Mangoes are a delicious tropical fruit enjoyed around the world. However, some people report experiencing diarrhea after eating mangoes. In this article, we’ll explore whether mangoes can cause diarrhea and the reasons behind it.
What are mangoes?
Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera and are native to South and Southeast Asia. There are many different cultivars of mangoes that vary in shape, size, color, flavor, and texture.
Mangoes are rich in nutrients like vitamins A, B6, C, copper, folate, potassium, and fiber. They also contain antioxidants like quercetin, astragalin, and gallic acid.
Common causes of diarrhea
Diarrhea occurs when stool passes through the large intestine too quickly, resulting in loose, watery bowels. It’s typically caused by:
- Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections
- Food intolerances like lactose intolerance
- Medications like antibiotics
- Digestive disorders like IBS
- Eating too much fiber, fructose, artificial sweeteners, or fat
In most cases, diarrhea resolves on its own within a few days. Seeking medical treatment is recommended if diarrhea lasts over 3 days or is accompanied by blood in stool, fever, dehydration, or severe pain.
Do mangoes cause diarrhea?
Mangoes contain insoluble fiber and fructose sugars that may cause loose stools in some people. However, mangoes are not a common cause of diarrhea.
Here are some reasons why mangoes may cause diarrhea for some people:
Mangoes contain insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to stool and speeds up digestion. Eating too much insoluble fiber from mangoes can draw water into the intestines, causing loose stools.
Mangoes are high in fructose, a naturally occurring sugar. People with fructose malabsorption don’t fully absorb fructose in the small intestine. The unabsorbed fructose travels to the colon, pulls in water, and causes diarrhea.
Mangoes contain FODMAPs, which are certain carbohydrates that may worsen IBS symptoms. People with IBS may get diarrhea from eating high FODMAP foods like mangoes.
Pesticide residues on mango peel can also cause diarrhea in sensitive people. Be sure to wash mangoes thoroughly before eating.
Other potential causes of diarrhea from mangoes
Here are some other potential reasons mangoes may cause diarrhea:
Overripe, damaged, or rotten mangoes contain higher bacteria levels. Eating contaminated mangoes can result in food poisoning diarrhea.
The mango skin is high in insoluble fiber. Eating mango skin can add substantial fiber and aggravate diarrhea in some people.
Too much mango
Eating excessive amounts of mangoes in one sitting provides a sudden influx of fiber, fructose, and fluid that draws water into the colon. This can overwhelm the digestive system and cause diarrhea.
Some people may experience an allergic reaction to mangoes. Diarrhea, along with vomiting, stomach pain, and cramping can be allergy symptoms.
Viral or bacterial gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, causes watery diarrhea and may be mistakenly blamed on mangoes if they were recently consumed.
Who is at risk of getting diarrhea from mangoes?
The following groups have an increased risk of experiencing diarrhea after eating mangoes:
- People with IBS or other digestive disorders
- Those with fructose malabsorption
- People with mango allergy
- Young children under 5 years old
- Older adults over 65 years old
In most cases, people can enjoy mangoes in moderation without issues. Pay attention to individual tolerances.
Tips to prevent mango diarrhea
Here are some tips to help prevent diarrhea from mangoes:
- Start with small servings like 1⁄2 mango and gradually increase.
- Avoid overripe, damaged, or rotten mangoes.
- Peel and slice mangoes just before eating.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Avoid mango skin, as it’s very high in fiber.
- Take an over-the-counter anti-diarrheal if needed.
Treatment for mango diarrhea
If you develop diarrhea after eating mangoes, here are some ways to treat it:
- Drink plenty of water and electrolyte-containing fluids.
- Eat the BRAT diet – bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
- Take over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Avoid any solid foods until diarrhea stops.
See a doctor if diarrhea lasts more than 3 days or is accompanied by severe symptoms like blood in stool, intense abdominal pain, dehydration, or fever.
The bottom line
For most people, eating mangoes in moderation is unlikely to cause diarrhea or other digestive issues. However, some people may experience loose stools due to the fiber, fructose, and fluid content of mangoes.
Those with a history of IBS, fructose malabsorption, mango allergy, or other digestive disorders should be cautious and limit mango intake if diarrhea develops. Pay attention to serving sizes and opt for ripe, fresh mangoes to minimize stomach upset.
While mangoes can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet, excessive intake in one sitting can overwhelm the digestive system and cause diarrhea in sensitive individuals.
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In conclusion, mangoes are a nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed in moderation by most people. However, their fiber, sugar, and fluid content may cause diarrhea in sensitive individuals or when overconsumed. Following proper storage, handling, and serving practices can help prevent adverse effects.