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Mangoes: edible sunshine

Your Health Your Wealth

Bena Nakawuki

Sunday, June 29, 2014    

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IF there were ever a food that tasted so good that it reminded me of summer, sunshine and feeling good, it would definitely be mangoes.

Everybody loves a good mango; in fact, I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like or eat mangoes, except for health reasons. Mangoes are juicy, sweet, creamy, colourful, alive, nutritious, filling, ready-to-eat and comforting. With so many varieties to choose from, how can one ever get bored?

From East Indian, Julie (St Julian) and Bombay mangoes to Black Mango, Tommy Atkins, Hairy or Stringy, Common, Number 11, Hayden, Sweety, Beefy, and Longy or Long Mango. There are many more, each with their unique flavour.

So now that we are in one of the best seasons - and no, I'm not talking about the World Cup season - mango season, let's ditch the myth about mangoes being fattening and enjoy this fruity gift.

Too good to be true

* Mangoes are one of the most delicious and nutritionally rich fruits in the Caribbean. They are great sources of vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex, as well as health-promoting flavonoids such as beta-carotene and alpha-carotene.

* Mangoes help to alkalinise the body by helping to flush out toxic acids and rebuild the alkali reserves in the body.

* Mangoes are packed with enzymes and are a prebiotic food, meaning they contain compounds that stimulate and feed the good bacteria in the intestines which greatly aids in digestion and assimilation.

* Mangoes have been found to be a powerful anti-cancer food and are specifically known to help prevent lung, breast, colon, prostate, blood, and oral cancers.

* Mangoes are highly beneficial in the prevention of strokes, heart disease, arthritis, cognitive disorders, respiratory diseases, and kidney disease.

* Mangoes are known to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol due to the significant fibre, pectin and vitamin C content.

* Mangoes are also wonderful for skin health and can be used both internally and externally to help clear clogged pores, eliminate pimples and add a natural glow to the skin.

* Mangoes are excellent for promoting good eyesight and helping to prevent night blindness and dry eyes.

* Mangoes contain a significant amount of pyridoxine (B-6), which is vital for the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Pyridoxine is also essential in maintaining hormonal balance and proper immune function as well as for helping the body break down sugars, fats and proteins.

Mangoes are so versatile and can be used in your smoothies, juices, salads, salsas, desserts, chutneys/sauces, and many other savoury dishes. Surprisingly, spices also pair well with mango - try experimenting with cinnamon, turmeric, curry, cloves, and chili pepper.

Start your day with a simple but delicious mango pudding for breakfast or enjoy same as a treat after dinner. This pudding can also be enjoyed with a sprinkling of flax or chia seed for added fibre and protein. It's definitely one of my favourite desserts that I'll be making a lot of this season. Remember to freeze any excess mangoes that you may not be able to use, especially closer to the end of the season.

Who would have thought that a fruit that tastes so good could have so many wonderful nutritional benefits? So, make the most of the mango season and experiment with finding new ways to add mangoes to your diet.

MANGO PUDDING DELITE

INGREDIENTS

1 large mango of choice (Julie is great for this recipe)

1 handful of coconut jelly/medium soft flesh

1 cup of soaked cashews (at leasttwo hours)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

1 tablespoon natural vanilla extract

Juice of 1 lime

Dash of cinnamon or spice of choice

Dash of sea salt

Bena Nakawuki is an internationally trained and certified raw food teacher, wellness coach and editor. She is currently the only certified member of the International Association of Raw Food Coaches and Teachers in Jamaica. She is the owner of The Lotus Line and may be contacted at TheLotusLine@gmail.com, www.facebook.com - The Lotus Line of Natural Health Products and Services, and twitter.com/TheLotusLine.

Did you know?

Mangoes are thought to help prevent insomnia and provide for a better night's sleep. In some countries, mangoes are eaten right before bed as a natural sleep aid.

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