Eating mango peels may protect against obesity, according to a new study.
Australian researchers found that the skins from two common mango varieties, the 'Irwin' and 'Nam Doc Mai' mangoes, contain high concentrations of bioactives that inhibit development of human fat cells.
"We know mangoes have many excellent nutritional properties, but more work needs to done to understand the complex natural compounds found in these and other fruits," Researcher Professor Mike Gidley of the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation said in a statement.
Gidley said that it was not strange for the outer skin of a fruit to have a very different chemical composition to the flesh.
"Detailed chemical analysis of the skin and flesh is extremely valuable for mango growers and processors, who are always looking for new ways to value-add their fruit," he added.
Researchers analyzed the fruits chemical components by taking methanol extracts of peel and flesh of three common mangoes, which included the Irwin, Nam Doc Mai and Kensington Pride.
They found that while peel extracts from the Kensington Pride mango promoted adipogenesis or storing of fat cells, both the Irwin and Nam Doc Mai significantly inhibited adipogenesis.
However, mango flesh extract from all of the three types of mangoes studied did not inhibit fat storage.
Professor Greg Monteith from the University of Queensland School of Pharmacy said that there were probably many reasons why there was a difference in mango peels' fat-reducing potential.
"A complex interplay of bioactive compounds unique to each peel extract is likely responsible for the difference, rather than just a single component," Monteith said in a statement.
Researchers said that the latest findings, published in the journal Food & Function, could help mango producers develop fruit varieties that actively help reduce obesity.
"Obesity is associated with many chronic disease states such as diabetes mellitus, coronary disease and certain cancers including those of the breast and colon. There is a growing body of evidence that links phytochemicals with the inhibition of adipogenesis and protection against obesity," the authors wrote.
"These results suggest that differences in the phytochemical composition between mango cultivars may influence their effectiveness in inhibiting adipogenesis, and points to mango fruit peel as a potential source of nutraceuticals," they concluded.