The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak, is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family (Moraceae).
It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of the Western Ghats in the Indian subcontinent. The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much as 35 kg (80 lb) in weight, 90 cm (35 in) in length, and 50 cm (20 in) in diameter. The jackfruit tree can produce about 100 to 200 fruits in a year. The jackfruit is a multiple fruit, composed of hundreds to thousands of individual flowers, and it is the fleshy petals that are eaten.
The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item throughout the tropical regions of the world. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh.
Health benefits of jackfruit
100 g of edible jackfruit bulbs provide 95 calories. The fruit made of soft, easily digestible flesh (arils) made up of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly.
Jackfruit is rich in dietary fiber, which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps protect the colon mucous membrane by binding to and eliminating cancer-causing chemicals from the colon.
The fresh fruit has small but significant amounts of vitamin-A, and flavonoid pigments such as carotene-ß, xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthin-ß. Together, these compounds play vital roles in antioxidant and vision functions. Vitamin-A also required for maintaining the integrity of mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A and carotenes has been found to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Jackfruit is a good source of antioxidant vitamin-C, provides about 13.7 mg or 23% of RDA. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.
It is one of the rare fruits that is rich in a B-complex group of vitamins. It contains outstanding amounts of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid.
Further, fresh fruit is a good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.