The Joys of Jackfruit
Written By Go Vita
What is Jackfruit?
This highly nutritious vegan meat alternative is making waves in the wellness world.
The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is an exotic tropical fruit from a tree that is native to Southern India. It belongs to the Moraceae plant family, which also includes the fig, mulberry and breadfruit. Unlike figs and mulberries, however, jackfruit can grow very large – a single fruit can weigh 35 kilograms!
What is Jackfruit good for?
Jackfruit has a craggy, prickly outer peel that is greenish-yellow in colour, and soft golden flesh within. This flesh can be eaten raw or cooked, ripe or unripe, and it has a mild, slightly sweet flavour which blends well with both sweet dishes (smoothies, desserts and puddings) and savoury recipes. Think of curries, casseroles and the joys of soup. The flesh, roots and leaves of jackfruit have all been used in Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine and healing, as a treatment for a variety of gut-related conditions, such as diarrhoea and indigestion.
The health benefits of Jackfruit
Nutrient powerhouse Jackfruit has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to its impressive nutrient content. It contains good quantities of a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including the antioxidant vitamins A and C, the B-group vitamins, carotenoids, flavanones, potassium, copper, manganese and fibre. This combination of nutrients is of particular benefit in boosting immune function and improving the body’s resistance to bacterial and viral infections. Jackfruit also helps to counter the inflammation and oxidative stress in the body which can lead to many chronic diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Can Jackfruit be an alternative to meat?
However, what sets jackfruit apart from most other fruits is its high protein content – it contains more than three times the amount of protein found in an equivalent quantity of apples. Vegans and vegetarians favour jackfruit as whole plant food alternative to meat because its texture is similar to shredded or minced meat. As many more of us try to cut down on meat for health or environmental reasons, finding new protein sources is becoming increasingly important.
Other potential health benefits
Jackfruit may also be of benefit to anyone who needs support with blood sugar management: it is high in fibre and ranks low on the glycaemic index (GI), both of which mean that it helps to prevent blood sugar spikes that can occur after eating. One study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, demonstrated that people with mature-onset diabetes had significant improvements in their glucose tolerance after taking a jackfruit supplement. Another study, conducted on diabetic rats and published in the Scientific World Journal, showed that jackfruit extract had a positive effect on lowering the test animals’ cholesterol levels and stabilising their long-term blood sugar control.
Want to try Jackfruit?
Fresh jackfruit is not found in many greengrocers, especially if it is not in season, so Amazonia have made it easy for you to enjoy the many health and nutrition benefits of this versatile fruit.
Their new ready-to-eat, pre-seasoned product range, Tender Jack, is made from organically grown, sustainably sourced and hand-harvested jackfruit. Unlike some other plant-based meat alternatives, Tender Jack Pulled Jackfruit is a whole food product, made with minimal processing.
While the jackfruit itself has a very subtle flavour, Tender Jack comes in four delicious flavours to suit any mood, recipe and dish – choose from Smokey BBQ, Curry, Teriyaki or Original. Go Vita loves the Smokey BBQ flavour – try it in a burger or sandwich with fresh coleslaw, or in tacos or burritos with an avocado and coriander salsa!