Jackfruit's Potential For Heart Health

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Introduction 

Have you ever considered that a tropical fruit, like jackfruit, could hold the key to promoting a healthier heart and well-being?

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) can be described as a very large and heavy fruit - it is one of the largest tropical fruits consumed around the world. 

  • Jackfruit originates in the Western Ghats of India and can be commonly found in other parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, and some regions in South America. 
  • Jackfruit has gained popularity due to the fruit’s nutraceutical properties. These properties are bioactive compounds within the fruit that have potential health-promoting properties and may help manage and even prevent medical conditions!1 

Jackfruit is a good source of several nutrients and is rich in compounds that can help those with heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, and strokes.1 This article will explore the cardiovascular benefits of jackfruit!

Nutritional composition of jackfruit

Jackfruit contains a low number of calories, with 94 calories per 100g.1  

The fruit consists of different types of nutritional components, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fibre. Different types of minerals, for example, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper.2

A cup of sliced raw jackfruit (165g) can offer the following nutrients:3

Nutrition Amount (unit)
Protein2.84 g
Fat1.06 g
Carbohydrate38.3 g
Dietary fibre2.5 g 
Magnesium47.8 mg
Potassium739 mg 
Vitamin A182 IU
Vitamin C22.6 mg 

It must be noted that depending on the variety and maturity stage of jackfruit, the chemical composition can differ. 

High fibre content

  • High fibre content in jackfruit seed compared to the jackfruit pulp.4
  • Incorporating jackfruit into your diet may contribute to promoting heart health. According to findings from various studies, individuals who consume high levels of fibre:5
    • Have a lower risk of developing heart diseases and stroke, ranging from 7-24%. 
    • Additionally, they can also lower their chances of getting sick or dying due to cardiovascular diseases by 17-28%
  • Increased fibre intake may lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by reducing:5

 Low in saturated fat and cholesterol 

  • Consumption of saturated fat can raise LDL cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart-related diseases.6 
  • Jackfruit contains minimal to no amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol3
  • reducing saturated fat consumption and incorporating jackfruit into your diet can help lower cholesterol levels and promote heart health.

Antioxidant properties

  • Jackfruit contains antioxidant properties that help protect our body from damage.1,2
    • One of the antioxidants within the jackfruit is carotenoids. Carotenoids work as a pigment in the fruit, giving the jackfruit its colour during ripening - ‘the yellow colour’. 
    • Another example includes vitamins A and C - which are rich in jackfruit. 
  • Antioxidants: they can delay or stop a process called oxidation which can produce too many ‘free radicals’, which can be harmful.1,2
  • Free radicals can cause:7,8
    • Cell damage 
    • Disturbance in homeostasis
    • Increase oxidative stress  
    • Inflammation 
  • This can contribute to the initiation and progression of heart diseases and atherosclerosis.8
  • Antioxidant agents:8  
    • Protect you against the effects of free radicals 
    • Maintain the body’s internal balance
    • Help reduce oxidative stress 
    • Protect against inflammation  

Blood pressure regulation

  • The consumption of small amounts of food containing potassium and high amounts of salt can elevate blood pressure. Hence increasing and including food containing potassium in your diet can help regulate blood pressure.9
  • Jackfruit contains potassium, which can reduce the effects caused by sodium and help regulate blood pressure by reducing the levels.1,9
    • Lowers the risk of heart disease development and stroke.9
  • A research study wanted to compare whether potassium intake affects heart health in men and women. The research investigated the effects in men and women by comparing a group with the highest potassium intake to those with the lowest potassium intake.10
    • The group of men and women who had the highest potassium intake had a reduced risk of developing heart disease and stroke by 7% and 11%, respectively, compared to low potassium intake.10

Management of diabetes

  • Jackfruit has a low glycaemic index11 
  • Individuals with diabetes are at risk of heart failure because of elevated blood sugar, blood pressure levels, too much LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol levels that can contribute to the impairing of blood vessels and the nerves regulating the heart, damaging and hardening of artery walls.12
  • Low glycaemic index food can help:13,14,15
    • Manage glycemic levels and improve blood lipid profile (cholesterol), especially for individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
    • Can help reduce blood pressure post-meal.
    • Reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
  • A research study found that individuals who consumed a diet characterised by a low glycaemic index and glycaemic load had a lower risk of heart-related conditions and death than those with diets characterised by a high glycaemic index and glycaemic load.16

Considerations and precautions  

  • May not be suitable for individuals with birch pollen or latex allergy.17,18 Jackfruit is generally safe for most people, but there are case reports that individuals can experience anaphylaxis reactions to Jackfruit, especially those with birch/pollen allergies17,18
  • Ensure you are incorporating a variety of food and fruit into your diet. Jackfruit, though nutritious, should be part of a diverse and balanced diet 

Summary

Jackfruit is a good addition to meals:

  • Packed with high fibre content, it helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. 
  • Its low saturated fat and cholesterol content may contribute to cardiovascular wellness. 
  • The antioxidant properties of jackfruit further support heart health by combating oxidative stress. 
  • Rich in potassium which can help regulate blood pressure. 
  • Its low glycemic index makes it a favourable choice for managing blood sugar levels. 

Combining jackfruit consumption with a diverse range of nutrient-rich foods is advisable to maximise the benefits. Moreover, maintaining a balanced diet is crucial for overall heart health.

References

  1. Ranasinghe RASN, Maduwanthi SDT, Marapana RAUJ. Nutritional and health benefits of jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.): a review. Int J Food Sci [Internet]. 2019 Jan 6 [cited 2024 Jan 9];2019:4327183. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6339770/
  2. Tripathi K, Kumar P, Kumar R, Saxena R, Kumar A, Badoni H, et al. Efficacy of jackfruit components in prevention and control of human disease: A scoping review. J Educ Health Promot [Internet]. 2023 Oct 31 [cited 2024 Jan 9];12:361. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10743863
  3. Fooddata central [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 9]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174687/nutrients
  4. McRae MP. Dietary fiber is beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: an umbrella review of meta-analyses. J Chiropr Med [Internet]. 2017 Dec [cited 2024 Jan 9];16(4):289–99. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5731843/
  5. McRae MP. Dietary fiber is beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: an umbrella review of meta-analyses. J Chiropr Med [Internet]. 2017 Dec [cited 2024 Jan 9];16(4):289–99. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5731843/
  6. nhs.uk [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2024 Jan 9]. Facts about fat. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-types/different-fats-nutrition/ 
  7. Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacogn Rev [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2024 Jan 9];4(8):118–26. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
  8. Elsayed Azab A, A Adwas  Almokhtar, Ibrahim Elsayed AS, A Adwas A, Ibrahim Elsayed  Ata Sedik, Quwaydir FA. Oxidative stress and antioxidant mechanisms in human body. JABB [Internet]. 2019 Feb 21 [cited 2024 Jan 9];6(1):43–7. Available from: http://medcraveonline.com/JABB/oxidative-stress-and-antioxidant-mechanisms-in-human-body.html
  9. CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022 [cited 2024 Jan 10]. Potassium and sodium. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/salt/potassium.htm
  10. Wouda RD, Boekholdt SM, Khaw KT, Wareham NJ, De Borst MH, Hoorn EJ, et al. Sex-specific associations between potassium intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular outcomes: the EPIC-Norfolk study. European Heart Journal [Internet]. 2022 Aug 7 [cited 2024 Jan 10];43(30):2867–75. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/43/30/2867/6612684
  11. Hettiaratchi UPK, Ekanayake S, Welihinda J. Nutritional assessment of a jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) meal. 2011 Jun 21 [cited 2024 Jan 10];56(2):54. Available from: https://cmj.sljol.info/articles/10.4038/cmj.v56i2.3109
  12. CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022 [cited 2024 Jan 10]. Diabetes and your heart. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-and-heart.html
  13. Zafar MI, Mills KE, Zheng J, Regmi A, Hu SQ, Gou L, et al. Low-glycemic index diets as an intervention for diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2019 Oct 1 [cited 2024 Jan 10];110(4):891–902. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002916522012643
  14. Hosseininasab M, Norouzy A, Nematy M, Bonakdaran S. Low-glycemic-index foods can decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the short term. Int J Hypertens [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2024 Jan 10];2015:801268. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609819/
  15. Goff LM, Cowland DE, Hooper L, Frost GS. Low glycaemic index diets and blood lipids: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases [Internet]. 2013 Jan [cited 2024 Jan 10];23(1):1–10. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0939475312001524
  16. Jenkins DJA, Dehghan M, Mente A, Bangdiwala SI, Rangarajan S, Srichaikul K, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and cardiovascular disease and mortality. N Engl J Med [Internet]. 2021 Apr 8 [cited 2024 Jan 10];384(14):1312–22. Available from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2007123 
  17. Jalil M, Hostoffer R, Wu SS. Jackfruit anaphylaxis in a latex allergic non-healthcare worker. Allergy Rhinol (Providence) [Internet]. 2021 Jan [cited 2024 Jan 11];12:215265672110091. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/21526567211009195 
  18. Health benefits of jackfruit - klarity health library [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2024 Jan 12]. Available from: https://my.klarity.health/health-benefits-of-jackfruit/

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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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Nithursha Nagendrabalan

Master of Sciences in Cancer, University College London, England

I possess a solid academic background in biomedical sciences and cancer research. Encountering complex information through my educational journey has emphasised the vital need to render knowledge accessible to all. With my extensive knowledge and recognition of the significance of making science understandable, I am committed to translating complex scientific concepts into accessible articles.

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