Jackfruit And Its Impact On Immune System Support

  • Jialu Li Master of Science in Language Sciences (Neuroscience) UCL


The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a large, spiky green fruit from the Moraceae family. It is the largest tree fruit, with a huge, green, spiky appearance that can be distinguished solely by its extremely sweet flavour and strong, pungent scent. It is usually found in India's southwestern rainforests, but it can also be grown in many other tropical places across the world. It has a traditional use in Asian cuisines and holds cultural and gastronomic significance in many nations. It is a versatile fruit, where unripe jackfruit is used as a meat alternative, and sweet ripe jackfruit is eaten as a dessert or sweet snack. Although it contains cultural significance, it also holds health benefits, which will be discussed in the article. 

Nutritional composition of jackfruit

Jackfruit contains fewer calories than typical tropical fruits. One cup of raw, sliced jackfruit contains around 155 calories. Furthermore, jackfruit is primarily composed of carbohydrates, more notably natural sugars such as fructose and sucrose. There is a large amount of dietary fibre, which aids digestion and contributes to a feeling of fullness. It contains soluble and insoluble fibres, and a typical cup of raw jackfruit may contain around 3 grams of it. There is also a hint of proteins which can be traced within a jackfruit. However, it is not as high as one believes, as it typically provides 3g of protein. 

The jackfruit is one of many fruits which contain a plethora of healthy vitamins with many health benefits.1 These vitamins include vitamin C as an antioxidant which seeks to boost the immune system naturally, beta-carotene as a molecule which acts as a precursor to vitamin A, potassium regulating blood pressure and other level of fluid in our bodies, as well as magnesium that proves essential for functions associated with our nerves and muscles and finally B- vitamins. 

Key components supporting the immune system

Vitamin C, more scientifically known as ascorbic acid, is required for appropriate immune system function and overall health. As mentioned before, vitamin C/ ascorbic acid is considered a strong antioxidant because it has the ability to remove harmful free radicals in the body. These molecules, which contain unpaired electrons, can damage cells, resulting in ageing and a variety of disorders.2 Another role is the development of connective tissue. Vitamin C is a keystone for the synthesis of collagen and aids in the production of structural proteins, blood vessels, bones, and other connective tissues. Collagen is an important protein that can be useful for the development and strengthening of our hair and nails, which is why it is important to stress its importance within our bodies. These tissues act as crucial physical barriers, preventing infections from entering the body.

Ascorbic acid itself is required for optimal immune system function and overall health. It stimulates the activity of various immune cells, including lymphocytes and phagocytes, which are in charge of identifying and eliminating pathogens such as bacteria and viruses as part of the immune system.

Finally, it reduces inflammation. Vitamin C's anti-inflammatory properties help to somewhat lower the rate of inflammation in the body. This is particularly essential because chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of diseases, and vitamin C decreases inflammation, improving overall health and immunological function.

Phytochemicals are present within the jackfruit, which further provide an important support for the immune system. Being produced by plants and fruits, they act as secondary metabolites. Various investigations and research have indicated that these compounds are quite beneficial.3

  • Carotenoids: Examples include beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These plant pigments are high in antioxidants and can help reduce the overall free radicals present. This is important as it combats and reduces oxidative stress related to particular diseases.4
  • Flavonoids: These are substances with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunity-boosting properties. One famous example would be Quercetin associated with many health-benefiting properties.

To summarise, phytochemicals, antioxidants and vitamin C can help to reduce oxidative stress and their impact on immunological health is able to benefit the immune function, cell protection, and reduced inflammation. This provides a form of evidence for why incorporating the jackfruit would be beneficial for the immune system and body as a whole. 

Jackfruit and gut health

Jackfruit contains soluble fibre, which absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance. Fibre is seen as a key part of the diet that provides healthy gut signs. This type of fibre can help to reduce both the absorption and the digestion of nutrients, allowing the delivery of carbohydrates into the bloodstream to occur slowly. In addition to this, there are microorganisms in the colon, which are able to ferment soluble fibre and this insoluble fibre bulks up the stool, allowing food to flow more easily through the digestive system. This is a health benefit as it helps to prevent constipation, promoting normal and regular bowel movements.

The soluble fibre in jackfruit acts as a prebiotic, where there are non-digestible chemicals that encourage the growth of specific microorganisms, primarily probiotics. When gut bacteria ferment soluble fibre, they produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Examples of such SCFAs include butyrate, acetate, and propionate, which can give rise to many different forms of health benefits, including supplying the cells with energy that lines the colon and exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. A diverse microbiome is often related to better overall gut health and resilience to digestive illnesses, which boost the immune system. While jackfruit does not contain probiotics (living beneficial bacteria), its prebiotic fibre can aid in the growth and function of probiotics found naturally in the gut or obtained elsewhere.5 Gut bacteria break down dietary fibre, releasing anti-inflammatory compounds that help to reduce gut inflammation. Chronic inflammation is connected to a wide range of digestive disorders. The fermentation process in the colon can improve nutrient absorption, resulting in increased total nutrient utilization and appropriate gut function. Including jackfruit in a fibre-rich, plant-based diet can help maintain digestive health.

Anti-inflammatory properties

There are immunomodulatory effects that can be present in jackfruit phytonutrients that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, especially with the suppression of chronic inflammation.6 Chronic inflammation has a negative effect on the immune system, where it can cause the immune response to be lowered. However, with the suppression of chronic inflammation at this point, the immune system is able to work more effectively, as the white blood cells, such as the phagocytes and lymphocytes, can perform more efficiently and carry out their immune functions to the best of their ability. By lowering inflammation, it may assist the body in developing an effective immune response to infections and other hurdles. While more research is needed, jackfruit's anti-inflammatory properties may aid with certain autoimmune illnesses.

As a whole, it can be determined that the jackfruit is able to carry out anti-inflammatory effects by reducing chronic inflammation within the body, but it is an important point to mention that by maintaining the integrity of the immune system, the individual is able to have a prolonged life and it can be seen within specific individuals who have a weaker general immune system to incorporate this food into their diet, especially with those who have higher than normal levels of chronic inflammation such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and many more. 

Potential concerns or allergies

Even though we have discussed many of the different health benefits of jackfruit and its contribution to the immune support system, there are some concerns that individuals may develop allergic reactions. Although jackfruit allergies and sensitivities are not as common, it is important to be aware of potential concerns, especially for individuals who have previous knowledge of allergies to particular fruits or other foods.

Symptoms of jackfruit allergies involve the common symptoms associated with many typical allergies such as; itching, hives, swelling, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea and if taken at a higher rate of consumption, there are many severe reactions which may follow including trouble breathing and anaphylaxis and if not treated in time, death. 

People with latex allergies may be particularly sensitive to cross-reactivity with some fruits, such as jackfruit. This is because the proteins present in Latex and jackfruit are very similar, and because of this, there will be an experience of cross-sensitivity.7

Allergic responses arise when the immune system erroneously recognizes jackfruit proteins as hazardous, eliciting an immune response. While the immune system's role is to protect the body, allergies can create an overreaction, resulting in symptoms that impair overall well-being.

Allergy testing may be recommended, particularly if there is a risk of cross-reactivity. Individuals with established allergies to jackfruit, as well as those who suspect they are allergic, should seek medical assistance whenever they can in order to identify these and determine whether the risks are greater than the health benefits before going on to incorporating it into their regular diet. 

Even though the jackfruit can be a healthy addition to a diet, individuals with related allergies or a history of latex allergies should be careful enough before incorporating it into their diet. Allergies to jackfruit can have a negative effect on the immune support, and as a result, it can even worsen the immune system, which is the opposite of what is wanted. Due to the allergic response and potential inflammation, emphasizing the importance of individualized care and self-awareness of health issues is important to bear in mind. 


With the above points mentioned before, it seems that jackfruit is a very beneficial form of food that is able to provide many helpful health benefits to the body, especially around the immune system. At many different points of their ripeness, the jackfruits have a generally low-calorie count, high prebiotic properties and dietary fibre content, which is able to promote a healthy gut microbiome. Notably, its low-calorie count, high dietary fibre content, and prebiotic properties improve overall gut health by promoting healthy gut flora. Crucially, jackfruit's high vitamin C content functions as a potent antioxidant, actively combating oxidative stress in the body. Because of this, vitamin C is able to promote the functioning of the immune cells due to the antioxidant effects and elimination of the free radicals associated with diseases. With the phytonutrients present in jackfruit being able to alleviate and reduce chronic inflammation within the body, the immunological function can be improved, and this is the advantage it poses in promoting immune system support. 

As many new discoveries are being carried out and as the technology surrounding these proves, a more sophisticated and better understanding surrounding the mysteries of the jackfruit come to light, proving how much of a valuable asset this fruit can be when being incorporated into the diet of an individual with a significantly weaker immune system compared to another individual with a stronger general immune system. 


  1. Ranasinghe R a. SN, Maduwanthi SDT, Marapana R a. UJ. Nutritional and Health Benefits of Jackfruit (Artocarpus Heterophyllus Lam.): a Review. International Journal of Food Science. 2019. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijfs/2019/4327183/
  2. Iqbal K, Khan A, Muzaffar M, Khan A. Biological Significance of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) in Human Health -A Review. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition. 2004;3(1):5–13. Available from: http://irep.iium.edu.my/1705/1/fin170.pdf
  3. Yoo S, Kim K, Nam H, Lee D. Discovering Health Benefits of Phytochemicals with Integrated Analysis of the Molecular Network, Chemical Properties and Ethnopharmacological Evidence. Nutrients [Internet]. 2018 Aug 8;10(8). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6115900/
  4. Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, Antioxidants and Functional foods: Impact on Human Health. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2010 Jul;4(8):118–26.
  5. Trejo Rodríguez IS, Alcántara Quintana LE, Algara Suarez P, Ruiz Cabrera MA, Grajales Lagunes A. Physicochemical Properties, Antioxidant Capacity, Prebiotic Activity and Anticancer Potential in Human Cells of Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) Seed Flour. Molecules. 2021 Aug 11;26(16):4854.
  6. Belmonte-Herrera BH, Domínguez-Avila JA, Wall-Medrano A, Ayala-Zavala JF, Preciado-Saldaña AM, Salazar-López NJ, et al. Lesser-Consumed Tropical Fruits and Their by-Products: Phytochemical Content and Their Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Potential. Nutrients. 2022 Sep 5;14(17):3663.
  7. Jalil M, Hostoffer R, Wu SS. Jackfruit Anaphylaxis in a Latex Allergic Non-Healthcare Worker. Allergy & Rhinology. 2021 Jan;12(1):215265672110091.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Jeyageethan Jeyathevan

Masters of Clinical Neuroscience - MSc, University College London

Currently a student at the prestigious institute of neurology associated with University College London, Jeyageethan has a strong sense of scientific writing whilst also having experience in the healthcare sector and pharmaceutical industry having carried out many projects and shadowing internships following closely with a great point of accuracy to detail.

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