Every summer, we look forward to buying a wedge of jackfruit from our greengrocers. In most Indian households, it’s commonly eaten ripe. The flesh of the fruit turns a bright yellow, and its sweet aroma fills the room when it’s finally mature. But some also love it in its raw form when it’s cooked with a heady mix of spices. It’s either consumed as a main meal or as an accompaniment. The flesh of the jackfruit has a robust, chewy texture reminiscent of meat. Hence it is often used as a substitute for chicken and pork. Loaded with health benefits, jackfruits are many reasons why you should eat kathal, phanas or chakka pazham as its known in Indian languages.
Jackfruit is believed to have originated in the rainforests of the Western Ghats of India, from where it spread to other parts and southeast Asia, the East Indies and the Philippines. Health Benefits of Tulsi: Ways it Can Boost Your Mental and Physical Health.
A cup of sliced jackfruit flesh has 155 calories, 2.4gm of protein and 2.6gm of dietary fibre. Jackfruit is replete in vitamin C (11.1mg) and manganese (0.3mg) in a single serving, providing you with 18 percent and 16 percent of the daily value. It’s also rich in potassium, copper and magnesium. It is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, making it one of the healthiest foods around. Pumpkin Health Benefits: 7 Reasons Why the Fruit Is More Than Just a Jack-o-Lantern for Halloween.
Even the seeds of the fruit are edible. They are a good source of starch and dietary fibre. Here are some other health benefits of jackfruit.
Low Glycaemic Index
A meal of jackfruit on its own is considered a low glycaemic index meal, due to high amounts of dietary fibre, slow release of glucose and the intact starch granules in the seeds. These properties help in managing blood sugar levels.
Jackfruit provides you with 18 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C, an important antioxidant that protects your body from free radical damage. The bright yellow fruit also contains carotenoids and flavanones. These nutrients help prevent diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.
The abundant reserves of vitamin C and vitamin A in the fruit help boost the immune system and ups the body’s defences against infections.
Skin, the largest organ in the body, needs nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin A to stay young and firm. Jackfruit is rich in both the nutrients that prevent skin damage and keeps it more youthful for longer.
Jackfruit can be turned into a savoury or sweet meal. The flesh of the raw jackfruit is chopped roughly and cooked with spices across the country. In places like Kerala, the raw fruit is diced added to payasams, appams, idlis and dosas. Since jackfruit can alter blood sugar levels, diabetes patients on medication should consult their physicians before consuming the fruit.