Mango season is in full swing these days. It is a tropical fruit loved by many people around the world. Perhaps that’s the reason it is termed as The King of Fruits.
Nowadays many countries around the world are Mango celebrating this fruit but unfortunately due to COVID, the festivals are limited. It grows on the tree Mangifera indica meaning an Indian plant bearing mangoes. It can grow up to 100 feet and can bear fruit even after 300 years. The flowers of a mango tree are pollinated by insects. It generally takes about 4 to 6 years for a tree to start bearing fruit. It takes about 4 months for the fruit to be picked and that too by hand. The trees are harvested once a year. The tree is evergreen but temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit can kill or damage it. Mango leaves are toxic for cattle feed and also if they are burned.
More than 500 varieties of mangoes are cultivated all over the world mostly in tropical and subtropical climates. They vary in color, shape, size, and taste. Interestingly, the ripeness of a mango is not determined by its skin color but by squeezing. A ripe mango will give in when squeezed gently. Tropical mangoes are related to cashews and pistachios. Botanically mango is a drupe, consisting of the outer skin, a fleshy edible part, and a central stone consisting of a single seed. It is a super fruit as it has many important vitamins and minerals. It is good for overall health but moderation is the key because of its sweetness.
Whether you are a mango lover or not I bet you will enjoy these top ten interesting facts about mangoes.
The origin of mangoes is believed to be in the hills of northeastern India about 5000 years ago. From there it traveled to the Middle East, East Africa, and South America thanks to its large seed which could easily be carried by humans beginning around 300 or 400 AD.
Mangoes were brought to South America and Mexico in the 1600s by Spanish explorers. In 1833, the mango was first introduced into the US in Florida. Mangoes can grow in Florida, California, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico in the US. About 4000 acres of land is being cultivated in Puerto Rico commercially for the last 30 years but most of it is exported to Europe.
9. Sacred Value of Mangoes
The king of fruits has a special place in various religions especially Hinduism. The importance of mangoes in Hinduism can be emphasized by the fact that it is mentioned in their Holy books named Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Puranas.
The leaf of the fruit is used in many religious festivals and ceremonies and is used to decorate the entrance of houses or buildings so that good fortune can come in and ward off evil. In puja, water filled earthen pot with fresh mango leaves and a coconut is placed which is known as Purnakumbha. The pot is the symbol of Mother Earth, water is the symbol of life-giver and coconut is the divine consciousness and the mango leaves symbolize life so the entire Purnakumbha symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi, prosperity, and good fortune.
Mango blossoms are used on the day of Basant Panchami to worship Goddess Saraswati. Apart from that, the wood of the mango tree is used in religious ceremonies like puja and haven. Wood is also used in funerals as it is considered sacred.
The mango tree also bears importance in Buddhism. It is believed that Lord Buddha meditated under the lush green groves of mango trees. Apart from that, it is also believed that he created a mango tree from its seed instantaneously.
In Jainism also mangoes are regarded sacred as Goddess Ambika is portrayed sitting under a mango tree. These examples just show the importance mango enjoys in various religions.
8. National Fruit
Do you know that mango is the national fruit of not only one but three countries? Yes, this delicious fruit is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. The sweetest mangoes are also found in these countries. Carabao mango which was termed as the sweetest in the World by the 1995 edition of Guinness Book of World Records is found in the Philippines. Also, Bangladesh declared the mango tree as its national tree in 2010.
7. Medicinal properties
The medicinal properties of mangoes have long been known since ancient times Its been used in folk remedies. The bark, pit, leaves, and pulp all are beneficial in some way or another. Mangoes contain phytonutrients called carotenoids and polyphenols which help in preventing certain diseases like controlling blood pressure and reducing inflammation. It is also beneficial in preventing constipation, piles, arthritis, indigestion, and dysentery.
Mango peels are also used in folk remedies if the peep and latex scattered on its surface are properly washed before consuming as latex and peep can cause dermatitis.
6. Nutritional facts
Mango is a highly nutritious fruit. It contains over 20 different kinds of vitamins and minerals placing it in the superfood category. 165 grams of mango provide 99 calories. It is cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and fat-free. 165 grams of mango contains 67 percent of the Reference Daily Intake of vitamin C,10 % of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake) of vitamin A, 9.7% of the RDI of vitamin E. Apart from that it also contains other vitamins like vitamin B5, B6, vitamin K, and Niacin. It also contains 1.4grams of protein, 24.7 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.6 grams of Dietary fiber.
It contains different minerals as well like magnesium, manganese, copper, and potassium. All these vitamins and minerals combined make it super healthy not to mention its great taste.
5. The Mango Capital
India can easily be referred to as the Mango capital of the world as it is the largest mango-producing country followed closely by China, Thailand, and Indonesia. The fun fact is that in terms of international trade India exports less than 1% of its mangoes. This is because it consumes most of its mangoes itself.
4. Health Benefits of Mangoes
Mango has several health benefits due to its rich contents of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The vitamin C in mangoes helps in forming blood vessels and collagen which helps in healing. It also helps in iron absorption. Vitamin k helps in blood clots and anemia.
It can also help in lowering the risk of cancer as it is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals which can damage your cells and cause cancer. It is also good for heart health as it is a great source of magnesium and potassium which can both help in lowering blood pressure.
Among other benefits, it is great for the digestive system as it offers both Amylase compounds and dietary fiber. Amylase compounds help break down complex starches in your stomach for easy digestion and fiber helps relieve constipation.
Mangoes have vitamin A which is good for eyesight and healthy skin. Folate helps in cell division and DNA duplication. Overall it is an excellent source to stay healthy and boost your immunity to help fight off infections.
3. Mango Day
This super delicious fruit is so popular that a whole day is dedicated to it. Although for mango lovers every day is mango day in India 22 of July is celebrated as National Mango Day. On this day you can eat different varieties of mangoes, make different dishes, drinks and smoothies to celebrate.
In India International, Mango Festival is held on the 22 of July every year in Delhi since 1987. Over 50 different mango growers are included from all over the country. There are competitions and quizzes on mangoes including their uses in different cuisines as well as the many different varieties. The most popular varieties include Langra, chaunsa, and Alphonso in India among others.
Mango festivals are held in other countries as well including Canada, the USA, Jamaica, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
2. Mango and Poetry
The craze of mangoes goes a long way back. Just as the moon, stars, and flowers were used by poets similarly mango was also given that position. Renowned Urdu poet Mirza Asad Ullah Ghalib was very fond of mangoes and there are many anecdotes concerning his love for mangoes. Rabindranath Tagore was yet another poet who was very fond of mangoes and has written poems about mango flowers Aamer manjori. Another poet Saad Bin Aard has also written some poems about mangoes. This shows the love of mangoes in the sub-continent.
1. Design Inspiration
The paisley pattern which developed in India is said to be inspired by the shape of a mango. They were meant to symbolize love and eternity that is why they mimic the outline of a mango. Mango motifs and paisleys are found in different Indian embroidery styles and including Kashmiri shawls, Kanchipuram silk sarees, etc. Paisleys are also common to Iranian art because of their pre-Islamic Zoroastrian past. When East India Company came to the sub-continent they introduced it to Europe where they remained popular for nearly a century before they gradually waned out.
I hope you enjoyed these interesting facts about mangoes. Happy mango season!