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Mangoes are possibly one of the few reasons to like summer in Pakistan. While most people put their fears of weight gain on the back burner, others willingly give up regular meals just to have more than one mango.

Contrary to popular belief, mangoes are in fact low in fat, although they have substantial calories. The fruit also has numerous health benefits; it is high in pre-biotic dietary fibre, antioxidant, as well as vitamins A, B6 and C. It also contains triterpene and lupeol, which are known to be effective inhibitors of prostate and skin cancer.

The latest news relating to mangoes comes from research conducted by Edralin Lucas, PhD, Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Oklahoma State University. The study – conducted over 12 weeks and including 20 obese subjects – found that mangoes have properties that can help reduce body fat and regulate blood sugar and lipid levels. There was no substantial change in body composition in both genders while body mass indices increased in female participants.

The research results are being hailed as promising in addressing a cluster of obesity related ailments including type-2 diabetes and heart disease which are directly linked to high levels of blood glucose lipids. These levels are commonly controlled with the drug Rosiglitazone, which has several negative side effects; mangoes on the other hand are providing a useful and natural alternative to reducing body fat and blood glucose levels.

The study also showed that mangoes improve fat metabolism and reduce the circulating level of leptin, a hormone which is produced by fat cells. The concentration of leptin in the blood is directly proportional to the body’s fat content.

According to Lucas, more research is required to fully understand the health effects of mango consumption among obese people.
So go ahead and reach for the second mango while the season lasts, but remember moderation is important.

– Dr Samia Babar
The writer is Director, Health Awareness Society.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 23, 2013.