Mangoes Could Be the Secret Superfood to Improve Metabolism and Prevent Disease

Not that you actually need an excuse to eat a fresh, juicy mango, but here’s a pretty good one: Studies show that this delicious, sticky, sweet superfood has anti-inflammatory benefits that improve metabolism and guard against metabolic disease.

Fresh mango with slices fanned-out
Photo: Getty Images

In addition to being high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber, mangoes have a high concentration of chemicals called polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties. One recent study by researchers at Texas A&M University (and partially funded by the National Mango Board) tested out the potential benefits of those polyphenols by giving both lean and obese subjects 400 grams of fresh-frozen mango pulp every day for 42 days. The lean subjects saw a decrease in blood pressure (though the obese subjects did not), and the obese subjects saw improved levels of hemoglobin A1c, which is associated with a lower risk for diabetes.

Another study from Texas A&M found that obese volunteers who consumed that 400 g dose of mango pulp for 42 days experienced a positive change in their gut microbiota — an increase in the bacteria associated with the lean subjects and a decrease in the bacteria associated with obese subjects — that could lead to improved absorption and metabolism. And a third study from the same university attributed an improved metabolism in test subjects to the gallic acid, galloyl glycosides, and gallotannins found in mangoes.

“This emerging research shows promising outcomes on mangoes’ potential to reduce the risk of metabolic disorders and chronic inflammation,” Leonardo Ortega, Director of Research at the National Mango Board, said in a statement.

Chronic inflammation is still being studied, but experts believe it’s the root cause of some of our most dreaded maladies, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and allergies. “It’s an underlying cause for many, many diseases,” integrative medicine specialist Frank Lipman, M.D. told Women’s Health.

You can also find polyphenols in other healthy fruits, such as berries, pomegranates, citrus fruits, as well as in cloves, oregano, dark chocolate, tea, nuts, coffee, and, yes, even red wine. But not many of those foods go quite as well with cayenne pepper on a hot day, nor do they get so juicy you have to eat them directly over the kitchen sink.

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