My head is empy of mangoes. Am I still gonna be a genius anyway?
August 4, 2007 7:15 AM   Subscribe

I ate a piece of mango, and now my throat is terribly sore. What happened?

This has never happened to me before. Typically, I enjoy mangoes quite a bit, and eat them with impunity.

Yesterday evening, a friend of mine offered me a slice of "fresh" mango from a plastic container of mango slices that he had purchased the previous day. I say "fresh" as opposed to dry; indeed, they were a bit limp, and may well have been past their sell-by date.

In any case, while chewing on the mango slice, it tasted delicious. However, right after I swallowed it, I got this *horrible* vile aftertaste. It gave me this terrible burning sensation in the back of my throat.

My friend who gave me the mango slice mentioned that he felt a similar sensation in his throat, only not as strongly as I did. He also said that the slices made him nauseous. They hadn't made me nauseous, although I only had one slice and he had several.

Anyway, the burning sensation chilled out a little bit after the initial onset, but when I woke up this morning, my throat was still all scratchy and burny.

Any idea what happened?

I know that mango peels contain amounts of urushiol, and I am highly allergic to poison ivy. However, I have never had a problem with mangoes before. In fact, I kinda love them, typically.

Does this mean that I can't eat mangoes anymore?
posted by Afroblanco to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I get itchy swollen lips and scratchy throat when I eat mangoes - and it typically lasts for a few days. I always chalked it up to being allergic to them (sad sad story). I wasn't aware of the urushiol in mangoes - good to know!

So, sadly, I do avoid mangoes even though I love them dearly.

You may want to take some benedryl or antihistamine to help calm the allergic reaction.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:21 AM on August 4, 2007

It does sound like an allergic reaction, which can develop and worsen over time. I get a similar reaction from walnuts, and it's starting to grow stronger with Hazelnuts (this means no more Nutella for me :/).

I can't explain your friend's sickness beyond your hypothesis about the mango being not so fresh.
posted by deinemutti at 7:22 AM on August 4, 2007

Sounds a lot like a reaction to sulphur - Usually used on dried fruit, but possibly in your presliced mangoes. Check the ingredient list.
posted by mzurer at 7:31 AM on August 4, 2007

My uncle says that the stem of the mango has a fluid that reacts negatively with the inside of your skin. Perhaps you ate the stem, or the liquid from the stem by accident?
posted by theiconoclast31 at 7:34 AM on August 4, 2007

Best answer: Sounds similar to the reaction people get the improperly cooked taro, but I think that is a different chemical.

I know for mangos the allergen is in the skin. A friend of mine is allergic and can eat the inside fruit, but cannot touch the skin. Perhaps these had been contaminated with the skin somehow? My friend has to be careful to not eat mango from just below the skin.
posted by melissam at 7:34 AM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that sounds like sulfur or some other preservative. I'd try again with a fresh mango. If you have the same problem again, I'd suggest exploring the allergy idea.
posted by Malor at 7:36 AM on August 4, 2007

The mango contains resins and acids to which some people are sensitive. Usually, removing the peel is enough to pervent a reaction, but perhaps you're extra-sensitive, or perhaps you got some sort of uber-mango.
posted by Elsa at 7:44 AM on August 4, 2007

Follow-up quote from that link, for clarity:
Hypersensitive persons may react with considerable swelling of the eyelids, the face, and other parts of the body. They may not be able to handle, peel, or eat mangos or any food containing mango flesh or juice. A good precaution is to use one knife to peel the mango, and a clean knife to slice the flesh to avoid contaminating the flesh with any of the resin in the peel.
[emphasis mine]
posted by Elsa at 7:47 AM on August 4, 2007

Best answer: Yeah in Spain I had some melons with a similar result--it turned out that they were too closely cut to the skin/core. god, it tasted like detergent.
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 8:50 AM on August 4, 2007

Sounds like an allergy. My mango allergy didn't develop until I was 16. Very very sad. I've heard that you can peel them and cut them and wash them in dish detergent. And then it's okay. But that sounds fairly ridiculous, and I REALLY don't want to have another reaction.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:07 AM on August 4, 2007

Sounds similar to the reaction people get the improperly cooked taro, but I think that is a different chemical.

In taro, it's actual sharp pointy crystally bits that get embedded in your skin or mucous membranes, rather than a chemical or allergic reaction.
posted by mendel at 9:58 AM on August 4, 2007

I've had a similar reaction, just once (with sliced mangoes from a deli). Although I can't tell you what caused it, I've had mangoes several times since then without any problems -- so no, it doesn't necessarily mean that you can't eat mangoes any more.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:07 AM on August 4, 2007

Depending on the type of mango, it could be the fiber in mango slices that's affecting it. Similar to melons for me. They're high in fiber so the stringy things when you slice it can irritate your tongue, lips and throat. This is strictly a guess. I've never heard about allergy to mangos.
posted by icollectpurses at 10:08 AM on August 4, 2007

I grew up eating mango all the time, and then when I was 30 I ate a really ripe piece right out of the skin and my lips exploded. It was just like if someone had rubbed poison ivy all over them.

(Then I went to Belize for a week where there were literally mangoes on every street corner. Frickin' mangoes.)
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:23 AM on August 4, 2007

Mango -- like pineapple -- is both very acidic and very high in sugars. This gives a "sweet" mouth-feel that camouflages the acids. More ripeness [softness] = more sweetness but also more acids.

Also, if it was carelessly prepped, you might have gotten a mouthful of strong pesticides from its surface.

Sulphur is not likely in fresh mango.
posted by lorimer at 11:09 AM on August 4, 2007

There could be a combination of causes, one being that mango, like pineapple, has significant protease activity. It may have digested you a bit before you digested it.
posted by Good Brain at 11:21 AM on August 4, 2007

Some prepackaged fresh fruit has a funny tasting preservative sprayed on it to keep it fresh longer. I'm thinking the kind of fruit bowls you get at fast food type restaurants sometimes although I think it's pretty common. Perhaps your mangoes got a particularly strong blast of it.
posted by MadamM at 4:15 PM on August 4, 2007

This post reminds me that I have a half-kilo of mangoes waiting for me in the fridge! Thanks! (off to eat some yummy fresh mangos).

I suppose it's possible that you are now allergic to mangos. My guess, though, is that you're just sensitive to the kinds that are presliced and past their due date.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:23 PM on August 4, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers, all.

I'm thinking that I had a piece that was sliced a bit too close to the peel. It was a very thin slice, and it was rounded at the top.

Still, it may be a while before I'm ready to trust mangoes again.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:31 PM on August 4, 2007

I work at a natural foods store in the produce department, and this is actually really common. Lots of people have mild (and worse) reactions to the mango.

Mangoes are weird creatures, in that the skins are really quite bad for anyone to eat...granted people are more, or less sensitive to it, but the skin isn't good for anyone. There may have been some skin as previous posters suggested.

But, if the mango was past its prime like you suspect, theres a very good chance that it started to ferment, and will taste 'fuzzy.' This will cause some irritation to anyone, alergic or not. This accounts for the nausea and the itchy.

If your mango starts to look like this, i highly reccomend not eating it.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:32 PM on August 4, 2007

With regard to unknowncommand's 'peel, slice, wash with detergent' suggestion: May I suggest amending that to 'wash with detergent, peel, then slice' instead? Urushiol being nonpolar, that makes good sense: Get off the surface anything that will come off, then ditch the stuff near the surface that may have diffused itchy evilness in it, then butcher and devour the rest.
posted by eritain at 11:02 PM on August 4, 2007

If your mango starts to look like this, i highly reccomend not eating it.

posted by davejay at 11:08 PM on August 4, 2007

Mangoes are weird creatures, in that the skins are really quite bad for anyone to eat...granted people are more, or less sensitive to it, but the skin isn't good for anyone.

Huh, really. I eat right up to the skin almost each time, and occasionally nibble on the skin (I like the flavor). What kind of damage am I risking?
posted by Deathalicious at 8:39 PM on August 8, 2007

Poison ivy rash. On your lips, in your mouth, down your throat, and so on.

'Course, first mango I ate, I chomped right through the skin and no harm done. I won't do it again, though. I'll stick to munching on pine needles and such.
posted by eritain at 12:54 AM on August 9, 2007

« Older Is there a doctor in the House?   |   Splitting ions in the ether Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.