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What Is Jackfruit Good For?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • The huge, hobnail-surfaced fruit known as jackfruit may be exotic, but it’s becoming more mainstream due to its extreme versatility, including its use as a stand-in for meat
  • Jackfruit has had a long tradition of uses, as a raw fruit, said to taste like a combination of mango, pineapple and banana, in salads and cooked like a vegetable as a stir-fry ingredient, demonstrating options both sweet and savory
  • Jackfruit contains lignans, isoflavones and other phytonutrients with wide-ranging health benefits, so eating it can help prevent serious diseases, lower blood pressure and slow down the degeneration of cells that causes visible aging
  • B vitamins, including niacin, folic acid, pyridoxine and riboflavin, plus calcium, thiamine, potassium and powerful antioxidants in jackfruit help protect you from free radicals and can even help repair DNA damage
  • How to separate jackfruit from its nubbly exterior is a step-by-step process; it’s helpful to know it contains a sticky sap known as “latex” that wearing rubber gloves will help you avoid, as will oiling your work surface and cutting knife

If you’ve ever been strolling through a supermarket produce section and noticed a rather large (or even gigantic) green fruit with a hobnail surface, it was probably a jackfruit. Native to southern India, but now spread to other warm areas of the world, such as Asia, South America, Africa and, in recent years, Florida, the Artocarpus heterophyllus is finding its way into the mainstream for several reasons.

The oblong jackfruit is the largest tree fruit and grows directly from the trunk and lower branches, making them cauliflorous, a botanical term that translates to “stem flower.” Jackfruits can weigh as much as 100 pounds and reach nearly 3 feet in length. Noticeably fragrant when ripe, they turn from green to light brown in the process and resemble breadfruit, aka Artocarpus altilis, which originated in New Guinea.

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