It belongs to the Moraceae family, which includes mulberries and figs. It is native to India and common across Africa, Asia, and South America.
This article will explain what jackfruit is, its benefits, and how to eat it. It will also detail the nutritional facts of jackfruit and how to prepare it.
Jackfruit is a large tropical fruit, often weighing up to 80 pounds (35 kilograms). It is the largest edible fruit in the world and is a common staple in Africa, Asia, and some regions of South America, per a 2019 research review.
According to a study published in 2016, other members of the Moraceae family include:
Jackfruits have thick yellow flesh or pods inside a green or yellow rough shell. It grows in tropical regions but you can find it worldwide in many forms, such as fresh, canned, or dried.
It is edible when ripe or unripe.
Jackfruit has a mild, subtle flavor. This makes it ideal for sweet and savory dishes. Some people say it tastes like a mix of various fruits, such as bananas, pineapples, and mangoes.
You can use it as a substitute for meat in vegan and vegetarian dishes, thanks to its fibrous texture.
Jackfruit has many health benefits, including vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
The table below displays the nutritional content of 100 grams (g) of raw jackfruit, according to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Jackfruit contains many other vitamins and minerals, the aforementioned 2019 research review notes, especially in comparison to other tropical fruits. Vitamins and minerals in jackfruit include:
- amino acids
- vitamin B
All of these vitamins and minerals help the body in different ways.
Read more about food, nutrition, and diet.
Protection against cancer
Jackfruit is high in phytochemicals, according to several studies cited in the 2019 research review mentioned earlier. Phytochemicals are compounds made by plants. They resist fungi, bacteria, and other plant-related viruses and are present in vegetables and fruits.
Phytochemicals have antioxidant properties, which help protect against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a process that damages cells and may lead to health conditions such as cancer.
Phytochemicals in jackfruit can help protect against certain health conditions, the same 2019 research review suggests. These conditions include:
Jackfruit also contains flavanones and carotenoids. According to 2014 research, these help lower inflammation and aid in protection against diseases.
Potassium can help lower blood pressure in various ways. For example, it can lessen the effects of sodium on the body and ease the tension in the walls of your blood vessels.
The DASH diet is a good way to use nutrition to manage blood pressure.
Read more about hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Jackfruit is high in vitamin C, per the USDA. According to 2018 research, it contributes to the creation of collagen, a protein that plays an important role in the structure and function of skin, hair, bones, muscles, and tendons.
Other parts of the jackfruit tree may also help in healing. A 2020 study found that jackfruit leaves contain antibacterial properties, which may also help with wound healing.
Jackfruit is high in fiber, an important part of digestive health. In fact, 100 g of jackfruit contains 1.5 g of fiber, and the seeds are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Fiber has several functions within the body, according to the U.K.’s National Health Service. These include:
The seeds of jackfruit may also have prebiotic properties, according to 2010 research. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that helps healthy bacteria flourish in the gut.
Read more about prebiotics.
Other benefits include:
- aiding in immune health with vitamin A and vitamin C
- improving skin health with vitamin C
- being a source of good, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, lowering the risk of a stroke or heart attack
What are the risks of eating jackfruit?
Although jackfruit contains many benefits, there may be some risks, including potential allergies.
For example, a 2015 report found that a person went into anaphylactic shock after eating jackfruit. The person had a latex allergy, which suggests that jackfruit may contain latex-like proteins.
Allergies to jackfruit are also linked to pollen food allergy syndrome, according to experts.
You can enjoy jackfruit in many ways, including in sweet and savory dishes. You can consume it when ripe or use it when unripe as a substitute for meat, thanks to its fibrous texture.
You can also roast the seeds, which are rich in thiamin and riboflavin.
Preparing jackfruit is a little tricky because the fruit is large and tough. You can take a knife and slice it down the middle, removing the fleshy pods and seeds. It is also available canned in most countries.
Some ways to eat jackfruit include:
- in vegetarian and vegan dishes as a meat substitute, such as curries, pulled “pork,” or jackfruit burgers
- boiled or roasted
- in sandwiches
- in smoothies
- in soups
- added to oatmeal
Here are some frequently asked questions about jackfruit.
Is jackfruit high in cholesterol?
Jackfruit can help lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also known as bad cholesterol) and raise levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
Is jackfruit good for the liver?
Foods high in antioxidants, such as jackfruit, can help protect the liver from damage. Foods high in fiber are also known to help support liver health, per 2017 research.
Jackfruit is a large tropical fruit native to India. You can substitute the flesh of jackfruit for meat in vegetarian and vegan dishes. You can also eat it raw.
It contains several health benefits, such as being high in fiber, high in antioxidants, and a good source of vitamin C.
Jackfruit is versatile, and you can use it in both sweet and savory dishes.