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Mangos contribute to improved nutrient intakes among mothers-to-be

Article-Mangos contribute to improved nutrient intakes among mothers-to-be

© iStock/galitskaya Mangos contribute to improved nutrient intakes among mothers-to-be
Diets containing mangos are associated with healthier eating indices and improved nutrient intakes among women of childbearing age, an industry-funded study suggests.

Incorporating mangos into women’s diets led to improved intakes of vital nutrients crucial for a healthy pregnancy as well as better diet quality overall, according to an analysis by US researchers.

These nutrients – including fibre, folate, and vitamins C and E – are under-consumed by between 10 and 30% in the diets of pregnant women; however, intakes are significantly boosted when mangos are consumed, the research, published in Nutrients, shows.

“Pregnant women are at risk for several health conditions, like gestational diabetes and hypertension, putting their health and the health of the unborn baby at risk,” said study co-author Kristin Fulgoni.

“Diet is a key component of prevention plans, and mangos are a healthful fruit that contribute many of the nutrients associated with reducing risk of pregnancy-related diseases, including fibre, folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E.”

Healthy eating scores 16% higher among women whose diets included mangos

Women who are pregnant, lactating, or trying to conceive have unique nutritional needs that are often unmet by the dietary choices available to them. As many as seven in 10 women of reproductive age worldwide have at least one micronutrient deficiency.

Diets lacking in key nutrients such as iodine, iron, folate, calcium, and zinc can cause anaemia, pre-eclampsia, haemorrhage, and death in mothers, according to UNICEF, and can lead to stillbirth, low birthweight, wasting, and developmental delays in children.

The study, which was funded by the US-based National Mango Board, used the Healthy Eating Index – a validated measure of diet quality – to assess how well participants followed recommendations from the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Researchers gathered information from 16,744 women aged between 15 and 44 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1988-1994 and 1999-2018.

They found that Healthy Eating Index scores were 16% higher among women of childbearing age whose diets included mangos compared with those who did not consume the fruit.

This higher diet quality is, in part, attributed to the nutrient intake differences: women whose diets incorporated mangos demonstrated a higher consumption of beneficial nutrients and lower intake of undesirable ones.

These included 70% higher vitamin C; 31% higher fibre; 30% higher vitamin E; 26% higher folate; 16% higher magnesium; and 11% higher potassium. In addition, diets had 17% lower added sugars; 11% lower saturated fat; and 9% lower total fat.

Similar benefits seen in mango eaters aged 60-plus

The research also included a second arm involving Americans aged 60 years and above – another population that requires special nutritional attention owing to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and adverse bone health.

Mango eaters in this group, which had a sample size of 18,784, had a 13% higher Healthy Eating Index score than non-mango eaters, with higher intakes of fibre and vitamin C, and lower intakes of cholesterol, niacin, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, saturated fat, and vitamin B12. A higher percentage of individuals in the 60-plus group identified as being vegetarian or vegan, which presents a possible explanation for these intake variations.

© iStock/apomaresMangos contribute to improved nutrient intakes among mothers-to-be

“This study suggests incorporating mango into the diet could increase select nutrient intake as well as diet quality in specific life stages of adult Americans,” the authors concluded.

Food and nutrient intakes were determined based on two 24-hour dietary recalls. Nutrient intakes were obtained from both interviews, and usual intakes were determined using the National Cancer Institute method.

The strengths of the research included using several cycles of NHANES data, resulting in a larger sample size. However, limitations included the observational nature of NHANES analysis and the dependence on dietary recall.