Breadfruit is a versatile fruit that belongs to the mulberry and jackfruit botanical family. They grow across tropical regions and the Pacific Islands, Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. Because of their availability, they are part of a staple diet in these locations. The common areas include Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Southern India. In addition, due to its nutritional profile, breadfruit is full of health benefits. For example, it is rich in vitamin C and thiamine. It also contains a high amount of dietary fibre.
The name breadfruit comes from the apparent association with bread. People cook the semi-ripe food, and the texture resembles that of bread with a hint of potato-like flavour. The roasted seeds taste like chestnuts, and you can eat them boiled or baked or ground into flour.
Breadfruit brings various health benefits to you. For example, it has anti-cancer properties, helps improve digestion, improves bone health etc. In addition, breadfruit flour is gluten-free and has a low glycemic index. Therefore, it is an excellent option for people with diabetes.
Breadfruit is one of the superfoods. It is a daily staple food for millions across the globe. It is due to its expansive nutrient profile. In addition, breadfruit enhances different dishes, ranging from soups to pasta.
Nutritional Value of Breadfruit
Breadfruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other components. Also, they contain vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, and B complex vitamins. They also contain minerals like folate, potassium, and many others. In addition, breadfruit contains high amounts of dietary fibre.
As per USDA, around 100 grams of breadfruit serving contains:
- Calories: 103 kcals
- Carbohydrates: 27.1 g
- Fat: 0.23 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Fibre: 4.9 g
Vitamins and Minerals
Breadfruit also contains fair amounts of vitamins and minerals.
- Potassium: 490 mg
- Calcium: 17 mg
- Iron: 0.5 mg
- Vitamin C: 29 mg
- Vitamin K: 0.5 mg
- Folate: 14 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
- Vitamin E: 0.1
Health Benefits of Breadfruit
Breadfruit has a rich nutrient profile. Therefore, the health benefits are innumerable. It is abundant in fibre. It is an excellent source of proteins, essential amino acids, vitamin C, B1, B5, and minerals. These nutrients help strengthen the immune system by reducing the chances of infections. They also improve skin and hair and aid in bone growth. In addition, the nutrients regulate diabetes, lower cholesterol levels, and boost skin and hair health.
1. Improves Heart Health
Breadfruit is rich in potassium. Potassium helps in smooth blood flow through the arteries. It does so by regulating muscular contraction in the heart. It, in turn, controls your heart rate and blood pressure.
High levels of bad cholesterol result in multiple cardiovascular diseases. These diseases include atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke etc. Studies show that dietary fibre helps in reducing cholesterol. This correlation is because fibre binds with cholesterol and carries it out of the body. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids help increase good cholesterol levels.
2. Prevents and Controls Diabetes
Breadfruit is an ideal food for people with diabetes. Since they are abundant in dietary fibre and protein, they are a protein-dense, low glycemic option. A study suggested that breadfruit flour helps control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Fibre passes through the digestive tract slowly. As a result, the food takes time to get digested. Thus, blood glucose levels don’t shoot up after a meal.
3. Aids Digestion
The dietary fibre helps in improving bowel movements. Dietary fibre absorbs water in the intestines and softens the stool. As a result, the stool passes out smoothly. Thus, fibre rich foods like breadfruit prevent constipation and indigestion.
They also improve gut health by fostering good bacteria in the body. In addition, studies have suggested that they prevent infections and inflammation by improving immunity.
4. Improves Brain Function
Breadfruit is a rich source of iron, vitamin C and many other nutrients. Iron is necessary for the proper functioning of blood cells. They play a significant role in transporting oxygen to all organs. In addition, low iron levels can result in anaemia. Also, due to the lack of iron, the oxygen supply to the brain reduces.
Vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids are antioxidant nutrients. Studies have demonstrated that antioxidants nutrients reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This benefit is because they reduce the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Moreover, antioxidants protect the brain cells and tissues. They also slow down the development of the disease.
5. Improves Reproductive Health
Breadfruit has Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Therefore, it improves both male and female fertility. A study showed that omega-3 fatty acids improve sperm motility. In addition, they help promote sperm synthesis.
Studies also suggest that omega-3 fatty acids improve PCOD in women. It also enhances insulin resistance. In addition, antioxidants present in breadfruit aid in preventing prostate and ovarian cancers.
6. Prevents Cancer
Antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids prevent cancer. Usually, cancer occurs due to the uncontrollable growth of cells, resulting from long-term free radical damage to the cells. As already stated, antioxidants help reduce the free radicals in the body. Thus, they prevent the growth and development of cancer. In addition, research has also demonstrated that antioxidants help destroy cancer cells.
7. Helps in Weight Management
Breadfruit fits effectively in a weight loss diet plan. Breadfruit is full of dietary fibre, essential to weight management. In addition, fibre keeps one satiated for more extended periods. As a result, the urge to snack on unhealthy foods reduces. Therefore, it helps prevent unhealthy weight gain.
Moreover, breadfruit is a dense source of protein. It contains essential amino acids. Notably, it includes leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are vital in building up muscle. In addition, studies suggest that protein boosts metabolism. Thus, consuming breadfruit can help in losing weight.
8. Improves Skin Health
Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis that improves skin elasticity. It also regenerates new skin cells. Additionally, studies have shown that vitamin C protects skin from sun damage. Therefore, it helps reduce the impact of harmful UVA and UVB rays- wrinkles, skin laxity, signs of ageing, etc. Thus one can conclude that eating this fruit safeguards you from skin changes linked to ageing. Since good skin results in a youthful appearance, adding breadfruit to the diet is a sure shot way to stay well-turned-out forever.
9. Regulates Blood Pressure
Hypertension can lead to stroke or heart failure when worsened. As per research, the potassium in breadfruit has antihypertensive properties. It helps reduce the stress on blood vessels by widening the arteries. Therefore, this makes the blood flow easier. Thereby, it regulates blood pressure and prevents hypertension.
10. Improves Bone Health
Breadfruit has very high mineral content. It also includes calcium, phosphorous, manganese, and magnesium. Research suggests that calcium and phosphorus are equally essential for healthy bones. They form a robust structure, improve bone density and prevent fractures. Ultimately, they reduce the risk of diseases like osteoporosis. Vitamin K in breadfruit also reduces the risk of bone disorders.
11. Strengthens Immunity
We already know the benefits of antioxidants on immune function. Additionally, fibre also plays a role in immunity. Studies show that fibre acts as food for the good bacteria in the gut. Therefore, it helps in promoting good bacteria. Meanwhile, they also destroy harmful bacteria.
Breadfruits reduce inflammation in the body. As a result, they improve the immune response to such pathogens and destroy them. They also help in regulating bowel movements.
How to Include Breadfruit in Your Diet
- Use them like any vegetable. You can steam, boil, fry, bake or cook breadfruits.
- You can use breadfruits to make fritters and pancakes. Also, blend them in flour to bake loaves of bread.
- You can also use it in curries, stews, and salads.
- Mash them to make dips and hummus. Hummus is a healthy Mediterranean dip.
Expecting mothers can experience side effects from consuming breadfruit. Therefore, please inform your doctor before consuming them. Talking to a doctor or a nutritionist before incorporating anything new into the diet will help prevent any adverse effects or complications. At the same time, any change in health parameters requires paying attention to one’s diet and calorie requirements.
Precautions and Certain Things to Keep in Mind
You need to be cautious if you are on any blood-thinning medicines such as warfarin. Vitamin K improves blood clotting. However, studies suggest that it can interact with the medication. Check with your doctor about possible drug interactions.
Though it is infrequent, breadfruit can cause allergic reactions. A study found that it causes severe symptoms such as rhinitis and urticaria.
Breadfruit may trigger a drop in blood pressure if you have low blood pressure. However, it affects people who already have low blood pressure. Breadfruit is a vasodilator. That is, it dilates your blood vessels. As a result, it facilitates smooth blood flow, which further lowers your blood pressure.
Breadfruit contains high amounts of potassium. Studies suggest that this is harmful to people with kidney diseases. When the kidney’s function falls, it must work harder to excrete potassium. Therefore, this can lead to the worsening of the condition. Thus, it is advisable to avoid breadfruit in such cases. Talk to your physician or dietitian before consuming them.
Other Uses of Breadfruit
Apart from the culinary aspect, it offers multiple benefits.
The breadfruit flower is an effective repellent. In addition, the flowers contain a few chemical compounds that repel mosquitoes and other insects. Therefore, it is a healthy alternative to DEET.
Latex and Sealant
The breadfruit sap works as a waterproof agent. Watercraft and chewing gums use this multifaceted component too. Canoe caulking uses them too.
Clothing and mosquito nets use fibres of breadfruit trees. It also finds usage in art forms. One harvests the bark periodically without harming the plant.
Breadfruit is a common ingredient in animal feed. The leaves and the fallen fruits get added to the meal, making it nutrient-rich for the animals.
Breadfruit timber is light and sturdy. Therefore, carpentry usage of wood is widespread. Thus, you find its use in canoe riggers and constructions.
Breadfruit is a nutritional winner and helps you meet your standard dietary requirements. Also, it is dense in many vital nutrients. In addition, it has reasonable amounts of protein and fibre. High protein and fibre content make them a go-to option for diabetes.
They also have many other health benefits. For example, they aid in weight loss, skin health, immunity, etc. They make innovative dishes. However, it is essential to consult with your physician if you are on any medication. Also, be cautious while eating them if you have a history of food allergies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the benefits of eating breadfruit?
A. Breadfruit is loaded with nutrients. Consumption helps improve overall health. It helps lower cholesterol and reduces the chances of infections. It also improves bone, skin, and hair health. Moreover, it reduces the rate of glucose absorption in the body. It is a diabetic-friendly food. Regular intake also helps improve immunity.
Q. Is breadfruit a Superfood?
A. Yes, it is. It has potent nutrients. In addition, it is gluten-free and rich in protein and carbohydrates. Also, breadfruit is a rich source of omega fatty acids. Folate and fibres also improve their nutrient value. It is also full of antioxidants phytonutrients.
Q. Is breadfruit high in sugar?
A. Around 200 grams of breadfruit contain 24 grams of sugar. However, it is based on how ripe they are. However, they have a low glycemic index due to their high fibre content. As a result, this makes them diabetic-friendly food.
Q. Is breadfruit good for diabetes?
A. Breadfruits are dense in dietary fibre. They slow down the release of glucose from food. Therefore, this prevents a spike in blood sugar after a meal. Breadfruit flour has high protein and is a great low glycemic food. As a result, it is a good option for people with diabetes.
Q. Is breadfruit anti-inflammatory?
A. Yes, breadfruits are high in fibre. Fibre serves as food to the gut bacteria and helps the good bacteria grow. These friendly bacteria help in improving immune response. Thus, breadfruits prevent inflammation.
Q. What breadfruit does to the body
A. Breadfruit is a versatile food. It is a good source of antioxidants, essential minerals, omega fatty acids, etc. Therefore, they offer several health benefits. It has anti-cancer, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory properties. It also improves skin, heart, and brain health. Additionally, it helps in muscle gain and weight loss.
Q. Can breadfruit make you fat?
A. No, it doesn’t. Instead, it is an ideal food for weight loss. Breadfruit is a high fibre and low-calorie food. Therefore, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer and reduces the tendency to binge eat. It also prevents unhealthy weight gain.
Q. Is breadfruit good for the kidney?
A. A regular recommended dose of breadfruit helps. It helps reduce uric acid. Moreover, they regulate blood creatinine levels. Creatinine is the by-product of cell activity that kidneys eliminate. However, creatinine circulates as a waste product in urine. Healthy kidneys filter creatinine out of the blood.
Q. Is breadfruit good for high blood pressure?
A. Yes, breadfruit is a vasodilator. It may help widen your arteries helping, blood flow smoothly through the arteries. It, in turn, helps reduce your high blood pressure.
Q. Is breadfruit high in potassium?
A. Breadfruit is a rich source of potassium. For example, around 200 grams of breadfruit contains 1080 milligrams of potassium. Thus, it helps the heart to beat efficiently.
Q. Does breadfruit make you gassy?
A. Breadfruit may cause gas formation in some people. However, it varies with their dietary habits. When taken in appropriate amounts, it doesn’t do any harm. However, taking them in excess causes flatulence. This condition is due to their high fibre content.
Q. Is breadfruit good for dialysis patients?
A. Breadfruit is high in potassium. During renal failure, the kidney fails to eliminate potassium. Therefore, it accumulates in the blood, and excess potassium alters heartbeats resulting in heart-related ailments. Thus, it is better to limit breadfruit consumption.
Q. What are the health benefits of breadfruit leaf?
A. Breadfruit leaves are effective in reducing blood pressure. Studies have shown that leaf extracts can have antihypertensive properties. Therefore, they help widen the arteries. Also, this makes it easier for the heart to pump blood. Thus, reducing blood pressure.
Q. Is breadfruit good for the liver?
A. Yes. The antioxidant flavonoids protect the liver cells from free radical damage. Cell injury triggers liver disease. They help in getting rid of toxins from the body. In addition, they protect the organs by reducing oxidative damage.
Q. Can a pregnant woman eat breadfruit?
A. Yes, breadfruit is usually safe. However, you should check with your doctor to rule out any adverse effects.
Q. How do you use breadfruit?
A. You can use mature breadfruit in several cuisines. For example, use them steamed, boiled, or fried. You can mill the dried breadfruit into flour for bread. People use it in stews and salads in exciting ways. Healthy dips like hummus can have breadfruit. Ripened ones are creamy and sweet, and they can help make yummy desserts.