Unlike other nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates and fat, your body cannot digest or absorb fiber. It travels through your digestive system relatively intact. While this may explain how it helps alleviate constipation, it may make you wonder how fiber in foods like mangoes can improve heart health, lower your risk of diabetes and make it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight.
Most Americans do not get enough fiber in their diets, the American Dietetic Association says. You need about 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed, or about 25 grams a day for women and 30 grams a day for men. Most Americans average about 15 grams of fiber a day. One-half of a small mango contains 2.9 grams of total fiber, meeting about 10 percent of your daily fiber needs.
Soluble Fiber in Mangoes
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that dissolves in water to form a gel. It binds with fatty acids and prevents you from absorbing cholesterol, helping to lower your levels. Soluble fiber also delays stomach emptying, slowing the release of sugar into your bloodstream, which can help people with diabetes better manage their blood sugars. Mangoes are a good source of soluble fiber, containing 1.7 grams in half of a small fruit.
Insoluble Fiber in Mangoes
Insoluble fiber is a type of fiber that does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk to stool, improving bowel function and helping to prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber also helps to control and balance your intestinal pH, which may help prevent microbes from producing cancer-causing substances, Gloria Tsang, R.D., of HealthCastle.com notes. In addition, including more insoluble fiber in your diet may help prevent you from developing Type 2 diabetes. A half of a small mango contains 1.2 grams of insoluble fiber.
Mangoes and Diet
Mangoes are also low in calories and a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium. A 1-cup serving of cubed mango contains 99 calories, 60 milligrams of vitamin C, 71 micrograms of folate and 277 mg of potassium. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that protects cells from oxidation that can lead to heart disease and cancer. Women of childbearing age need adequate intakes of folate to prevent neural tube defects in their unborn children. Increasing your intake of potassium can help keep your blood pressure within an acceptable range.
- Harvard University Health Services; Fiber Content of Foods in Common Portions; May 2004
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- "Journal of the American Dietetic Association"; Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber; October 2008
- HealthCastle.com; Fiber 101: Soluble Fiber vs. Insoluble Fiber; Gloria Tsang; November 2005
- USDA: Nutrient Database: Mangos, Raw
- Office of Dietary Supplements; Vitamin C; November 2009