Words by Nneka Samuel
From skinups to noni and soursop, countless tropical fruits hail from the Caribbean. Depending on what island you’re on, there are numerous names for any given one of them. But one fruit bears a common name no matter where you are – the mango. The world’s most popular fruit, mangoes grow in a variety of species, each chock full of nutrients that are not only good to the taste but good for the body. Surely you don’t need a reason to snack on a juicy mango, but the following checklist might encourage you to eat them all the same.
Low sex drive? Mangoes contain supple amounts of Vitamin E, which along with keeping skin soft and supple, regulates sex hormones and boosts sexual appetite. No wonder the mango is nicknamed the “love fruit.”
Clogged pores? Mangoes can be applied directly to the face, adding freshness and cleansing the skin. You can also use the fruit as a mud masque. The mango has all the benefits of typical exfoliating ingredients found in beauty products, like oatmeal and almonds.
Poor vision? Vitamin A promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness. The amount of Vitamin A found in one mango alone supplies 25% of suggested daily value.
No time for Sudoku? Eat a mango. Mangoes contain glutamine, an acid that aids in memory, concentration and mental alertness.
Watching your figure? Mangoes are low in calories, are fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free. A good source of fiber, they also help the stomach feel full. And despite the sweet taste, mangoes have a low glycemic index which makes them a particularly great fruit for those living with diabetes.
The health benefits abound with this versatile, tropical fruit. You can take your pick among the following varieties with their unique flavors and textures:
Typically in season from May to July, this mango is the most widespread throughout the Caribbean. And what it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. Its fruit is juicy and tangy.
The San Felipe
Cuba is home to many mango species, including the Prieto and Toledo. The San Felipe, when ripe, turns a luscious apple-red. The fruit from this exceptionally disease-resistant mango typically ripen in June.
The Madame Francis
This Haitian mango is kidney or oblong-shaped and turns bright yellow when ripe. It’s soft texture is complimented by a rich, spicy taste. Peak availability is from May to July.
Just as sweet as it sounds, the ice cream species of mango produces a rich, sweet and spicy flavor. This fiber-less and low maintenance type of mango turns canary yellow when ripe. Found in countries like the Dominican Republic, the ice cream mango peaks during the months of June and July.