jackfruit

Top Health Benefits of Jackfruit that you must know

Summary
In summary jackfruits have a lots of health benefits and hence you should take it often. Some of the health benefits as you will find out in this post include:
– Anticancer properties
– Regulates blood sugar
– Prevents constipation
– Blood pressure lowering effect
Jackfruit is safe in pregnancy and does not cause miscarriages in pregnant women

The health benefits of jackfruit are a must-know for all who consume it. Jackfruits are commonly found in Asia and they are well known for their nutritional benefits.  Jackfruit is obtained from the plant Artocarpus heterophyllus.

The tree is also grown in parts of Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil, Florida, Australia, and Suriname. 

It has been shown to be the fruit with the highest amount of protein when compared with mango, banana, pineapple, and fig. It also contains high amounts of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. 

In India jackfruit is referred to as the ‘poor man’s food’.  The seeds are highly perishable and often discarded though it is sometimes steamed or roasted and eaten.  Its protein content of about 3g per cup serving and meat-like texture make it a meat substitute, especially in vegetarian diets.

The seeds, being one of the underutilized parts of the plant, have been shown to be of high nutritional value and the dried and powdered seeds are usually incorporated in baking flour and used for baking.

The high fiber and starch content make it a good choice when added to food as it binds and improves the texture of the final food product. 

The jackfruit seeds have been shown to contain chemicals called phytonutrients which include saponins, isoflavones, and lignans which are of health benefits to the human body. The seeds are also rich in B-complex vitamins which are needed for health and vitality.

Image of Jackfruit
Jackfruit

Health benefits of jackfruits

In addition to their nutritional value, there are a lot of health benefits associated with the consumption of the seeds which are enumerated below;

  • Jackfruit seeds prevent constipation and improve gut health when eaten. This is as a result of the high fibre present in the seeds. The fibre serves as a colon cleanser as it removes toxins from the gut.
  • They lower the risk of heart diseases.
  • They also promote weight loss due to their high fibre and vitamin content and the low fat absorbing capacity of the seeds.
  • The resistant starch component of the seeds, the dietary fibre and slowly available glucose regulates blood sugar level in both diabetics and normal individuals.
  • The seeds have been shown to contain sulphur which offers antimicrobial benefits thus preventing foodborne diseases. The seeds are also used to treat stomach ulcers.
  • The chemical jacalin found in the seeds is employed to evaluate the immune status of persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1).
  • The seeds have been used to counteract toxicity associated with alcohol consumption and in some instances serve as components of antidotes for alcoholics.
  • The jackfruit seeds contain the phytonutrient saponin which has strong anticancer properties. Saponins have been shown to have antioxidant properties and mobs free radicals which can cause cancer in the body. Some of the cancers saponins prevent are colon cancer and leukaemia. The antioxidants also prevent aging, prevent skin diseases as well as other systemic diseases. The phytonutrient isoflavones and lignans have weak estrogenic properties and are protective against endometrial cancer.
  • The high mineral content especially magnesium and potassium has a positive impact on blood pressure lowering as well as in healthy bone development. There is also a high amount of calcium in the seeds which is required for development of strong bones and teeth.
  • The vitamin B complex vitamins (especially B6 and folic acid) also lower homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine has been shown to increase risk of heart diseases as well as stroke. A low level of the homocysteine in the blood means lower risk of getting heart disease or developing stroke.
  • Boiled jackfruit seeds are very tasty and would be of value in improving nutrition. They contain high amounts of carbohydrates as well as protein which are needed for growth and maintenance of health. The nutritional content of jackfruit seeds are 17.8% – 37.1% protein, 2.1 – 2.5% lipids and 76.1 % of carbohydrates. Other studies showed that the fresh seeds contain 6.6g of crude proteins, 0.4g of fat, 38.4g of carbohydrates, 1.5g of fiber, 516-57.777g of moisture all in 100g of the seeds. The various vitamins also prevent vitamin deficiencies. The vitamins contained in the seeds are A, B, C and E.
  • The roasted seeds have been used as aphrodisiacs in traditional medicine.
Top health benefits of jackfruit
Top health benefits of jackfruit

What are the side effects of eating jackfruits?

Despite the numerous health benefits associated with jackfruit seed consumption, one has to be cautious when on medicines that increase the risk of bleeding. These medications are aspirin, warfarin, heparin, clopidogrel and NSAIDS ( eg. Ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac). To add, eating the raw seeds can cause stomach problems which are commonly attributed to the tannins and protein-digesting enzyme (trypsin) inhibitors present in the raw seeds.

Nutritional components of jackfruit that gives its health benefits

The U.S. Department of Agriculture did a study in 2010 to check the nutritional components of jackfruits and they found that every 100g of jackfruit contains approximately the amount quoted in the tables below of the respective component mentioned.

Essential nutrients and minerals found in jackfruit

Name of nutritional component Amount Unit
Energy 95 kcal
Protein 1.72 g
Fat (total lipid) 0.64 g
Fiber 1.5 g
Total Sugars (Glucose + Sucrose + Fructose + Lactose + Maltose + Galactose) 19.1 g
Starch 1.47 g
Calcium 24 mg
Iron, Fe 0.23 mg
Magnesium, Mg 29 mg
Phosphorous, P 21 mg
Potassium, K 448 mg
Sodium, Na 2 mg
Zinc, Zn 0.13 mg
Copper, Cu 0.076 mg
Manganese, Mn 0.043 mg

Vitamins found in jackfruit

Name of nutritional component Amount Unit
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 13.7 mg
Thiamin 0.105 mg
Riboflavin 0.055 mg
Niacin 0.92 mg
Panthothenic acid) 0.235 mg
Vitamin B6 0.329 mg
Folate, total 24 mcg
Vitamin A, IU 110 IU
Vitamin E 0.34 mg

Amino acids found in jackfruit

Name of nutritional component Amount Unit
Tryptophan 0.034 g
Threonine 0.086 g
Isoleucine 0.069 g
Leucine 0.103 g
Lysine 0.069 g
Methionine 0.034 g
Cystine 0.017 g
Phenylalanine 0.052 g
Tyrosine 0.103 g
Valine 0.086 g
Arginine 0.138 g
Histidine 0.034 g
Alanine 0.086 g
Aspartic acid 0.172 g
Glutamic acid 0.189 g
Glycine 0.086 g
Proline 0.017 g
Serine 0.103 g

Does jackfruit contain cholesterol?

From the data presented in the table, you will realize that jackfruits were found to contain zero grams of cholesterol and hence good for anybody who is trying to avoid high cholesterol diets. It’s also important to know that it is not all cholesterol that is bad. Technically, there are good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.

Good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol while bad cholesterol is known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL). According to another study published by Semantic Scholar in 2015, it was found that jackfruit is able to increase the levels of good cholesterol in the body whiles decreasing the levels of bad cholesterol.

This study was carried out in rats and if the same results occur in humans then it means jackfruits will be a good fruit for people who need to regulate cholesterol levels in their bodies.

Is jackfruit good for people living with diabetes?

People living with diabetes are known as diabetics and have certain regulations when it comes to food intake. It is not every food or fruit that is suitable for diabetics. Fruits that are known to increase blood sugar levels and those that especially cause a quick increase in blood glucose levels are not recommended for diabetics.

Jackfruit is known to have a medium glycemic index which means that its tendency to cause an increase in blood sugar level quickly is not too high but it also not too low. Glycemic index is the value used to rate whether a food substance will cause a quick increase in blood glucose or not.

Some of the factors that contribute to increases in blood sugar include foods that are quickly absorbed. Thus any fruit that is quickly absorbed and contains a high level of carbohydrates is likely to increase blood glucose level. Jackfruit is known to contain substantial amounts of fiber and proteins. These two components cause a delay in absorption and hence contributing to its moderate glycemic index value.

As such, for diabetics, taking too much jackfruit is likely to increase the blood sugar level. It is therefore recommended that diabetics take jackfruit in moderation. This is so because the other potential health benefits of jackfruit are strongly recommended for diabetics.

For an instance, diabetics are at high risk of developing fatal cardiovascular diseases including heart attack and the likes. Jackfruits have the potential to lower bad cholesterol and prevent some of these cardiovascular events.

A study published on PubMed which sort to examine the antioxidative, hypoglycemic (diabetes control effect), and hypolipidemic activities of jackfruits had results indicating that jackfruits are potentially good for diabetics.

According to the outcome of that study, jackfruit is able to increase insulin levels, reduce fasting blood glucose and also decrease glycosylated hemoglobin. All these three are very important monitoring parameters for people living with diabetes. Thus taking jackfruits in moderation is likely to provide diabetics with some benefits.

Is jackfruit good for people with hypertension (high blood pressure)

Yes, jackfruit is one of the many fruits recommended for people living with hypertension. This is mainly because jackfruit contains certain nutrients and minerals that are essential for the activity of the heart and may end up promoting blood flow and hence decreasing high blood pressure.

Also, one major problem that hypertensives have is the accumulation of sodium (why they ask them not to take in lots of salt) is a target point whenever one wants to prevent or treat hypertension. Jackfruit contains a substantial amount of potassium which plays a counteractive role against that of sodium in hypertensives. As such, the potassium in jackfruits is able to help reduce blood pressure by decreasing the effect of sodium in such people.

Did you know?

Did you know that adding garlic to your diet can also protect you from cardiovascular disease and lower your blood pressure? You can find out more here if you aren’t aware. .

As stated earlier in the tabular representation of nutrients contained in jackfruits, every 100g of jackfruit contains about 448mg of potassium and will significantly contribute towards the daily 4,700mg of potassium recommendation by the American Heart Association. In fact, the AHA goes on to explain the importance of potassium-containing diets in any dietary plan for people living with hypertension.

However, too much potassium is also not recommended for people living with certain conditions like kidney failure and heart failure. Therefore, if you are hypertensive and would want to take jackfruits, do run it by your doctor or pharmacist for him to rule out any of such conditions.

Does jackfruit cause miscarriages in early pregnancy

The truth is that jackfruits do not cause miscarriages in either early pregnancy or even late pregnancy. If you have come across any information as such, it is because people have propagated this erroneous information about jackfruits for some time now. It is a myth with origin from Indian. Indians have some food taboos and in those taboos, they consider jackfruit as bad for pregnant women with unsubstantial claims.

A research work published on PubMed on the topic of food taboos mentioned that even though these taboos are not true, there are a lot of people (especially those living in the rural areas) who believe in it and hence do not want to take such fruits. However, there isn’t any substantial evidence that jackfruits will induce miscarriages in pregnancy.

Is jackfruit safe in pregnancy

Nutritional restriction is a very important topic when it comes to pregnancy. Pregnant women are advised to be selective about what they eat. So it only makes sense for you to ask if jackfruit is safe for pregnant women. The answer is a yes. Pregnant women can safely take in jackfruits if they don’t have any allergies or don’t stand a chance of suffering from the potential side effects.

The major fear that people use to have about taking jackfruit during pregnancy was the erroneous knowledge that it causes miscarriages. But just as explained above, jackfruits do not cause miscarriages and hence are safe to be eaten in pregnancy.

Too much of it though may not be safe due to the potential side effects, so make sure you read about the side effects before going on to take jackfruits.

Is jackfruit safe for lactating mothers?

Just like in pregnancy, jackfruits are safe for lactating mothers or breastfeeding mothers and hence can be eaten by them. However, just as mentioned above you have to be aware of the side effects and rule out a possible allergy to it. Once you establish that you are in the clear for allergies or interactions or side effects then you can go ahead and eat them.

Shrikant B. Swami and Sandeep  B. Kalse (2018), Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus): Biodiversity, Nutritional contents, and Health, Department of post-harvest engineering, Post Graduate Institute of Post-harvest management, Killa Roha, MS,  India.

Rajneesh Srivastava and Anu Singh (2020), Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam)Biggest Fruit with high nutritional and pharmacological values: A Review, International journal of current microbiology and applied Sciences ISSN

Ocloo F.C.K, Bansa D. Boatin R, Adom T and Agbemavor W.S (2010), Physico-chemical, functional and pasting characteristics of flour produced from Jackfruits (Artocarpus heterophyllus) seeds, Agriculture and biology journal of North America, ISSN print 2151-7517.

Waghmare, R., Mermon N., Gat Y., Ghandi, S., Kumar, V., & Panghal, A. (2019), Jackfruit seed: an accompaniment to functional foods. Brazelien Journal of food technology, 22, e2018207

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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