What Is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is an exotic fruit grown in tropical regions of the world. It is native to South India.
It is part of the Moraceae plant family, which also includes fig, mulberry and breadfruit. Jackfruit has a spiky outer skin and is green or yellow in color.
One unique aspect of jackfruit is its unusually large size. It is the largest tree fruit in the world and can reach up to 80 pounds (35 kg) in weight.
Jackfruit has a subtle sweet and fruity flavor. It has been said to taste similar to a combination of fruits, including apples, pineapples, mangoes and bananas.
Vegans and vegetarians often use this fruit as a meat substitute due to its texture, which is comparable to shredded meat.
Since jackfruit is able to withstand tropical climates, it can be a major source of calories and carbs for people in developing countries who are at risk of starvation.
Although jackfruit is grown in tropical areas, it is becoming more widely available in other parts of the world, including the US. It is in season during the summer.
The most commonly consumed part of jackfruit is the flesh, or fruit pods, which are edible both when ripe and unripe. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes, including desserts and curries. The seeds are also safe to eat.
Jackfruit Is Packed With Nutrients
Jackfruit has an impressive nutrition profile.
It contains a moderate amount of calories, providing 155 in a one-cup (165-gram) serving. Approximately 92% of the calories come from carbs, while the rest come from protein and a small amount of fat.
Furthermore, jackfruit contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need, as well as a decent amount of fiber.
One cup of sliced fruit provides the following nutrients:
What makes jackfruit unique from other fruits is its protein content. It provides more than 3 grams of protein per cup, compared to 0–1 grams in other similar types of fruit, such as apples and mangoes.
Jackfruit is also rich in several types of antioxidants, which are likely responsible for the majority of its health benefits.
It May Benefit Blood Sugar Control
Jackfruit has several properties that may help with blood sugar management.
It has a fairly low glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating a food. This has been attributed to the fiber it provides, which slows digestion and helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
Diets that include lots of low-GI foods have been shown to be helpful for promoting blood sugar control.
Moreover, jackfruit provides some protein, which may help prevent blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal (9Trusted Source).
In one study, adults who consumed jackfruit extract were found to have significantly improved blood sugar levels.
Additionally, a study of diabetic mice found that jackfruit leaf extract helped reduce fasting blood sugar levels and provided long-term blood sugar control.
These effects were attributed to jackfruit’s content of flavonoid antioxidants, which are known for their ability to promote balanced blood sugar levels.
Although the results from these studies are promising, more studies of people eating fresh jackfruit are necessary to confirm these potential benefits.
It May Protect Against Disease
Jackfruit is high in a few powerful antioxidants that provide various health benefits, including a reduced risk of several diseases.
Antioxidants protect your cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, which often result from damage caused by molecules called free radicals.
Here’s an overview of the antioxidants that are most abundant in jackfruit:
Other Potential Health Benefits
Jackfruit is said to have several other health benefits that have not been studied specifically.
Furthermore, the roots and extracts have been used in traditional Indian and Sri Lankan medicine to treat several conditions, including asthma, diarrhea and stomach ulcers, but these effects have never been scientifically proven.
Although these reported benefits are not supported by scientific evidence, including jackfruit in your diet is certainly worth a try if you want to improve your health.
Risks of Eating Jackfruit
Although safe for most, some people may need to limit or avoid jackfruit. Certain people are allergic to it, especially those who are allergic to birch pollen.
Moreover, due to its potential to lower blood sugar levels, individuals with diabetes may need to have their medication dosages changed if they eat this fruit on a regular basis.
Nevertheless, consuming jackfruit has never been reported to cause any serious side effects, and it is safe for most people to eat.
How to Eat It
Jackfruit is very versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked.
To prepare it, you will first want to slice it in half and remove the yellow fruit pods and seeds from the skin and core. You can do this with a knife or your hands.
It is important to note that the white, fibrous part inside of jackfruit is incredibly sticky, so it may be helpful to wear gloves while handling it.
Jackfruit can be consumed plain or cooked into both sweet and savory dishes, depending on its ripeness. Unripe fruit generally tastes best in savory recipes, while the sweetness of the ripe fruit is great for desserts.
Since it is an exotic fruit, fresh jackfruit can be difficult to come across in grocery stores, especially when it is not in season. However, it is often sold canned, which is a convenient option.
Vegetarians and vegans often use jackfruit as a meat alternative due to its texture. For example, you can use the fruit as a meat replacement in jackfruit tacos by cooking it and then combining it with vegetables and seasonings.
Additionally, you can incorporate jackfruit into curries or soups. The ripe fruit also tastes great when added to yogurt or oatmeal.
Jackfruit seeds are edible, too. They can be roasted or boiled and then combined with seasonings. You can even use the seeds to make hummus.