This is the season of jackfruit and it has never been in the spotlight as much as it now is. You may hear about the underutilised benefits of jackfruit.
Research findings suggest that jackfruit has the potential to treat or prevent a number of health problems. A treasure house of vitamins and minerals, jackfruit may provide you with a number of health benefits.
Jackfruit consists of about 29% pulps, 12% seeds and 54% rind. Though fully ripe, unopened fruit emits a strong disagreeable odour, the health benefits of jackfruit is wonderful.
Well, let’s check out why the benefits of jackfruit getting popular and why you should add it to your diet.
Benefits of Jackfruit: Why Getting Popular
Usually grown in parts of India and South-east Asia, recently jackfruit is getting more popular around the world.
Coronavirus pandemic caused fear for chicken and people switched to tender jackfruit in their meal. Due to a shortage of vegetables, people opt for jackfruit from their backyard to make culinary items.
Popular Chefs from around the world considered jackfruit as a “superfood” meat alternative for its pork-like texture when unripe. In western countries, jackfruit becomes a popular meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians.
Jackfruit is also known as the poor man’s fruit. It is considered as a miracle food of South and South-east Asia. It saves millions of people from hunger when major crops like wheat, corn and rice fail under unfavourable climatic conditions. (1)
Uses of Jackfruit
The wood of the tree is used to make furniture, while with this exotic fruit you can just make any food items you love.
You can use jackfruits in curries, chips, fritters, dumplings, pancakes, sandwiches or in desserts too. Jackfruit is a highly revered fruit in the South, especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are festivals dedicated to it in coastal towns of Udupi, Thiruvananthapuram and Mysuru.
The fruit in its raw form has a neutral taste, but you may enhance it with the goodness of spices in curries. Known as kathal in North India, raw jackfruit is often used in biryani.
And, did you know that the seeds of this fruit are edible too? It tastes best when roasted over the fire and seasoned with salt. This is an all-time favourite evening snack in coastal towns during summer.
In some countries, jackfruit pulp is used to make baby food, jam, jelly, candies, marmalades, juice, fruit rolls, and ice cream.
The tender unripe one is used to prepare pickles. Jackfruit flour can be mixed with or used as an alternative to wheat and rice flour to make anything.
You will be surprised to know that even the fruit wastes and leaves of the jackfruit tree are used to produce fodder for cattle, goats, and pigs. (2)
Nutritional Facts of Jackfruit
Jackfruit contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin E. It’s also a rich source of calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc, niacin and micro mineral copper. (3)
A study has revealed that ripe jackfruit is richer than apricot, avocado, apple, and banana in some vitamins and minerals. (4)
Moreover, it is one of the rare fruits that are rich in the B-complex group of vitamins. It can offer you a very good amount of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin B2, and vitamin B9.
It also contains vitamin C, which your body can not make naturally. You can get a sufficient amount of vitamin C by eating jackfruit. It helps you to boost up your immunity.
A treasure house of vitamins and minerals, jackfruit is rich in antioxidants and high in protein, carbohydrate and dietary fibre.
Jackfruit is low in caloric, where 100 g of jackfruit contains only 94 calories. In addition, it has a very small quantity of fat, and thus beneficial if you are on a low-calorie diet. (5)
Jackfruit is also a rich source of phenolic compounds which are considered to be beneficial for your health. It contains carotenoids, lycopene, lutein, flavonoids, thioredoxin, lignans, saponins, volatile acids, sterols, and tannins. (6)
Health Benefits of Jackfruit
The beneficial effects of jackfruit for the prevention of certain diseases are now widely accepted due to its amazing nutritional facts.
Lowers Blood Pressure and Prevent Heart Diseases
The potassium in the jackfruit is found to help in preventing heart diseases and stroke. It lowers your blood pressure and reverses the effects of sodium that causes a rise in blood pressure. This in turn prevents heart diseases and stroke.
One of the major risk factors for the development of coronary heart disease is dyslipidemia. If you have dyslipidemia, it means your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels are too high. It can also mean that your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels are too low.
Phytonutrients such as carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolic compounds present in jackfruit have the capability to prevent dyslipidemia.
Another heart-friendly property found in jackfruit is the presence of vitamin B6. It helps reduce homocysteine levels in your blood and thus lowers the risk of coronary heart disease.
The flesh and seeds of jackfruit are considered a nutritious and cooling tonic. If you are constipated, the excellent laxative effect of the dietary fibre of jackfruit can do wonders for you. This prevents constipation and maintains smooth bowel movements.
High fibre content can help you to protect the colon mucous membrane by removing cancer-causing chemicals from the colon.
The carbohydrate and dietary fibre in jackfruit are excellent prebiotic too. Prebiotics helps you by stimulating the growth and activities of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Improves Stomach Ulcer
Jackfruit has been traditionally used in Indian and Malay folklore medicine to treat stomach or gastric ulcers.
Due to the side effects of modern antiulcer drugs, there is a need to find new plant-based antiulcer compounds with potentially have fewer or no side effects.
Studies have revealed that the phytonutrients lignans, isoflavones, and saponins present in jackfruit can fight against stomach ulcers.
Strengthen the Bone
Jackfruit is rich in magnesium, which is an important nutrient for the absorption of calcium. Thus it helps strengthen your bones and prevents bone-related disorders like osteoporosis.
Potassium also helps in preventing bone loss and improves your muscles and nerve functions.
Being high in iron, and other minerals and vitamins, jackfruits play a significant role in fighting anaemia. Iron is the main component of haemoglobin.
Iron present in jackfruit also helps you in the proper circulation of blood.
Jackfruit seeds are also a rich source of iron. Iron also keeps your brain and heart-healthy and strong.
Maintains a Healthy Thyroid Gland
Jackfruit is loaded with micro mineral copper which plays an important role in maintaining thyroid gland metabolism. It especially helps you in thyroid hormone production and its absorption.
Improves Metabolism and Nerve Function
Niacin present in jackfruit helps you to function your nerve properly, energy metabolism, and synthesis of certain hormones.
A portion of 100 g flesh of jackfruit can supply you 4 mg of niacin. The recommended daily intake for niacin is 14 mg for females and 16 mg for males. (Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2000).
Jackfruit is loaded with phytonutrients such as phenolic compounds, lignans, isoflavones and saponins which have anti-ageing properties.
One cup of jackfruit pulp can supply your body with a very good amount of these powerful nutrients. These phytonutrients can slow down the degeneration of cells that make your skin look young and vitae.
Jackfruit is gluten-free and casein-free, thus offer systemic anti-inflammatory benefits to your skin.
Being an excellent source of vitamin C, it protects your skin from damage due to the natural ageing process and prolonged exposure to the sun. Vitamin C is also essential for the production of collagen that gives firmness and strength to your skin.
Phytonutrients such as lignans, isoflavones, and saponins in jackfruit contribute to its anti-cancer properties. They prevent the formation of cancer cells in the body and fight against lymphoma cancer.
Jackfruits have several chemo-protective antioxidant compounds that reduce the mutagenicity of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and the proliferation of cancer cells.
Unripe jackfruit after cooking has the potential to bring down diabetes. Leaf extract may improve glucose tolerance in normal and type II diabetes patients and can be easily brought under control without taking tablets or insulin injections.
According to a study, 30 grams of unripe jackfruit may offer you a much higher feeling of being full than a bowl of rice or two chapattis.
The glycaemic load (glucose level) in unripe jackfruit is almost half that of rice or wheat. It is relatively low in sugar, so can help you prevent and reverse blood sugar spikes.
Research findings revealed that extracts of stem, root, barks, heartwood, leaves, fruits, and seeds of jackfruit can provide you with several health benefits.
It is beneficial in the treatment of fever, eye diseases, boils, wounds, convulsions, diuretics, and snakebite. The fruit may also help you to reduce tension, nervousness and improves your mental energy as well.
Jackfruit in Folklore Medicine
Parts of the plant, including bark, roots, leaves, fruits, latex are widely used in many traditional and folk medicines.(10). The jackfruit plant parts which are accepted for use as local medicines include:
You can use root extracts in treating fever, skin diseases, asthma and diarrhoea
Leaf extract can cure fever, boils, and skin diseases. When heated, they can heal your wounds.
Ash of jackfruit leaves can heal ulcers. You can use it either alone or mixed with coconut oil.
If you are diabetic, leaf extract can control your blood sugar levels.
Tea made with dried and powdered leaves can give you relief from asthma.
You can use crushed inflorescences of jackfruit to stop bleeding in open wounds.
To treat pharyngitis, and eye diseases, you can use the latex of the fruit.
Further, you can use latex mixed with vinegar to heal abscesses, glandular swellings, and snakebites.
If you are an alcoholic, pulp and seeds of jackfruit can help you to overcome the influence of alcohol.
If you have constipation, eat ripe fruits to smoothen the bowel movements.
You can use ripe jackfruit kernels to alleviate eye diseases.
Fresh seeds extract cures dysentery and diarrhoea and also helps you in indigestion.
Extract from bark or roots can help you to cure dysentery and ear problems
The wood of jackfruit has a sedative property; its pith is believed to aid abortion.
Due to the numerous health benefits of jackfruit, its consumption has increased in recent years. Being a rich source of vitamins and minerals with rare side effects, jackfruit offers ample marketing opportunities. It can be used for the development of value-added products, such as nutraceutical and food applications to obtain the health benefits of jackfruit.