Next time when you are constipated, consider eating a mango instead of taking fiber supplements. In a recent study published in the International Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, researchers from Texas A&M University stated that mango contains a mixture of polyphenols and fibers that are more effective in relieving constipation than equivalent amounts of fiber powder.
It is estimated that about 20% of Americans suffer from chronic digestive diseases.
Researcher Professor Susanne U. Mertens-Talcott stated that mangoes are more advantageous than fiber supplements because the bioactive polyphenols contained in mangoes can help reduce the levels of inflammatory markers in the body, and at the same time, can also change the body’s intestinal microflora. The gut microbiome is of trillions of bacteria and other microbial communities that survive in the digestive tract. Fiber supplements and laxatives can help treat constipation effectively, but they cannot completely resolve all the symptoms, such as intestinal inflammation.
In a four-week study, the researchers randomized 36 men and women with chronic constipation to two groups. One group of participants consumed mango (mango intake group), 300 grams per day (equivalent to two cups of mango juice or 1 mango), and the other group added the same amount of fiber powder (fiber intake group) to the diet, i.e. 1 teaspoon or 5 grams of dietary flaxseed fiber supplement. During the entire study, the researchers assessed the food intake of the participants according to the food questionnaire to ensure that their dietary habits did not change, the food intake analysis of the participants showed that the mango intake group and fiber intake group consume the same amount of calories, carbohydrates, fiber, protein and fat.
At the beginning and end of the study, the researchers assessed and measured the degree of constipation among the participants. The results showed that the constipation symptoms of all participants improved throughout the study, while mango is more effective than simply fiber in improving the symptom. Mango can significantly improve the participants’ constipation status (stool frequency, stool hardness, and shape) and can increase the body’s levels of short-chain fatty acids, which suggests the composition of the gut microbiota was improved in the participants, and intake of mangoes could help reduce the body’s level of specific inflammatory biomarkers.
Finally, the researchers concluded that in the later period, they need to conduct more in-depth research to determine the molecular mechanism of mangoes to improve the constipation of participants, and how the polyphenols in mangoes can promote the beneficial effects of fiber on the body. The National Mango Board provides funding.