The term superfoods may have become a bit overused lately, but there are some foods that truly fit the description. One that should definitely be on the superfoods list is a fairly obscure plant (until now!) called jackfruit.
This oddly named fruit, which is cultivated in tropical regions, is rapidly gaining in popularity worldwide for several reasons – not the least of which are its amazing health-boosting properties.
Jackfruit contains a number of substances which make it an extremely healthy addition to your diet. It’s rich in flavonoids, antioxidants, phytonutrients and vitamin C, which make it an excellent ally for cancer prevention and treatment through its boosting of the immune system.
The high levels of potassium found in jackfruit help lower blood pressure, aiding in the prevention of strokes and heart disease. Jackfruit is good for the skin and the eyes, due to its high vitamin A content.
Jackfruit aids in digestion and helps protect the colon by cleansing the large intestine, and its high fiber content make it a great natural laxative.
Low in calories and almost completely fat-free, jackfruit can also aid in fighting obesity. Even eating large quantities won’t cause stomach discomfort, so it can help you feel full without adding those extra pounds.
Jackfruit and diabetes
One of the most powerful health benefits associated with jackfruit is its ability to fight diabetes. This potential of the fruit is just beginning to be fully explored, in part because the best way to use jackfruit for diabetes is to consume the unripe fruit, which is not a common practice outside of the regions where it is grown.
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Jack Joseph of JackFruit365.com, a website that promotes and sells jackfruit products, stumbled upon the nearly miraculous diabetes-fighting properties of raw jackfruit when he heard a story from a friend that involved a medical emergency – one which luckily didn’t kill anyone and ended up having a silver lining:
[Joseph’s friend] developed diabetes seven years ago while he was in charge of rebuilding a church and he feels the stress related to the project was the major cause for an otherwise healthy life style he had. For the past seven years he is on insulin and takes the injection every day after dinner. A month ago he had the traditional Kerala Jackfruit meal prepared with unripe raw jackfruit pods as dinner, as he had a guest very fond of jackfruits. After the meal they continued to chat for an hour and he took his insulin once the guest left. Within minutes he collapsed to the floor. He somehow crawled up to reach the sugar sachet from the bedside table and for the first time in six years he had to use the emergency response his doctor had advised in case if he feels hypoglycaemic.
When the friend ate raw jackfruit a second time, the same thing happened, prompting Joseph to start investigating. What he found after talking to health experts was that raw jackfruit can reduce or even eliminate the need for insulin injections. As further stated on JackFruit365.com:
Conclusion: Consumption of mature unripe jackfruit can reduce insulin dependency on patients due to:
1. Low glycemic index
2. High dietary fiber especially insoluble fiber
3. Possible to eat large quantity as a meal and satiate a hungry diabetic patient
In addition jackfruit is Gluten Free and can be a silver bullet for diabetic patients with Gluten allergy
If you are a diabetic taking insulin, be sure to consult with your doctor before eating raw jackfruit.
Additional reasons jackfruit is becoming so popular
The many health benefits of jackfruit are only part of its growing popularity. Jackfruit is a fantastic meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans – some compare its taste and texture to chicken or even pulled pork! Its resemblance to meat has fooled even chefs and hardcore foodies.
There’s a good chance you’ll be hearing a lot more in the near future about this superfood, but meanwhile if you’d like to try some and can’t find it in local Asian markets or the world foods aisle in your supermarket, you can always order some online from JackFruit365.com.