Food for the Month – ‘Jackfruit (Kanthal)’ From K V Peter, World Noni Research Foundation, Chennai
Jackfruit contains vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, iron, and magneisum among many other nutrients. Some of the health benefits of jackfruit include:
Ensures Better Gastrointestinal Health: Jackfruits are good for digestion and are known to help cure ulcers and indigestion. Additionally, the high fiber present in the fruit prevents constipation and helps in smooth and regular bowel movements. The fiber also offers protection to the mucous membrane of the colon by driving away the carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemicals from the colon.
Strengthens Immune System: Jackfruit is a very good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent colds and infections. Vitamin C helps in the proper functioning of the immune system by supporting the functions of the white blood cells.
Protection Against Cancer: Apart from containing vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant), jackfruits are also rich in phytonutrients like lignans, isoflavones and saponins that provide protection against cancer. These phytonutrients can help eliminate cancer-causing free radicals from the body and slow down the degeneration of cells that can lead to degenerative diseases.
Lowers Blood Pressure Levels: Jackfruit is a rich source of potassium, containing around 300 mg in 100 grams of jackfruit. Potassium is important for the body as it helps keep the body fluids and electrolyte balance in body cells and helps in regulating blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Aids in Vision: The fruit contains Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that is beneficial for vision as well. The vitamin is also known for maintaining the health of the skin and the mucous membranes and for boosting up the functioning of the immune system.
Boost of Energy: Jackfruit might be considered as an energy generating fruit due to the presence of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose. Eating the soft, digestible flesh can make you feel revitalized almost instantly.
The jackfruit tree or Jack is called poor man’s food. Spiny and oval or oblong shaped multiple fruit, it can weigh up to 40kg.The Jack multiple fruit is the largest in the plant kingdom. Fruit is used as vegetable at immature stage, delicious fruit at mature stage and several food products from fruits of varying ages. The timber is highly valued for furniture and household frame making. The leaves are feeds for goats and rabbits. The tree harbors a lot of birds, squirrels and rodents.
Jackfruit is the National tree of Bangladesh. It is grown in India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Southern China, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Philippines and to a lesser extent in Queensland, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Fiji Islands and Zanzibar.
The Jack chips from mature fruits are delicacies. Liquors are made from the fermented juice. As a fresh fruit, Jack is par excellent in taste, colour and flavor. You may break the morning fast by tasting yellow to orange peals of fruits.