The jackfruit holds the distinction of being the largest tree-borne fruit as a single jackfruit can weigh over 35 kgs. However, most jackfruits that hit the market are about 5 to 10 kgs. The jackfruit belongs to the mulberry family and is native to South and Southeast Asia. Experts believe that it originated in the South-western rain forests of India.
The jackfruit is similar to the durian in appearance as well as aroma. The jackfruit has the same prickly rind as the durian with conical-shaped spikes that surround the fleshy pods of fruit within. The durian is well known for its noxious aroma and while the jackfruit has a distinctive musky odour, it is not quite as strong or unpleasant as the durian. The flesh of the jackfruit is fibrous and has a sweet tropical taste. The flavour is best described as a combination of a pineapple and a banana with hints of mango.
Health Benefits of Jackfruit
- Boosts Energy Levels: Jackfruits contain simple sugars like fructose and sucrose. These sugars are absorbed readily and easily by our bodies and so eating a small serving of this fruit will give you an immediate energy boost. You can have a bowl of refrigerated jackfruit as a post-workout snack to help you recover quicker.
- Jackfruit for Vision: Jackfruits contain many nutrients that support eye health including beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Beta carotene is synthesised by our bodies and gets converted into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is critical for good eye sight as it is needed for proper vision in low light. It also supports the normal functioning of the cornea and conjunctival membranes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids that are deposited in high quantities in the retina where they filter harmful light and protect and maintain healthy cell function. The human body cannot synthesize these nutrients, which is why they have to be included in our daily diet plans. Make jackfruit a part of your regular diet to reduce your risk of cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
- Prevents and Cures Anemia: Jackfruits contain many of the vitamins and minerals that are required for the production of blood. This includes Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E as well as copper, manganese and magnesium. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. The human body requires iron in order to produce haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to every cell in the body. Lower levels of iron result in lower levels of hemoglobin, which results in the organs receiving less oxygen, and this hampers their functioning. Jackfruits are a good source of iron and so including them in your regular diet plan will help to prevent and even cure iron deficiency anemia.
- Jackfruit to Control Diabetes: People with diabetes are advised to limit their intake of sweet foods but they are allowed to eat fruits in moderation. Jackfruits contain carbohydrates, which is why it is important to keep a track of your serving size; however, they also contain several vitamins and minerals, which will help reduce your risk of diabetic complications. Scientists who studied the relationship between jackfruit and diabetes found that diabetic patients who were given extracts of jackfruit had improved glucose tolerance as compared to those who were not given the extract. Jackfruit leaves have long been a part of traditional medicine for diabetes in India and recent research on the effect of the leaves of the jackfruit tree on diabetic rats found that they contain certain chemicals that help to reduce blood sugar levels. All preliminary results indicate that jackfruit leaves can help to stabilize blood sugar levels in humans and can be used to control diabetes.
- Supports Bone Health: Jackfruits contain calcium which is essential for good bone health. Calcium is required for the formation and maintenance of bones. Consuming jackfruit on a daily basis will help to prevent and manage bone problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Jackfruits also contain potassium, which helps to reduce calcium loss, and this in turn increases bone density-making bones stronger and less prone to problems. Jackfruits are a good source of magnesium, which is required for the proper absorption of calcium within the body. They also contain modest amounts of manganese, phosphorous and zinc which are minerals that are required for optimum bone health.
- Aids Digestion: Jackfruits contain plenty of soluble and insoluble fibre. 100 grams of jackfruit provide 1.5 g of fibre, which is approximately 5% of a person’s recommended daily allowance. The dietary fibre in jackfruits helps to bulk up stools and keep them soft so that they can easily pass through the digestive system. Soluble fibre attracts water and forms a gel during digestion, which binds to fat and reduces cholesterol absorption. Insoluble fibre absorbs water but does not dissolve and so it helps to prevent constipation and other digestive disorders.
- Promotes Heart Health: Jackfruits contain potassium, which is essential in controlling blood pressure and heart rate. A diet that is high in potassium will also reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Jackfruits are also an excellent source of Vitamin B6, which is a heart-friendly vitamin. Jackfruits also contain resveratrol, which has cardio-protective effects and can help to treat cardiovascular diseases such as ischemia, hypertension and atherosclerosis.
- Jackfruit Seeds as a Low GI Meal: People who need to manage their blood glucose levels through a dietary regimen can include jackfruit seeds as part of their diet. Jackfruit seeds are a good source of starch and dietary fibre. Boiled or steamed jackfruit seeds with a few simple condiments can make a delicious and more importantly low Glycemic Index (GI) meal. Low GI foods are foods that do not cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Raw Jackfruit CurryIngredients
- 400 gms raw jackfruit
- 100 gms (1/2 cup) yogurt
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 2 small onions
- 2 green chillies
- ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- ½ tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 2 tablespoon mustard oil
- 11/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tbsp Green coriander leaves
- Cut the jackfruit into 1-inch cubes and cook it in a pressure cooker until it whistles 3 times. Take the cooker off the stove and allow the cubes to cool before draining any excess liquid.
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan and then add the chillies, turmeric, coriander powder and cumin seeds. Stir over a low flame for about a minute and then add the sliced onions to the pan. Once the onions are almost done, add the tomatoes. Stir well and cover the pan. Allow this to cook for 2 minutes and then add the salt and ginger garlic paste and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the tomato pieces soften.
- Add the yogurt to the pan and stir thoroughly over a low flame until there are no lumps left in the curry. Add ¼ cup of water if the curry is too thick. Add the boiled jackfruit cubes and cover the pan and let the contents simmer for 7-10 minutes over a low flame.
- Chop the green coriander leaves and use this as a garnish while serving.
Jackfruit Seed Stir FryIngredients
- 3 cups jackfruit seeds, parboiled
- 2 medium sized onions, sliced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/2cup coconut, grated
- 1 raw mango, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan and then add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to sputter, add the coriander seeds, cumin seed powder, turmeric powder and garlic. Allow it to cook on low heat for a minute or two.
- Add the sliced onions to the pan and then sauté until the onions are soft then add the tomatoes. Stir well and cover the pan. Allow this to cook for 2 minutes or until the tomato pieces become soft.
- Slice the jackfruit seeds in half and add these to the pan along with the raw mango and a few pinches of salt (as per your taste). Cover the pan and let the contents simmer for 3-5 minutes over a low flame. Check the seeds with a fork to find out if they are sufficiently softened. Turn off the heat and add the grated coconut and stir thoroughly to ensure that the ingredients are completely mixed. Garnish with chopped green coriander leaves and serve with rice or rotis.
Jackfruit Beauty and Health Tips
There are certain myths of Jackfruit that have been around for so long that they are considered to be true despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. Here are a few:
- Jackfruit during Pregnancy: One of the most popular misconceptions is that eating jackfruit during pregnancy will result in a miscarriage. There is no medical evidence to support this and in fact, a normal sized serving of this fruit will help ensure that both you and your baby get the nutrition that you require.
- Jackfruit for Weight Loss: Although jackfruits do contain a significant amount of natural sugars, they are also very high in nutrition and dietary fibre. This means that including a large serving of jackfruit in your healthy diet plan will help to keep you full for a longer period and reduce your hunger pangs. It is also a low calorie treat that will satisfy your sugar cravings so that you can cut down on your intake of processed sugar.
- Jackfruit Seeds for Hair Care: Jackfruit seeds are chockfull of vitamins and minerals that will keep your scalp clean and healthy. Soak a couple of jackfruit seeds overnight and then grind them into a paste along with a little water the next morning. Apply this paste to your scalp and let it remain for at least an hour before rinsing it off and then washing your hair as usual. Do this regularly and you will notice that your hair is manageable and less frizzy.