Nowadays the mango is widely believed to be a potent aphrodisiac for men. It’s all down to the vitamin E, which improves male vitality and the likelihood of conceiving a new baby. The truth is that “the fruit of love” contains only tiny amounts of vitamin E, and probably won’t work.
It’s also claimed that if you eat one mango per day you’ll gain massive health, because one study found that people who eat a mango daily have significantly lower rates of obesity. However, that’s because of the other lifestyle and dietary choices they make. Adding a mango won’t suddenly make you stop smoking, make you wake up running a marathon, and mysteriously make your plate be full of fruit instead of burgers.
However, a lot of the other claims about mangos are true, For instance, the claim that mangos can enhance your eyesight is real, due to the decent vitamin A quantities they contain…
…and one other claim which could be based on fact is that mangos can clear acne.
How mangos compare to other fruits
For acne, the best fruits you can eat are berries such as strawberries and raspberries thanks to their antioxidants and vitamin C. Pomegranate is near the top as well because it’s the richest fruit in antioxidants; pineapple is a unique proposition because of the bromelain enzyme which aids protein digestion and absorption.
However, mangos compare very well and definitely beat the likes of honeydew melons with ease.
To start with, 100 grams of mango contains 46% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C. Vitamin C is the greatest nutrient for stress-induced acne, since it removes excessive levels of the stress hormone cortisol from the bloodstream. It also constructs collagen proteins which prevent ageing and keep the skin strong and this study found that acne patients have 40% less vitamin C than healthy people.
Mangos are beaten by strawberries (97% of RDA), pineapple (79%), and oranges (88%). However, they beat blueberries (16%), the supposed king of healthy fruits. The vitamin C in mangos will be well absorbed as well because of the fruit’s flavonoid antioxidant content, which protects the molecules from disintegration.
What’s interesting is that mangos are one of the higher fruits in vitamin A. The counts aren’t monstrous – 100 grams contain 15% of the daily allowance. However, strawberries, raspberries and pineapple contain 0%, 0%, and 1% respectively. The fruits which beat mangos include apricot (38%) and cantaloupe melons (67%). If you’re wondering why vitamin A is so important, then it binds to sebaceous gland receptors in the skin and decreases oil production.
The vitamin E content of 6% of the RDA per 100 grams beats almost all other fruits despite not being extremely high. Then there’s the ORAC score, the scale of measuring antioxidants, on which mangos score 1100. Once again, that’s around average; a high example is strawberries with 4302 and a low one is bananas with 795.
In the basic nutrition, the only area where mangos fall down is in their high sugar content of 15 grams. Excluding dried fruits, which are a sugary disaster for acne, mangos are one of the highest. Strawberries and raspberries only contain 5 grams each.
This doesn’t mean that mangos are off the menu, but you do need to regulate your diet and control your sugar intake elsewhere. Otherwise your acne will end up more inflamed and more pimples will be born.
Overall, mangos rank somewhere in the middle of acne-clearing fruits. What does that make them? An excellent food for clearing your skin, from the inside out. Even an average fruit is an excellent food to snack on.
Mangos have a unique acne-clearing compound
There’s one area in which no other fruit can compete with mangos, however. The mango tree is the sole commercial fruit crop and one of the few foods in nature which contain a xanathoid polyphenol called mangiferin.
Mangos contain various common antioxidants such as quercetin, rhamnetin, ellagic acid, and kaempferol, but the yellow-pigmented mangiferin is unique and one of the two most abundant in the fruit. It seems to be miracle substance, which is far more researched than mango itself. There’s endless studies on cancer, brain damage, and cholesterol levels.
Specifically for acne, mangiferin works wonders for reducing inflammation levels. This study showed that mangiferin could reduce inflammation caused by colitis, an inflammatory disease of the gut which wreaks havoc on digestion. This study found that magniferin could reduce inflammation levels in weakened lungs.
Mangiferin is also highly bioavailable, thanks to its molecular C-glucosyl linkage structures which grant it easy access to the bloodstream. This study even found that consuming mangiferin could reverse brain damage caused by inflammation; rats experienced significantly reduced damage to cognition and less inflammatory chemicals roaming around the brain. Levels of the indigenous antioxidant superoxide dismutase increased as well, meaning that magniferin might help your body to make its own antioxidants through some mysterious mechanism.
We have evidence that magniferin consumption reduces inflammation in multiple areas of the body. Does it work on the skin?
This study says yes. Feeding mice mangiferin noticeably reduced their symptoms of dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disease consisting of rashes and red patches. Pro-inflammatory chemicals such as TNF-a and NF-kappaB all fell.
According to the scientists: “mangiferin could provide a new target for the therapy and prevention of skin inflammation”. It’s not a stretch to speculate that mangiferin can reduce inflamed pimples and acne as well.
Mangos have their own unique acne-clearing compound, joining pomegranates with their punicalagins and the pineapple with its bromelain.
Mangos can enhance your sunlight defences
The unique acne powers don’t end with mangiferin either. One of the more surprising studies I’ve seen on a fruit for acne revealed that eating mangos can increase your skin’s resistance to UV radiation.
Some hairless mice were divided into groups: a control group, a group exposed to ultraviolet radiation, and a group exposed to UV and fed mango extract daily. In the mango group, there was a significant reduction in wrinkles and ageing caused by the sunlight. The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, remained thicker. Furthermore, there was a significantly increase in collagen fibres in the mango group, thus strengthening the skin.
Eat a mango every day and maybe you can go on a beach holiday and enjoy the sun rather than fearing it like many acne patients end up doing. The only remaining threat would be the chlorine. Is there any explanation? There’s the high antioxidant count; many polyphenols and flavonoids can build themselves into skin cells and increase their stability in the face of radiation, and with an ORAC score of 1100, the mango easily contains enough.
However, our old friend mangiferin strolls into town again with a study of its own. The effect of mangiferin on wrinkle formation, skin thickness, and changes in collagen fibres in hairless mice exposed to UV radiation was tested. When ingested, the mangiferin could prevent the negative changes in all the above attributes, in precisely the same manner as the mango itself.
Do we have our answer? There’s an excellent chance, because these two studies are almost the same. Mangos have a unique acne compound and a unique acne power, among fruits at the very least.
The potential downfalls of the mango
Now the question of side effects rears its ugly head. A far more pressing problem than the sugar is the high FODMAP content of mangos relative to other fruits. FODMAPs are poorly digested short chain carbohydrates which give acne to sensitive people, and explain why some acne patients get breakouts from supposedly clean and nutritious foods.
Apples are one good example, and mangos are another. They’re very high in the FODMAP sorbitol, a type of polyol sugar. Mangos are usually banished completely on a doctor-proscribed FODMAP removal diet.
Secondly, we’ve said that mangos are a fruit with some unique attributes for acne. They are, but unfortunately for some unlucky people, it works in both ways. The mango contains a plant toxin called urushiol also found in poison ivy and poison oak.
Urushiol is the reason why some people bite into a fresh, juicy mango only to recoil in horror at a red rash around the edge of their mouth later in the day. A significant percentage of people are sensitive to urushiol, and in those people, eating mangos can lead to the inflammatory skin disease dermatitis.
In fact, there’s even a specific disease called urushiol-induced contact dermatitis. The urushiol is found in the peel of the mango, but low to moderate levels remain in the whole fruit. Many allergic people have peeled the mango harshly, to no avail.
Mango is the only common fruit which contains urushiol. Can it cause acne? If the allergic reaction it triggers can cause dermatitis out of nowhere, then there’s a great chance that urushiol can at least exacerbate your existing acne.
Will it give you acne? Eat a mango and find out. Normally I’d advise you to spread some of the juice onto your skin, to find out the answer extra quickly. However, one cause of urushiol sensitivity is overexposure to it. The skin detects the presence of this compound which it cannot tolerate, and prepares for a significantly stronger assault the next time it encounters it.
If you currently have a mild urushiol sensitivity, but love mangos, you should restrict your intake to every few days. You should definitely not get tempted to use mangos as a topical treatment; in that case, it’ll be game over fast.
Two secret tricks for enhancing mangos
Consider the preparation of a mango. You select the mango with a healthy colour, and feel it to make sure that its firm. At home, you peel the mango, cut it into your desired shape and size, and enjoy.
That’s how a normal person does it. But if you want to be a professional at clearing acne naturally and push the benefits of mangos to the maximum, you cannot skip exposing them to sunlight first.
Mangos are high in antioxidants, and when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, the levels increase further. The fruit is stimulated to provide defences against the incoming radiation, and polyphenols and flavonoids are those defences.
This study exposed freshly cut Tommy Atkins (the most common variety) mangos to ultraviolet C radiation for between 1 and 10 minutes prior to storage at 5 degrees. Polyphenols and flavonoids both accumulated, in correlation with UV exposure. The total ORAC score and antioxidant capacity went up substantially. This principle applies to other fruits and vegetables as well, including broccoli (study), grapes (study), and oranges (study).
The solution: place your mango in the garden or on the balcony and acquire a bombshell of antioxidants. You’ll enhance the flavour too, because the antioxidants are responsible for it.
Speaking of taste, your second trick is to eat your mango in the green unripe state. Unripe mangos have significantly more vitamin C according to this study, which analysed mangos at various stages of their life. After being picked, the vitamin C content increased until the 4th day of storage, and then began a steady decline.
On the other hand, phenolic antioxidants were higher in the ripe mangos. When stored at 4 degrees Celsius there was a slight increase in polyphenols up until the 12th day. However, when stored at 1 degree there was a “remarkable” increase until the 12th day.
If you want vitamin C, sink your teeth into a green mango. If you desire the broader, more varied plant antioxidants, eat a normal mango. If the standard nutrition is good enough for you, then do the same.
If you love the taste of mangos then you’re in luck, because they have some pretty strong powers for acne.
You won’t clear your skin entirely by eating mangos, since you have to correct your entire diet, but they’re a great weapon. Mangos can lower your inflammation levels and calm acne, and they can supply acne nutrients like vitamin C. There’s a strong chance that mangos can act like a natural sunscreen as well; that’s a power which few fruits can lay claim to.
Just having a unique compound as strong as mangiferin is a big bonus. The research is so promising that mangiferin and hence mangos could be revealed to have new acne properties at any time.
Mangos rank around the middle of fruits overall, being inferior to strawberries due to their lower antioxidant and vitamin C count, but easily superior to a honeydew melon or cantaloupe.
Thanks for reading!