Step aside, tofu, tempeh, and seitan. There’s a new meatless-meal staple that’s making our mouths water.

Jackfruit is a high grade anti-oxidant owing to dense concentration of vitamin C. It strengthens immune function and protects from could, cold, flu, infections and critical conditions like Cancer and tumours.

Jackfruit is a powerhouse of energy. It can lend a quick boost of energy without disturbing the sugar levels in the body significantly.

Potassium controls sodium, maintains the  electrolyte balance along with regulating muscle function. All these roles make potassium a very healthy food for arresting high blood pressure and maintaining health of your heart.

The high fiber content in Jackfruit aids healthy digestion and an effective excretion which keeps the gastrointestinal tract clean and healthy.

Jackfruit contains dietary fiber that reduces the effects of toxin in the colon and protect from colon cancer. Additionally its constipation preventing properties prevent piles.

Jackfruit is a rich source Vitamin A and its equivalents that protect eyes from infections, improve eye sight and prevent vision related medical problems .

The anti-oxidant properties and high water content of Jackfruit keeps skin healthy, moisturized and reduces the wrinkles and dryness retaining the youthful texture of the skin.

The Jackfruit root has been found to be an effective remedy for asthma symptoms.

Jackfruit maintains good bone health with high calcium content and increases its density by reducing the calcium loss owing to healthy potassium content.

Jackfruit alleviates anemia by adding iron and increasing the iron absorption with Vitamin C  in the body. Other minerals in it improve the quality of blood.

Jackfruit comes from the mulberry family. It has thorny projections outside and soft flesh inside which is  intensely sweet and delicious in taste. It is typically found in South East Asia and finds its origins in India. Thailand and Vietnam are the largest producers and exporters of this fruit. Jackfruit is found in many varieties across countries and continents and is classified based on the softness of its flesh.

Jackfruit’s flesh is very high in fiber content. The taste and texture makes it a great fruit for jams, chutneys, candies, cakes and other sweet preparations.  Unripe raw jackfruit is used in savoury dishes and is cooked in gravies and spicy curries. The texture of unripe jackfruit is like mutton and so is its taste when cooked in spices which makes it popular amongst vegans and non-vegans alike. The seeds of Jackfruit are also eaten in boiled form as a snack in some countries.

It is a healthy fruit with almost no fats but high energy. The taste and preparations make it a delectable fruit which is easy to include in the meal plan. Unfortunately many countries get only canned jackfruit stored in sugar syrup or brine which is not as healthy as out-of-tree fruit. But this fact should not keep you from eating and enjoying this gorgeous fruit even if it is out of the can.

Scientific name: Artocarpus heterophyllus

Nutritional Value of Jackfruit:

It contains high amount of nutrient like vitamin, minerals, electrolytes, phytonutrients, carbohydrate, fiber, fat and protein.  Jackfruit is a good source of calorie but contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.

Jackfruit is rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B5 content in Jackfruit fulfills about 25% of our daily requirement. Apart from Vitamin B5 Jackfruit is also a rich source of  Vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium. The fat content of Jackfruit is very low at just about 0.64 grams. Though water is not a nutrient but it is pertinent to mention that Jackfruit is made up 80% water.

Health Benefits of Jackfruit:

Jackfruit contains high amount of carbohydrate and calorie that provides energy instantly. It is rich in antioxidants which protect from cancer, ageing and degenerative disease. Due to rich antioxidants it is good for eye sight and protects from conditions like cataract and macular degeneration. It is a good source of potassium which maintains fluid and electrolyte level in balance. Also it improves bone and skin health.

1. Optimizes Immune function:

Anti-oxidants are required by the body for scavenging free radicals. These are produced when oxygen reacts with certain molecules and kick starts a chain reaction which damages cell membranes and even DNA.

These free radicals have been associated with natural processes like ageing, skin wrinkling,  increased vulnerability to infections and diseases and more serious conditions like cancer and tumours. Vitamin C is a natural anti-oxidant but since it is water soluble and is not found in our bodies, you need to consume it through dietary sources.

Jackfruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C with a high content of 13.8 mg per 100 grams. Studies have shown that vitamin C  is a better anti-oxidant than compounds like Methanol and Ethanol. This makes vitamin C very effective against the free radicals in the body. The purification of our body by ridding it of free radicals  increases immune system function. It increases immunity to protect against common diseases like cough, cold and flu. It has also been found to form a strong resistance against infections.

2. High Energy Source:

If you are looking at quick energy boost than very few fruits come close to Jackfruit. Jackfruit contains high amount of carbohydrate and calorie but hardly any companion fat. It contains a healthy amount of simple sugar like fructose and sucrose that are easily digested by our bodies. The sugar in Jackfruit is  not only easy to digest but also comes from a category called “Slowly Available glucose” or SAG. This releases the glucose in our body in a restrained manner and therefore reduces the glycemic index of Jackfruit.

In simple words, diabetic people suffering from high sugar levels and sugar spikes can enjoy this deliciously sweet fruit without worrying about the glucose levels. However, if Jackfruit is regular part of your diet than make sure you add some physical activity to your routine to aid the digestion.

3. Maintains Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular health:

Potassium is one of the most important components that regulate blood pressure. Our body needs about 4700 milligrams of Potassium in a day. Optimum balance of potassium is key to controlling the right amount of sodium in our body. Potassium deficiency can make your sodium levels spiral out of control leading to substantial damage to heart and the arteries. Apart from this functionality, potassium is responsible for coordinating and maintaining muscle function which includes heart muscles as well.

Jackfruit contains good amount of potassium which is about 10% of our daily requirement. The ideal levels of  potassium is required to maintain fluid level i.e. to balance electrolyte also. All these different functions of potassium helps in maintaining ideal blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.

4. Improves Digestion:

When you open up a Jackfruit and take a look at its flesh, it clearly shows a lot of soft fiber. This fiber is not just for show but actually does convert itself into important and significant amount of roughage. Jackfruit has 1.5 grams of roughage per 100 grams of serving which is considered excellent. Dietary fiber  makes for a laxative which adds bulk to your stools and soften them up. Both of these factors make it easy for your body to push them through the Anal passage. Thus it improves digestion and prevents constipation.

Jackfruit contains both soluble and insoluble fiber with soluble content of 25% of the total fiber. Soluble fiber is the one which is digested in our body and provides energy whereas insoluble just passes through the Gastrointestinal tract. The insoluble fiber actually adds bulk to stools and make for an expeditious exit. It keeps the tracts clean and reduce a build up in the intestines.

5. Colon Cancer and Piles:

Colon cancer is caused when there is damage to colon at cellular level and these altered cells continue to divide rapidly even when there is no requirement of new cells. Eventually they destroy the normal cells and also tend to travel to other parts of the body through blood stream. Colon cancer appears in its early stages as polyps in the colon lining and take a full blown cancerous form as it progresses.

Fruits like Jackfruit that are high on anti-oxidants help to clean toxins from the colon, keeping it in a good and healthy shape. Though it does not treat the cancer itself  but can definitely help in reducing the risk of developing this condition.

It also helps in alleviating and preventing piles. Piles are Haemorrhoids in the anal area and are basically made of  swollen blood vessels. It is a very painful condition and critical cases experience bleeding and excruciating pain while passing stools. One of the main causes of Piles is Chronic Constipation. Jackfruit prevents constipation due to its high fiber content and can help alleviating the symptoms.

6. Vitamin A for Vision:

Jackfruit contains Vitamin A and its equivalent in form of Beta Carotene and Lutein Zeaxanthin. Beta Carotene gets synthesized and converts itself into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an important nutrient  for eye health. It is an anti-oxidant that improves the vision and protects the eye from free radicals. It is also known to protect eyes from bacterial and viral infections by strengthening the mucous membranes that create a film on the cornea .

Lutein Zeaxanthin in Jackfruit is also known for its anti-oxidant properties that serve your eye sight effectively and impressively. It protects the eyes from intense and harmful  light waves like ultraviolet rays. This component is also considered monumental in improving your eye sight in dim lit and low light arenas. It is highly effective in preventing degeneration of the retina and reduce the risk of cataract and macular degeneration.

7. Skin Health and Ageing:

Ageing is caused due to natural factors like increase in age. But due to pollution, UV radiations and unhealthy lifestyle ageing is knocking at an early age and  is progressing faster than natural. The main causes of ageing are free radicals produced in our body due to high oxidative stress caused due to pollution.  Antioxidant rich diet including fruits like Jackfruit have proven to destroy these free radicals to slow the ageing process.

Eating Jackfruit also keeps skin moisturized and well hydrated due to high level of water content in it. Water reduces dryness and lend a supple appearance to your facial skin. This further reduces the light wrinkles and fine lines on skin making it look younger and glowing.

8. Asthma:

With an increase in pollution and weakened immunity, number of asthma cases being reported are increasing every year. Jackfruit has been proved beneficial to asthma patients. Asthma shows symptoms like extreme difficulty in breathing, wheezing and accompanying panic attacks. Like all COPD diseases, asthma needs to be managed and can be reversed.

Jackfruit and its extracts are now being explored to treat asthma and controlling its symptoms. Boiling the root of Jackfruit and consuming it is known to alleviate the symptoms of asthma.

9. Bone Health:

Jackfruit contains high amount of calcium which strengthens and promotes healthy bone health. Other bone related illnesses like Arthritis, Osteoporosis can also be managed and prevented with regular seasonal consumption of Jackfruit. High potassium in Jackfruit further decreases the loss of calcium through kidney thereby increasing calcium density in bone and strengthening it.

10. Anemia:

Anemia is a condition which is defined by reduction of red blood cells (RBC) or Haemoglobin in blood below the acceptable  minimum levels. This leads slow transportation of oxygen in the body leading to bouts of lethargy, constant tiredness, pale complexion and in some cases blacking out.

Jackfruit contains iron which can combat the deficiency of RBCs in the blood. The vitamin C content further enables an effective absorption of iron in the body. It is said that all iron that you get from dietary sources can pass right through your body without being absorbed if there is no Vitamin C in the body. Other minerals like copper and magnesium in Jackfruit improve the quality of blood.

Unless you’ve spent time scouring Indian rain forests or haunting the aisles of Asian markets, you may not have heard of jackfruit. This large, tropical superfruit is causing excitement in vegan and nonvegan circles, mostly because of its consistency and flavour once it’s been cooked. If coaxed with the right flavours, especially barbecue and Asian sauces, jackfruit mimics the taste and consistency of pulled pork or carne asada – if that’s your “thing”. Jackfruit is also all natural. You can find jackfruit in just about any Asian market, but the key is to buy canned, green unripe jackfruit in water, not in brine, and without preservatives. Ripe jackfruit has a different taste altogether, much like chewing gum, and is far too sweet for cooking. To prepare, cook it a bit, then douse in your favourite sauce before cooking a little longer. Since jackfruit takes on the flavour of whatever it’s cooked with, you can use just about any sauce, but those with a hint of sugar are best for a crispy, golden brown finish.

Amazing facts about Jackfruit:

Jackfruit is the largest tree borne fruit in the world which can weight from a mere 3 kilograms to 36 Kilograms! A full mature jackfruit can have a length of 92 cm and width that extends to 51 cm.

The wood of Jackfruit is used in making musical instruments, furniture and even in house construction. the distinct colour of Monks’ robes in South East Asia comes from the dye of this wood.

Jackfruit is also known to grow from the underground roots in some rare cases! In such situations the fruit actually cracks the ground over it and emerges outside.

Jackfruit is a wonderful fruit with wonderful health benefits. Its juicy sweet taste becomes even better when you know about the health benefits that you are going to derive from it.

Thank you for reading! Stay healthy, keep fit, and love being vegan!

How does Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium benefit our bodies ?

All three contain chemicals that help promote muscle relaxation and assist in nerve transmission. They help maintain a healthy blood pressure. People suffering from hypertension are highly recommended to include foods rich in potassium in their diet – Potassium (K) is also vital for other body functions that include proper functioning of the nervous system, kidneys, heart, and the musculoskeletal system. Potassium deficiency, or hypokalemia, can cause fatigue, problems in muscle coordination, weakness, etc. Foods high in potassium are beneficial for diabetic patients, as they help in proper functioning of the pancreas. Very high levels of potassium, or hyperkalemia, can cause health problems like kidney failure, so everything in moderation. Fresh fruits and vegetables make some of the best foods that are high in potassium.

A comprehensive list of such foods is given below:

•Apricots
•Avocado
•Bananas
•Beet
•Broccoli
•Brussels Sprouts
•Cantaloupe
•Carrots
•Cauliflower
•Chickpeas
•Dates
•Figs
•Kiwi Fruit
•Beans
•Honeydew Melons
•Nectarines
•Oranges
•Pears (fresh)
•Peanuts
•Baked Potatoes
•Prunes
•Raisins
•Spinach
•Tomatoes
•Canned Sauce
•Winter Squash

Though Calcium (Ca) is necessary for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, it also helps to regulate blood pressure. It also helps in healing of wounds, and in producing key enzymes that aid in digestion and metabolism. Adequate intake of calcium is a must for people of all age groups. The amount of calcium required by the body, increases with increasing age. As we grow older, our bodies need more calcium for maintaining strong bones. There are no specific symptoms associated with calcium deficiency. Just like with any other mineral, the intake of calcium should not exceed beyond our body’s requirement of the mineral.

Here’s a list of common foods that are rich sources of calcium:

•Almonds
•Beans
•Brazil nuts
•Broccoli
•Celery
•Collard greens
•Flaxseeds
•Instant oats
•Kale
•Kelp
•Oranges
•Papaya
•Sesame seeds
•Spinach
•Swiss chard
•Tahini

Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral that plays an important role in metabolism. Many people are unaware of the significance of magnesium and hence, suffer from health problems related to magnesium deficiency. Almost 300 bio-chemical reactions take place in the body with the help of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for production of energy in the body. It also helps to regulate blood pressure in a natural way. Magnesium plays a key role in protein synthesis, and synthesis of enzymes. Symptoms of low magnesium, include heart palpitation, fatigue, fibromyalgia, kidney stones, osteoporosis, tics and twitches, diabetes, etc. To get the required amounts of magnesium, one should consume raw food rather than processed food.

Given here is a list of common foods that are rich in magnesium:

•Black beans
•Broccoli
•Peanuts
•Soy milk
•Spinach
•Tofu
•Whole grains
•Whole wheat bread

Eat well, do good and stay vegan.

Artichoke

Since ancient times, the artichoke has been used for liver and gallbladder conditions, ‘cleaning’ the blood, as well as the bladder. The Egyptians highly prized it as a health food and Plinius described it as the ‘food for the rich’ because of the health problems contributed to an excessive lifestyle choice in foods there were and are high in unhealthy animal fats that led to liver illnesses (such as cirrhosis), gout and a general run down condition.

The artichoke is very high in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system. It is known to positively help poor liver function as well as lower the blood sugar, improve the appetite and digestion, is diuretic and may help some migraine conditions (most especially those caused by toxins in the blood), as it helps the body rid itself of excess water and moves toxins. Artichoke also has the added side effect of an improved skin luminosity.

In a poor diet of excessive drinking (most especially strong alcoholic drinks), high red meat and fat consumption, the artichoke can boost the liver’s ability to regenerate its cells.

The liver’s main function is the metabolic transformation of nutrients from the food we eat. It also detoxifies certain poisons. An over stressed liver obviously cannot function properly, which among other things results in poor assimilation of nutrients and increased toxins in the blood. This will eventually adversely affect the entire body causing numerous ailments that are often only symptomatically treated. What is amazing are the numbers of people who abuse their livers and hence their bodies, think they eat well, yet are suffering from a form of malnutrition – a word one associates with poverty and third world countries.

Artichokes only have about 25 calories. They are excellent for weight loss and maintaining optimum health. Artichokes are extremely filling and two or three of them will suffice for a complete meal with amazingly no fat, providing tons of fiber, and an abundance of vitamins.

Do buy organic when in season, they are relatively well priced. Artichokes are easy to prepare, you can steam steam them and serve with a little apple cider vinegar, or fresh lemon juice and olive oil. They are also superb with numerous plant based dips. Anti-aging is delicious, cheap and healthy!

~ Active Vegan ~