Ask The Pharmacist: Mangoes are magnificent, unless you’re allergic

Suzy Cohen

Mangoes are one of the most popular fruits around the world. The first thing I want you to know is that the peel of the fruit is a common cause for dermatitis for some of you. It contains the same compound found in poison ivy, oak and sumac which is called urushiol which the plant uses as its own defense mechanism.
Mango fruit contain many different antioxidants, some of which you might recognize like vitamin A, C, copper, potassium and magnesium. Eating it regularly could provide some protection against a wide range of physiological disorders, infection and pain.

Fresh mangoes are a summer treat.

Here are some things that mangoes can do to improve your health: 

Reduce blood sugar 

Researchers fed mice some freeze-dried mango meal and gave the other half of the mice a medication for diabetes called Rosiglitazone (Avandia). The mangoes worked as well at reducing blood sugar as the prescription drug!

Reduce pain and inflammation.

Like most other fruits, mango contains a class of compounds called polyphenols. These are known to be hugely beneficial, particularly for their anti-inflammatory properties. When you reduce inflammation, you naturally reduce pain too. 

Relieve constipation

Eating more fiber can make a big difference, and mangoes (like all fruits and vegetables) gives you a jump start on that by providing a lot of natural fiber. But it stands apart from other fruits due to the way mangiferin and other compounds that reduce intestinal inflammation.

A recent study showed that eating one mango each day improved constipation symptoms much more than taking an equivalent amount of dietary fiber.\

Mangoes are great eaten alone or in a fruit salad.

Protect your GI tract.

Tons of research has focused on the gut microbiome (the mix of bacteria in the gut) in the past few years. We know that probiotics can have a positive influence, but who thinks of mangoes?! 
The research I read shows that mice fed a diet rich in mango showed dramatic alterations in their gut bacteria. It helps to normalize your gut flora.

Protects your brain. 

Mango leaf extract has even been shown to protect the brain. In mice exposed to cadmium, a toxic heavy metal that causes serious brain damage, mango leaf extract was shown to protect the brain.  

If you’re not allergic to mangoes, add them to your salads and smoothies. Be sure one hundred percent sure you are not allergic to this delicious fruit, because again, the skin/peel, stem and leaves impart urushiol, which is also found in poison ivy.

It doesn’t impact everyone, in fact I’m not allergic at all the mangoes, but for some, the reaction can cause your lips and tongue, or the skin around your lips and chin to itch and burn. It can cause full-on anaphylaxis! So I just want you to be warned mangoes like many tropical fruits can cause a problem, and sometimes it’s a new onset allergy.

If you’re not sensitive, enjoy them as often as you can. 

More:Ask The Pharmacist: St. John’s wort, serotonin and depression

More:Ask The Pharmacist: Lion’s mane helps your brain

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit