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Secret in mango, pumpkin

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th January 2004 03:00 AM

Mangoes are a very nutritious and excellent source of carotene as compared to other fruits

Mangoes are a very nutritious and excellent source of carotene as compared to other fruits

By Lydia Nabyonga

Mangoes are a very nutritious and excellent source of carotene as compared to other fruits. 100 gms of edible portion of the mango contain about 1990ug of beta-carotene (vitamin A), which is much higher than in other fruits.

The total carotenoids in mangoes increase with the stage of ripening. Eating mangoes provide a store of vitamin A in the liver, sufficient to last for the rest of the year and highly beneficial for the prevention of vitamin A deficient disorders like night blindness.

Mangoes also contain vitamin B and C, besides glucose, and citric acid. Ripe mangoes are sweater than raw ones. Different categories of people prefer to eat mangoes at different stages of growth. While children are not selective, some adults prefer ripe mangoes, while pregnant women prefer raw ones.

Both ripe and raw mangoes have the same composition, but raw mangoes contain the precursors for the components in the ripe mangoes. For instance acetic acid in raw mangoes responsible for a bitter taste is slowly converted to citric acid as the mango ripens.

The sweetness is a result of sucrose (a combination of fructose and glucose). Sucrose is a source of soluble carbohydrates. Coatings of mangoes contain a great deal of fibre which is a source of roughage, that is important in digestion.

The pumpkin is another important food that is usually ignored and neglected in people's diet. The pumpkin is nutritious too. And like the mangoes, it contains fibre and a variety of vitamins especially A and B. Vitamin A is very essential for the proper vision and the general health.

Pumpkins also have sucrose, a carbohydrate responsible for energy provision.

Seeds of pumpkins contain an essential oil that is important in maintaining an effective blood flow through the blood vessels, which helps to prevent heart attacks, a stroke and clotting in blood vessels.

The pumpkin also has essential mineral salts including zinc, iron, manganese, that are good for the general body functions like transporting oxygen. However, these nutrients may vary depending on the nature of the soil that the pumpkin has grown from.

Importance of fibre to the body.

“Fibre consumption is one natural way of controlling body weight. When one feeds on a fibre based diet, it creates a feeling of fullness in a way that one takes long to feel the sensation of hunger and as such eats less (weight control).

This occurs because fibre tends to absorb water creating bulk,” says Rhona Baingana a nutritionist of Makerere University.

Fibre reduces the rate of cholesterol absorption into the blood stream.

Fibre also decreases the transit time for food in the intestines and as such the intestines are exposed less to toxins that may be taken with food. This controls intestinal cancer because the intestines are not intoxicated.

Fibre absorbs water, thus increasing the fecal weight. Fibre decreases transit time in the intestines thus exposing them less to the toxins (intestines empty faster). In stomach, food takes long due to the bulk and as such one feels satisfied for a longer time.

However, excess fibre may result into very loose stool (diarrhoea), that may be quite uncomfortable for an individual. Besides, there may be some abdominal discomfort resulting from increased gas production.

These gases originate from fibre digestion by the normal flora (micro-organisms) present in the intestines.

As a result of the very loose stool, there may be loss of essential body mineral salts.

In children, too much fibre can even lead to reduced energy yet kids need enough carbohydrates for energy.

Secret in mango, pumpkin

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