The mango; a tropical and mysterious fruit with golden flesh and greenish exterior. There’s more inside the mango that meets the eye. Its fruit, skin, tree bark and leaves have been used for years to treat ailments like hypertension and asthma. Could the innocent mango be responsible for treating gestational and type 2 diabetes?
When you’re dealing with type 2 diabetes your body is reacting to the glucose (sugar) building up in the blood. Insulin is needed to transport the glucose from the blood into cells. When there is an excess of blood sugar more and more insulin is produced until your body can’t make enough insulin and the excess blood sugar remains in the blood cause damage to organs. Type 2 diabetes can happen to men and women of all ages and can be treated with injected insulin and can luckily be reversed completely with diet and weight loss.
Gestational diabetes happens during pregnancy but can lead to type 2 diabetes after the baby is born. When carrying a baby you need extra calories for growth but when too much sugar is ingested the pregnant body has trouble moving the glucose from the blood to the cells. Similar to type 2 diabetes the pregnant body makes more insulin to carry away the blood sugar until the body cannot make enough insulin and the excess blood sugar remains in the blood causing damage to the mothers organs and potentially the baby too. Gestational diabetes can happen during pregnancy no matter the age of the mother.
Type 1 diabetes is when the body naturally cannot make enough insulin. It’s not that too much sugar is eaten, but the pancreas (where insulin is made) makes too little insulin for a natural diet. This is seen in young children, as young as 5 years of age, or adolescents and can be classified as an autoimmune disease. Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured but is treated for a lifetime.
Mangoes, an intensely popular tropical fruit with more than 30 varieties, are usually grown in countries on the equator, like India. What makes them important in the treatment and prevention of diabetes is their multiple nutrients, phytochemicals and biological properties. For example mangoes are loaded with vitamins A and C making them great at protecting the immune system.
Fighting diabetes is different though. The mango itself, when eaten, is seen to induce glucose absorption, meaning the mango causes insulin in the body to be used more efficiently and insulin is produced immediately to whisk away blood sugar. According to the article Postprandial glucose and insulin responses to various tropical fruits of equivalent carbohydrate content in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus mango had the lowest insulin response curve when compared to pineapple, banana, durian and rambutan (other tropical fruit). In the Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences mango’s anti-diabetic properties have to do with its “polyphenols and ascorbic acid present in the test peel extract”. Continuing on, found in mangoes is a steroid called Lupeol, specifically a triterpene, which has “antioxidant, antilithiatic and antidiabetic effects and … combats oxidative stress-induced injury in the cell”. Another chemical, a “xanthone glucoside” has “considerable antidiabetic, antihyperlipidemic and antiatherogenic properties as obvious from lowering of fasting glucose level”.
While this may read as scientific gibberish what it translates into is this … eating mangoes can reduce type 2 diabetes and may prevent type 2 diabetes. There are actual chemical properties; lupeol and xanthone glucoside actually encourage the uptake of blood sugar, reducing damage from type 2 diabetes. This is also how mangoes differ from table sugar. The fructose in mangoes is treated differently, does less damage in the human body than sucrose (table sugar). The combination of chemicals, nutrients and biological properties make the whole mango better for you than white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and even agave nectar.
Finally, it IS possible to eat your way to better health!
Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1991 Nov;14(2):123-31. Postprandial glucose and insulin responses to various tropical fruits of equivalent carbohydrate content in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Roongpisuthipong C1, Banphotkasem S, Komindr S, Tanphaichitr V.
Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences 2012 Jan-Mar. A pharmacological appraisal of medicinal plants with antidiabetic potential. Vasim Khan, Abul Kalam Najmi, [...], and K. K. Pillai