Do not confuse breadfruit as a type of pastry. Breadfruit is actually the produce of a type of flowering tree in the genus Moraceae — also called the fig or mulberry family. The breadfruit is a close relative to the breadnut and jackfruit. The name ‘breadfruit’ was coined due to its appearance. Like its brother jackfruit, the breadfruit is covered with spikes but features a soft, smooth, creamy flesh in the inside. The breadfruit looks almost exactly as a freshly baked bread with a potato-like taste when cooked. Each fruit weighs about 1 – 5 kilograms. The breadfruit originated in the region of Oceania before it was widely spread across other tropical countries such as Puerto Rico, India, Philippines, Jamaica, etc.
Breadfruit quickly became a staple food in tropical countries. It can be eaten in various ways. The said fruit can be boiled, fried, baked, or roasted in an open fire. Whole fruits like the breadfruit can be filled with other foods for added flavor. The breadfruit has so much to offer: food, fodder, timber, etc. It can even serve as an insect repellant due to its abundance of phytochemicals. Even its seeds are edible and can provide essential nutrients. This humble fruit holds a wealth of vitamins and minerals as shown below:
Nutrition Facts (per 100g) RDA
Carbohydrates 27.12 g
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g
Fat 0.23 g
Protein 1.07 g
Vitamin A 22 μg
Thiamine 0.11 mg 10%
Riboflavin 0.03 mg 3%
Niacin 0.9 mg 6%
Pantothenic acid 0.457 mg 9%
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 8%
Folate B9 14 μg 4%
Choline 9.8 mg 2%
Vitamin C 29 mg 35%
Vitamin E 0.1 mg 1%
Calcium 17 mg 2%
Iron 0.54 mg 4%
Magnesium 25 mg 7%
Manganese 0.06 mg 3%
Phosphorus 30 mg 4%
Potassium 490 mg 10%
Zinc 0.12 mg 1%
15 Health Benefits of Breadfruit You Should Know
1. Keeps High Sugar Levels at Bay
It is a myth that diabetic individuals must eliminate starchy and sugary fruits in their diet. Regular consumption of breadfruit is actually ideal for diabetics because of its high fiber content. Breadfruit aids in the absorption of glucose by the human body. It has certain compounds that are crucial in producing much needed insulin. By doing so, you can always maintain control over diabetes.
2. Breadfruit Consumption Boosts Energy
You can have a quick energy boost without having another shot of espresso. Too much caffeine a day can be bad for your health. For a healthier alternative, munch on fried or baked breadfruit or breadfruit chips. A cup is all you need to feel re-energized. It is an excellent snack: it suppresses your appetite and makes you feel full and provides the energy you need without a heavy calorie burden.
3. Aids in Digestion
If you are always constipated or otherwise getting frequent trips to the bathroom because of diarrhea, then it’s time to replace pudding with breadfruit as dessert. One of the causes of colon cancer is slow metabolism and poor food choices. The fiber in breadfruit eliminates toxins from the intestines and helps in the proper function of the bowel so you can pass stool easily. By flushing out toxins, the mucous lining of the colon will always be free from cancer-causing chemicals and digestion-related diseases.
4. Good for Heart and Brain Development
You no longer have to fish for tuna just to get a dose of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Breadfruit is rich in these healthy fats. Your body requires these fatty acids for maintaining a healthy heart. Omega-3 fatty acid is also beneficial for the development of the brain. Many health experts have cited that children who are habitually eating breadfruit (and foods high in Omega-3) are quite intelligent. Omega-3 fatty acids also have remarkable effects in treating depression.
5. Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
Besides omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the high fiber content of the breadfruit enables proper blood distribution throughout the body without the interference of accumulated blood clots. You need to maintain normal cholesterol levels to ensure the health of your cardiovascular system. To prevent hypertension and strokes caused by blood clots, elevate the production of HDL (good cholesterol) and reduce the production of LDL (bad cholesterol). Incorporating breadfruit in your diet will supply ample fiber, helping kick start this process of cholesterol optimization.
6. Good for Bone Health
The omega fatty acids found in breadfruit is not only for the proper development of the heart and brain. It also promotes bone health. Breadfruit also contains calcium and magnesium, essential minerals for synthesis of new bone tissue.
7. Improves Fertility and Good For Pregnant Women
Again, the high content of omega fatty acids found in breadfruit can promote reproduction. It is crucial in the balanced production of prostaglandin which regulate different physiological functions in the body including the production of other hormones. Omega-3s have been proven to be significant in the early neurological and visual development of the baby. Omega-3s also help in producing breast milk. And let’s not forget folate, which is well established to promote fertility and development of the fetus in the womb.
8. First Line of Defense Against Infection
Breadfruit contains much higher vitamin C compared to its brother jackfruit. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in keeping your body free from infections. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells, and buffers oxidative damage propagated by free radicals. An enjoyable way to combat colds and flu is eating a plate of breadfruit snacks- why wouldn’t you?
9. Pain Relief for Toothache
Toothaches are just intolerable and we want a pain reliever that works fast enough. Roasted breadfruit can be used as a first aid solution for toothaches before you can make an appointment with your dentist. Just be sure to not chew on the side of the painful tooth!
10. Prevents Inflammation of the Skin
You can prevent or treat skin Inflammation by simply consuming breadfruit or using its extracts. Breadfruit inhibits the activity of certain enzymes that causes the inflammation. It also prevents the production of nitric oxide locally that can cause further inflammation. Nitric oxide is an essential chemical, but can worsen inflammation as it speeds up delivery of pro-inflammatory compounds.
11. Treat Skin Conditions
Skin conditions can be painful, embarrassing, and sometimes even depressing. Good thing the leaves of the breadfruit tree can be grounded and applied to your itchy rashes. The latex of the said fruit can also be applied on the skin to treat psoriasis, eczema and more. You don’t have to ask for a doctor’s prescription, nor do you need to break the bank. It is cheap, organic, and effective!
12. Collagen Production
You need collagen to help maintain a youthful glow to your skin. However, you cannot produce collagen when you lack vitamin C. Without enough collagen, you’ll lose your skin’s elasticity and your skin will wrinkle prematurely. Thanks to breadfruit’s abundance of vitamin C, you can encourage faster collagen production to achieve and maintain healthy glowing skin.
13. Boost Cell Regeneration
The breadfruit’s abundance in antioxidants shield your skin from the damaging effects of UV rays and pollutants. With its high vitamin C content, your skin can heal faster and leave a less visible scar which can vanish over time.
14. Nourishes Hair
Regular intake of breadfruit can help strengthen your hair from roots to tips. It has anti-inflammatory properties which open up hair follicles; thus promoting hair growth. Adding breadfruit to your diet can encourage hair to grow healthier at a faster rate.
It is also an ideal treatment for thinning hair caused by deficiency of essential B vitamins and cofactors.
15. Treats Dandruff
There is no good in having long thick hair when your scalp is full of visible Flakes. Try eating breadfruit instead of purchasing a new anti-dandruff shampoo. The breadfruit’s omega fatty acids are good at treating dandruff and relieving itchiness caused by dry scalp conditions.
Not only is the breadfruit a substantial source of food, it also serves as a remedy and a prevention to countless health issues. The humble breadfruit brought to you by Mother Nature is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It is gluten-free and can be consumed by all ages as a fruit or vegetable. Plus, it is extremely tasty- so why not?