COLLEGE STATION - Mango. If you know little about this fruit, understand this: It's been found to prevent or stop certain colon and breast cancer cells in the lab.
That's according to a new study by Texas AgriLife Research food scientists, who examined the five varieties most common in the U.S.: Kent, Francine, Ataulfo, Tommy/Atkins and Haden.
Though the mango is an ancient fruit heavily consumed in many parts of the world, little has been known about its health aspects. The National Mango Board commissioned a variety of studies with several U.S. researchers to help determine its nutritional value.
"If you look at what people currently perceive as a superfood, people think of high antioxidant capacity, and mango is not quite there," said Dr. Susanne Talcott, who with her husband, Dr. Steve Talcott, conducted the study on cancer cells. "In comparison with antioxidants in blueberry, acai and pomegranate, it's not even close."
But the team checked mango against cancer cells anyway, and found it prevented or stopped cancer growth in certain breast and colon cell lines, Susanne Talcott noted.
"It has about four to five times less antioxidant capacity than an average wine grape, and it still holds up fairly well in anticancer activity. If you look at it from the physiological and nutritional standpoint, taking everything together, it would be a high-ranking super food," she said. "It would be good to include mangoes as part of the regular diet."
The Talcotts tested mango polyphenol extracts in vitro on colon, breast, lung, leukemia and prostate cancers. Polyphenols are natural substances in plants and are associated with a variety of compounds known to promote good health.
Mango showed some impact on lung, leukemia and prostate cancers but was most effective on the most common breast and colon cancers.
"What we found is that not all cell lines are sensitive to the same extent to an antic
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Texas A&M AgriLife Communications