Famous idiom says- An apple a day keeps the doctor away! But is it same for breadfruits? Read these health benefits of breadfruit to know more!
Breadfruit History and Characteristics
Breadfruit is the large fruit of the breadfruit tree known botanically as Artocarpus altilis. It is indigenous to the Malay Archipelago. It is cultivated in many parts of Africa and tropical America. When cooked, the fruit has a taste and aroma like freshly baked bread, hence its name. While the fruit and the tree seeds are edible, the roots, leaves, and latex are used in traditional medicine.
The fruit is large, almost round, with a prickly green exterior and a white pulp. It is an important food staple in Southeast Asia and the Pacific and is starchy. You can eat it raw when ripe, and the mature ones can be cooked as a vegetable for consumption. Also, you can roast, boil, fry, bake, candy, pickle, or dry it and grind it into flour. It tastes somewhat like potatoes and can be cooked in all the methods same as potatoes. Breadfruit is nutrient-dense, high energy, and inexpensive and satiates hunger. Researchers at the National Tropical Breadfruit Institute opine that the fruit could be one solution to world hunger.
100g of the fruit contains:-
- Fiber 5.4g
- Protein 4g
- Carbohydrates 31.9g
- vitamin C (46% of RDI), B1, B3, E, and K
It has micronutrients, which are essential for overall health:
- Zinc, and
Health Benefits of Breadfruit
- It is rich in amino acids, which help build your body cells, sustain the functioning of the body’s systems, and transport nutrients.
- Rich in antioxidants that prevent damage to your body caused by free radicals. This lowers your risk of getting chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- The phytochemicals in breadfruit help prevent arteriosclerosis, lower cholesterol, and maintain a healthy heart. The journal Planta Medica mentions that chemical compounds in breadfruit exhibit cytotoxic properties against pancreatic cancer cells.
- Vitamin C boosts immunity and fights infections.
- Breadfruit flour is gluten-free and a good option for those who suffer from a gluten allergy.
- The high fiber content helps regularise bowel movement and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
- Breadfruit is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which boost the body and mind’s development and maintain proper functioning of your body’s organ systems.
- It also has an anti-inflammatory property that helps lower your risk of chronic diseases like eczema and psoriasis.
- Traditional medicine suggests that breadfruit is effective against asthma, arthritis, wounds, ear infections, diarrhea, fever, gout, hypertension, diabetes, liver disease, sciatica, and many other ailments; scientific validation of these claims is still pending.
How to cook breadfruit?
- Choose ones that are firm and unblemished with a greenish-yellow color. You should consume raw breadfruit quickly as it doesn’t have a long lifespan.
- To cook breadfruit, break its stem and allow the latex to drain. This may take a few hours. Wash the fruit thoroughly. Core and peel the fruit.
You can slice breadfruit, coat it in olive oil, red chili flakes, salt, and roast it either on an open flame or in the oven until the flesh becomes soft.
- Chop it into pieces and steam it till soft. You can even boil the pieces in water till tender or deep-fry the fruit pieces to make a tasty snack.
- Alternatively, you can peel, chop, dry, and grind it into powder or can use it in dishes like casseroles, curries, stews, pancakes, bread, and salads.
There is not much knowledge about the side effects of breadfruit. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women can judiciously avoid it. It may promote bleeding, and those on hemostatic medication or bleeding disorders must avoid it. Also, it can cause allergic reactions in some people. It also has a blood pressure-lowering effect. Breadfruit has a high sugar content; a cup has 24.2 g of sugar.
So people with diabetes should avoid it or limit its consumption.
Breadfruit is now touted as a superfood, given its many health benefits. Include it in your diet and enrich your health!