You can call it a fruit as well as vegetable as it is eaten both in raw as well as cooked form, jackfruit known as ‘kathal’ is indigenous to the Indian soil and grows in abundance in the southern part of the country. Recently, the state of Kerala has declared Jackfruit as its official fruit. Many believed that the tropical and sub-tropical tree remained underrated for many years, but the tree is now getting its due. Jackfruit has immense potential, it has medicinal properties and sustainable for many lives. The tree grows well with minimal care and belongs to the Moraceae plant family.
Though the jackfruit is easily available in most parts of India and each region has its own way of consuming it. But, Kerala seems to be the only state which has used jackfruit in all ways possible. Right from jackfruit chips, pickle, cooked vegetable, raw fruit as well as in desserts, Kerala has made maximum use of the fruit.
In fact, not only the fruit, the entire tree is useful to humankind. The jackfruit tree finds its mention in Ayurveda as well, and that is the relevance of the latex of the tree and how it is used to treat wounds. It is believed that the latex reduces the pain and swelling of the wound by repairing the damaged tissues. The fruit is an excellent natural coolant and because of its rich dietary fibre, it can cure erratic dysentery and such other chronic ailments.
Here are five health benefits of Jackfruit by Avni Kaul, wellness coach n nutritionist, director NutriActivania:
1. Helps stabilise sugar: Jackfruit is high in fibre and has a low glycemic index. Glycemic Index is a measure of how quickly sugar absorbs into the blood. Therefore it is recommended for Diabetics however in moderation.
2. High in protein – It is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Jackfruit has approximately 2g of protein per 100 gms. Since it is similar to the texture of meat, it is preferred many times as a vegetarian alternative.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure and Good for Bone Health – Jackfruit is good for hypertensive patients as it has high amounts of potassium present in it. It is also a good source of magnesium which helps in the absorption of calcium which results in bone strengthening.
4. High antioxidants – It is rich in Vitamin C which promotes immunity and also prevents inflammation due to chronic conditions of the heart and other medical problems like cancer. It has also Vitamin C which too is an immunity-boosting vitamin. Flavonones have anti-inflammatory properties which contribute to lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar
5. Powerhouse of Nutrients- It has a moderate amount of calories and high amounts of vitamins and minerals present in it. Other than fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, it also has copper, manganese and riboflavin and low to moderate amount of good carbohydrates.
Text by Supriya Aggarwal