Get to know one of our state’s sweetest treat.
May is the start of mango season and Florida is the largest producer of the fruit for the United States. It’s hard not to see why. Just a walk through any South Florida neighborhood and you’ll see them growing all over. Mango trees tucked away in backyards or lining the streets; and soon they’ll be dropping their goods by the bucket-full. And what better way to stave off that grueling summer heat than with a fresh, juicy mango. Straight off the rind, blended in a smoothie, on top of a salad, or stir fried, this Florida staple is extremely versatile.
As sweet as they are, this fruit packs quite the nutritional punch. Bursting with over 20 different essential vitamins and nutrients, mangoes work their magic on our bodies both inside and out. Just one cup of dice mango provides 100 percent of our daily need for Vitamin C. Known to be a powerful antioxidant, this vitamin also plays a key role in the production of collagen, the protein responsible for keeping our hair and skin healthy. Other key benefits include:
- Protection against breast cancer. The beta-carotene present in mangoes has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and cell-killing properties that are cancer-specific.
- Improves bone health. Calcium isn’t the only nutrient that will keep your bones strong. Mangoes contain a healthy mix of Vitamin K and copper, which improve bone density and lowers the risk of bone fractures later in life.
- Regulates blood glucose levels. A healthy diet of mangoes can help those living with type-2 diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels. The soluble and insoluble fiber present in mangoes slows the release of sugar and helps balance intestinal health.
- Lowers the risk of heart disease. Containing more potassium than bananas, mangoes have the power to reduce blood pressure and protect against hypertension by expelling sodium.
Guide to finding the perfect mango:
- Don’t get hung up on the color. While some varieties of mango will start to take on a yellow or red blush color as they mature, it’s not a true indicator of freshness. Instead, treat them like you would a peach or avocado. The fruit should be firm, but give a little with a gentle squeeze.
- Use your nose. Ripe mangoes are extremely aromatic. This fruity aroma is a characteristic of the sticky sap that oozes from the stem.
When you’ve found that perfectly ripe mango don’t hold onto it for too long, it’s best to eat it quickly. If you’r not in a rush, mangoes can be kept up to 5 days in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer. And for those that need a little extra time, one or two days in a paper bag at room temperature will speed up the process.