Jackfruit, the new food on your diet chart

Written by Ishi Khosla | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 20 2014, 16:31pm hrs
JackfruitJackfruits have a low glycemic index owing to its high fibre content and the nature of starch, which is resistant.
Jackfruit, known as Kathal in Hindi, is a large irregularly shaped oval fruit. Often, listed among the exotic tropical fruits to have originated in India and Malaysia, jackfruit is now now grown in Asia, Africa, the US and Australia.

Reported to be the food for Orrangutans, a jackfruit can weigh anywhere between 4 kg and 20 kg. Jackfruit has a fibrous texture, resembling meat. As a result, it is often used as a meat substitute by vegetarians. Ripe jackfruit has a bland flavour and is a bit sweet. It is often peeled before consumption and can be had raw, boiled, roasted, fried or in a curry.

Jackfruits are rich in protein, starch (carbohydrate), calcium, vitamins A, B, C, copper and potassium. Though high in carbohydrates (80 per cent), it has a low glycemic index owing to its high fibre content (11 per cent) and the nature of starch, which is resistant.

Being high in fibre, it aids in digestion. Its mucilagenous pulp has been found to be useful in boosting the immune system. Other benefits include improving thyroid function, anti-cancer benefits, skin and vision improvements, lowering blood pressure and increasing sperm count.

Many people stay away from this fruit as they believe it is high in calories and carbohydrates. Contrary to this, jackfruit can be eaten by those trying to lose weight simply because it helps you keep energised and full for longer. Besides, it helps provide antioxidants such as vitamin C, flavanoids, phytonutrients and potassium, which boost skin and immune function.

Several studies have reported various health benefits of jackfruit, including its role in the management of type 2 diabetes and obesity. In one study, the extracts of jackfruit significantly improved glucose tolerance in both normal and diabetic patients.

Jackfruit has also been found to be have anti-ulcer effects and is useful for those with heartburn, asthma and breathing disorders. Studies have also explored the anti-inflammatory role of jackfruit, which can be important to prevent the progression of obesity associated low-grade inflammation and its complications.

Antioxidant functions of jackfruit have been document in several studies. In fact, the jackfruit seeds have much higher anti-oxidant capacity than the edible portion. The seeds can be eaten roasted or boiled. Roasted dried seeds are also ground to make flour which is blended with regular flour for baking.