If I gave you 10 guesses on which fruit is the largest tree fruit in the world, do you think you could get the answer? Well, if the jackfruit wasn’t on the tip of your tongue, or among your top 10 guesses, you can be forgiven, but the jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world, reaching up to 100 pounds.
But it’s not the fruit’s size that makes it so beneficial — it’s the nutrition. Jackfruit is high in magnesium, vitamin B6 and antioxidants all while offering a low-carb snack or even the perfect vegan “pulled-pork” sandwich. It can be found dried and roasted, and it can be added to soups, used in chips, jams, juices and even ice cream, in addition to simply eating fresh and raw. The seeds, containing a ton of nutritional benefits, can be boiled, roasted or ground into flour.
All this nutrition gives jackfruit some truly remarkable benefits. For instance, jackfruit benefits include the ability to enhance immunity, boost magnesium levels, improve digestion and more.
1. Enhances Immunity and May Help Fight Cancer
Jackfruit is a vitamin C food that contains many other antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, including lignans, isoflavones and saponins. Additionally, we need to fight those damaging free radicals that enter the body daily. Antioxidants found in jackfruit and other foods boost immune function by kicking those free radicals to the curb.
According to Penn State University, by consuming antioxidants, we 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. In addition, a study published in the October 2012 issue of the journal Carcinogenesis found that vitamin C increased activity of an important antioxidant enzyme that helps prevent breast cancer. Combined, all this makes jackfruit a potential cancer-fighting food.
2. Boosts Magnesium Levels
You may hear a lot of talk about magnesium levels and for good reason. Magnesium is crucial for the structure of our bones. Women are especially at risk for magnesium deficiency, and it’s common for African-Americans and the elderly to suffer from low magnesium levels too.
One cup of jackfruit contains 15 percent of the daily recommended value of magnesium, making it a great choice to add to your diet, especially since magnesium can help reduce the risk of many diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, in addition to helping provide strong bones.
3. Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
This robust fruit contains a healthy dose of vitamin B6. 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.
A clinical trial known as the the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation 2 including more than 5,500 adults with known cardiovascular disease learned that 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. And while it’s uncertain as to how this affects the body, studies indicate that there may be a relationship to homocysteine and the arteries.
4. Improves Digestion
Jackfruit may be a great choice for anyone suffering from constipation or issues with digestion, and it’s the seeds of the jackfruit that come in handy. 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.
5. Aids in Preventing Osteoporosis
In addition to bone-building magnesium, jackfruit contains calcium, which may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, or even osteopenia, which is the onset of osteoporosis.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that our bones and teeth compile about 99 percent of the calcium found in our bodies. However, we lose calcium through our skin, nails and even our sweat on a daily basis. The problem is that our bodies cannot produce new calcium, which means we have to get it through the foods we eat. When we don’t do that, the body goes to our bones to get the calcium it needs. This is when osteopenia, which leads to osteoporosis, can occur. 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.