Jackfruit. Unusual name, unusual appearance but an incredibly nutritious tropical fruit. A jackfruit is large, with thick, yellow flesh, edible seeds, and pods. Its flesh has a sweet, distinctive flavour which has been described as a cross between a banana and pineapple.
Benefits of jackfruit
Jackfruit contains has a moderate quantity of calories and lots of fiber. It has nutrients including protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and a variety of antioxidants. One of the things that make it stand out among fruits is its protein content.
Jackfruit seeds may help reduce the levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol and raise the levels of HDL “good” cholesterol. LDL can stick to the inner walls of the arteries, restricting blood flow resulting in higher blood pressure and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. HDL helps remove LDL from the blood vessels and sends it back to the liver. This results in overall better cardiovascular health.
Blood pressure levels
Potassium in jackfruit helps lower blood pressure decreasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and bone loss.
Jackfruit is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the cells from oxidative stress and inflammation which often result in cell damage and disease. Vitamins A and C boost immunity and help prevent illnesses. Vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavanones prevent inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Antioxidants present in it help eliminate the toxins produced by the body as well as the free radicals. Both toxins and free radicals are causally linked to cancer.
Blood sugar control
Jackfruit has a low glycemic index (GI) which is a measure of how quickly blood sugar rises after eating food. Its fibre content slows down digestion which helps prevent blood sugar spikes. For this reason, foods with a low glycemic index have been shown to help in promoting blood sugar control.
The fruit has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties which may help promote wound healing. The natural chemicals in it help prevent sores from forming inside the stomach which is beneficial in ulcers prevention and management.
Jackfruit instantly gives you an energy boost. This is because it’s loaded with good carbohydrates and soluble fibres that are broken down to produce energy. The sugars in it are also easily digested by the body and are healthy as well.
The fruit has two kinds of fibres, soluble and insoluble fibres. The soluble fibres are quickly broken down to produce energy for the body. The insoluble fibre improves digestion and prevents constipation. It bulks up stool helping the body eliminate it efficiently. This ability to prevent constipation also helps prevent haemorrhoids.
Vitamin C in jackfruit helps improve skin health. There is anecdotal evidence that eating it may slow the ageing of the skin. It fights wrinkles and can lead to a glowing complexion. It has a high water content which keeps the skin hydrated and moisturized reducing dryness and making it radiant.
Promotes weight loss
Its low-calorie content and dietary fibre make it excellent for people trying to lose weight. It can induce satiety and prevent overeating or snacking between meals.
Beta-carotene breaks down into vitamin A which prevents macular degeneration and slows the onset of cataracts.
Jackfruit has magnesium which plays a role in regulating the circadian rhythm and ensures healthy sleep. A jackfruit before bed may help people with sleep-related problems.
Risks and considerations
Their potential to lower blood sugar levels may require a change in medication dosage for diabetics who consume it on a regular basis.
Allergic reactions to it are extremely rare but they exist. Nevertheless, there are no reports of any serious side effects related to consuming them.
How to eat it
You can eat jackfruit in a variety of ways. You can eat it raw, roasted, steamed, boiled as well as in salads, desserts, media dishes and curries among others. Once it’s ripe, it will turn brown and go bad quickly. To it fresh longer, store it in the refrigerator.
Preparing it is difficult for most people for many reasons including its sticky sap which makes it hard to peel. Tub your hands and knife with cooking oil to keep it from sticking on your knife. If you’re not about all this effort, you can buy canned or ready-to-eat options.