Juicy, with a sweet flavor and resinous notes, mango is a much loved fruit, to be enjoyed alone or added to fruit salads or vegetable salads. But mango is also a precious source of substances beneficial for health, so much that it has earned the nickname of superfood. Of course, mango alone may not solve all problems, but it certainly helps fight inflammation and protect the intestinal tract above all. And intestinal health has repercussions on the whole body, even on the brain! This emerges from a recent review published in the Molecules journal thanks to the work of an American and Korean team (Kim et al, Molecules, 2021).
Mango is an excellent source of antioxidant substances, among which gallic acid stands out, but there are also quercetin, mangiferin, ferulic and caffeic acid. As always, the problem with antioxidants is that they can be hindered by the gastric barrier and thus not reach the intestine, where they can be absorbed. In the case of mangoes, gallic acid is generally considered easily assimilable. However, to make mango antioxidants even more available, it has been observed that subjecting the mango to processing to obtain juice or puree improves the assimilability of these beneficial substances even more.
How mango acts for the well-being of the gut, brain and body
The polyphenols in mango thus reach the intestine where they can perform their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory action. These antioxidants, especially gallic acid, help fight certain types of bacteria associated with the development of tumors and inflammatory bowel diseases and prevent, or mitigate, conditions such as leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut means that the intestine can no longer be a barrier to food, bacteria, fungi and pathogens in general. Not only that, it has also been observed that mango fibers act as prebiotics on the intestinal bacterial flora, stimulating the growth of the so-called good bacteria of the microbiota. In particular, mango intake increases the presence of bacteria such as Clostridium butyrium, which produces butyrate, a substance that supports the immune system and the intestinal barrier against pathogens. Finally, given the beneficial action on the microbiota, it is believed that mango can also influence the gut-brain axis, helping to protect cognitive function.