Jack fruit is a sweet and aromatic fruit from the jack tree. The jack tree is a species in the mulberry and breadfruit family. It is a native of Asia with India leading in production of 1.4million tons per annum followed by Bangladesh with 0.926 million tons and relatively lower quantities by Thailand and Indonesia.
Jack tree is cultivated in the tropical regions of the world as a popular food item. Unlike other crops jack tree do not require any regular care and it is a perennial tree. The trunks of the tree are trimmed once in three or four years to optimize the yield of the fruit.
Jack fruit is a starchy and fibrous fruit providing high calories of energy and sugar.
In 100 gm. of jack fruit we get 95 calories of energy, 19.08 gm. of sugar, 1.5 gm. dietary fiber, 0.64 gm. of fat and 1.2 gm. of protein.
It contains a number of vitamins. The estimated values are: vitamin B6 is 0.329 mg (25% RDA), vitamin C 13.8 mg (17% RDA), Thiamine 0.105 mg (9% RDA), niacin 0.92 mg (6% RDA), folate 24 mg (6% RDA), riboflavin 0.055 mg (5% RDA), Pantothenic acid 0.235 mg (5% RDA) and very small quantities of vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin and vitamin E.
The mineral content in 100 gm. jack fruit are: Potassium 448 mg (10% RDA), Magnesium 29 mg (8% RDA), iron 0.23 mg (2% RDA), calcium 24 mg (2% RDA), phosphorous 21 mg (3% RDA) and zinc 0.13 mg (1% RDA).
The water content in the same quantity of jack fruit is 43.5 gm.
Health benefits of jack fruit
Jack fruit in its raw form and its seeds (after cooking/steaming) are highly beneficial to health.
Potassium in jack fruit controls the sodium level in the body and prevents any damage to the heart and arteries. Potassium maintains the heart muscles well. With the high level of 10% RDA of potassium, the fruit balances the electrolyte. All the three activities of potassium ensures ideal blood pressure and decreases the incidence of heart attacks, Vitamin B6 in the fruit reduces the homocystein levels in the blood and keeps the heart healthy.
The soft dietary fiber in jack fruit are both soluble and insoluble fibers. The soluble fiber enhances the digestive power. The insoluble fiber which is about 75% of the total fiber makes a laxative and prevents constipation. The insoluble fiber makes stools bulky and expedite the excretion smoothly, which prevents the more serious ailment called piles. Jack fruit powder provides instant relief from indigestion.
Antioxidants and vitamin C in jack fruit improves the immune system. Vitamin C protects from viral and bacterial infections. It supports the functioning of the white cells thereby preventing cold, flu and fever. In addition, the high value of vitamin C purifies the body and increases the functioning of the immune system by eliminating the free radicals from the body.
Jack fruit contains enriched phytonutrients. They are saponins, isoflavanes and lignans which eradicates cancer causing free radicals and also inhibits degeneration of cells preventing formation of cancer cells. Antioxidants also clears the colon of toxins and keep colons healthy, thus preventing colon cancer.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the antioxidants present in jack fruit. These antioxidants protects the eyes from ultraviolet rays and enhances vision power during dim or poor light. It reduces degeneration of the retina thereby averting the risk of developing cataract and macular degeneration.
Unripe jack fruit has a low sugar content and a low glycemic index of 52.5 only which is considered low. Unripe jack fruit is used as a vegetable and can be used as a substitute food in the place of rice or wheat. Diabetics should however, avoid taking ripe fruits in view of the high calories and sugar. The sugar in ripe fruit is 57.68 gm. whereas in unripe fruit the sugar is only 10.28 gm. in a quantity of 100gm fruit.
The high level of water in jack fruit keeps the skin well hydrated and moisturized. Even as it reduces dryness, it reduces the wrinkles and makes the skin glow and look younger. Antioxidants in jack fruit eliminates free radicals by which the oxidative stress is reduced and the aging process slowed down.
Magnesium of 29mg (8% RDA) in jack fruit enhances the calcium absorption capacity of the bones and improves the mineral density of bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Jackfruit provides simple sugars like sucrose and fructose which instantly boost the energy level in the body without any increase in fat or cholesterol.
People suffering due to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can liberally use jack fruit to benefit from its copper content. Copper in jack fruit plays an effective role in metabolism of thyroid, particularly in production and absorption of hormones.
How to consume Jack fruit?
You can consume the extract of the roots of the jack tree to get relief from respiratory problems.
You can consume fully ripe jack fruit after removing the seed. It tastes heavenly!
You can also use the ripe fruit in salads and jams.
Unripe jack fruit is used as a vegetable in preparation of curry and as a substitute food.
How to consume the seeds of jack fruit:
You can consume the seeds of jack fruit for their high starch content and delicious taste. They improve the blood circulation and promote growth of healthy hair.
- Sun dry the seeds well.
- Peel the outer skin of seed.
- Cook the seeds till they are fully soft.
- You can add these to gravies, salads, or cut them up and eat as such with sauce.