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Health Benefits of Mango Seed

The mango is a favorite summertime fruit, but are you missing out on health benefits if you stop at the mango’s flesh? A recent spate of weight loss products espouse mango seeds as an effective weight loss tool. Do they work? Are there other health benefits? What about risks? Let’s investigate!

And yes, we are talking about something that big “pit” or seed in the middle of a mango, which you would normally gnaw around and then throw away. In recent years, extracts from the African mango seed have been used in diet supplements or made available as a liquid extract or powder, which you can use as an additive in drinks, smoothies, or other dishes.

Before you dig down to the pit, you’ll be happy to know that the fleshy part of the fruit that you are used to consuming is already full of nutrients. It’s rich in flavonoids (specifically, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin), essential minerals like copper and potassium, and vitamins A, C, B6, and E. It is also a fiber-rich fruit, which can potentially help manage your weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar level.

The seed is often used as an ingredient in weight management products. In other cultures, the seed or seed extract is used to treat a myriad of ailments, including tooth pain and diarrhea.

What the mango seed research shows

There is not enough independent scientific research on the health benefits of African mango seeds to give them a definitive thumbs up. But here are some of the more interesting study results:

  • Mango seeds in diabetes support: A 1986 study testing mango seed supplementation in diabetic patients successfully reduced blood glucose levels. A 1990 study showed that it is effective in treating type II diabetes, decreasing bad cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterol.
  • Mango seeds in weight loss: A 2005 study showed that African mango oil lowered abdominal fat and HDLs in rats. And a 2008 study showed that mango seed extract inhibited the conversion of sugars into fat. In a 2009 study, mango seed extract reduced weight and improved metabolism in overweight humans in 10 weeks. Another human study showed similar results.
  • Other mango seed studies showed it or its extract to be effective as an antioxidant.

How to eat mango seed

If you are interested in enjoying the benefits of the mango seed in its most natural form, rather than in a powder form or tablet, have at it. Believe it or, that big seed in the middle of the mango fruit is edible, with one caveat: go green. If you’ve eaten a ripe mango, you know that the seed seems impenetrably hard and fibrous. They are often also bitter. But try the mango seed of a green mango, not yet ripened, and you'll find that it is downright soft and easily sliced with a sharp knife.

Mango seed recipes

Looking for a way to add mango seeds to your diet? Try these recipes:

  • Mango and lemon rice with mango seeds – an Indian dish with a 15 minute preparation time.
  • Mother’s mango seeds – a Hawaiian recipe for preparing and storing mango seeds.

African mango seed health risks

Unless you have a known allergy to mangoes, there is little evidence of health risks in consuming African mango seeds or extracted forms of it, and no known adverse side effects. That said, you should consult with your doctor before consuming African mango seed or any other supplements.

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