Jackfruit: A nutritious, vegan-friendly fruit
Jackfruit is a plant-based meat alternative that’s increasingly being used in the U.S. Young, unripe jackfruit absorbs flavor well. It also has a stringy, “meat-like” texture when cooked.
Jackfruit comes from a species of tree that belongs to the breadfruit, fig, and mulberry family. It originated in southwest India and eventually spread to other parts of India and southeast Asia.
Jackfruit contains many edible, pale-yellow, plump bulbs inside. Jackfruit seeds can also be cooked, eaten on their own, or ground into flour. While a ripe, unopened jackfruit has a strong, unpleasant scent, the pulp of the opened fruit smells sweet.
When eaten ripe and raw, jackfruit has a sweet taste similar to banana, mango, and pineapple. Unripe jackfruit has a more neutral flavor, like a potato.
- Jackfruit carnitas tacos
- Jackfruit custard strawberry parfait
- Jackfruit pudding
- Slow cooker BBQ jackfruit-stuffed sweet potatoes
- Teriyaki jackfruit sushi bowl
- Vegan jackfruit pot pie
- Vegan jackfruit pulled pork sandwiches
- Vegan menudo
The nutritional profile of jackfruit
Jackfruit is full of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. (Related: Characterizing the functional properties of a protein isolate from jackfruit seeds.)
Jackfruit contains the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A (20 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake [RDI])
- Vitamin C (36 percent of RDI)
- Copper (30 percent of RDI)
- Magnesium (30 percent of RDI)
- Manganese (32 percent of RDI)
- Potassium (28 percent of RDI)
- Riboflavin (22 percent of RDI)
Jackfruit seeds are nutritious and they are full of calcium, iron, potassium, and protein.
The health benefits of jackfruit
Here are eight reasons to add jackfruit to your diet.
- It can boost your energy levels. Jackfruit contains B vitamins, like vitamin B6. The fruit is full of complex carbohydrates that give you a boost of energy, all without affecting your blood sugar. According to clinical trials conducted at the University of Sydney‘s Glycemic Index Research Service, raw jackfruit has a lower glycemic load than rice or wheat. That means it has minimal effects on blood glucose levels.
- It can boost your immune system. Jackfruit has moderate levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps your body fight free radicals which are linked to cancer and other conditions. Vitamin C also protects you from colds and other illnesses.
- It can help prevent cancer. Jackfruit contains phytonutrients like isoflavones, lignans, and saponins that have anticancer properties. The fruit also has various carotenoids that help protect against cancer.
- It helps regulate blood pressure and maintain heart health. Jackfruit has moderate levels of potassium that helps regulate blood pressure and lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- It improves your digestion. Jackfruit is full of fiber that can strengthen your digestion and prevent constipation.
- It strengthens your bones. Jackfruit is rich in calcium so it can strengthen your bones. The magnesium in jackfruit helps with the absorption of calcium and the high amount of potassium helps decrease the loss of calcium when the fruit is consumed.
- It supports healthy vision. Jackfruit contains vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which can all improve vision and protect your eye health.
- It supports skin health and helps slow aging. Jackfruit’s water content will keep your skin moisturized and youthful. The fruit also has antioxidants that can help slow the aging process.
Take note that all the parts of jackfruit contain a sticky, white latex “sap.” If you are allergic or sensitive to latex, don’t eat jackfruit to avoid anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
If you want to try a nutritious plant-based meat alternative, add jackfruit to your diet and enjoy the many health benefits that it offers.