronic constipation had higher subject adherence, improved parameters of intestinal evacuation, reduced the production of endotoxins, reduced inflammation, and increased the concentration of short chain fatty acids, all of which have been established to contribute to intestinal health and wellness.”

It has been dubbed the ‘king of fruits’ because of its nutritional properties. Previous research has linked its antioxidant compounds to reducing the risk of breast, bowel and prostate cancers, as well as leukaemia.

It lowers cholesterol, clears the skin, improves eye health and digestion, and can even boost sex.

Mango is native to India and Southeast Asia, and every part of the tree it comes from is used in some way.

Mangoes are generally sweet, although the taste and texture of the flesh vary across different geographical locations. Some have a soft, pulpy texture while others are firmer and some may be fibrous.

Apart from being popular in fruit salads, or just eaten as fruit, they are used in making many dishes from pickles, to curries, chutneys, juices and sauces.

Dr Leonardo Ortega, director of research at the National Mango Board which funded the studies, said: “While more research is needed, especially in humans, there is a growing body of studies that suggest mango consumption may contribute to some protective effects in relation to obesity, certain cancers, gut health and inflammation.”

The findings from all four studies were published in the FASEB Journal.

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