Managing Stress With Jackfruit

  • Irenosen AddehMaster of Science (MSc), Public Health, University of Debrecen, Hungary

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Introduction

Definition of stress

Scientific studies have debated the concept of stress since its first use in biomedical and physiological research done by Selye in 1950.1 Although various authors have emphasised the uncertainty and circularity of the definition of stress as a threat to homeostasis in general,1 stress has been defined as a state in which homeostasis is indeed threatened or perceived to be so.2 

Homeostasis refers to the complex dynamic equilibrium maintained by living organisms, constantly challenged by internal or external adverse forces, ensuring the stability of their internal environment.2

Stress is a state or condition where environmental demands exceed an organism's natural regulatory capacity. This condition often involves unpredictability and uncontrollability, leading to physiological and behavioural responses in the organism.1

Overview of Jackfruit and its potential benefits for stress management

Jackfruit, known for its large size and rich nutrient content, offers many health benefits, especially in stress management. Its composition includes carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Due to phytonutrients like carotenoids, Jackfruit's high antioxidant content, contributes to its stress-reducing properties.3 

Antioxidants fight against oxidative stress, which is a crucial factor in physiological stress. Also, jackfruit's high potassium content aids blood pressure regulation, further supporting its role in stress management. Jackfruit's diverse nutrient profile underscores its potential as a natural, health-promoting food for managing stress.3

Understanding stress

Types of stress (acute vs chronic)

The two major types of stress are seen as follows:4

  1. Acute stress is a short-term response to an immediate challenge or threat. It's the body's way of preparing for a challenge through heightened alertness and energy
  2. Chronic stress is the response to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period over which an individual perceives they have little or no control. It usually involves an endocrine system response in which corticosteroids are released

Common causes of stress

Some of the common causes of stress include:4 

  • Work pressure and job-related challenges
  • Financial problems and economic uncertainty
  • Personal relationships, including those with family and friends
  • Health issues, either personal or concerning family members
  • Significant life changes includes moving, changing jobs, or losing a loved one

Effects of stress on physical and mental health

Stress impacts both physical and mental health significantly. Physically, it can cause issues like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and changes in immune function. Mentally, stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairments. Chronic stress, in particular, can lead to long-term changes in the brain, affecting areas responsible for memory and emotion regulation. This can bring about a cycle of ongoing stress response, aggravating health issues further.4 

Nutritional profile of jackfruit

Key nutrients in jackfruit

Jackfruit is a non-seasonal fruit that has been a major contributor to the food supply of people and livestock when there was a shortage of staple food supply. A study referred to it as a poor man's food.3 The fruit contains essential nutrients and vitamins. Some of these include:3

  • Carbohydrates: Jackfruit contains a high percentage of starch. The carbohydrate concentration varies depending on the varieties, ranging from 37.4% to 42.5%
  • Proteins: There are amino acids in jackfruit, such as lysine, leucine, cysteine, arginine, methionine, tryptophan insert comma, and threonine. The jackfruit seed protein concentration may vary from 5.3% to 6.8%
  • Vitamins: Jackfruit is rich in vitamins like Vitamin C, the B-complex group of vitamins, and reasonable amounts of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), folic acid, niacin, and riboflavin. It has been observed that vitamin contents may change in different maturity stages of jackfruit
  • Minerals: Studies have shown that the flakes of ripe jackfruit are high in mineral nutritive value. The ripe jackfruit contains minerals like magnesium, organic acids and calcium
  • Fibre content: The fibre content of jackfruit is 0.33% - 0.4%

How these nutrients can potentially affect stress

Jackfruit's nutrients can potentially affect stress in many ways such as:5

  • The high fibre content in jackfruit aids digestion and promotes gut health, contributing to overall well-being
  • Its rich vitamin and mineral content, including potassium, magnesium, and B-complex vitamins, helps regulate blood pressure and support heart health, which are very important in managing stress
  • Jackfruit contains antioxidants that fight oxidative stress, a typical result of chronic stress
  • The jackfruit seeds, rich in dietary fibre and minerals, play a role in stress management by promoting a healthy digestive system and potentially reducing anxiety

Comparison with other stress-relieving foods

When compared to other tropical fruits that also relieve stress, such as apples, apricots, avocados, and bananas, jackfruit contains more minerals and vitamins, such as protein, calcium, iron, and thiamine.3

Potential risks and considerations

Possible side effects or allergic reactions

Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to jackfruit, especially those with birch pollen allergies. Symptoms can include oral itching and throat irritation. In rare cases, more severe reactions like dyspnea and throat swelling can occur.6 

Interaction with medications or other health conditions

There have been limited specific studies done on the particular interactions between jackfruit and drugs or other health conditions. However, owing to its rich nutrient profile, individuals with certain health conditions should consult a healthcare professional before it is added to their diet.6 

Advice on when to consult a healthcare professional

Individuals who are allergic to birch pollen or taking medications that may interfere with the nutrient composition of jackfruit should consult a healthcare professional before adding the fruit to their diet. This preventive measure is essential as it helps prevent drug interactions or aggravate known allergies. Also, an individual experiencing unusual symptoms after eating jackfruit should contact a qualified healthcare professional for proper assessment and guidance.6

Other stress management techniques

Complementary stress-reduction methods (e.g., exercise, meditation)

Some examples of complementary stress-reduction methods include:7 

  • Increasing cognitive awareness of stressors and coping involves recognising the causes of stress and understanding how to respond, which can lead to more effective coping strategies
  • Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, visual imagery, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis help calm the mind and body, and reduce stress levels
  • Learning anger management: Managing anger involves techniques to recognise and control anger responses, which can reduce stress and improve interpersonal relationships
  • Managing time: Effective time management can reduce feeling overwhelmed, thereby decreasing stress
  • Healthy eating and regular physical activity: A balanced diet and exercise improve overall health and resilience against stress
  • Anxiety reduction techniques: These include practices like deep breathing, mindfulness, and cognitive-behavioural strategies to lower anxiety levels, which are often linked with stress

Importance of a holistic approach to managing stress

Holistic stress management considers the entire person - body, mind, and spirit, and includes methods like yoga, meditation, proper nutrition, and physical activity. This approach recognises that different aspects of a person's life contribute to stress and addresses them comprehensively, aiming for overall well-being and balance rather than just targeting individual symptoms.7 

How jackfruit can be part of a broader stress management plan

As part of a broader stress management plan, Jackfruit offers numerous benefits because of its rich nutritional profile. It contains antioxidants and phytonutrients that help combat oxidative stress, a critical factor in stress-related issues. ackfruit's Essential vitamins and minerals support overall physical health, which is crucial in managing stress effectively. Its dietary fibre aids in digestion, further contributing to physical well-being. Incorporating jackfruit into a balanced diet can be an effective natural strategy in a comprehensive approach to managing stress.3

FAQs

Can eating jackfruit reduce stress levels?

Jackfruit can help reduce stress because of its high nutrient content, including antioxidants which combat oxidative stress.

What nutrients in jackfruit help in managing stress?

Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like potassium in jackfruit all play a key role in stress management.

How does jackfruit affect mental health and stress?

The nutrients in jackfruit can improve mood and reduce symptoms of stress, contributing to better mental health.

Can jackfruit be a part of a stress-relief diet?

The nutrient-rich profile of jackfruit makes it a vital addition to stress-relief diets.

How often should one consume jackfruit for stress management?

Regular intake of jackfruit as part of a balanced diet can be adequate, but specific frequency depends on an individual’s dietary needs.

Are there any specific ways to prepare jackfruit for stress relief?

No specific method is required; it can be consumed raw or cooked as part of a meal.

Summary

Managing stress with jackfruit involves using its rich nutritional profile for its stress-relieving benefits. Jackfruit contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like potassium, which are known to fight against oxidative stress and support overall mental health. Frequent consumption of jackfruit as part of a balanced diet can help reduce stress symptoms and improve mood. This approach highlights the possibility of natural foods like jackfruit in managing stress and promoting mental well-being.

References

  1. Koolhaas JM, Bartolomucci A, Buwalda B, De Boer SF, Flügge G, Korte SM, et al. Stress revisited: A critical evaluation of the stress concept. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews [Internet]. 2011 Apr [cited 2023 Dec 20];35(5):1291–301. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0149763411000224
  2. Chrousos GP. Stress and disorders of the stress system. Nat Rev Endocrinol [Internet]. 2009 Jul [cited 2023 Dec 20];5(7):374–81. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrendo.2009.106
  3. 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 Dec 20];2019:1–12. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijfs/2019/4327183/
  4. Cool J, Zappetti D. The physiology of stress. In: Zappetti D, Avery JD, editors. Medical Student Well-Being [Internet]. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2019 [cited 2023 Dec 21]. p. 1–15. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-030-16558-1_1
  5. Khan AU, Ema IJ, Faruk MR, Tarapder SA, Khan AU, Noreen S, Adnan M. A review on importance of Artocarpus heterophyllus L.(Jackfruit). Journal of Multidisciplinary Applied Natural Science. 2021.
  6. Bolhaar STHP, Van Ree R, Bruijnzeel‐Koomen CAFM, Knulst AC, Zuidmeer L. Allergy to jackfruit: a novel example of Bet v 1‐related food allergy. Allergy [Internet]. 2004 Nov [cited 2023 Dec 21];59(11):1187–92. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1398-9995.2004.00544.x
  7. Sharma M. Yoga as an alternative and complementary approach for stress management: a systematic review. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med [Internet]. 2014 Jan [cited 2023 Dec 22];19(1):59–67. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2156587213503344

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