Can anyone imagine a summer without mangoes? Be it mango shake, cake, ice cream, salad, rice, chutney or pickles, mangoes are everywhere. Mango goes with the scientific name of Mangifera Indica and it is a member of the cashew family called Anacardiaceae. We celebrate this widely cultivated fruit of the tropical world on July 22 every year, which is National Mango Day.
Let us take a look at 12 unknown facts about the king of fruits on its National day.
1. The word ‘Mango’
The English word mango is said to have originated from three languages. Portuguese word manga, Malay word ‘mangga‘ and Tamil word ‘mangkay‘, which altogether constitute the term ‘mango’.
2. Origin of the king
Mangoes are believed to have first originated in India, Burma (present-day Myanmar) and the Andaman Islands. In India, mangoes were first cultivated more than 5000 years ago.
3. The king’s lifespan
Mango trees will deliver the first set of fruits within 4 years and they live for a long time. Some trees are known to produce fruits even at 300-years-old.
4. Production? Consumption?
India is considered to be the world’s largest producer of mangoes followed by China, Indonesia and Pakistan. India consumes most of the mangoes produced in the country and is also called the Mango Capital of the world. Due to this reason, the nation only accounts for 1% of the International mango trade. Tropical countries and sub-tropical countries produce 20 million metric tons of mangoes per year.
5. Toxic much!
Burning of debris, leaves and wood of mango trees is not advisable as they tend to release toxic fumes. These fumes can cause irritation in the lungs and eyes. Feeding mango leaves to cattle and grazing animals is also to be avoided. A dye was harvested from the urine of cattle who ate mango leaves in India. The practise was later banned due to two reasons: mango leaves can be toxic to cattle and cows are considered sacred in India.
6. National fruit/tree
Mango is the national fruit for three countries; India, Pakistan and the Philippines. In Bangladesh, the national tree is the Mango tree.
7. Indian culture and mango leaves
In India, mango leaves are considered important during festivals and weddings. They are believed to grant wishes and are used as decoration during festivals like Diwali, Pongal etc. During weddings, mango leaves are used as they are believed to help the couple bear a lot of children. Gifting someone a basket of mangoes is considered a gesture of friendship.
8. Ripe or unripe?
Do not judge a mango by its colour. The ripeness of the mango cannot be measured by its colour, since even a green mango can be perfectly ripe. To know whether it is ripe or not, gently squeeze at the nose of the mango and observe if there is a slight give.
9. A mango tree can keep doctors at bay
Mango trees can have various medical benefits. Different parts of the tree can be used as treatments or preventive measures for different ailments. Few health benefits are laxative, contraceptive, aphrodisiac, anti-asthmatic, antiseptic and anti-viral.
10. Mangoes with meat
Mangoes are great for marinating meat. They contain enzymes that work as meat tenderizers. The enzyme breaks down the fibrous and connective tissues in meat.
11. Full of nutrients
Mangoes contain Vitamin C which boosts the immune system in our body. They are rich in Vitamin A which is responsible for good eyesight. Mangoes also contain Vitamin B6 which helps with cognitive development. According to research in food consumption for 29,000 adults and children, conducted by Baylor College of Medicine, potassium and fibre is comparatively more in people who eat mangoes. People consuming mangoes were also found to be consuming less sodium and sugar.
12. Antioxidants in mangoes
Antioxidants like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, mangiferin, gallic acid, vanillic acid are abundantly found in mangoes. They are effective against diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, cardiac diseases, cancer etc.