JUICY MANGOES, ANYONE
With summer comes an abundance of luscious fruits and vegetables. In many places, colorful barrio fiestas invite people from around to partake of their annual bountiful harvests and their merry making.
Do you remember an old folk song about being invited to Antipolo to bathe in the once clean and refreshing waters of Hinilugan Taktak,( a waterfall down the eastern side of Metro Manila), and there feast on suman ( a native food containing sweet sticky rice cooked wrapped with fresh coconut leaves) and mangoes?
If you don’t, I’m sure the taste of these delicious, juicy, and sweet mangoes won’t escapr your memories. Many visiting balikbayans(locals who work or residents overseas) usually crave for fresh mangoes to indulge in it is in season, or content themselves with the dried ones.
It is said the said that amongst most well-liked fruits in the tropics, mango is appreciated as “the king of sour fruits.” In fact, young mango leaves are used to decorate in the Vedic culture. Its dried twigs are used to ignite sacred fires.
Mangoes were first found in India where it is cultivated for thousand of years. In the Vedic scriptures, many references were made about this fruit. In the Srimad Bhagavatam,
it is stated that one of the heavenly planets, on the lower slopes of Mandara Mountain, there is a giant mango tree that is 8,800 miles as high bearing mangoes as big as mountain peaks, yet with tiny seed, and as sweet as nectar, falling from the tree for the enjoyment of the denizens of heaven. When the fruits fall, they break, and their sweet fragrant juice flows and becomes increasingly fragrant as it mix with other scents. That juice cascades from the mountains like waterfalls and becomes a river. Parvati, the wife of Lord Siva, and her personal maid servants bathe in that river and their bodies become that it perfumes the entire atmosphere 80 miles around. In 327 BC, Alexander the Great and his army were said to be the first European to taste the mango fruit from India. Historians had theorized that the mango was first taken to Malaya and other East Asian countries by Indians in the fifth century BC and to the East African coast by Persians about 10th century AD.
Mangoes are used in its various stages of development. Starch is predominantly found in unripe mango, which actually disappears and gets converted into glucose, sucrose, and maltose as it ripens. Green mango is rich source of pectin which decreases after the seed becomes formed. The sour taste of the unripe mango is due to the oxalic, citric, malic, and succinic acids.
As compared to other fruits, mango is an excellent source of Vitamin A, and some varieties of mangoes are very high in Vitamin C. the ascorbic content differs greatly from one mango to the next, and Vitamin B1 and B2, although its concentration differs with the variety specifically during its maturity and environmental conditions.
Sugar is the main components of the nourishing juicy ripe mango. Half of a mango (about three ounces) has 66 calories as compared to a half papaya which has 34 calories. Besides a trace of citric acid, the ripe fruits have tartaric and malic acids. The body uses these acids to maintain the alkali reserve of the body.
According to the USDA Agricultural Handbook, for 100 grams of edible portion, the calorie value is 66. its other food value is as follows: Moisture – 81%, Protein – .7 gm., Fat – .4 gm., Potassium – 189 mg., Thiamin – .05 mg., Fiber – 7%, Carbohydrates – 14 mg., Phosphorous – 13 mg., Iron – 1.3%, Sodium – 7 mg., Vitamin C – 35 mg., Riboflavin – 05 mg., Niacin – 1.4 mg.
In Indian specialty stores, you will find green mangoes preserved in oil and salted solutions which are very good appetizers. However, those extremely sour, spicy, and hot should be avoided by those with arthritis, rheumatism, sinusitis, soar throat, and hyperacidity. The health benefits stated here are based on the ancient healing science of Ayurvedas.
The ripe mango is anti-scorbutic, it increases urine flow, acts as laxative, is fattening, and maybe an astringent. It tones up the heart muscles, improves complexion, and stimulates appetite.
In Ayurvedas, mango increases the seven body nutrients: food juice, blood, flesh, fat, bone marrow, and semen. The fruit is beneficial in liver disorders; lose of weight, and other physical disturbances.
The unripe mango protects men from the result of hot scorching winds. An effective remedy for heat stroke is a drink prepared from cooking unripe mango in hot ashes and mixing the pith with sugar and water. As a thirst quencher, raw mango eaten with salt prevents the excessive loss of salt and iron due to excessive sweating during summer.
Green mango is beneficial in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Eating one or two small tender mangoes in which the seed is not fully formed with salt or honey is found to be good for diarrhea, dysentery, piles, morning sickness, chronic dyspepsia, indigestion, and constipation.
Unripe mangoes benefit the liver and cure its diseases. The acids contained in the green mango increases the secretion of bile and act as intestinal antiseptics. When you eat green mango with honey and pepper daily, it cures food putrefaction (a condition when bacteria decomposes the protein in our body), urticaria, and jaundice. It tones and keeps the liver healthy.
Due to its high Vitamin C content, green mango increases the elasticity of the blood vessels and helps the formation of new blood cells. It helps in the absorption of iron and prevents bleeding tendencies. It increases the body’s resistance to tuberculosis, anemia, cholera, and dysentery.
Being high in Vitamin A, the ripe mango can treat night blindness as well as other eye disorders like refractive errors, dryness of the eyes, softening the cornea, itching, and burning of the eyes.
For those who wish to gain weight, try the mango-milk cure. Mango is eaten first, then milk is drank after that. For rapid weight gain, one must consume four to five liters of milk with these four kilos of mangoes.
The tender leaves of mango are helpful for those with diabetes. The fresh must be soaked overnight in water and squeeze the juice out before filtering it in the morning. This infused water is taken every morning for those with early diabetes. An alternative to infused water is the drying up of leaves, which are powdered and preserved. Half a teaspoon of this powder is to be taken twice a day. The mango bark treats diphtheria and other throat diseases. Its poultice is locally applied and gargled. The gargle is prepared by mixing 10 ml. of water. The sap of the tree when the fruit is picked relives a scorpion bite and bee sting. That sap can be collected and bottled.
Excessive eating of unripe mangoes causes throat irritation, indigestion, dysentery, and abdominal colic. Don’t eat more than one or two a day. Drinking water immediately after eating green mangoes coagulates the sap and makes it an irritant. The sap must be either squeezed or the skin peeled before eating green mango as it may cause mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal irritations.
Children who excessively eat mangoes suffer from skin rushes or prickly heat. Also, mangoes contain the same substance as poison ivy in their peels, leaves, and sap. Some people are very allergic to them. Allergic reactions vary from skin rashes to throat swelling, causing difficulty of breathing.