7 Surprising Health Benefits of Jackfruit – Business.Fit

Ever heard of Jackfruit? Don’t worry. You are not alone. Unless you live south of the equator or in a climate that supports jungles, the chances are good that you might wonder if it is even a fruit.

 With a lizard-like, scaly skin, and the smell of a sweaty boy’s gym locker after the big game, this tropical fruit is about the same size as a large watermelon, and it looks more like an alien baby than something that is actually edible.

However, according to one source, the surprisingly mild, sweet, fleshy pulp and seeds can be eaten on their own or mixed into all sorts of savory and sweet dishes. And, being so plentiful, the jackfruit sells, on average, for about $1.50/pound in most first world marketplaces.

However, the jackfruit is just beginning to become popular in America as a plant-based alternative to meat because of its plump consistency when cooked, and many tacos and BBQ joints are starting to list it on their menus as a meat substitute to attract a broader market.

image source: Pixabay

Interestingly, the giant fruit tree that is the jackfruit is a species that is related to the mulberry, fig, and breadfruit families, and it is thought to have originated somewhere in southwest India, where it still grows in abundance. 

However, the jackfruit tree can also be found natively in Thailand, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Africa, Brazil, the East Indies, Indonesia, and the Philippines. In these areas, the Jackfruit has long been a source of nourishment for indigenous tropical peoples, as it represents a cheap, high-calorie source of food that is both delicious and versatile. 

Moreover, due to the new, increased demand for the fruit, jackfruit is now also being farmed Hawaii, Florida, and Australia. Part of the reason for its popularity, though, has been that both the flesh and the seeds of the food can be eaten. Plus, in the western world, the taste is new an exotic and has been likened to a mango, banana, and pineapple when it is ripe. 

And the only deterrent to the popularity of this new superfood is that it has been its strong, unpleasant odor, which has been likened to “overripe fruit, packaged fruit cup, smelly feet, stinky cheese, and pet food,” as one source puts it.

But many cultures around the world have learned to ignore the odor, as the fruit itself can be used in so many various ways. For instance, the unripe jackfruit can be added to savory dishes as a potato substitute, and the seeds can be roasted and eaten as snacks or ground into a powder to make a dough.

Moreover, the fruit can be dried, made into chips, added to soups, juiced, processed as jam or blended into ice cream. Another popular application by native peoples has been to combine the jackfruit to curries and stews to thicken and flavor them.

Image source: Pixabay

So, to review so far, the jackfruit can be sweet, it resembles meat when cooked, it is starchy and potato-like when unripe, and just about the whole fruit can be consumed. But that is not all. What is more, half a cup contains only about 95 calories, which is typically less than a serving of corn, rice, and many other grains, according to at least one source.

Moreover, another source claims that the fruit is also rich in a bevy of vitamins and minerals, as well, offering significant levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Copper, Potassium, Riboflavin, Manganese, and Magnesium in a single serving. Plus, a single cup (serving) offers 3-grams of fiber and 3-grams of protein and only clocks in at around 40 carbs. 

Also, in a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, the jackfruit contains “vital antioxidants in legitimate amounts.” Namely, the fruit contains a high amount of vitamin C to help repair muscle tissue and maintain cardiovascular health, and it may even help to prevent heart disease and cancer. 

Finally, the carotenoids found in this superfood have even been found to help protect against such conditions as type 2 diabetes and heart disease by helping to maintain proper blood-sugar levels with its complex combinations of sucrose, fructose, and glucose.

Image source: Unsplash

The jackfruit tests well for many healthful applications, but America was not the first to discover the fantastic effects of a diet rich in this melon-like behemoth. Indian and South Pacific cultures have been experiencing the results of eating the fruit for centuries, and it is even said a diet rich in jackfruit can help lower the risk of viral infections, a claim not yet investigated by American scientists.

Another claim from native jackfruit-eating cultures is that the fruit also prevents all sorts of skin problems, a claim that is supported by the high levels of nutrients and antioxidants found in the food. However, evidence of this claim is anecdotal at best.

That hasn’t stopped Indian or Sri Lankan medicine from using the superfood to treat all sorts of conditions, from diarrhea and stomach ulcers to asthma, though, and the jackfruit is even used to in these cultures to help fight anemia.

But many cultures around the world have learned to ignore the odor, as the fruit itself can be used in so many various ways. For instance, the unripe jackfruit can be added to savory dishes as a potato substitute, and the seeds can be roasted and eaten as snacks or ground into a powder to make a dough.

The fruit can be dried, made into chips, added to soups, juiced, processed as jam or blended into ice cream. Another popular application by native peoples has been to combine the jackfruit to curries and stews to 

Interestingly, the giant fruit tree that is the jackfruit is a species that is related to the mulberry, fig, and breadfruit families, and it is thought to have originated somewhere in southwest India, where it still grows in abundance. However, the jackfruit tree can also be found natively in Thailand, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Africa, Brazil, the East Indies, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Image source: Pixabay

Still, there is a lot to love about this tropical health food, and below we will recap some of the things we have already touched on as well as include some new, surprising information about this strange, nutrient-rich, oversized, foul-smelling tree fruit.

1. Vitamins

You already know that a diet rich in jackfruit can yield significant levels of vitamins A, B6, and C, but did you also know that certain cultures also claim that the fruit can boost the immune system? The vitamins and antioxidants found in the fruit’s flesh are trusted the world over to help fight off colds and ward away other viruses and bacteria by stimulating a person’s immune system.

2. Antioxidants

It is well-known that fruits that are orange and red-colored carry antioxidant power, but the jackfruit can also help treat diabetes and protect against heart disease, according to recent findings.

3. Appetite Suppression

Other health claims include using the fruit as an energy booster or to promote weight loss through appetite suppression. Though the jackfruit does offer 90 calories as well as fructose, glucose, sucrose, and even protein, studies have not shown a direct correlation between the food and weight loss.

4. Potassium

There is a confirmed 14% potassium per serving, which is more than a banana. Potassium helps to regulate the heart and balances the body’s electrolyte systems.

5. Carotenoid

Carotenoids are organic orange colors that are naturally occurring in orange foods like melons, carrots, squash, and egg yolks and found along with anti-oxidants.

6. Iron

The Jackfruit also contains 6% RDA iron, and it has commonly been prescribed in India and elsewhere as a treatment for anemia, and other low-iron illnesses.

7. Fiber

You will find 11% RDA fiber from a single serving of jackfruit.

Image source: Pixabay

So, to recap, the jackfruit is the most massive fruit-bearing tree in the world, and it also produces the largest fruit, which has been a staple in the diets of native peoples in India and the South Pacific for centuries. Plus, there are many anecdotal and proven health claims to support adding the new superfood to your diet.

All of the results are not in yet, but, so far, it seems like the jackfruit is an excellent, nutrient-rich food source that is not only a great source of immediate energy but can also help to maintain human health over time. Packed with vitamins and minerals, a diet rich the fruit is proving to be an essential part of healthy living the world over. 

From immune support to cancer-fighting qualities, the jackfruit is both nutritious and versatile. It can be eaten like a mango or a melon or added to savory dishes like a potato. Plus, when cooked correctly, it can serve as a delicious, meaty substitute to other proteins, and the nuts can even be made into a dough.

Plus, the fruit is unique in that it contains sucrose, fructose, and glucose, as well as antioxidants and flavonoids. And, while some reports of its magical properties cannot yet be verified, many already can. All in all, the results are pretty overwhelming, so, if you have not heard of the mighty.

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