Jackfruit is an exotic anti-cancer fruit which is usually grown in tropical areas of Asian countries. In India, it is specifically grown in South India and is popular as a meat substitute among vegetarians due to its texture. It is rich in macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and various phytonutrients.
Both the flesh and seeds of unripe jackfruit are consumed in boiled forms and curries whereas the flesh of fully ripe fruit can be eaten directly or consumed in the form of juices. Several parts of jackfruit plants such as leaves, bark, seeds and fruits have been used in traditional medicine for its medical properties such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and wound healing properties.
Despite all these benefits, people are still reluctant to use it due to intense flavour. Unfortunately, people are unaware of its cancer fighting properties of this magical fruit. Let’s learn about the health benefits of jackfruit to prevent cancer and how it can be used?
Health benefits of jackfruit in cancer prevention
Jackfruits contain several types of phytochemicals which have proven benefits in various chronic diseases such as cancer. The major phytonutrients present in jackfruit which contribute to its anti-cancer properties include Lignans, Isoflavones, Saponins, Flavonoids and Carotenoids.
These phytochemicals exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, thus preventing free radical induced damage, formation and proliferation of cancer cells in the body. They are useful in preventing the risk of different types of cancers such as lung, breast, gastric, cervical, melanoma, bone, liver, colorectal and prostate cancer.
Jackfruit also is rich in insoluble fiber which can help to smooth bowel movements and thus purify the intestines to prevent the risk of colon cancer. Dietary fibre also acts as an acceptable bulk laxative which slows down the exposure time, and coheres with cancer causing chemicals. It is also effective in protecting mucus membranes of colon and fighting stomach ulcers.
A clinical study showed that phytochemicals can reduce the toxicity of harmful carcinogens such as aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). In addition to anticancer properties, some studies have also shown that jackfruit flour containing pectin can also increase survival of bone marrow cells and stem cells and thus prevents the risk of leukopenia in patients receiving cancer treatment. It also helps to reduce the risk of chemotherapy induced side effects.
How can jackfruit be used?
Jackfruit is a very versatile fruit and thus can be used either raw or cooked. To prepare jackfruit for consumption, it should be first sliced in half and then its yellow fruit pods are removed. Seeds are also separated from flesh. White fibrous part inside of jackfruit is extremely sticky, therefore, you should keep this in mind while cutting it.
It can be consumed either plain, boiled or cooked in the form of both sweet and savoury dishes, depending on its ripeness. Unripe fruit is suitable for making curries, soups and savory recipes and ripe fruit is fit for making desserts, juices, jams and jellies.
These benefits make it essential to incorporate jackfruit into your diet by eating it ripe or in various dishes. It will provide an excellent meat alternative to vegans and a unique food to experiment. So, give this fruit a try and enjoy its health benefits.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the other health benefits of eating jackfruit?
Ans. Despite cancer prevention, jackfruit helps to boost immunity, aid digestion, strengthen bones, control blood pressure and sugar levels in the body.
Q. Are there any risks or side effects of eating jackfruit?
Ans. Jackfruit is safe and suitable for most people, but some people who are allergic to jackfruit may experience digestive problems.
Q. What are other anti-cancer fruits and vegetables?
Ans. A healthy diet, especially plant-based, plays a significant role in cancer prevention. The American Institute for Cancer Research (United States) recommends cruciferous vegetables, whole grains, citrus fruits and spices to reduce the risk of cancer.