Mad About Mangoes
Long, long ago, a king asked a sage to explain the Truth. In response, the sage asked the king how would you convey the taste of a mango to someone who had never eaten anything sweet? No matter how hard the king tried, he could not adequately describe the flavor of the mango and in frustration he told the sage, “Tell me then, how would you describe the taste of the fruit?” The sage picked up a mango and handed it to the king saying, “This is very sweet. Try eating it!” This tale is a popular Hindu teaching about Truth.
Mangoes are known as an “ancient fruit” and have appeared in many mythologies, proverbs, and stories since the beginning of their existence about 4,000 years ago. Mangoes are catalogued as Mangifera indica and are a distant relative to the cashew family. Believed to have originated in eastern India, mango seeds were transported by traders to the Middle East and Africa in the 16th century, and to Brazil in the 18th century. From that point on, mangoes have spread throughout the world, thriving in tropical and sub-tropical regions where they flourish in warmer climates.
It may come as a surprise, but mangoes are the most widely consumed fruit throughout the world. It’s true— they are high in demand, even by Americans who acquires the fruit from Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Guatemala, Haiti and Hawai'i. At present, the Hawaiian Islands of Kaua‘i and the Big Island are two of the many exporting regions that benefit from the consumption of the tropical fruit. Hundreds of farmers are able to make a living off of harvesting and selling mangoes by export, in local grocery stores, restaurants and at farmers markets.
As the spring and summer months unfold, an abundance of fresh mangoes will emerge from our local purveyors. According to the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau Federation, there are countless varieties of mangoes grown within the islands. The two most common are the Haden (orange/red) and Pirie (yellow/green). Rich in vitamins A and C, mangoes are typically sweet; and while taste is subjective, people often characterize the fruit as a cross between pineapples and oranges (though not as acidic), with a hint of peach. The texture is described as a mix between cantaloupe and avocado, dense yet silky when eaten.
When selecting fresh mangoes, you want to feel the fruit to ensure that it is at its best—don’t focus on color, as this is not necessarily the best method to determine ripeness. Mangoes are harvested firm and ripen off the tree at room temperature. Gently squeeze the fruit. A ripe mango should still be firm but will give slightly. The fruit should be true to its natural shape and size, an oversized mango doesn’t necessarily mean overly good. Scent is also a helpful indicator. Find those with a floral or noticeably fruity scent at the stem. Once ripe, it can be refrigerated for a few days; but the fresher your mangoes are, the better they’ll taste and the more nutritious they will be.
On a healthy note, mangoes are an excellent source of fiber. An essential component to our diet, most adults don’t get anywhere near the 20-35 grams of daily fiber that health experts recommend. It has been proven that fiber maintains a healthy digestive system and can even lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. According to a new study by Texas AgriLife Research, mangoes have also been found to prevent or stop certain types of colon and breast cancer cells in laboratory studies. Dr. Susanne and Dr. Steve Talcott are both food scientists who have conducted tests on the matter and say that “if you look at it from the physiological and nutritional standpoint, mangoes are a high ranking super food. It would be good to include mangoes as part of your regular diet.”
As a result, eating mangoes on a regular basis, you will meet your daily fiber needs—welcoming news to those who loathe eating dry and tasteless grains. Eating one serving of mango contains four grams of fiber, 20 percent more than a cup of shredded wheat cereal.
For those who tend to live fast-paced and busy lifestyles, mangoes may also be the remedy for you. It goes with saying that rest and relaxation is a welcomed and desired state of mind. Try a natural homemade mango facemask. There aren’t many rivals when it comes to nourishing home spa treatments. Mangoes have a pleasant fruity smell and are full of vitamins that are excellent for revitalizing the skin. Applying fruits like mango to the face and body is becoming more of a trend in health spas throughout the world as we recognize the healing and skin nourishing benefits.
Straight off the tree or from a local farmers market, mangoes are high in antioxidants and vitamins that can help improve a variety of skin conditions. But if you’re simply not the type to stir up your own concoction, the world-class Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauaÿi Resort & Spa and the Halele‘a Spa at The St. Regis Princeville Resort offer natural, unique and beneficial treatments from a luxurious mango mask to taro clay wraps. From nature’s bounty, these luxurious, renowned spas can deliver desired healing properties and beautifying benefits. There’s an array of rejuvenating opportunities to experience in the paradisal settings of both spas.
The mango is a beauty food ingredient that will keep you healthy inside and out. Its “super fruit” properties not only taste great, but will also help you look and feel your very best. Indeed, mangoes are a staple to discerning appetites and there’s no telling what future nutritional research will bring. What we do know is that mangoes are a delectable, tasty, and beautifying treat.
Call the Anara Spa at (808) 240-6440 or Halele‘a Spa at (808) 826-9644 for more information on their treatments and for appointments.
Mango Hydrating Mask
1 Ripe Mango
1 Tablespoon of honey
Peel away skin from the fruit and remove the seed from the center pit of the fresh mango. Cut mango into chunks or slices. Take a handful of slices and mash with a fork or masher in a small bowl. Mix honey into the mashed fruit. Apply mixture to the face and neck area, avoiding the eyes, and leave on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Pat dry.