Mango, Pearl of the Orient: its history, myth and uses.

The cultivation of Mango is almost as old as the birth of agriculture as we know it. It has Indian origins and around the 4th century BC, thanks to Buddhist monks, its seeds, were later introduced in the eastern parts of Asia and Southern China. There is archaeological proof of mangoes dating back to 5000 years ago in these areas.

Mango is an extremely versatile fruit, perfect for making both sweet and savory dishes in the kitchen. In addition, it has numerous health benefits for the body. Precisely for this reason, given the global trend to pursue physical well-being in the most natural ways possible, the production and marketing of mangoes has grown by 100% in just a few years, "stealing" the top ranking from the most well-known and renowned exotic fruits such as pineapple or avocado.

These characteristics have made the mango a symbol of great importance for the people and religions of Central Asia. In Bangladesh and India it is even considered the national fruit.

Mango and love

Mango is present in numerous Hindu and Buddhist myths. The best known concerns Kama, a figure similar to Cupid in Western tradition, protagonist of the Kamasutra. Kama instills love in the hearts of man and gods by shooting arrows soaked in mango blossom oil.

The intoxicating scent of mango flowers is often referenced in the ancient sacred texts of the Vedas, dating back to four thousand years ago, and in the most recent epic poem of the Ramayana in relation to love and eroticism.

The tradition of marrying two mango tree still persists in India: among farmers who want to seal their friendship, it is common for ceremonies to be organized in which two trees, one from each farmer, are "united in marriage". It is also customary, in civilian weddings, to decorate the wedding locations with mango leaves, as mangoes are considered auspicious for the newlyweds.

The mango and love have a strong bond. One of the most famous Indian myths concerning this fruit, tells of a sorceress jealous of the love existing between the King of the Earth and the young Princess daughter of the Sun God. Blinded by jealousy, the sorceress threw the Princess into the water, and at the point when the King was convinced that his beloved had fallen, a lotus flower blossomed to console him for the loss. The sorceress, unsatisfied, instantly set the flower on fire to destroy every last link between the King and the Princess. However, within a short time, a tree with voluptuous flowers and golden fruits was born from the ashes. This tree was the mango tree. Once one of its fruits ripened, it fell to the ground, transformed and brought the Princess back to life, and she was finally able to marry the King.

Mango and health

Moving on from the more poetic side of mango, let's look at why it is so appreciated around the planet nowadays. As we said before, mango is rich in nutrients that benefit our body:

  • it is a fruit that fights physical fatigue, as it is rich in vitamins A, B and C and in important mineral salts such as potassium, magnesium and calcium;
  • rich in water and fiber, mango is a valuable aid for our intestine;
  • it has recognized antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties;
  • it is a powerful diuretic;
  • it contains a lot of beta-carotene and therefore stimulates the production of melanin;
  • the high concentration of potassium means that this fruit helps fight stress and consequently insomnia.

It is, therefore, clear that the consumption of mangoes as part of our diet can only bring an elevated number of benefits to our bodies and lifestyle. But, how can we use them? Since mango is still quite exotic in the Western World, it may seem difficult to incorporate it into our menus. 

The fact is that mango is a very versatile fruit. It can be simply consumed, without preparation, at the end of a meal or as a mid-day snack. It can be a wonderful ingredient with which to make refreshing smoothies, perhaps mixed with peaches, the two proving a delicious pairing. It can also be added to salads, perhaps with avocado and dried fruit. Mango is a wonderful ingredient for spicy sauces (such as the renowned Indian chutney) which can accompany tastings of cheeses.

And to have a nice aperitif with friends on these warm summer evenings, why not prepare a wonderful white sangria of mango, oranges and Sauvignon Blanc?

Cheers to good health!

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