Jackfruit is a unique tropical fruit that has recently increased in popularity.
It has a distinctive sweet flavor and can be used to make various dishes. It’s also very nutritious and may have several health benefits.
This article will discuss the advantages of adding jackfruit to your diet.
- What it is
- Benefits for blood sugar control
- Protection against disease
- Other potential health benefits
- How to eat it
What is jackfruit?
Jackfruit is an exotic fruit grown in tropical regions of the world. It is native to South India.
It is part of the Moraceae plant family, including fig, mulberry, and breadfruit. Jackfruit has spiky outer skin and is green or yellow in color.
One unique aspect of jackfruit is its unusually large size. It is the largest tree fruit in the world and can reach up to 80 pounds (35 kg) in weight.
Jackfruit has a subtly sweet and fruity flavor. It has been said to taste similar to a combination of fruits, including apples, pineapples, mangoes, and bananas.
Vegans and vegetarians often use this fruit as a meat substitute due to its texture, which is comparable to shredded meat.
Since jackfruit can withstand tropical climates, it can be a significant source of calories and carbs for people in developing countries at risk of starvation.
Although jackfruit is grown in tropical areas, it is becoming more widely available in other parts of the world, including the US. It is in season during the summer.
The most commonly consumed part of jackfruit is the flesh, or fruit pods, which are edible when ripe and unripe. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes, including desserts and curries. The seeds are also safe to eat.
Summary: Jackfruit is an exotic tropical fruit with a subtly sweet flavor consumed in many parts of the world. It can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Jackfruit is packed with nutrients. It contains a moderate amount of calories, providing 155 in a one-cup (165-gram) serving. Approximately 92% of the calories come from carbs, while the rest come from protein and a small amount of fat.
Furthermore, jackfruit contains almost every vitamin and mineral you need and a decent amount of fiber.
One cup of sliced fruit provides the following nutrients:
- Calories: 155
- Carbs: 40 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Vitamin A: 10% of your daily need
- Vitamin C: 18% of your daily need
- Riboflavin: 11% of your daily need
- Magnesium: 15% of your daily need
- Potassium: 14% of your daily need
- Copper: 15% of your daily need
- Manganese: 16% of your daily need
What makes jackfruit unique from other fruits is its protein content. It provides more than 3 grams of protein per cup, compared to 0–1 grams in other similar types of fruit, such as apples and mangoes.
Jackfruit is also rich in several types of antioxidants, likely responsible for most of its health benefits.
Summary: Jackfruit is super healthy. It provides moderate calories and lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Jackfruit may benefit blood sugar control
Jackfruit has several properties that may help with blood sugar management.
It has a relatively low glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating a food. This has been attributed to the fiber it provides, which slows digestion and helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
Diets that include lots of low-GI foods help promote blood sugar control.
Moreover, jackfruit provides some protein, which may help prevent blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal.
In one study, adults who consumed jackfruit extract were found to have significantly improved blood sugar levels.
Additionally, a study of diabetic mice found that jackfruit leaf extract helped reduce fasting blood sugar levels and provided long-term blood sugar control.
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These effects were attributed to jackfruit’s content of flavonoid antioxidants, which are known for their ability to promote balanced blood sugar levels.
Although the results from these studies are promising, more studies of people eating fresh jackfruit are necessary to confirm these potential benefits.
Summary: Jackfruit has a low glycemic index and provides fiber, protein, and antioxidants, all of which may promote better blood sugar control.
Jackfruit may protect against disease
Jackfruit is high in a few powerful antioxidants that provide various health benefits, including a reduced risk of several diseases.
Antioxidants protect your cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, which often result from damage caused by molecules called free radicals.
Here’s an overview of the antioxidants that are most abundant in jackfruit:
- Vitamin C: Jackfruit contains high amounts of vitamin C, which may help prevent the inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
- Carotenoids: Carotenoids have been shown to help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Flavanones: Flavanones contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels — essential factors in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Summary: Jackfruit contains various antioxidants that may help prevent the development of several chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Other potential health benefits of jackfruit
Jackfruit is said to have several other health benefits that have not been explicitly studied.
- Immune health: Jackfruit’s content of immune-boosting vitamins A and C may help prevent illnesses. Eating this fruit is also claimed to help reduce the risk of viral infections.
- Preventing skin problems: This fruit provides several nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, that may improve skin health. There is anecdotal evidence that eating it may slow the aging of your skin.
- Heart health: Jackfruit may have the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease due to its content of potassium, fiber, and antioxidants.
Furthermore, the roots and extracts have been used in traditional Indian and Sri Lankan medicine to treat several conditions, including asthma, diarrhea, and stomach ulcers. Still, these effects have never been scientifically proven.
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Although these reported benefits are not supported by scientific evidence, including jackfruit in your diet is worth a try if you want to improve your health.
Summary: Jackfruit has several potential health benefits that have been reported anecdotally but have not been proven by scientific evidence.
Risks of eating jackfruit
Although safe for most, some people may need to limit or avoid jackfruit. Certain people are allergic to it, especially those allergic to birch pollen.
Moreover, due to its potential to lower blood sugar levels, individuals with diabetes may need to have their medication dosages changed if they eat this fruit regularly.
Nevertheless, consuming jackfruit has never been reported to cause any severe side effects, and it is safe for most people to eat.
Summary: There are no significant risks associated with eating jackfruit, except for individuals who are allergic to it.
How to eat jackfruit
Jackfruit is very versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked.
To prepare it, you will first want to slice it in half and remove the yellow fruit pods and seeds from the skin and core. You can do this with a knife or your hands.
It is important to note that the white, fibrous part inside jackfruit is incredibly sticky, so it may be helpful to wear gloves while handling it.
Jackfruit can be consumed plain or cooked into sweet and savory dishes, depending on its ripeness. Unripe fruit generally tastes best in savory recipes, while the sweetness of the ripe fruit is excellent for desserts.
Since it is an exotic fruit, fresh jackfruit can be challenging to come across in grocery stores, especially when it is not in season. However, it is often sold canned, which is a convenient option.
Vegetarians and vegans often use jackfruit as a meat alternative due to its texture. For example, you can use the fruit as a meat replacement in jackfruit tacos by cooking it and then combining it with vegetables and seasonings.
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Additionally, you can incorporate jackfruit into curries or soups. The ripe fruit also tastes great when added to yogurt or oatmeal.
Jackfruit seeds are edible, too. They can be roasted or boiled and then combined with seasonings. You can even use the seeds to make hummus.
Summary: Jackfruit is quite versatile. It can be eaten raw, cooked, ripe, or unripe and tastes great in various sweet and savory dishes.
Jackfruit is very good for you for many reasons.
It is high in nutrients and antioxidants and may have several health benefits, including improved blood sugar control.
You can easily incorporate jackfruit into your diet by eating it plain or in various dishes. It makes an excellent meat alternative in vegetarian and vegan recipes.
Fresh jackfruit is easiest to find when it’s in season during the summer months, but you can find canned jackfruit in most grocery stores year-round.
Adding jackfruit to your diet is worth a try, as it is a pretty healthy and unique food to experiment with.