You might be looking at the photo above and wondering to yourself, what in world is that!? It’s called a jackfruit, it’s not only extremely delicious but it’s also highly nutritious and it’s one of the tastiest tropical fruits I’ve ever tried!
I’m not sure why, but jackfruit is a member of the mulberry family. It’s amazing that two totally different fruits can even be related? The jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, is a relative of breadfruit and can weigh in at up to 80 pounds! Jackfruit grows in tropical climates and is native to many parts of South and Southeast Asia.
There are different varieties of jackfruit, and I’m thankful to be exploring many of them here on the Big Island of Hawaii. Some have harder flesh and are a bit crunchier and some are softer and stringier – both are unique and delicious. I like to eat the firmer variety just on it’s own, but I love to make raw Vanilla Jackfruit Custard with the softer varieties.
I’ve heard many people say that the gum we know as juicy fruit was based on the taste jackfruit, and I believe it! It pretty much smells and tastes just like juicy fruit. The taste also reminds me of a cross between pineapple and banana, a great combination of flavors coalescing in the mouth.
Macronutrient Breakdown of Jackfruit
Jackfruit, like most fruit, magically fits our ideal nutritional requirements; this is why I recommend a raw vegan diet predominated by fresh, ripe and raw plants: in other words, fruits and vegetables. Jackfruit also has no cholesterol, no sodium and is high in fiber and water content. Looking at the 3 macronutrients, Jackfruit ranks in at:
- Carbohydrates: 92%
- Protein: 5%
- Fat: 3%
A very typical lunch for me is to sit down with a big jackfruit and eat just this one fruit until I become full; this is what we call a mono meal and can help improve digestion. This way I make my meals simpler and focus on eating fresh produce that’s local and in season, getting variety within the different fruits that change with the seasons.
Vitamins: Jackfruit is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and folate.
Minerals: Jackfruit is quite abundant in a wide range of minerals especially magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese, but also high in calcium, iron, zinc and is provides a small amount of selenium.
Phytonutrients: Jackfruit is an excellent source of phytonutrients including lingans, isoflavones and saponins which all have anti-cancer properties due to their capacity to protect the body from the effects of free-radicals, slowing the degeneration of cells that can lead to degenerative diseases.
Essential Fatty Acids: Jackfruit also provides small amounts of essential fatty acids with an ideal omega 3 to omega 6 ratio of roughly 1:2. We now know that the ratio at which we consume these essential fatty acids is just as important, if not more important than how much we consume of them. An ideal ratio is 1:1 – 1:4. A person consuming the Standard American Diet (SAD) is coming a ratio of 1:20) omega 3 to omega 6.
Health Benefits of Jackfruit
Given this nutritional information we can say that Jackfruit can help:
- Improve digestion (high in fiber and water content)
- Strengthens the immune system (high in vitamin C)
- Help protect against degenerative diseases and cancer (high in phytonutrients and anti-oxidants)
- Lower blood pressure (high in potassium)
- Clear skin (vitamin A)
- Maintain good eye sight (vitamin A)
- Prevent anemia (high in iron)
- Help the proper functioning of thyroid (due to its copper content which helps thyroid metabolism, thyroid hormone production and absorption.)
Most of this list can directly apply to all fruits (and vegetables), as they are the primary source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, water and fiber, enzymes and co-enzymes. This is enough of a reason for me to focus the majority of my diet on fruits and vegetables.
Want to experience a week of eating raw tropical fruits and learning about the raw food lifestyle? Check out our raw food Hawaii retreats.
Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii,