Whether you have heard of Jackfruit before or not probably depends on whether you are a vegan or not.
In the last couple of years sales of Jackfruit have exploded, partly due to the fact that shredded jackfruit is surprisingly similar in texture to pulled pork, making jackfruit the perfect vegan substitute.
The jackfruit grows in Southern India, Sri Lanka, and is the national fruit of Bangladesh. It can be used in sweet or savory dishes depending on how ripe it is (the riper the fruit, the sweeter the taste). It is often marketed as a healthy replacement for meat, but how healthy is it?
1. Jackfruit Is An Excellent Source Of Dietary Fiber
Jackfruit flesh is a great source of fiber, increasing your fiber intake has many benefits to your health. Diets that are high in fiber can lead to a reduction in certain types of cancer, a reduction in the risk of heart disease, can lower cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar, and maintain bowel health .
100g of jackfruit flesh contains 1.5g of dietary fiber.
2. Jackfruit Can Help With Weight Management
One of the best ways to manage your weight is to eat foods that are high in volume but low in calories. For example, 200g of jackfruit would only contain 190 calories, and would be very filling. Compare that to a high-calorie, low-volume food such as butter which would contain 1,434 calories and would not fill you up at all.
Another benefit of jackfruit is that it is a good source of fiber. This can help stabilize blood sugar which can reduce cravings. Eating foods like jackfruit which are high in fiber, low in calories, and are not calorie-dense will really help you to manage your weight long-term.
3. Jackfruit Is A Good Source Of Potassium
There are many benefits to consuming foods that are high in potassium. A 2003 study in the Journal of Hypertension found that increasing your potassium intake could help contribute to the prevention of hypertension (high blood pressure) .
Incidentally, this is one area where jackfruit may be better than pulled pork. It is low in sodium while pork is high, and jackfruit is also high in potassium.
Obviously, if potassium can reduce your blood pressure, it can also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. A 2011 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that diets that were high in potassium-rich foods could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and strokes .
100g of jackfruit contains 448mg of potassium, which is 10% of your recommended daily intake.
4. Jackfruit Contains 25% Of Your Recommended Intake Of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a very useful nutrient, and jackfruit is a great source. It has many health benefits. One benefit is that high vitamin B6 levels may alleviate premenstrual depression in women. A 1989 study by Doll et al found that 50mg per day was able to alleviate some symptoms of depression .
Increasing your vitamin B6 intake may also help you to lower your risk of heart disease, with studies indicating people with vitamin B6 deficiencies being much more susceptible to coronary artery disease .
5. Jackfruit Is A Good Source Of Vitamin C
While not as good a source of vitamin C as citrus fruit or broccoli, jackfruit is still a decent source of vitamin c. It contains 17% of your recommended daily intake per 100g.
Vitamin C has many benefits, and everyone should be ensuring that they are consuming enough each day. For example, high levels of vitamin C have been shown to have a positive effect when it comes to lowering high blood pressure .
Vitamin C may also be effective at reducing the symptoms of a cold, though this may or may not be the case (science is still unsure).
Though jackfruit has certain health benefits, it is not particularly nutritious compared to other fruits. It is certainly not a good substitute for meat as it is significantly lower in protein.
If we compared a serving of jackfruit (100g) you would get 95 calories, 448mg potassium, 13.8mg vitamin C, and 1.72g of protein. Whereas a serving of pulled pork contains 122 calories, 357mg potassium, 0mg vitamin C, and 22g of protein.
There are definitely health benefits to eating jackfruit, but let’s not kid ourselves that it is a healthy alternative to meat … it just isn’t!
There does seem to be quite a lot of evidence that jackfruit has a number of nutrients that have a positive effect on high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and strokes. But other fruits will contain these nutrients, and often in higher amounts.
If you like the idea of trying jackfruit then rest assured that it is a healthy food, but it is not nearly as incredible as certain news outlets have led us to believe recently.