Showing posts with label weight management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weight management. Show all posts

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Health Benefits of Mango Seed

The mango is a favorite summertime fruit, but are you missing out on health benefits if you stop at the mango’s flesh? A recent spate of weight loss products espouse mango seeds as an effective weight loss tool. Do they work? Are there other health benefits? What about risks? Let’s investigate!

And yes, we are talking about something that big “pit” or seed in the middle of a mango, which you would normally gnaw around and then throw away. In recent years, extracts from the African mango seed have been used in diet supplements or made available as a liquid extract or powder, which you can use as an additive in drinks, smoothies, or other dishes.

Before you dig down to the pit, you’ll be happy to know
that the fleshy part of the fruit that you are used to consuming is already full of nutrients. It’s rich in flavonoids (specifically, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin), essential minerals like copper and potassium, and vitamins A, C, B6, and E. It is also a fiber-rich fruit, which can potentially help manage your weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar level.

The seed is often used as an ingredient in weight management products. In other cultures, the seed or seed extract is used to treat a myriad of ailments, including tooth pain and diarrhea.

What the mango seed research shows

There is not enough independent scientific research on the health benefits of African mango seeds to give them a definitive thumbs up. But here are some of the more interesting study results:
  • Mango seeds in diabetes support: A 1986 study testing mango seed supplementation in diabetic patients successfully reduced blood glucose levels.  A 1990 study showed that it is effective in treating type II diabetes, decreasing bad cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterol.
  • Mango seeds in weight loss: A 2005 study showed that African mango oil lowered abdominal fat and HDLs in rats. And a 2008 study showed that mango seed extract inhibited the conversion of sugars into fat. In a 2009 study, mango seed extract reduced weight and improved metabolism in overweight humans in 10 weeks. Another human study showed similar results.
  • Other mango seed studies showed it or its extract to be effective as an antioxidant.

How to eat mango seed

If you are interested in enjoying the benefits of the mango seed in its most natural form, rather than in a powder form or tablet, have at it. Believe it or, that big seed in the middle of the mango fruit is edible, with one caveat: go green. If you’ve eaten a ripe mango, you know that the seed seems impenetrably hard and fibrous. They are often also bitter. But try the mango seed of a green mango, not yet ripened, and you'll find that it is downright soft and easily sliced with a sharp knife.

Mango seed recipes

Looking for a way to add mango seeds to your diet? Try these recipes:

African mango seed health risks

Unless you have a known allergy to mangoes, there is little evidence of health risks in consuming African mango seeds or extracted forms of it, and no known adverse side effects. That said, you should consult with your doctor before consuming African mango seed or any other supplements.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Five Tips to Staying Fit Over the Holidays

The best gift you can give yourself during the holiday season is keeping on target with your health goals, such as weight management or physical fitness.  Temptations abound when friends, family, and co-workers gather for holiday feasts.  Fitting in a regular health routine, such as running, walking, gym time, or yoga sessions, gets hard when your life routines are put on a back burner in exchange for time off, vacations, and travel. These 5 holiday fitness tips can help you enjoy the celebrations with less post-holiday regret.

Santa doing yoga

Tip #1 – Make smart dietary choices

We’ve assembled a collection of tips on how to celebrate this season without adding a layer of lard to your midsection.  Navigate those “treacherous six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year,” as the the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCFS) describes it, with holiday dieting tips at Tis the Season to Eat Healthy.

Tip #2 – Take what you can get

You may not have that regular block of time that you normally reserve for your daily bike ride, walk, or other exercise.  But remember, any movement is better than none;
  • Even if you only have five minutes to get physical, you can make those five minutes count by using the Tabata technique for fast fat burning. 
  • Ate too much to do a hard, albeit short, workout?  Then at least take standup breaks every 20 to 30 minutes to protect your heart and reduce fat buildup.  Learn more in our articles Is Sitting Bad for Your Health? and Make a Motion–Daily!
  • At the mall for some Christmas shopping? Keep in mind that walking up the stairs takes about the same amount of time as standing on the escalator, and less time than a slow elevator, yet burns a whole lot more calories.

Tip #3 – Make new places an adventure

When away from home for a holiday visit, it’s easy to forego your regular exercise.  This is when your imagination can make all the difference.  Before you leave home, plan out new places to go for your workout:
  • If you enjoy trails, simply google “trails near Phoenix,” or whatever city you’ll be visiting, and you’ll find many sites to guide you into new territory.
  • Or do a bit of online research to find a gym in your destination town that can substitute for hometown fitness center. 
  • If you enjoy biking but came in on a plane without yours, ask to borrow one from a relative or your relatives’ friends or neighbors.
  • For a real adventure, check to see if there are any holiday season meetups related to your preferred form of exercise.  Many towns have running groups, bike clubs, or ultimate Frisbee gatherings where you can workout and make new friends. 
To make sure these away-workouts happen, make a written plan of where you are going during your trip and when.  Also, talk with your relatives about your plans so they have a chance to not double-book your workout with a family event. 

Family walking in the snow

Tip #4 – Make inclement weather an opportunity

If you know you’ll be traveling for the holidays to a place with lots of rain or snow, plan for it rather than shy away from it.  Little known fact: humans are mostly waterproof.  Just take the right kind of outerwear to manage your body temperature, and you can take a jog or walk in just about any weather.  Just remember to play it safe; if weather will limit visibility, wear safety reflective gear or a clip-on LED flasher to make yourself more visible to others.

Tip #5 – Invite relatives

If those whom you’re visiting might be offended if you’re going off and doing your own thing to stay fit during the holiday visit, then don’t do it alone; invite them to join you!
  • Going for a walk?  Invite everyone and make it a post-feast stroll to burn calories and encourage talk.
  • Start a family holiday tradition with an organized sport, such as touch football, disc golf, or even a rousing round of ultimate Frisbee.  Even if some of your relatives are not up to the challenge of participating, they can get in on the fun by refereeing or cheering on from the sidelines – both of which are much healthier for them than zoning out in front of the television.
The fact is that most adults gain an average of a pound a year – which can add up over a decade or two – and most of that weight gain occurs while you’re celebrating during the November/December holidays.  But heed these five holiday fitness tips and you can win the battle of the bulge this holiday.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer