Not only is jackfruit able to boast about being the world’s largest tree fruit, it’s also got some of the best health benefits! This tasty superfood is high in magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and lots of antioxidants making it low-carb and all kinds of healthy delicious.
Native to South India, it’s not as common in the U.S. as it is in other places around the world, but it’s a popular food choice for vegans and vegetarians because its texture makes it great for shredding, and is often used as a substitute for meat. While it’s sweet and fruity in flavor, it’s appearance is quite unusual. It’s covered in a spiky skin that is either green or yellow. You can eat it on its own, add it to a soup or salad, and even find it roasted or dried. Yum!
To make things nice and easy for you, we’ve compiled a list of all the incredible health benefits of jackfruit, including these 12…
1. Help Manage Blood Sugar Levels
People who are prone to high blood sugar levels need to be wary about what they eat, but luckily jackfruit has a low glycemic index (GI), which basically means it won’t raise blood sugar after it’s eaten. The reason jackfruit has such a low GI is because it’s packed with fiber. The fiber content “slow digestion and helps prevent blood sugar spikes,” writes Healthline. “Diets that include lots of low-GI foods have been shown to be helpful for promoting blood sugar control.”
In addition to its fiber content, jackfruit contains protein which has also been shown to help control blood sugar. Healthline cites a study which found that adults who consumed jackfruit extract showed improved blood sugar levels and another study of diabetic mice found that “jackfruit leaf extract helped reduce fasting blood sugar levels and provided long-term blood sugar control.”
2. Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is one of the world’s leading health problems. The easiest way to protect ourselves from heart disease is through a healthy diet. Eating jackfruit can give our body a much needed boost of vitamin B6. According to Dr. Axe, “vitamin B6 falls into a category along with folic acid and vitamin B12 that may help reduce heart disease. This occurs due to lower levels of homocysteine, which is an amino acid and important building block of protein.”
The source cites a clinical trial titled Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation 2 which examined over 5,500 adults and found that those with supplementation of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid “for a period of five years reduced homocysteine levels, which decreased both heart disease risk and stroke risk by about 25-percent.” It’s still unclear why this is the case, but expert believe it has something to do with the relationship between homocysteine and the arteries.
3. May Help Fight Cancer
Jackfruit is loaded with antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, and according to research by Penn State University these antioxidants “can neutralize the free radicals, which helps fight some forms of cancer and can give the immune system the support it needs to continue to manage it,” writes Dr. Axe.
The source also cites another study published in the journal Carcinogenesis back in October 2012 which found that the vitamin C in jackfruit can increase the activity “of an important antioxidant enzyme that helps prevent breast cancer.”
4. Improve Digestion
Do you suffer from the uncomfortable symptoms of digestive issues like constipation, bloating, stomach pain, or diarrhea? Apparently eating some jackfruit can help improve digestion, especially the seeds. “The seeds contain a good portion of dietary fiber, and as we know, high-fiber foods are great because they not only help with constipation, but they help fill you up, which may contribute to weight loss,” explains Dr. Axe.
5. Packed with Nutrients
One of the main reasons jackfruit is so healthy is because it’s loaded with nutrients. This fruit is low in calories with only 155-calories in 1-cup. Healthline explains that 92-percent of the calories in this fruit come from carbs and the rest come from protein and fat.
Now onto the nutrients…jackfruit contains pretty much every possible vitamin and mineral. One-cup of this tasty fruit adds up to 3-grams of protein, 3-grams of fiber, 10-percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin A, 18-percent of the RDI of vitamin C, 11-percent of the RDI for riboflavin, 15-percent for magnesium and 14-percent for potassium, says Healthline.
So why eat jackfruit over other fruits with similar benefits? Well, the source also goes on to explain that while other fruits have similar nutrients, what makes jackfruit different is its protein content. This fruit has 3-grams more protein in a single serving than other similar fruits like apples and mangoes. It’s also loaded with antioxidants. It’s not just a jackfruit, it’s a jack of all fruits (get it?)!
6. Good Source of Magnesium
Magnesium is an extremely important nutrient because it helps with the structure of our bones. According to Dr. Axe it’s particularly important for women, African-Americans and the elderly who are all at a higher risk of low magnesium levels. Luckily, we can easily boost our magnesium levels by eating jackfruit.
The same source notes that just 1-cup of jackfruit adds up to nearly 15-percent of the daily recommended amount of magnesium. It’s a great snack to indulge in because it’s tasty and will help boost those nutrient levels, and reduce the risk of disease, high blood pressure, and encourage the growth of strong bones.
7. Fights Wrinkles
We’re always looking for ways to make ourselves look younger. A lot of people are willing to shell out quite a bit of money to make this happen, but to be honest, it doesn’t have to be that complicated! The best way to look and feel younger is by eating healthy! StyleCraze points out that it’s the high vitamin C content that works to fight free radicals which damage the skin. In addition to that, the fruit contains vitamin B which can help rebuild skin cells. “The fruit also keeps the skin hydrated and prevents dryness and other signs of premature aging like fine lines and wrinkles,” writes StyleCraze. “The fiber in the fruit cleanses the system and flushes out toxins, and this also improves the skin health in various ways.”
According to NDTV jackfruit can be used to create a DIY mask that will fight wrinkles. The best way to reap these benefits is to take one of its seeds, grind it in some cold milk until it’s smooth and apply the paste onto your face. Do this on a regular basis and you’ll help prevent wrinkles. The source also notes that jackfruit seeds are keep the skin’s texture nice and smooth. To improve the texture of your skin, soak the seeks in milk and honey, grind it up and then apply it on your face as a paste. Make sure it has been evenly applied, let it dry, and then wash it off completely with lukewarm water.
8. May Protect Against Disease
We’ve already talked about how this exotic fruit is able to prevent diabetes and heart disease, it’s also a great protector against disease in general! This fruit is the epitome of health because not only is it low in calories, but it actually works to protect our health. As we previously mentioned, jackfruit is loaded with powerful antioxidants. “Antioxidants protect your cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, which often result from damage caused by molecules called free radicals,” writes Healthline.
Here’s a run-down of the antioxidants present in jackfruit…It’s got vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavanones. The vitamin C content may prevent inflammation which leads to heart disease and cancer, and the carotenoids “have been shown to help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.” Lastly, the flavanones have anti-inflammatory properties that work to lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These all all important factors for preventing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, says Healthline.
9. Boost Immune System
In addition to warding off diseases and type 2 diabetes, yet another benefit of jackfruits high vitamin C content is that it works to improve and strengthen our immune system. StyleCraze explains that the “jackfruit lectins (the proteins) also help prevent and treat viral infections.” The antioxidants that work to do this are vitamin A and C.
10. Prevent Osteoporosis
In addition to containing a good dose of magnesium which helps support strong bones, jackfruit prevents osteoporosis because it also contains calcium. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation 99-percent of our bodies calcium is in our bones and teeth, but we lose calcium on a daily basis through our skin, nails, and even sweat so we need to constantly be replenishing it. Our diet is the best way to do this. Dr. Axe explains that if we don’t get calcium through the food we eat, then our body will resort to getting it from our bones which is how people develop osteopenia which leads to osteoporosis.
“A serving of jackfruit contains about 6-percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, making it a strong source to help stave off osteoporosis,” writes Dr. Axe.
11. Help with Weight Loss
Similar to skin health, people are often looking for a quick fix when it comes to their weight. While there is no such thing as a quick fix or a magic pill (or fruit) that will allow us to freely lose weight with no effort at all, there are some foods that will help encourage weight loss. Jackfruit is one of them. “The anti-inflammatory properties of jackfruit might play an important role in preventing obesity. Jackfruit is also a good source of resveratrol, which is an antioxidant that has been found to help trim inches from your waist,” says StyleCraze.
The source cites a study published in the Food Research International journal which found that jackfruit could be useful in treating obesity. It also has the power to boost your metabolism which makes it an extremely effective part of any weight loss diet.
12. Improve Vision
Another amazing benefit of jackfruits vitamin A and C content (which seem to do wonders when combined together) is that it can help benefit the eyes by working to improve our vision. “According to the American Optometric Association, vitamin C can reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration,” writes StyleCraze. There have also been studies that have shown how vitamin A improves vision health.