Not many know that jackfruit is actually the largest fruit that grows on a tree reaching weight up to 100 lbs. The pale-colored flesh is covered by bumpy, hard green skin. In the past couple of decades jackfruit has been growing in popularity, especially among vegans, as its texture, versatility, and vitamin content make it the perfect meat alternative. Another interesting fact related to this fruit is that it’s the national fruit of Bangladesh, but it thrives in tropical climates.
Jackfruit – Health Benefits
Jackfruit is abundant in potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Plus, it packs decent amount of calcium, vitamin A, iron, and some protein. A single cup of jackfruit provides 25% of your daily B6 requirements.
According to a report from the National Cancer Institute, more than 1.17 Americans had colorectal cancer in 2013. This type of cancer is quite difficult to treat and can develop many other complications. However, new research has found that jackfruit is extremely beneficial for treatment of colorectal cancer.
Colon Cancer Prevention
Jackfruit has a wide array of medicinal properties owing to the powerful compounds it contains – isoflavones, phytonutrients, lignans and saponins. It’s these nutrients that neutralize the effects of harmful free radicals, which have repeatedly been linked to development of cancer and many other chronic diseases.
Phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that prevent cancer cell formation. They are also beneficial for treatment of stomach ulcers. Interestingly, phytonutrients are only found in plants. According to research, there are thousands of phytonutrients, all of which provide a wide spectrum of health benefits. However, more research is needed to confirm why the 3 phytonutrients found in jackfruit help to prevent and fight cancer.
Saponins are another group of potent anti-cancer agents. According to a recent study, published in the Journal of Nutrition 1995, saponins have colon cancer preventative effects. A different study found that these phytonutrients induce mitotic arrest in leukemia cells. The study also found in some cases it caused remission. Saponins bind to cancer cells thus preventing their further growth.
Lignans & Isoflavones
Both lignans & isoflavones are phytoestrogens, meaning they bind to the receptors estrogens do. As found by a recent study, published by the National Cancer Institute Journal in 2006, these nutrients reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. The study included 500 randomly selected women. The group taking the highest levels of isoflavones and lignans from jackfruit and other fruits was found to have reduced cancer rates compared to the control group.
Protection of Cellular DNA
As mentioned above, jackfruit is abundant in antioxidants, meaning it protects cellular DNA against free radical damage. It also prevents induced mutations.
The anti-cancer properties of jackfruit don’t just stop there
Jackfruit is also packed with fiber and has a unique sticky form, both of which properties work together as a great colon cleanser. Plus, it promotes toxin elimination from your digestive tract, which only further reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Strengthens Immune System
Aside from vitamin C, this super healthy tropical fruit is also packed with simple sugars, which boost your immune system function. A lab study on mice analyzing the immune-boosting properties of the sugars found in jackfruit pulp found that jackfruit has polysaccharides that improve phagocytic cell function.
Nutritional Value of Jackfruit
There are a number of other reasons why eating jackfruit can benefit your health on many levels:
1. 1 cup of the fruit has 155 calories with only 4 calories from fat.
2. Jackfruit has very low amount of saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
3. This super fruit is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, niacin, folate, thiamine, and riboflavin.
4. Jackfruit provides a number of important minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, calcium, zinc, selenium, copper, and phosphorus.
5. It has simple sugars that are extremely health beneficial.
6. A single cup of jackfruit provides over 11% of the recommended daily fiber allowance.
7. According to Chinese natural medicine, jackfruit can also reduce the effects of alcohol.