Jackfruit may have an unusual name and appearance, but it is an incredibly nutritious tropical fruit that has become very popular in recent years, due to its potential benefits for human health.
What is Jackfruit?
Scientifically known as Artocarpus heterophyllus, jackfruit is a tree that is native to the Indian subcontinent and is also known as the jacktree or jak. Closely related to figs and mulberries, these trees produce large, oblong fruits that are also known as jackfruit. These are unique fruits, growing up to 80 pounds in weight, making them the largest tree-borne fruits in the world. The trees are also quite prolific, a fact that has been enjoyed by tropical and Indian cultures for the past 6,000 years but the wonders of this fruit have only recently been spread to the rest of the world.
Jackfruit Nutrition Facts
Jackfruit contains significant levels of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and various B vitamins, as well as good amounts of iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and calcium.
In terms of antioxidants, there are a number of powerful compounds such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Most importantly, jackfruit contains a notable amount of protein, making this an important subsistence food in certain regions of the world. It is also high in calories, very high in water (roughly 80%) and is extremely low in fat.
Jackfruit seeds are also densely packed with protein, minerals and dietary fiber, making them a secondary source of nutrients for those who cultivate and consume the fruit.
Benefits of Jackfruit
The most impressive benefits of jackfruit include its ability to protect the skin, boost the immune system, provide an energy burst, lower cancer risk, improve vision health, aid respiratory conditions, improve sleep, help with weight loss, lower risk of diabetes, strengthen the heart, reduce blood pressure, optimize digestion and support the metabolism.
1. Skin Care
With a healthy dose of antioxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, this fruit can be very beneficial for skin health, as it can minimize the effects of free radicals and oxidative stress, which can include wrinkles, blemishes and age spots, while also giving your skin a healthy glow.
2. Promotes Weight Loss
Due to the surprisingly low-calorie content, coupled with the rich nutrient supply and dietary fiber, this fruit is excellent for people trying to lose weight. It can induce satiety and prevent overeating and snacking between meals, without compromising your daily caloric restrictions or goals.
3. Aids Digestion
The high levels of dietary fiber found in jackfruit (1.5 grams per 100 grams of fruit) make it very good for stimulating digestive processes and reducing symptoms of constipation, bloating and cramping. It can induce peristaltic motion and bulk up the stool, while also helping to improve the efficiency of nutrient uptake in the gut.
4. Increases Energy
With a range of B vitamins and a decent amount of protein, this fruit is an excellent energy source and is widely relied on as a staple food in certain tropical cultures. The fruit can improve your energy metabolism with healthy sugars and carbohydrates, without adding much fat to your overall intake.
5. Boosts Immunity
The presence of vitamin C and various antioxidants makes the fruit an excellent booster for the immune system. Vitamin C can stimulate the production of white blood cells, while antioxidants will prevent oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals before they can cause chronic disease and inflammation.
6. Improves Respiratory Health
This fruit is legendary for its ability to heal respiratory conditions and even alleviate symptoms of asthma. This fruit has a number of natural compounds that can reduce the allergic response of the body and prevent the wheezing, and difficult breathing that accompanies many respiratory afflictions.
7. Reduces Blood Pressure
There is a notable amount of potassium found in jackfruit, and a 100-gram serving can provide more than 5% of your daily recommended intake of this mineral. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it can relax blood vessels and arteries, which will reduce blood pressure and generally lower the stress on the cardiovascular system, lowering your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
8. Improves Metabolism
B vitamins are critical components of metabolic processes throughout the body, and jackfruit is a great source for pyridoxine and thiamine, as well as a good source of folate, niacin and riboflavin. This can improve energy metabolism and help support weight loss efforts.
9. Controls Diabetes
A good supply of fiber and natural sugars is an excellent way to control blood sugar levels and lower your risk of diabetes. By regulating the release of glucose and insulin in the body, and improving insulin sensitivity, this fruit is an excellent way to prevent or manage diabetic symptoms.
10. Improves Vision
There is a good amount of beta-carotene found in jackfruit, which is partly why this fruit is considered a new “superfood”. Beta-carotene breaks down into vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that is specifically linked to reducing oxidative stress in the eyes, preventing macular degeneration and slowing the onset of cataracts.
11. Promotes Sleep
Jackfruit contains a significant level of magnesium, an essential mineral that can affect neurotransmitter levels in the body, helping to regulate Circadian rhythms and ensure healthy sleep. If you struggle with insomnia or regularly interrupted sleep, having jackfruit before bed may help alleviate your exhaustion.
12. Improves Cardiovascular Health
The fiber content in jackfruit can help to manage your cholesterol levels and prevent the deposition of plaque in the arteries and blood vessels. Furthermore, the antioxidants and vitamin C in this fruit can help to repair the cardiovascular system and reduce oxidative stress, which can cause blood vessels to break down, leading to coronary heart disease.
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