Dried Mango: Is It Good for You?

One of the sweetest fruits, mango can be just as delicious as candy. Fortunately, it offers far more nutrients. Mango is a great snack in fresh form, but becomes even sweeter and more convenient when dried. 

Mangoes are native to South Asia. They’ve been an important food in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years. Today, they’re enjoyed all over the world. Most people can safely eat them in moderation.

Dried mango often comes in slices, which may include sulfites to increase its shelf life and keep the mango soft. Organic varieties can be stickier and more difficult to eat. Freeze-dried mango is crunchier and often free of added sugar. Mango that is candied or crystallized is steeped in a mix of water and sugar before it’s dried.

 Dried mango is sometimes used as a folk remedy for:

A few studies show some support for these claims, but more research is required before dried mango can be recommended for such health benefits.

Nutrition Information

Four pieces of unsweetened, unsulfured dried mango contain: 

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 28 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 20 grams

Dried mangoes are a good source of:

Many dried fruits are rich in antioxidants. Dried mango provides an especially powerful dose.  Foods high in antioxidants have been shown to offer protection against a variety of conditions, including several types of cancer.

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Potential Health Benefits of Dried Mango

Along with being a rich source of antioxidants, dried mango contains high levels of several essential vitamins and minerals. These benefits are accompanied by a high sugar content and a few additional concerns that people with certain health conditions may want to consider. 

Research has revealed some potential health benefits of eating dried mango: 

Cancer Prevention

Eating a diet rich in produce remains one of the best options for reducing the risk of several types of cancer. Fresh fruit such as mango can be helpful, but research suggests that cancer-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids are even more abundant in dried mango. This benefit increases when the mango is pretreated with citric acid before dried.

Improved Eye Health

The vitamin A in dried mango may play a role in preventing macular degeneration and other vision problems.

Potential Risks of Dried Mango

Dried mango may contain high levels of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, but it’s also high in calories and sugar. Mango can be easy to overeat, so keep these considerations in mind before you enjoy this treat:

Allergic Reactions

Mango peel contains high levels of a substance called urushiol. This compound is also found in cashews, pistachios, and poison ivy. In fresh mangoes, its highest concentration is contained within the skin.

If you use fresh fruit to prepare dried mango, use caution when it comes into contact with your skin. If you’re allergic, Exposure can cause rashes similar to those from poison ivy. Since dried mangoes don’t include the skin, simply eating them will not cause an allergic reaction from urushiol.

However, eating dried mango can cause side effects like red eyes and runny nose if you’re allergic to sulfites. You can avoid this by choosing unsulfured (or sulfite-free) dried fruit.

High in Sugar

Dried mango is high in sugar, even compared to its fresh form. Some prepackaged types further increase the sweetness with additional sugar.

Unsweetened dried mango is better than crystallized or sweetened varieties. Still, even small amounts of any type of dried mango may lead to significant increases in blood glucose levels. If you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes  or managing the condition, consider substituting dried mangos for limited quantities of the fresh version. One serving of ½ cup of fresh mango contains about half the sugar of its dried companion.  

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High in Calories

Just four pieces of unsweetened dried mango contain 120 calories. Even with its high levels of vitamins and minerals, it may not be worth the extra calories if you’re trying to lose weight. Other low-calorie fruits, like fresh apples and berries, may be a better option for satisfying your sweet tooth.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 24, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology: “Can Reaction to Poison Ivy Cause Mango Allergy?”

Antioxidants: “Nutrients for Prevention of Macular Degeneration and Eye-Related Diseases.”

Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine: “Mango Dermatitis After Urushiol Sensitization.”

Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety: “Major Mango Polyphenols and Their Potential Significance to Human Health.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Mango, fresh, slices.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: Mango, just, unsulfured, unsweetened, dried, Trader Joe’s.

Journal of the American College of Nutrition: “Dried fruits: xcellent in vitro and in vivo antioxidants.”

National Cancer Institute: “Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention.”

Nutrition and Metabolic Insights: “Acute Freeze-Dried Mango Consumption With a High-Fat Meal has Minimal Effects on Postprandial Metabolism, Inflammation and Antioxidant Enzymes”

Pharmacognosy Reviews: “Mangifera Indica (Mango).”

Scientific African: “Effect of pretreatments prior to drying on antioxidant properties of dried mango slices.” 

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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