Eating fresh mangos may reduce the risk for a number of chronic diseases, according to new research presented at the Nutrition 2021 Live Online conference, the annual conference of the American Society for Nutrition.
Researchers at San Diego State University looked at 27 overweight or obese participants, who were randomly assigned to eat either 100 calories of low-fat cookies or 100 calories of fresh mangos each day for 12 weeks — then switched to the other food for another 12 weeks. Mangos, the researchers noted, are known to contain a range of beneficial nutrients, including minerals, fiber, and certain micronutrients that aren’t found widely in other foods. While mango consumption or exposure has been shown to have promising effects in lab studies involving cells and in animal studies, there haven’t been many studies looking specifically at their effects in living, breathing human beings. So for this study, the researchers looked at the effect of mango consumption — compared with cookie consumption — on body weight, body fat, blood pressure, blood glucose and insulin levels, blood lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) levels, liver function, and blood markers of inflammation.
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Mangos linked to improved health markers
Among the 27 participants, 16 were male and 11 were female, and the average age was 26.1. Participants fasted overnight and had their blood drawn at the beginning of the study, after four weeks of consuming each food, and after 12 weeks of consuming each food. At each of these visits, the researchers also measured body weight, body fat percentage, and blood pressure. They found that after 12 weeks of mango consumption, participants experienced a significant decrease in blood glucose and C-reactive protein (a blood marker of inflammation), and a significant increase in total antioxidant capacity — a measurement of how well antioxidants are responding against substances called free radicals that cause cell damage. There were no significant changes in body weight, body fat, blood pressure, insulin, lipids, or liver function from consuming either cookies or mangos. Cookie consumption, on the other hand, was linked to a significant increase in insulin, C-reactive protein, and triglyceride levels — all predictors of a greater risk for chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes.
The researchers noted that while daily mango consumption was linked to favorable outcomes in blood markers over 12 weeks, it’s unknown what long-term benefits this fruit might hold. It’s also not clear what components of mangos are most responsible for their potential health benefits. More research is needed, the researchers said, to gain a fuller understanding of the biological mechanisms at work when people consume mangos.
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