What is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a large fruit grown in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, primarily in S. Asia (i.e., Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka) and S.E. Asia (i.e., Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines). It belongs to the Moraceae family, which also has fig, breadfruit, and mulberry.
Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit globally with an average mass of 6.5 kg and may reach up to 90 cm in length, 50 cm in diameter, and surprisingly 45 kg in weight.
Just as in the durian fruit, the outer skin of the jackfruit is green in color and covered by thorns, but the difference is that the thorns of durian are pointed and sharp while that of jackfruit are shorter and blunt. Both have unique, strong aromas that may be repelling to predators that are not familiar with the smell.
The inner part of the fruit contains about hundreds of yellow bulbs, and each bulb has sweet flesh (sheath) that encapsulates a smooth, oval, pale-brown seed, which measures up to 3 cm in length and is 2 cm in thickness. The seeds are also edible and are packed with various nutrients.
The tree is moderately sized and grows from 27 to 85 ft in height. The leaves are thick green, elliptical, about 8cm broad, and around 18cm long. The fruit is produced on the branches side as well as main branches… Each fruit may possess up to 600 wholesome bulbs. Being wholesome for consumption, the seeds are a great source of complex carbohydrates, Vitamin B, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), retinol (vitamin A), dietary fiber, and minerals like calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. It also has isoflavones, saponins, and lignans. The tree thrives well in the humid and rainy climates of the tropics and is rarely survives in frosty and cold conditions. The unripe fruits are often green and turn to pale brown color upon maturity (typifying ripeness).
Nutrients per Serving
One cup of sliced raw jackfruit has:
- Calories: 157
- Carbohydrate: 4 g
- Protein: 84 g
- Fat: 06 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Magnesium: 8 mg
- Copper: 1 mg
- Potassium: 739 mg
- Folate: 6 mcg
- Calcium: 6 mg
- Iron: 4mg
- Vitamin A: 182 IU
- Vitamin C: 6 mg
Health Benefits of Jackfruit
After going some information on our dear jackfruit, let us now delve into the amazing health benefits one can reap from the fruit;
Improves Blood Sugar Control
In a pilot trial, leaf extracts from the jackfruit, when taken as a tea (20g/kg body weight), boost blood sugar tolerance in diabetic and normal patients.
Treatment of diabetic and healthy rats with jackfruit leaf or its stem bark extracts reduced fasting blood sugar levels, boost tolerance to sugar, and raised blood insulin levels. The antidiabetic activity was due to the presence of flavonoids in the jackfruit extracts.
Plant flavonoids, such as quercetin, are present in large quantities in both the seed and jackfruit leaf and are possibly responsible for the fruit’s antidiabetic activity.
To avoid having wrinkles on your skin, take a seed of jackfruit and mash it smoothly in cold milk for a while. Apply the paste on your face frequently to keep those fine lines away. This is one of the major benefits of this fruit seeds and is bound to get your skin a taste of youth. Jackfruit seeds are indeed wonderful for our skin’s texture. Soak some seeds with milk and honey, and then grind it into a fine paste. Apply the prepared paste on your face and leave it to dry completely. Wash off with warm water
Jackfruit has phytonutrients, like lignans, carotenoids, and isoflavones, which have been proved to help protect one against many cancer types. Jackfruit is also high in vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and fiber, which is well known to lower the risks of certain cancers.
Flavonoids, Phenols, and lectins in this fruit are the most active compounds to strengthen our immune system and overshadow cancer cells. These phytochemicals are found in the jackfruit peel, seeds, fruit, and even the wood.
Lectins in jackfruit seed raised white blood cells (leucocytes) in the bone marrow of some rats, thus suggesting a role for the extract in boosting immune response.
They raised immunity response against the foreign pathogens by stimulating leucocytes production (neutrophils and mast cells) and raising inflammatory cytokines in the rats.
Jacalin, a type of lectin extracted from jackfruit seeds, lowered precancerous wounds in mice with the first stage of colon cancer.
Phenol-rich extracts from various parts of its tree or fruit lower many types of cancer cells in the test tube, but this does not dictate to us that anything about their real anti-cancer activities in living organisms
Consuming jackfruit seeds can give our daily required nutrition and iron boost. Jackfruit seeds are an amazing source of iron (a component of hemoglobin). A diet rich in iron helps to eliminate the risks of anemia and some blood disorders. Iron also makes our brain and heart strong and healthy.
Lowers blood pressure
Being a very good source of potassium (K), jackfruit may help to lower high blood pressure by lowering the effects of sodium (Na) in the body. Potassium also eases tension in one’s blood vessel walls, which may further lower one’s blood pressure.
Has Antioxidant Effects
Three (3) flavonoid antioxidants gotten from jackfruit lowered fat breakdown in the brain of some rats by scavenging harmful free radicals.
The antioxidant strength of jackfruit is connected to its flavonoid and phenolic content. These compounds are embedded in the jackfruit peel and found in the fruit roots, pulp, twigs, and leaves. According to some studies, the very high ascorbic acid, flavonoid, and phenol content of the fruit are correlated with its protective ability against harmful free radicals in disease conditions such as cancer.
Healthy Hair and Good Eyesight
Seeds of jackfruit help in boosting good eyesight as they contain retinol (Vitamin A). Vitamin A is among the most important nutrients for our eye health, and a ration rich in this vitamin keeps night blindness away. Vitamin A also prevents brittle hair and aids healthy hair.
Aids digestive health
Jackfruit, majorly the seeds, is a great source of fiber, which can add bulkiness to stools and increases its movement. This will keep your gut movements persistent and prevent constipation.
The seeds also contain prebiotics, which may help support the growth of normal gut bacteria.
May Lower Inflammation
Extracts from jackfruit peels inhibited the COX-1 inflammatory mediators in the rat in a way that was similar to the standard anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac.
In test tubes, extracts from jackfruit peel and isolated flavonoids hindered mediators associated with septic shock and inflammation.
Jackfruit seeds have high-quality proteins that assist in building muscles. The type of proteins we get from these fruits is free from cholesterol.
Jackfruit is considered great energy-boosting fruit due to the endowment of simple sugars such as fructose and sucrose, which give instant energy. Although jackfruit is an energy raising fruit, it still contains no cholesterol, making great healthy fruit to savor.
Aids Wound Healing
Jackfruit leaf extract has the same wound healing strength as a pharmaceutical antiseptic cream (Betadine) in healthy mice.
Among the 98 plant extracts tested in the lab, jackfruit demonstrated the greatest ability for wound healing activity as evaluated by its ability to raise prostaglandin-2 levels, a vital molecule that speeds wound healing.
- Strengthens bones
Jackfruit has calcium, which aids in strengthening our bones. A deficiency of calcium in our body over time may lead to the formation of osteoporosis.
Jackfruit is also a great source of magnesium (Mg), a nutrient that is vital in calcium (Ca) absorption and work alongside calcium to strengthen our bone and prevent osteoporosis.
- Enhance Cardiac Health
The leaf extracts of the fruit reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and raised HDL cholesterol in diabetic type 2 mice. This was possibly due to the remarkable level of antioxidant flavonoid in the extracts (mostly quercetin).
16. Maintains a Healthy Thyroid
Copper plays a vital role in maintaining a normal thyroid function. It aids in stimulating the thyroid’s activities by boosting hormones and enhancing metabolic functions, and jackfruit is also filled with this vital trace mineral.