Jackfruit: 12 Surprising Benefits & Nutrition Facts
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 extremely 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.
The fruit is cultivated throughout the South Asian and Pacific region of the world, but increasingly, it is being grown in tropical areas of the west, due to an increase in demand and the hardy, prolific nature of the trees. The fruits are actually made up of hundreds of individual flowers and the meat of the fruit is technically the “petals” of these combined fruits, commonly called “bulbs”. The sweet taste and pleasant aroma of this fruit adds to its popularity, along with its versatility in many different meals and varying preparations, from desserts to savory meals, salads, candied varieties and roasted fruit, as well as simply eating the fruit raw. The flavor of jackfruit has been compared to a cross between mangoes, bananas and pineapples. The growing global popularity of this unique fruit is due to the impressive nutritional content.
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, xeazanthin and beta-carotene. Most importantly, jackfruit contains 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.
With a healthy dose of antioxidants, such as lutein, xeazanthin 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.
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.
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 stool, while also helping to improve the efficiency of nutrient uptake in the gut.
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.
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.
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.