Like many of you, I enjoy fruit for both its sweet taste and the nutrients it provides. Depending on the time of year, bananas, pears, apples, dried fruits such as raisins, and berries are all a part of my daily diet. However, up until recently I had never tried fresh mangos, even though there are numerous benefits of mangos for runners.
I’ve snacked on dried mangos in the past, but I often pass up fresh mangos at the grocery store because their thick skins intimidated me a little – I’ve cut myself with less challenging foods. (I once landed in the ER for stitches while cutting French bread on the first weekend of living on my own). I’ll be honest: I’m monotonous in my choices when comes to fruit, since I usually reach for the same couple options as a quick snack or in my post-run give-me-food-now state of hunger.
Of course, by eating the same foods over and over again, you lose the benefits of nutritional variety in your diet. I’m guilty of getting stuck in food ruts and eating the same foods almost everyday. I’m by no means a picky eater, but rather I just enjoy simplicity and routine. Every few weeks, I need to try a couple new foods and add variety to my diet. Eating seasonally is an excellent way to add variety to the diet, especially in terms of which fruits and vegetables you eat.
Since mangos are in season during the months of May, June, and July, I recently tried mangos to try a new-to-me fruit and add more variety to my diet. My first reaction was that they were deliciously sweet with just a hint of tart – perfect for yogurt bowls, smoothies, or sorbet (as you’ll see in the recipe below).
Mangos offer numerous nutritional benefits for runners, giving you a good reason to branch out and incorporate them in your diet this summer. Mangos are a superfruit – they contain over 20 vitamins and minerals!
Benefits of mangos for runners include:
- Mangos taste very sweet and offer a nutritious alternative to ice cream or other summer desserts. 1 cup of sliced mangos contains 23 grams of sugar and 100 calories, which means you’re satisfying your sweet tooth while also benefiting from the vitamins and nutrients.
- 1 cup of sliced mangos provides 25 grams of carbohydrates. Runners need carbohydrates to fuel their workouts, replenish their glycogen (stored carbohydrates) after long runs, and to recover from workouts.
- The 3 grams of fiber in a serving of mangos regulates blood sugar, so even though mangos have a high sugar content, you don’t need to worry about a sugar crash as you would with sweets such as cake.
- Mangos provide 100% of your daily Vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps you absorb non-heme iron, which is the type of iron found in plant-based foods, thus making it a vital vitamin for vegetarian/vegan athletes.
- Vitamin a boosts your immune system, which runners need because hard training such as marathon training actually weakens your immune system. In addition, Vitamin A plays an important role in bone growth, which runners need since running places a (good) stress on bones.
- 1 cup of sliced mangos offers 20% of your daily recommended folate. Folate helps your body make red blood cells. Red blood cells play a key role in cardiovascular function, including improving your endurance as a distance runner because they help transport oxygen to your muscles.
- 1 cup of sliced mangos provides 10% of your daily Vitamin B6 needs. Vitamin B6 improves red blood cell function and thus oxygen transport, just like folate, and boosts your immune system. The copper in mangos also supports healthy immune function.
- Mangos also contain inflammation-fighting antioxidants and electrolytes such as potassium, so they are an ideal post-run food for runners after a hard workout or hot summer run.
Overall, mangos are an excellent choice for a post-run recovery food for runners, especially if you have a sweet tooth!
Note: mangos are a tropical fruit, so avoid consuming if you have a tropical fruit allergy.
Not to mention that a cold, juicy mango tastes so refreshing after a hot summer run!
While you usually see the same commercial variety of mango in stores, there are actually several varieties of mangos! Sweet or. almost spicy, creamy or fibrous, and yellow or red are the distinguishing characteristics for the different varieties of mangos. I tried the Kent and Ataulfos varieties, thanks to the National Mango Board.
Select mangos at the store as you would avocados: if you plan on eating them within a day or so, choose a ripe mango. If you are eating them within the week but not immediately, select a less ripe, more firm mango and let it ripen at home.
Since mangos come in a wide variety of colors, don’t judge a mango by it’s color when discerning ripeness. You will know a mango is ripe when the fruit is soft to the touch and has a slight “give” when you gently press it with your finger.
Store your mangos at room temperature until they ripen. Once they’re ripe, store in the fridge for up to five days, but don’t refrigerate them before they ripen.
Mangos can appear intimidating to cut, but the method is surprisingly simple. Each mango has one long, hard, flat seed in the center, almost like an avocado seed but oblong. Wash your mango and grab a sharp knife and a cutting board.
For easy cutting, place the mango stem down on the cutting board, hold, and use your knife to cut down through the mango approximately ¼-inch from the widest part of the center. Repeat on the other side to remove the mango flesh from the seed (which is in the widest part of the center). Then you can cut and scoop the mango flesh out of the skin. The process is not much harder than cutting an avocado. (The National Mango Board has this practical guide for visual reference.)
Since mangos have a natural sweetness and many varieties have a creamy texture, including the Ataulfos variety, I decided to make dairy-free sorbet with the mangos I received from the National Mango Board. A cold treat always tastes good in the summer heat, especially when the treat has nutritional benefits as well!
- 2 cups mango puree (~ 3 mangos, I used Ataulfos and Kent mangos)
- 1 14-oz. can (1.5 cups) coconut milk (preferably full-fat, although reduced fat will work)
- 2-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, depending on desired sweetness
- Chill the canned coconut milk, a mixing bowl and the beater to your hand or stand mixer in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut and peel the mangos (see instructions in post). Puree the flesh in a food processor until smooth.
- Combine the coconut milk, mango puree, and maple syrup in the chilled mixing bowl and whip with the beater for 1-2 minutes to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a loaf pan and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving. This sorbet will be hard when frozen, so set it out for about 15-20 minutes before serving to soften.
- Store in an airtight container in your freezer.
- Cooking time indicates chilling time.
- If you use low-fat canned coconut milk, the consistency will be more like Italian ice - still very tasty, but a bit more icy and less creamy.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of National Mango Board. The opinions and text are all mine.
Do you eat mangos often? How do you use them?
What’s a type of fruit or vegetable that you never have tried?
What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream or sorbet?