My regular readers know that I am always on the lookout for “things you can do now,” and that I get very excited when I find something that actually makes sense, even if it’s not entirely proven or the mechanism of action fully understood. Yesterday, I came across research out of the University of Texas looking at the effects of eating mango on inflammatory bowel disease.[i]
Besides, it is one of my all-time favorite foods, so it’s a pleasure to wax lyrical on the delight that is a ripe mango.
Believe it or not, something as simple as eating 200-400 grams (approximately 7-14 ounces) per day of mango appears to make a measurable difference in alleviating the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These researchers conducted a small pilot study on 10 volunteers (3 with Crohn’s disease and 7 with ulcerative colitis, all currently on drugs for their illnesses) with mild to moderate IBD, and had them eat mango daily for 8 weeks.
Their justification for the research: mango contains polyphenols, natural plant compounds that act as antioxidants, and have been shown in many studies to protect against cancer and other diseases. Some of the polyphenols you may be familiar with include flavonoids and phenolic acids. Their presence is one of the reasons a plant-based diet is so healthy. Previous studies have shown that mango polyphenols “…possess anti-inflammatory, anti-obesogenic [obesity] and anti-cancer activities, indicating their potential in modulating risk factors for intestinal disease.” In animal studies, in which colitis has been chemically induced in rodents, a mango-based beverage attenuated inflammation.
Results of this study:
Obviously, this was a tiny study (it was only a proof-of-concept, after all), so the results should be interpreted with caution. Still, it is nice to report some good news. I don’t have IBD, but what the hell?! It’s not like you have to twist my arm to convince me to eat my mango daily.
[i] H. Kim, V.P. Venancio, C. Fang, et al., Mango (Mangifera indica
L.) polyphenols reduce IL-8, GRO, and GM-SCF plasma levels and increase Lactobacillus species in a pilot study in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, Nutrition Research(2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2020.01.002