The newest fruit under study for promoting heart health is the mango. Now demonstrated to be effective at lowering blood pressure for post-menopausal women, the mango is packed with healthy, plant-based compounds that scientists have been investigating in the context of human health for years.
The new mango study, from the UC Davis Department of Nutrition, focused on post-menopausal women, a high-risk group for heart disease. Studies show that women are at a higher risk for heart attacks in the decade following menopause, especially when paired with other risk factors such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure (hypertension).
Heart health declines after menopause partly because estrogen levels drop.This hormone promotes strength and flexibility to the inside-most wall of the arteries, which carry blood (with oxygen and nutrients) to the body’s tissues. Additionally, blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels increase during and after menopause.
Mangoes are considered heart-healthy because of their high concentration of polyphenols (primarily mangiferin, quercetin, gallotannins, and gallic acid), bioactive compounds that are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-infection. David Nieman, Director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC), describes polyphenols as “all the colors that you see” in fruits and vegetables.
“Getting more polyphenols by eating fruits and vegetables and drinking the right beverages is one of the best things people can do for their health,” Nieman explained.
In the new UC Davis study, researchers recruited 24 healthy post-menopausal women, who consumed two cups of mango every day for two weeks. After this period, the women continued their normal diets, but restricting mango, for 13 days. Researchers recorded heart rates and blood pressure, and they took blood and breath samples.
Over the two-week mango consumption period, the average blood pressure and pulse pressure of the participants decreased. Specifically, the systolic blood pressure (the top number in “120/80,” a healthy blood pressure reading) decreased in just two hours after they ate the mango every day. Additionally, six of the 24 participants produced methane, indicating positive changes in gut health.
The present study is the first to show the heart-healthy effects of mango intake in humans. Going forward, the study researchers plan to conduct more studies with other population groups.
The present study was published in the FASEB Journal.