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Jackfruit: Health Benefits, Nutrition and Adverse Effects

Jackfruit (scientific name: Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a tropical fruit grown in Asia, South America, and Africa. This fruit is a member of the mulberry family. Whether jackfruit originated in India or not is a matter of divided opinion; some argue that it originated in the rain forests of Western Ghats, India, while some think Malaysia. 

In Sri Lanka, jackfruit has been a major part of the culture for centuries. It is nonseasonal and plays a vital role in the lives of people in Sri Lanka during the food crisis. One of the benefits of jackfruit is its high nutritional value. The seeds and flesh hold a variety of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. 

It is a tropical fruit native to the Western Ghats of India and commonly used in Asia, Africa, and South America. You can eat jackfruit in curries or boiled forms with its fully ripened stage eaten raw. Different food products ranging from jam to jelly get made from pureed jackfruit due to their high quality. In addition, the various parts of the jack tree, including the fruit wood and bark, have been used in traditional medicine for their antigenic, antimicrobial, antifungal properties, and more. 

Nutrition Properties of Jackfruit

As per USDA, 100g of jackfruit offers:

Energy: 95 kcalProtein: 1.72 gFat: 0.64 gCarbohydrate: 23.2 gFibre: 1.5 gSugar: 19.1 gCalcium: 24 mgVitamin C: 13.7 mg

The HealthifyMe Note: 

Jackfruit contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a great addition to any diet. Since it’s so versatile, jackfruit can be part of various recipes, from sweet to savoury. It has elevated levels of fibre and vitamin C. The fruit packs more protein than other varieties and offers 4 grams per cup – higher than guava and twice as high as a banana. According to studies, unripe jackfruit has more protein and fibre and fewer carbohydrates than ripe jackfruit.

Health Benefits of Jackfruit

1. Provides Instant Energy

Jackfruit contains simple sugars that are absorbed easily by our bodies. Therefore, it makes jackfruit an ideal post-workout snack, as the fruit gives your body an instant energy boost. 

2. Helps Improve Vision

According to studies, jackfruit contains many nutrients that support eye health and are essential for vision, including beta-carotene. Also, beta-carotene gets converted into Vitamin A. It is necessary for good eyesight through its role in the normal functioning of the cornea and conjunctival membranes. Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that don’t get synthesised by the body, can also be found in jackfruit. These nutrients help filter harmful lights and protect healthy cells in the retina.

3. Jackfruit Cures Anaemia

Jackfruit contains essential vitamins and minerals that are good for the production of blood, such as vitamins A, C, and E, in addition to copper, manganese, and magnesium. Iron deficiency causes anaemia. When iron levels drop, it becomes difficult to produce enough haemoglobin which carries oxygen to the cells in the body. 

Various in-vivo studies indicate its benefits in treating anaemia. Therefore, including jackfruit in your regular diet helps prevent iron deficiency. 

4. Prevents Diabetes

Jackfruit is healthy for people with diabetes because it contains substances that reduce blood sugar levels. In addition, clinical trials found that people with diabetes given jackfruit extracts had improved glucose tolerance, and in-vivo studies discovered that chemicals in jackfruit leaves prevent diabetic complications. 

All preliminary evidence indicates that jackfruit leaves help stabilise blood sugar levels and can be used to control diabetes. In addition, jackfruit seeds are a great source of dietary fibre and have a low glycemic index. A low glycemic index meal will not spike your blood sugar levels. 

5. Supports Bone Health

Eating jackfruit daily protects bones from breaking down. As a result, it relieves arthritis, osteoporosis, and many other bone conditions. 

According to studies, jackfruit contains calcium and magnesium, essential for good bone health; their presence prevents people from suffering from these diseases. 

Jackfruits also help by reducing calcium loss with potassium and increasing bone density, causing existing bones to be less prone to problems. The jackfruit also has minerals such as copper, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc that are perfect for optimum bone health.

6. Jackfruit Aids Digestion

Jackfruits offer health benefits that help with digestion due to their high amounts of soluble and insoluble fibre. It is noteworthy that 100 grams of jackfruit can contain up to 15% of a person’s daily recommended fibre intake. Also, fibre is essential for preventing constipation by helping bulk up stools. Additionally, its ability to absorb water may help prevent cholesterol absorption and fat build-up in the digestive system. Research proves jackfruit aids in digestion. 

7. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases

Studies suggest jackfruits prevent cardiovascular diseases. Since it is high in fibre and antioxidants, it promotes heart health. The cholesterol level gets reduced due to fibre and potassium levels. Potassium reduces the negative impacts of sodium levels, which prevents artery damage.

Jackfruits are an excellent source of Vitamin B6, which is necessary for heart health. In addition, the fruit contains resveratrol, which provides cardiovascular support and can be beneficial in treating cardiovascular diseases like ischemia and atherosclerosis.

8. Regulates Blood Pressure

Jackfruits contain a significant amount of potassium, which lessens the negative impact of sodium. Therefore, according to studies, it proves to reduce hypertension. 

9. Prevents Cancer

The antioxidant-rich jackfruit ables to assist in the treatment of cancer. It has numerous beneficial constituents, such as flavonoids, saponins, and tannins. These compounds function by helping to remove free radicals, combat oxidative stress, and prevent the growth of tumour cells. In addition, numerous studies indicate its anti-cancer properties. Research shows Jackfruit seeds flour has anti-cancer effects. 

10. Aids Weight Loss

Jackfruit is very high in nutrition and has low calories. Also, people who eat jackfruit report that they feel fuller for longer and don’t experience as much hunger. In addition, studies prove that jackfruit seeds have low water and fat-absorption ability, which assists in the prevention of obesity. 

11. Good for Hair

Jackfruit seeds are full of vitamins and minerals that keep your scalp healthy. Soak the seeds overnight and grind them into a paste with water in the morning. Then, apply it to your scalp and let it sit for an hour before washing it off. 

12. Jackfruit Supports Immune System

One half-cup serving will provide you with 14% of the RDA for vitamin C- an antioxidant that helps support your immune system. Specifically, it has shown an increase in the production and function of specific white blood cells, such as neutrophils that attack foreign bacteria, viruses, and lymphocytes that kill infected cells. In addition, various in-vitro and in-vivo studies have proven its ability to boost immunity. 

13. Improves Skin Health

Jackfruit contains various skin-friendly nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin A. Consuming vitamins A and C helps repair wounds in a shorter time. They also heal damages on the skin from sun exposure and prevent photoaging. These vitamins can also prevent collagen breakdown, which means your body will be producing fewer stress signals.

One of the popular misconceptions is that consuming jackfruit during pregnancy will result in a miscarriage. There is no scientific evidence to support this; a normal-sized serving of this fruit will help ensure your and your baby’s health. Therefore, it is safe for pregnancy. 

Healthy Recipes

1. Healthy Mixed Fried Brown Rice with Jackfruit Seeds

Servings: 2

Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes 

Ingredients

Brown rice: 2 cupsShrimp: 10 piecesJackfruit seeds: 15 seedsBeans: 3 tbspCarrot: 3 tbspOlive oil: 2 tbspSalt: to tasteGaram masala: 1tspBlack pepper: 1 tspChillies: 2 tbspCoconut milk: 4 tbsp

Preparation

Chop the vegetables and jackfruit seeds and boil.Boil the brown rice and shrimp separately. Add salt while boiling. Take a frying pan and pour oil. Then, add the shrimp and fry it. Next, add vegetables and fry for a few minutes. Then add rice. Sprinkle garam masala, pepper powder, salt (optional) and coconut milk slowly and fry it for another few minutes. Serve it!

2. Jackfruit Shake

Servings: 3

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Chopped jackfruit: 1 ¼ cupJaggery: 2-3 tbspWater: ¼ or ½ cupIce cubes: 6-8 Coconut milk: 1 cup (200 ml)Finely chopped jackfruit (garnish): 1-2 tbspChopped cashews: 6-8 (optional)

Method

Add the chopped jackfruit to a blender with coconut milk and jaggery and blend for a few minutes. (Remove the seeds from the jackfruit) Pour in a glass, and add ice cubes and water if you want. Garnish with chopped jackfruit and cashew, and serve. 

Adverse Effects

One potential problem with eating jackfruit is that it can cause gastrointestinal issues. Jackfruit contains a substance called fructans, a carbohydrate type that can cause gas and bloat in some people. Additionally, jackfruit seeds contain lectins, which are proteins that can bind to carbohydrates and cause intestinal discomfort. 

Furthermore, since jackfruit is grown in tropical climates, it may be sprayed with pesticides to prevent insects from damaging the crop. However, these pesticides can harm human health if consumed in large quantities. 

In general, jackfruit contains a good amount of magnesium that regulates neurotransmitters in the body and provides quality sleep. However, avoid consuming jackfruit along with sedative medication to prevent excessive sleepiness.

Finally, some people are allergic to jackfruit. Symptoms of a jackfruit allergy include itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating jackfruit, you must see a doctor as soon as possible.

The HealthifyMe Note: 

Avoid jackfruit if you have a latex allergy or a birch pollen allergy. Also, if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) or acute kidney failure, eating a lot of jackfruits can cause hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is when potassium builds up in the blood and can lead to a heart attack.

Summary

Jackfruit is becoming a popular new trend in the food world. Jackfruit is a versatile ingredient that may be utilised in various cuisines, from savoury to sweet. With its health benefits and delicious taste, its popularity is on the rise; jackfruit is an excellent fruit and incorporating it into your diet will boost your health. 

There is a lot of myth around it. For example, it is harmful during pregnancy and leads to natural abortion. However, this fruit is packed with nutrients and has a unique flavour that is becoming increasingly popular with people worldwide. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q. What are the side effects of eating jackfruit?

A. There are hardly any side effects of eating jackfruit. However, it might make you feel sleepy due to its significant magnesium content. Moreover, people allergic to birch pollen should limit their consumption of jackfruit. However, jackfruit has no evidence of any severe side effects for most people; it is very safe for healthy individuals. 

Q. Is jackfruit good for weight loss?

A. Jackfruit is good for weight loss when consumed the right way. It has high amounts of fibre and contains around 155 calories per cup of diced jackfruit. Since it provides a feeling of fullness for a long time, it assists in weight loss. Numerous studies have proven its benefits in preventing obesity. 

Q. Can jackfruit be eaten daily?

A. Added with high levels of carbohydrates and a significant amount of vitamin C, eating jackfruit is a healthy way to replenish the energy in your body. Healthy individuals can consume jackfruit daily; however, please take advice from health experts if suffering from any medical conditions. 

Q. What are the benefits of eating jackfruit?

A. Jackfruit may help fight various cancers, heart disease, and eye problems such as macular degeneration or cataracts. Ripe jackfruit contains more carotenoid levels, which can provide health benefits to your body. Jackfruit also contains other antioxidants found in the fruit, which can help fend off cell damage.

Q. Is jackfruit a Superfood?

A. Jackfruit is no less than a superfood. Due to its health benefits, nutrients and growing popularity, it will soon be regarded as a superfood. Apart from serving it as a fruit, one can add it to various dishes such as vegan nachos and tacos. Similarly, one can put raw jackfruit in curries, and the fleshy part is known as a vegan equivalent to meat in some parts of India. 

Q. Who should not eat jackfruit?

A. People having allergies after jackfruit consumption should avoid its consumption. Moreover, patients diagnosed with diabetes need to alter their medication dosage depending on how often they eat it. People who take sedative medications should limit consuming jackfruit to avoid feeling excessively sleepy. 

Q. Can jackfruit make you gain weight?

A. Jackfruit can enhance weight loss as it does not contain cholesterol or fat and boosts your metabolism. In addition, the fructose and sucrose found in jackfruit help you lose weight by increasing your energy levels.

Q. Does jackfruit make you sleepy?

A. Due to its magnesium content, it assists in providing quality sleep. However, if you are already taking sedative medication, you might experience excessive sleepiness if you overeat the jackfruit.

Q. Is jackfruit good for hair?

A. Jackfruit can promote hair growth by increasing blood circulation, which is essential for healthy hair growth. It also contains vitamin A, which is good for your health and helps prevent dryness and brittle hair.

Q. Is jackfruit good for the liver?

A. Evidence proves that jackfruit seeds can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This build-up can constrict the blood flow to your chest and increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. On the other hand, HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the blood vessels so it can go back to the liver. In addition, it has antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage and benefit the liver. 

Q. Is jackfruit cold or hot?

A. The jackfruit is a tropical plant that cannot grow in countries with colder temperatures. It has a thorn-studded surface, but the inside of the fruit is a fleshy, juicy delicacy. Its nutrients help in preventing cold and flu and boost immunity. 

Q. Can we drink water after eating jackfruit?

A. Drinking water after eating jackfruit may cause diarrhoea. Also, drinking water when your stomach is full of food may dilute your digestive acids and enzymes, complicating digestion.

Q. Does jackfruit make you poop?

A. The dietary fibres in jackfruit are bulk laxatives, which will improve your digestion and prevent constipation. Therefore, it assists in making the stools softer and easier regulation of bowels.

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