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Jackfruit: Nutrition, Health Benefits, how to Prepare?
Jackfruit is a healthy and delicious fruit popular in Asian countries like India, Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc. The scientific name of Jackfruit is Artocarpus heterophyllus, which belongs to the Moraceae family.
Each Jackfruit can weigh between 3-10kg on average and can go as large as 25kgs. While the fruit is laden with nutritional values and medicinal properties, the tree is a good source of wood for timber industries. The inside of the Jackfruit is yellow (when ripe) and white (raw). Both ripe and raw Jackfruit are edible. The raw form of Jackfruit is cooked with curries, while can eat the ripe fruit directly or as salad and smoothie.
Nutritional Value of Jackfruit
Each cup of Jackfruit contains 157 calories comprising 2 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein, and 40mg of calcium.
Jackfruit contains folate, riboflavin, potassium, magnesium, and niacin. It is also rich in vitamins C and B, comparatively higher than apples, bananas, apricots, and avocados.
Jackfruit contains carotenoids, which gives it its yellow color. It is high in vitamin A and antioxidants. The increased amount of carotenoids in the fruit helps protect against cellular damage in your body and prevents diseases like Cancer, heart diseases, and eye problems like macular degeneration and cataracts.
It also includes abundant micronutrients like magnesium, copper, and manganese, contributing to several health benefits. Since it is low in fat, it is also considered a diet-friendly food.
Potential Benefits of Jackfruit
Jackfruit plays an essential role in improving health and relieving various medical conditions.
It keeps Your Heart Healthy
High lipids in the blood are a leading cause of coronary heart disease, an indicator of high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol. That being said, bad cholesterol is highly linked with homocysteine. A deficiency of vitamin B and folate in diets can increase homocysteine levels in your body, which increases your chance of stroke or heart disease.
Vitamin B6 in Jackfruit helps lower the body's homocysteine level, reducing the risk of stroke and other heart diseases. Not only it lowers homocysteine, but it also helps in lowering blood pressure due to its high potassium content.
It Protects and Repairs Skin
Daily sun exposure can harm your skin, ranging from sunburn to premature aging to even skin cancer. Jackfruit contains vitamin C, which is known as a potent antioxidant and an essential nutrient for the skin. It boosts collagen production, responsible for the skin's firmness, strength, and structure. As a potent source of antioxidants, Jackfruit also helps your body combats oxidative stress from sun exposure.
It is a Key to a Healthy Gut
Jackfruit can help prevent and cure peptic ulcers like stomach ulcers or gastric ulcers. While stomach ulcer is caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, gastric ulcers come from an infection that damages the stomach lining. For ages, jackfruits are used as a traditional medicine for treating gastric ulcers.
Jackfruit, especially the seeds, is a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. Regular bowel movements flush out the amount of accumulated carcinogen from your intestine and decrease the risk of developing colon cancer.
The seeds of Jackfruit are also a great source of probiotics, which helps good bacteria to flourish. It keeps the bad bacteria out and protects your stomach lining while promoting better digestion.
It Strengthens Your Bone
The high magnesium content in Jackfruit helps in maintaining bone health. This mineral benefits calcium absorption, thereby contributing to healthy bones and preventing bone disorders like osteoporosis.
Magnesium plays a significant role in preventing bone loss and osteoporosis. High magnesium deficiency is directly linked to osteoporosis, characterized by the crystallization of bone cells. Lack of magnesium also indirectly affects the secretion and activity of parathyroid hormone and contributes to low-grade inflammation.
It Improves Immunity
Jackfruit's high vitamin C and antioxidants make it an excellent fruit to boost immunity and fight infections. It also helps repair cellular damage and improves your bodily functions to absorb more nutrients like iron. Most importantly, vitamin C is a crucial collagen promoter and has been proven to reduce the occurrence of the common cold in high-risked people.
It May Prevent Cancer
Jackfruit is a significant source of phytochemicals like saponins, tannins, flavonoids, and antioxidants. Both phytochemicals and flavonoids are known to combat free radicals responsible for cellular damage and Cancer. Jackfruit's phytochemicals also help eliminate new blood vessels growing around cancerous cells.
It Regulates Blood Sugar
Even though it tastes sweet, diabetes patients can eat Jackfruit without raising their blood sugar. This is because it slows down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, allowing diabetes patients to consume and enjoy the many benefits jackfruit offers. It increases glucose tolerance and enhances sugar control for both types of diabetes. Since it is rich in protein and dietary fiber, it can maintain a balanced digestion process that prevents sugar spikes.
It Reduces Insomnia and Anaemia
Each serving of Jackfruit contains 48mg of magnesium, a mineral known to improve sleep quality and recurring insomnia. Jackfruit also replenishes the iron requirement of your body, which prevents anemia, a primary cause of sleeplessness.
It Improves Thyroid Function
As a decent copper source, regular Jackfruit consumption keeps your thyroid metabolism in check. It manages hormone production and absorption, keeping your thyroid healthy and safe.?
It Helps the Nerves and Muscles
Jackfruit is rich in niacin and thiamine that strengthens your nerves, and prevents muscle weakness, fatigue and stress.
How to Prepare and eat Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a versatile fruit that can be eaten raw and cooked. Start by cutting the fruit in half and removing the fruit pods and the seeds within the fruit pods. Make sure to wear gloves and apply oil on your hands before handling the fruit, as the sap from the skin can be very sticky.
You can eat ripe Jackfruit raw or with desserts, while unripe ones go well with savory recipes.
Raw jackfruits can be cooked as fritters, fried with seasonings, or used as a replacement for chicken while making curries.
You can use Jackfruit in soups, oatmeal dishes, and yogurts.
The seeds of Jackfruit are also edible and pretty tasty. You can eat them boiled or roasted and add them to soups or use them as a seasoning.
Jackfruit undoubtedly is a healthy fruit loaded with medicinal properties with deliciousness. However, people with birch pollen or latex allergy must stay away from it as they can develop swollen lips and an itchy mouth by eating it. Also, people with diabetes planning to eat Jackfruit regularly must adjust their medications by talking to their doctor, as regular consumption of the fruit can lower your blood sugar levels. Moreover, Jackfruit should not be consumed by people with chronic kidney disease or acute kidney failure, pregnant and nursing women.
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