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Here are some tips and recipes for enjoying the world's most popular fruit.

Tried a mango lately? If so, you've tasted the most popular fruit in the world.

Surprised? We may think the banana is No. 1, but that's only in the United States. It's the mango that rules the world, says Robert Schueller, public relations director for Melissa's/World Variety Product.

Although mangos are said to be native to India, they are now grown on every continent, even North America.

"Ninety-nine percent of the mangos in the U.S. are imported, mainly from Brazil and Mexico," says Schueller.

But California is home to a big crop of Green Keitt Mangos, which, according to Schueller, are the best-tasting variety. (These California mangos are available from late July to mid-October.)

Many of us may have had our first experience in a smoothie or margarita because mangos work well in a blender. But mangos add color and fabulous flavor to any dish. They are a member of the acclaimed "yellow and orange fruits and vegetables" grouping known to contain healthy antioxidants like vitamin C. They also contain two classes of phytochemicals (biologically active plant-food components) scientists are studying for their health-promoting potential: carotenoids and bioflavonoids.

According to the Produce for Better Health's 5 a Day program, plenty of yellow/orange fruits and vegetables, as part of a low-fat diet, may help you maintain:

  • A healthy heart
  • Healthy vision
  • A healthy immune system
  • A lower risk of some cancers.

Along with a few grams of fiber (almost 2 grams of which is soluble fiber), one cup of fresh mango gives you 184% of the Daily Value for vitamin A (and it's super rich in beta-carotene), and 61% of the Daily Value for vitamin C.

1 cup of mango slices also contains:

  • 107 calories
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 28 grams carbohydrate
  • 0.5 grams fat (0.2 monounsaturated fat, 0.1 g polyunsaturated fat)
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 3 mg sodium
  • 12% daily value for vitamin E
  • 17% daily value for vitamin B6

Selecting Mangos

There are over 150 varieties of mangos, so there are many outer colors, shapes, and sizes -- all with that beautifully golden, sweet, uniquely flavored fruit on the inside. No matter what the variety, you'll need to use your fingers and your nose to test for ripeness: ripe mangos feel soft when you apply slight pressure and have a fruity fragrance.

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