Have you ever pondered, if you could remain healthy without undergoing drastic changes in your diet and lifestyle? Now, you just need to include this one item in your daily diet and remain healthy naturally.

 

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)

 

Presently, specifically with the covid-19 pandemic people are realising the important of looking after one’s health. An individual’s health is closely associated with one’s lifestyle and food habits. The nutritional value of the food we consume plays an integral part in maintaining a healthy and nutritional intake. Now, Jackfruit is increasingly gaining popularity for its nutritional and medicinal properties.

 

The jackfruit tree, famously referred to as “chakka” in Kerala, is one of the largest fruits, weighing up to 55 kilograms and possibly more. Although native to the region of Malabar and Konkan, it is also cultivated in the tropical regions of the world. Over the years, “Jackfruit” has been cultivated for fodder and human consumption. However, the true potential of the fruit hasn’t been utilized till now. This exceptionally large fruit is also referred to as “Kalpavriksha” implying that whole fruit can be put to use. Generally, we come across two different types of Jackfruit namely firm flesh and soft flesh.

 

 

The nutritional and medicinal benefits of the crop are exceptional. Jackfruit is rich in vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, etc. Since jackfruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, it helps strengthen our immune system. It is also rich in Phyto-nutrients such as Lignants, lisoflavones and saponin which are known to possess anti-cancer and anti-ageing properties. It also contains anti-ulcer properties and its high fibre content helps combat constipation. Jackfruit contains vitamin A, which helps in better functioning of eye and thus helps to maintain a healthy eye. It is also a rich source of magnesium, which helps in better absorption of calcium, which in turn helps in strengthening of bones and prevention of bone related disorders. It is also an energy rich fruit and since it doesn’t contain any saturated fatty oil and cholesterol it is a healthy choice. Moreover, because jackfruit is slow to digest and, it helps to maintain blood sugar level naturally.

 

 

Moreover, jackfruit is gaining popularity as a nutritious substitute for meat; vegans are increasingly incorporating jackfruit as an alternative for meat. Raw jackfruit preparations taste like chicken and also being referred as “vegan chicken “. There are over 100 known preparations of Unripe and ripe jackfruit.  Immature and half-matured jackfruit can be pickled; fully matured jackfruit can be used for making cutlets, biryani, chips, pakodas, papad, etc. The fleshy perianth of fully ripened jackfruit is generally consumed in its natural from. However, it can be used in preparation of Halwa, Gulab-jamun, jam, wine, chocolates, etc. The jackfruit seed rich in proteins can also be used in several culinary preparations. Raw jackfruit dried and powdered can be used while making chapatis or rotis or any other flour, and is a blessing for the gluten-intolerant who can consume chapatis or rotis made from this gluten-free flour. In this way the fruit can be stored for longer periods and its benefits can be enjoyed all through the year. Besides its table consumption for humans, it can also be fed to cattle as it enhances the quality of milk.

 

Jackfruit tree doesn’t require much nurturing as it is sturdy and pest resistant, but grows at a fast pace and bears abundant fruits of larger size. Because of increase in demand, for Jackfruit, a lot of research is recently carried out and so new varieties have been developed that bear fruits round the year, which ensures its year-round availability.

 

The nutritional and medicinal benefits, and the “Kalpavriksha” attributes of jackfruit make it a valuable addition in our daily diet. The true potential of Jackfruit can only be unlocked when everyone realizes the amazing benefits of this miracle fruit. Let’s try to incorporated this fruit in our daily diet and work towards improving our health naturally and sustainably.

 

Written by - Andrea Cheradil

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