If you have ever had the chance to travel in Southeast Asia, you must have seen huge, spiky jackfruit sold in markets or simply along the road.
Widely cultivated in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, jackfruit is believed to be the world’s largest fruit (it can weigh up to 30 kilograms!). Inside it contains hundreds of sweet and aromatic yellow bulbs, each with a large seed inside. Jackfruit is simply delicious – but what are its health benefits?
A Great Souce of Vitamins
First of all, let’s note that jackfruit is quite caloric – 100 grams of pulp contain around 90 calories (same as bananas). It is widely (and wrongly!) believed that people who want to lose weight should avoid eating caloric fruit and vegetables, but in fact, jackfruit is very rich in fiber, which helps digestion, acts as a mild laxative and can actually help weight loss – delicious jackfruit can act as a healthier alternative to snacks like cookies and cheese. Besides, in contains zero cholesterol and almost no fat.
Jackfruit is rich in vitamin A, which is necessary for good vision, healthy eyes and glowing skin. It is also a rich souce of vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant which can keep you young and strengthen your immune system. Plus, jackfruit is one of the few fruit and vegetables that contain significant amounts of vitamin B6, essential for healthy metabolism and cognitive development .
But benefits do not end here. Jackfruit is a great source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and reduce risk of stroke, and manganese – another antioxidant, necessary for bone development and metabolism. Both potassium and manganese belong to the so-called essential macrominerals.
And What about Those Seeds?
After you have enjoyed your plate of fresh and delicate jackfruit bulbs, do not throw away the large seeds – surprisingly, they too can provide significant benefits.
In Asia, jackfruit seeds are roasted, boiled, canned and made into curries. 100 grams of seeds contain around 180 calories and quite a lot of protein. Just like pulp, they are rich in fiber, macrominerals, and vitamins. There are two principal ways you can enjoy these benefits.
First of all, the seeds can be eaten, though they require cooking. Simply boil them and then peel the husk. The inside is soft and tastes a bit like potatoes, but with a fruity aftertaste. You can even use boiled jackfruit seeds instead of chickpeas to make hummus!
Alternatively, you can make facial and hair masks with jackfruit seeds. Soak them in milk overnight, peel, and grind into a paste. Then apply the paste to your skin as you would a normal facial mask, let dry, and wash off with water. All those vitamins and antioxidants can help fight wrinkles and give you a healthier complexion. Hair can benefit from this treatment, too! Asian women use jackfruit seed paste to improve blood circulation around hair follicles, which can promote hair growth.
In conclusion, we have to admit that jackfruit can be quite costly in the West, and is usually only found in season in large stores specializing in Asian foods. However, even if you cannot get it at home, on your next vacation in tropical Asia do not miss a change to enjoy some delicious, irresistible jackfruit – together with all the benefits in has to offer!