Have you ever thought about the benefits of eating jackfruit? Have you ever even heard of jackfruit? If you haven’t, that’s understandable. There are a lot of people who don’t know what a jackfruit is, much less how it could help support their health. But here’s the thing: the potential health benefits of this interesting fruit are substantial enough that you might want to consider adding it to your dietary regimen.
Here’s a look at the fruit, including information on how the vitamin and mineral content of jackfruit may help deliver powerful benefits to your health. You’ll also learn some of Tony Hortons’ favorite ways to prepare jackfruit.
What In The World Is A Jackfruit?
There are actually two scientific names given to the jackfruit artocarpus heterophyllus and artocarpus heterophyllus lam. The fruit is believed to have originated in rain forests in India. It then spread to other parts of the country, as well as Southeast Asia and the East Indies. The fruit then found its way to the Philippines.1
The jackfruit tree produces a huge fruit. It can be as much as 20 inches wide and weigh as much as 80 pounds.2
One of the most noticeable features of the fruit is its smell. An unopened, ripe jackfruit has a… to put it nicely, pungent aroma. A lot of people compare it to a decaying onion. But just because the outside might stink, the inside of the fruit is a different story. Once opened, the fruit smells something like a combination of bananas and pineapples.3
Why Has This Smelly Fruit Become So Popular With Vegans?
Don’t let the “aroma” of an unopened jackfruit dissuade you from exploring the benefits within. This is really an amazing fruit – when unripe jackfruit is cooked, it looks and tastes a lot like meat. This is the part of the fruit found in the canned jackfruit you’ll probably be able to buy in your local health food store.4
In fact, you might have heard of a barbecue jackfruit sandwich – the “pulled pork” of the vegan world. There are quite a few Indian restaurants in the U.S. that serve this delicacy. It’s become so popular with vegans, many companies have started marketing this very same dish. Vegans can eat this meat substitute secure in the knowledge that it is completely free of any type of animal product.5
Why Eat This Healthy Tropical Fruit? What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Jackfruit?
There are a lot of health benefits associated with jackfruit, one of the most important being that it contains a lot of antioxidants. These are molecules that help delay or prevent entirely, the negative impacts of oxidative stress.6
The biggest problem associated with oxidative stress is that it produces substances known as free radicals. These molecules are missing an electron, and scour the body looking for that electron. Free radicals aren’t particularly choosy as to where they get it. They can steal them from the cells that make up your muscles. When that happens, muscle damage and other types of health problems may be the result.7
That’s why antioxidants are so important. Antioxidants provide free radicals with the electrons they seek. This helps to greatly minimize the damage that antioxidants can do.8
Jackfruit Is Packed With Vitamin C
One example of an antioxidant found in jackfruit is vitamin C. Jackfruit is loaded with this critically important vitamin.9
Vitamin C not only helps protect the body from free radicals, but it also plays other important roles. For example, it helps the body produce collagen. This is a protein that helps support skin health and strength. Vitamin C also supports the immune system and helps the body to a better job of absorbing iron from plant-based foods.10
Jackfruit Is Also High Calcium And Potassium
Another of the health benefits of jackfruit is that it’s high in important minerals, including potassium and calcium. Just 100 grams of jackfruit contains up to 323 milligrams (mg) of potassium and about 73 grams of calcium.11
Why is this important? Well, potassium is critical to just about every bodily function. You need it for your nerves to work, for your muscles to contract, and for your kidneys and heart to work as they should. If you don’t get enough potassium, you might be at a higher risk of brittle bones as well as other health problems.12
Calcium is just as important to your well-being. It helps strengthen your teeth and bones, and it also plays a role in making sure your blood clots properly.13
It’s especially important to make sure you have enough calcium as you get older. The reason is that as you age your body doesn’t do as good a job of absorbing calcium from the food you eat. Just as you can develop brittle bones if you lack potassium, you’re at the same risk if you don’t have an ample supply of calcium.14
Jackfruit And Blood Sugar Levels
There’s even some evidence that jackfruit could help support healthy blood sugar levels. It appears one of the reasons is the high fiber content – as well as the high protein content – of the fruit.15
As with any new food, however, if you have blood sugar issues, talk to your doctor first before adding jackfruit to your diet.
A Jackfruit Can Be Intimidating: Try These Helpful Tips For Cutting And Consuming Tasty Jackfruit
If you feel adventurous, you could try cutting up a jackfruit on your own instead of buying canned jackfruit. Remember, though, this fruit is extremely large – slicing it up yourself is probably going to be a bit of a challenge.
Whether you use a ripe jackfruit or unripe jackfruit, the first obstacle will be the skin. It’s really, really thick – sometimes compared to coral. The inside is creamy and white, filled not only with the fruit, but also very large pits. You’ll need to be very careful when cutting out the seeds, and you’ll need to use a paring knife.16
The inside of the fruit is also quite sticky. Be prepared for your hands to feel like they’re covered in latex. You might want to consider putting some cooking oil on your hands and your knife before you start cutting. Once you’ve cut the fruit into smaller chunks, boil them for about 45 minutes. The skin will come right off once the flesh has tenderized.17
It does take some work to prepare the amazing jackfruit. But once you consider its health benefits, the effort – and the mess – will be worth it.