Bright, sweet, juicy – mangoes are glorious summer fruit. But here’s something you didn’t know: move over oranges, as mangoes are one of the highest food sources of vitamin C.
Known as the king of fruits, the mango is packed with nutrients, delicious, and low in calories. But did you know that mango leaves are not far behind the fruit when it comes to being beneficial to us?
And it might even come in handy if you want to shed some kilograms.
How mango leaves can make you healthier
Just like their fruit, mango leaves are a source of vitamin A, B and C, as well as other nutrients. These are a few of the benefits of mango leaves that research has uncovered up to now:
- Mango leaves have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Even though we still need human studies to confirm it, animal studies suggest that these properties could even protect your brain from conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Once again, human studies are still needed, but studies on rats showed that mango leaves can help with the management of diabetes.
In fact, in one study diabetic rats given mango leaves showed better results compared to those given glibenclamide, which is used to treat diabetes.
- Mango leaves strengthen your blood vessels and help lower blood pressure.
- New research has shown that mango leaves can aid in the fight against cancer. Positive results were seen in leukaemia and lung, brain, breast, cervix and prostate cancers.
It’s important to note that more study is needed – do not try to use mango leaves as a home treatment against cancer.
- Mango leaves are great for both your skin and hair. The antioxidants it contains may reduce the signs of ageing and furthermore mango leaves can encourage wound healing.
Mango leaf could protect your hair follicles from damage, as well as promote hair growth.
- Rodent studies found that mango leaf could be beneficial in the treatment of stomach ulcers. Human studies are still needed though.
What about weight loss?
If losing weight is your goal, you probably know by now that fruit should be consumed in healthy moderation. Fruit are good for you, but they are still a source of sugar.
It’s slightly different when it comes to the leaves. More studies have been done in this area than for other health benefits, and the results are looking good.
A number of animal studies came to the conclusion that mango leaves inhibit fat accumulation in cells.
A study with obese rats found that the rats that were fed mango leaf along with a high-fat diet, gained less abdominal fat than those only fed the high-fat diet.
This time there were human studies as well, and they support the conclusions. In a 12-week study with overweight adults, those who were given mango leaf daily had lower fat levels in their blood than those who were given a placebo.
It goes without saying that you still have to adopt a healthy lifestyle if you want to lose weight – mango leaves on their own will not magically leave you looking like a supermodel.
|The Super-Nutritious Mango|
Mango leaves have clear benefits, but the fruit are not too shabby either. In fact, the mango could probably be considered a superfood.
Medical News Today reports that munching on a mango goes a long way in providing you with your daily requirement of several nutrients:
Vitamin A: 66.7% (men) and 80.13% (women)Vitamin C: 9.9% (men) and 12.73% (women)Folate: 17.75%Vitamin B6: 15.08%Vitamin K: 5.77% (men) and 7.7% (women)Potassium: 5.89%
Mangoes also provide you with copper, calcium, iron as well as the antioxidants zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.
All of this goodness is guilt-free, as a cup of sliced mango only contains 99 calories.
How to use mango leaf
Mango leaves are most commonly consumed in the form of tea, and mango leaf tea bags or loose leaf tea can be purchased. Mango leaf is also available in supplement form, or as a powder or extract.
If you can get your hands on fresh mango leaves, you can brew your own tea by boiling 10 to 15 leaves in 150ml of water.
What are the risks of consuming mango leaves?
As far as research has been able to determine, mango leaves do not cause harmful side-effects. Human studies are needed though in order to be certain.
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but it’s hardly as satisfying as, say, a piece of chocolate.
Next time, reach for a mango – they are not far behind chocolate in terms of deliciousness. And remember to pair it with a cup of mango leaf tea for extra goodness.