Breadfruit (Ukwa) Health Benefits And Side Effects
You’ve probably never heard of or a seen a breadfruit before. That’s fair, considering its not as popular as the usual sugar tasting fruit you’re used to.
Notwithstanding, it is a champion fruit to those who are familiar with its benefits. Not to worry, this article will reveal to you most of the valuable advantages of the fruit.
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a from the family Moraceae, with other species such as the mulberry, breadnut,fig and jackfruit. It originated in New Guinea, and was further spread to other tropical regions of the world including Nigeria during the Colonial Era.
It has its name derived from the texture of the moderately ripe fruit when cooked, similar to freshly baked bread and having a potato-like flavor.
It is also called African breadfruit or Ukwa in Igbo,Nigeria.
The Nutritional Composition of Breadfruit
Breadfruit is a highly sought-after fruit due to its medicinal properties, It contains high levels of essential vitamins and minerals especially in the seeds. The fruit itself and the leaves are also packed with nutrients. They contain;
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
This adaptable fruit can be eaten in varied ways.
- In Africa it can be cooked into a whole main dish.
- The seeds can be roasted into nuts and eaten with other accessory foods.
- The seeds can also be boiled with little or no seasoning and consumed as a healthy snack.
- It can be candied, pickled, or cut into strips to make breadfruit fries.
- Breadfruit can be mashed with garlic and oil, or with coconut milk and baked in banana leaves to improve the flavor.
- The core and raw fruit can be ground and milled into flour.
Health Benefits of Breadfruit
This is probably the most important benefit of eating breadfruit. It contains all the nutrients of a regular fruit, but without the sugar qualities that could harm a diabetic.
The Fiber in breadfruit inhibits the absorption of glucose from the food we eat, thus controlling diabetes, it also contains compounds, which are needed by the pancreas for producing insulin in the body.
Improves cardiovascular health
Breadfruit is an excellent source of potassium. The primary nutrient reduces blood pressure in the body and regulates the heart rate by minimizing the effects of sodium.
It conducts electrical charges that drive muscular contraction in the skeletal system including the heart. Dietary fiber helps reduce cholesterol by preventing its absorption in the gut. It lowers bad cholesterol, while elevating good cholesterol in the body.
Fiber in breadfruit flushes out the toxins from the intestine, increasing the proper functioning of the bowel and intestines.
It prevents digestion-related diseases like heartburn, acidity, ulcer and gastritis, eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.
Prevents Skin Inflammation
Fresh breadfruit extracts may help to reduce unwanted inflammation. It inhibits the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes and prevents the overproduction of nitric oxides, thus preventing excessive inflammation.
Also drinking breadfruit juice helps to even out the skin tone and firm the skin by rejuvenating its appearance. The amount of Vitamin C in breadfruit helps in collagen production, a protein which provides elasticity to the skin.
For New Cell Growth
The antioxidants in breadfruit provide an effective shield against sun rays and sun damage. It also encourages the growth of new cells to make the damaged skin appear smooth and young.
Nourishes Hair and Treats Dandruff
Breadfruit contains several hair-friendly nutrients, which are required for maintaining the health of the hair. Vitamin C in breadfruit facilitates the absorption of minerals and provides nourishment to the hair.
It is also a good source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which naturally condition the hair, reducing hair breakage. The fatty acids present in breadfruit regulate the sebum production in the scalp, reducing dandruff and itchiness.
The seeds of breadfruit can be ground to flour, pressed for oil and used as flavoring in alcoholic drinks.
Resistance to Infections
Breadfruit contains plenty of antioxidants, which build resistance against infections and boost the immune system. It removes from the harmful effects of free radicals that can otherwise lead to aging and age-related diseases.
Aids Weight Loss
It is an ideal food for those on a weight loss program since it is low in calories and high on nutrition. Being a high fiber food, it provides satiety without drastically increasing calorie consumption.
Side Effects Of Breadfruit
When ingested by mouth, the breadfruit fruit and seed are LIKELY SAFE when consumed in food quantities.
There isn’t enough data to tell if breadfruit is safe to use as a medicine or what the potential adverse effects are.
Breadfruit as a medication during pregnancy and breast-feeding: Little is known regarding the use of breadfruit as a medicine during pregnancy and breast-feeding. To be on the safe side, avoid using it.
Breadfruit has been linked to a higher risk of bleeding in people with bleeding problems. If you have a bleeding issue, avoid using breadfruit as a remedy.
Breadfruit may trigger allergy responses in persons who are allergic to bananas or Benjamin figs.
Breadfruit may help to decrease blood pressure. In patients who already have low blood pressure, this could lead it to drop too low.
When selecting a breadfruit, make sure the fruit is firm and has greenish-yellow skin, with only a little brown cracking. Unripe fruits have bright green flesh and secrete white sap when cut.
Breadfruit under-ripe is a vegetable that can be cooked and eaten; when it is ripe it is known to be a fruit. Seeds may start to sprout in overripe fruits if not consumed early.
Breadfruit (Ukwa) Health Benefits And Side Effects