What is jackfruit?
- Jackfruit is a tropical fruit from the Moraceae family (with the scientific name of Artocarpus heterophyllus) that is most extensively cultivated in South India. However, it can also be found in many regions in Asia, Africa, and South America.1 Jackfruit trees are medium-sized trees that typically reach 8-20 m in height and weigh 3.5-19 kg on average. It has gained recent popularity globally as it is loaded with a variety of vitamins, minerals, insoluble fibre and antioxidants that improve immunity and enhance overall health2
- For many years, jackfruit was widely used as an ingredient in many Asian culinary dishes due its distinct, subtle sweetness and flavour. Many vegans and vegetarians are also using jackfruits as a meat substitute owing to its firmness and chewy texture.2 In addition, there have been several suggestions that jackfruit with its rich properties can help weight loss. This article will give you reasons to add jackfruit into your diet for weight loss
Does jackfruit help you lose weight
Benefits of jackfruit for weight loss
- A study reported that jackfruit can accelerate weight loss if eaten probably since it has fewer calories than other fruits and is high in dietary fiber which helps improve digestion and metabolism.2 This is highly beneficial as eating extra calories often results in weight gain. While other variables such as genetics, metabolism, and hormones can all have an influence on weight gain, eating less calories and adopting a healthy lifestyle can help reverse that effect. For instance, 100g of sliced jackfruit contains only 157 calories. It also contains 3.6.g of fibre per serving.2 This has a satiety effect as it suppresses appetite with fewer calories which helps reduce hunger and energy intake, all that while fulfilling the nutritional requirements. Jackfruits are very low in fat and saturated fat, with only 0.1g of fat per 100g, making them an excellent choice to be incorporated into a heart healthy diet. Hearty-healthy diets are often recommended to prevent hypertension and control cholesterol levels
- Jackfruit seeds also contain phenolic and antioxidant compounds, and about a quarter of their non-reducing sugars are prebiotics. Prebiotics stimulate the activity and growth of bacteria in the digestive system and maintain the microbial balance in the gut.3 Dietary fibre in the jackfruit prevents constipation and can be used as a laxative to help maintain smooth bowel activity in the digestive tract. In addition, given its high fibre and low calorie content, it can be ideal for individuals on a low calorie diet or used as an alternative for people on a vegan or vegetarian diet4
- Bear in mind that there is no evidence to support that eating jackfruits solely will result in weight loss; however, several studies suggest that adding jackfruit to a well-balanced diet and with a constant physical activity can accelerate the process of weight loss1,2,3
Other health benefits of jackfruit
Jackfruit has antioxidant properties that play a vital role in curing the following health conditions and improving overall health.3
Cardiovascular health: Jackfruit is high in potassium which helps to reduce blood pressure and reverse the effects of sodium in increasing blood pressure. The presence of potassium also aids in the prevention of heart disease, stroke and bone loss and enhances muscle and nerve function.3
Regulate blood sugar: There have been clinical studies that prove that the consumption of jackfruits reduce blood sugar levels and is traditionally used to treat diabetes.1 Jackfruit has a low Glycaemic Index of about 60-65 which means consuming it won’t affect the blood sugar levels for those with diabetes.
Improves skin problems: The benefit of eating jackfruit is that it is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C protects the skin against the damage brought on by the ageing process and the prolonged exposure to sun. It’s also required for collagen formations, as collagen provides the skin with strength and firmness.1,2,3
Improves digestion: As highlighted earlier, the jackfruit's high fibre content (3.6 g/100 g) helps to promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. Additionally, it protects the colon mucous membrane by eliminating cancer-causing substances from the colon.3
Enhance bone strength: Jackfruit seeds contain 54 mg per 100g of magnesium. Magnesium is a vitamin that is crucial for calcium absorption and works in conjunction with calcium to help strengthen bones and prevent bone-related diseases like osteoporosis.
As previously mentioned Jackfruit comes from a variety of different regions across Asia, Africa and South America, hence, the nutritional component might vary. However, studies estimate that every 100g of raw jackfruit contains 18.5g carbohydrates, 1.9 protein, o.1g fat, 3.6g fibre, 20mg calcium and 500mg of Iron.3
Jackfruit is also rich in vitamin C, however, its content in jackfruit entirely depends on their maturity stage. A study tested and found that 45 days old jackfruit contains 18.5mg vitamin C per 100g, whilst 85 days old contains 22.5mg. 4 Whilst the daily recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin C is 60mg. Vitamin C is essential as it acts as a chain-breaking antioxidant to boost the immune system.
Jackfruit is also one of the rare fruits that is rich in B- complex group of vitamins as it contains a good volume of vitamin B6, Niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. The presence of vitamin B complex is important for a healthy nervous system and reduces the risk of heart disease and blood pressure problems.
The flesh of jackfruit contains 1.9g of protein per 100g. The protein concentration found in jackfruit seeds may vary from 5.3% to 6.8% 2 . Most fruits don’t offer much protein, hence, the studies are concerned around the consumption of jackfruit as a meat substitute on a daily basis.3, 5
Side effects and other concerns
Eating jackfruits is harmless for most, but individuals that suffer from allergies to tropical fruits, birch trees, or latex are prone to develop allergies to jackfruit and hence should avoid it. Also given that jackfruit can potentially lower the blood glucose level, people with diabetes will need to consult with their doctor before adding jackfruits into their diet as this could interfere with their medication and their blood glucose level.2
Similarly, those with chronic kidney disease or acute kidney failure should avoid consuming jackfruits as they contain a high level of potassium which can cause hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia happens from the build up of potassium in the blood which often can lead to heart attack.
Even though jackfruits are a good source of nutrients, it's still vital to eat a balanced diet to get all the nutrients your body needs. This implies that eating jackfruits solely won’t achieve the desired outcomes for weight loss. As a result, it is recommended that you adhere to the NHS "The Eatwell Guide" to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
Jackfruits are a great source of many healthy nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fibres and proteins. The rich nutrient profile of jackfruit offers protection from many health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. It has excellent nutritional properties, which aid in weight loss as it contains fewer calories and fat. Dietary fibres may aid in weight loss by suppressing hunger and enhancing gut health and metabolism. It is also proven to be working effective as laxative to prevent constipation and aid digestion.
- Ranasinghe RASN, Maduwanthi SDT, Marapana RAUJ. Nutritional and health benefits of jackfruit (artocarpus heterophyllus lam.): a review. International Journal of Food Science [Internet]. 2019 Jan 6 [cited 2023 Jan 10];2019:1–12. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijfs/2019/4327183/
- Parihar PS, Brahma S, Shirole A. Benefits of Jackfruit and its Natural Properties to Treat Diabetes or Colon Cancer and Weight Loss Related Issues. Benefits. 2021 Mar;8(03).
- Swami SB, Thakor NJ, Haldankar PM, Kalse SB. Jackfruit and its many functional components as related to human health: a review. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety [Internet]. 2012 Nov [cited 2023 Jan 11];11(6):565–76. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2012.00210.x
- Arora T, Parle A. Jackfruit: a health boon. Int J Res Ayurveda Pharm [Internet]. 2016 Jul 5 [cited 2023 Jan 10];7(3):59–64. Available from: http://www.ijrap.net/admin/php/uploads/1547_pdf.pdf
- Suzihaque MUH, Zaki NAM, Alwi H, Ibrahim UK, Abd Karim SF, Anuar NK. Jackfruit seed as an alternative replacement for starch flour. Materials Today: Proceedings [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 11];63:S451–5. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S2214785322022623