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The Jackfruit

Updated: October 15, 2011 5:41 pm

Huge jackfruits hanging from the trees on roadside are a common sight in the southern states. It is the largest fruit grown on trees. In a ripe jackfruit we can find many sweet pods with strong odour like that of mangoes and guavas. It is one of the earliest known fruits to man as it was cultivated some 3,000 to 6,000 years ago. We find it mentioned in Brihat Samhita in India. In other books around the world, it is described as wonder of the East. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh. This fruit has got many names. It is called panasa in Sanskrit, kathal in Hindi and chakka in Malayalam. In Kerala it is very common to grow pepper creepers around the jackfruit tree. People in South eat ripe as well as raw jackfruit whereas in North India (especially in Delhi) only raw jackfruits are available in the markets. These are consumed along with chapati or rice by cooking as curries. One must oil their hands and the knife to remove the sticky substance easily, this would also help in cutting the fruit without any difficulty.

Jackfruit is full of nutrients. It has a variety of vitamins and minerals. Besides it contains isoflavones, antioxidants and phytonutrients which have cancer-fighting properties. It is also good for indigestion and helps in curing ulcers. As it contains plenty of potassium it also helps in regulating BP problem. Powder of jackfruit leaves, maize leaves and dry coconut shell can cure boils on the skin. A jackfruit leaf can be used to cure injuries if warmed and tied as bandage. Skin diseases, asthma, diarrhea and fever can be cured with the powder of the roots of jackfruit tree. They can even help in reducing weight, tension and constipation. It is very easy to digest, gives instant energy and revitalises the body.

Health Benefits of jackfruit

► The fibre in the fruit helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.

► It is a good source of Vitamin A, a powerful nutrient to take care of the eye and protect it from macular degeneration and night blindness.

► Jackfruit contains vitamin C, which helps the body develop resistance against viral and bacterial infections. As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system by supporting the red blood cell function. Eating jackfruit prevents anaemia due to the presence of iron in the fruit.

► Vitamin C in jackfruit is also rich in phytonutrients which have anti-cancer and anti-aging properties. These phytonutrients scavenge the cancer-causing free radicals and eliminate them from the body.

► Jackfruit boosts energy instantly with simple sugars like fructose and sucrose and does not contain any saturated fats.

► Potassium in jackfruit helps control the blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack.

► Jackfruit plays an important role in the metabolism of thyroid as it contains abundant amounts of copper.

► Iron in this fruit helps in the proper blood circulation in the body.

► Jackfruit is a very rare fruit because it is rich in B complex group of vitamins and is a very good source of vitamin B6.

► Jackfruit seeds are very rich in nutrition. These are preserved and cooked along with vegetables or roasted and eaten as snacks.

Other Uses of jackfruit

► Jack wood is used to make musical instruments like dholak and kanjeera, furniture, impliments, brush backs, turnery and masts. Gum (latex) of the jackfruit tree is used in warnish and to caulk boats and bucket holes. The roots of the tree are used in making photo frames. From the jackfruit tree’s wood dust a rich yellow dye is derived after the process of boiling. This dye is used for dying silk and cotton robes of Boudh Bhikshus.

► Leaves of jackfruit tree are used as fodder for animals. In India we use the leaves as wrappers in culinary purpose and for eating food by joining the leaves with darbha or small tender pieces of sticks and used as plates.

By Nibhanapudi Suguna

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