Do you know Bread fruit? what looks like a fruit, tastes a little like bread and has so many nutrients that it is almost difficult to keep track of everyone? The answer: the fruit of bread. This powerful fruit has been a staple food for quite some time in the tropical areas where it commonly grows, and that is a very good thing. Breadfruit offers almost half of the recommended daily value of fiber in one serving and more than 100 percent of the vitamin C you need each day, not to mention more than a dozen other important nutrients. The nutritional value of the breadfruit cannot be overstated, considering that it has attracted the attention of a large amount of scientific research because of its impact on cancer, heart disease and inflammation. You can even use it as an insect repellent better than the main chemical spray insect repellent.
5 Benefits of Breadfruit:
Whether you live or not in a tropical environment where the breadfruit is grown regularly, I strongly suggest you know this amazing fruit. Who knows – maybe you can be part of encouraging your local produce markets to bring this powerful vitamin C food. Find out why.
1. Rich in Amino Acids to Help Your Body Store Nutrients:
- Do you know what are the basic components of your body? They are proteins known as amino acids, and they create the structure of your body’s cells, work to transport nutrients and support the functioning of all major body systems.
- According to a study by the University of British Columbia, the breadfruit contains “a full spectrum of essential amino acids and is especially rich in phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine and valine.”
- Due to the social and modern obstructions inherent in maintaining proper nutrition, it is important to supplement your diet with the broad spectrum of amino acids to maintain the highest level of functioning possible.
2. Prevents and Reverses Oxidative Stress:
- Another group of nutrients important for disease prevention are antioxidants.
- Found in a wide variety of food sources, antioxidants prevent and reverse oxidative stress, the damage that free radicals cause to body functions.
- Free radicals can be introduced into the body through overexposure to the sun, chemicals found in the environment and several other sources, but when you consume a diet full of antioxidant-rich foods, you can decrease the breakdown of your Age-related cells, as well as reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke (among other diseases).
- All edible parts of the breadfruit fruit contain an impressive antioxidant load and offer the potential for many positive bioactive processes due to their high presence of phenols.
- A research study in the spring of 2016 focused specifically on the antioxidant activity of the breadfruit in terms of the toxicity of cadmium, a common environmental toxin and endocrine disruptor.
- This particular study investigated the effect of cadmium on alterations in sperm count and activity and found that the tested methanol extract of the breadfruit caused a significant improvement in sperm count, motility (movement) and hormonal levels.
- An important antioxidant found in breadfruit is vitamin C, which is found in such a high amount that it more than covers the recommended daily value.
- Individuals who eat diets rich in fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of vitamin C have a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, as well as a longer life compared to those who do not have a high dietary intake of vitamin C.
3. Keeps Your Heart Strong:
- Due in part to its antioxidant content, in addition to other factors, the breadfruit is also excellent for the heart.
- It has been found to contain phytochemicals that protect the heart against atherosclerosis, a heart disease characterized by the slow formation of white blood cell pockets in the walls of the arteries that make them thicken.
- Eventually, atherosclerosis can lead to myocardial ischemia, a blockage of the blood supply to the heart that can lead to a heart attack.
- In 2006, the fruit of the bread was described as a good prospect for use in medicinal protection against this common disease.
- Another way it is beneficial for your heart is because of its ability to fight high cholesterol.
- In a rat model, a methanol extract from the breadfruit alleviated all serum levels (in the blood) and symptoms associated with high cholesterol.
- This demonstrates its potential as a cholesterol lowering food.
- The breadfruit is also incredibly high in fiber, offering almost half of the recommended daily intake in a single serving.
- A diet high in fiber is strongly associated with a reduced risk of high blood pressure, hypertension and other risk factors for heart disease, along with metabolic syndrome.
- Because the breadfruit has a high potassium content (with more than 30 percent of the daily value in one serving), it also offers protection against low potassium content, one of the main causes of congestive heart failure.
- Potassium and magnesium deficiencies (which are also found in relatively high amounts in the breadfruit tree) complicate and exacerbate heart problems, so anyone at risk of heart disease should be very careful to supplement these essential nutrients in your diet
4. Increases Body Immunity:
- Eating fruit from the breadfruit can also help your immune system work well.
- For example, because inflammation is the root of most diseases, the presence of anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids in the breadfruit is especially important to reduce your risk of disease.
- These peculiar fruits also contain a fairly large amount of thiamine, also known as vitamin B1.
- Thiamine is part of what maintains muscle tone along the walls of the digestive tract, where most of the immune system is located.
- It also helps in the secretion of hydrochloric acid, helping your body to fully digest food and absorb as much nutrients as possible.
- Together, these characteristics make thiamine a valuable nutrient to maintain a healthy immune system.
5. Can Help Protect Against Certain Cancers:
- Because the breadfruit has some incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it has been investigated as a potential food to fight cancer.
- In a mouse model, a study from Taiwan found that it has significant potential in the fight against skin cancer.
- An extract of this fruit, applied directly to the skin, decreased the number, size and malignancy of skin tumors.
- This evidence is preliminary but has the potential to be innovative.
- Another cancer that can be fought by the powerful nutrients in the breadfruit is pancreatic cancer.
- Pancreatic cancer operates differently from many other types of cancer because it is not as susceptible to “nutrient starvation” as are other types of cancer.
- This means that cancer drugs that are commonly prescribed to deprive cancer cells of nutrients are even less effective than usual against pancreatic cancer.
- Therefore, when studying possible treatments for pancreatic cancer, scientists should focus on the things that can kill these cancer cells and prevent them from extracting nutrients from nearby vessels and cells.
- In 2014, a pilot study investigating the impact of an extract of the breadfruit leaves found that the chemical compound had 100 percent “preferential cytoxicity” against human pancreatic cancer cells known as PANC-1 in deprivation conditions. of nutrients.
- This means that the extract successfully killed 100 percent of pancreatic cancer cells when subjected to a nutrient deprived environment (which would normally have little or no effect on these cells).
- Another study in Asia published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine studied the effect of an extract of the breadfruit plant on cancer cells in the liver.
- The findings were also fascinating, as the researchers found that the extract did not cause traditional apoptosis (programmed cell death) that is often seen in anti-cancer nutrients and pharmaceuticals.
- On the other hand, when they were exposed to the extract of the breadfruit, the liver cancer cells suffered autophagic death. This alternative method of cell death occurs naturally in the body as it processes proteins and breaks down damaged cells and is a more effective method to stop cancer in certain cases.
Nutritional Data of the Breadfruit:
Of the Moracaea family (which also includes fruits of the breadfruit tree, mulberry and fig trees), the breadfruit trees are officially classified as Artocarpus altilis, although they are known by other names. For example, breadfruit plants are called “ulu” in Hawaii, Artocarpus communis in various types of research and “panapen” in other areas of the world. The fruits of the breadfruit come from the nutrient-rich breadfruit, which grows in branches in large quantities when they are in season. These incredibly useful plants originated in the South Pacific (specifically, New Guinea) and have reached the rest of Oceania, as well as many other tropical regions, as a low-effort and low-cost staple food.
“The fruit contains a large number of essential nutrients and can be consumed raw (under certain circumstances) and cooked with various methods, which greatly prolongs the life of the fruit”.
One cup of raw bread fruit (about 220 grams) contains approximately:
- 227 calories
- grams of carbohydrates
- 2.4 grams of protein
- 5 grams of fat
- 8 grams of fiber
- 8 milligrams of vitamin C (106 percent DV)
- 1,078 milligrams of potassium (31 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams of thiamine (16 percent DV)
- 55 milligrams of magnesium (14 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams of vitamin B6 (11 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams of niacin (10 percent DV)
- 1 milligram pantothenic acid (10 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams of copper (9 percent DV)
- 8 micrograms folate (8 percent DV)
- 1 milligrams of manganese (7 percent DV)
- 66 milligrams phosphorus (7 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams of iron (7 percent DV)
- 1 milligrams riboflavin (4 percent DV)
- 4 milligrams of calcium (4 percent DV)
How to Find and Cook the Fruit of the Bread?
Because it is sensitive to physical disturbances, such as damage caused by falls, the breadfruit is usually not exported outside tropical climates for sale in more temperate areas. However, it is not impossible to find it in many important metropolitan areas. If you are interested in trying this amazing and nutritious fruit but do not live in the tropics, I suggest you call your local organic markets and request it. It is certainly powerful enough to be worth it. In the tropical areas where it grows, the fruit of the bread can be picked directly from the branches of the bread tree. It is relatively cheap to buy breadfruit seeds to plant trees, if you are able to do so. The breadfruit grows in various colors and generally has a round or globular shape, covered with bumps. In areas where it is grown regularly, you will often have the choice between sown and seedless varieties. For cooking or cooking, ripe but not ripe fruits are preferred. As the fruit of the bread continues to ripen after harvesting, you can choose when to eat it at its most mature point, which is when it is given to thumb pressure. This fruit should never be refrigerated because it can suffer cold damage at temperatures below 12 Fahrenheit. Many bread fruit fans know that it can be used in a variety of ways. You can eat ripe, which gives a taste similar to custard apples. You can also cook, fry, bake, broil or powder.
In general, the outer shell should be peeled, then divided into quarters before discarding the central core, after which it can be cut into the appropriate size for any dish that is raised to prepare. When baked, the taste is more closely related to freshly baked bread (hence its name). You can also safely consume the nuts of the breadfruit plants. They are often roasted or boiled like nuts or lentils.
Bread Fruit Recipes:
The Fruit Bread Institute in Hawaii has developed a large library of breadfruit recipes, including all the various methods of preparation. One that I find very intriguing is the Shrimp Pasta with Fruit Bread, which can be easily adjusted to be healthy and delicious. Another delicious recipe for fruits of bread that I recommend, this one from Smithsonian Magazine, is Ulu Shrimp Pesto with Macadamia and Nuts. If you are lucky enough to buy fresh fruit from the bread, I would love to hear your results with these delicious options.
Breadfruit History and Interesting Facts:
Some 3,500 years ago, the ancestors of today’s Polynesians discovered the bread tree that grows in northwestern New Guinea. Abandoning their failed efforts in rice cultivation, these people transported the fruit of the bread to any nearby place in the Pacific that they could, although quite tropical temperatures are required to prosper. In 1769, Europeans discovered the fruit of bread on a mission to Tahiti, accompanied by botanist Joseph Banks, who recognized the incredible nutritional potential of this versatile plant as food for slaves in the sugar plantations of the British West Indies. King George III commissioned the ship’s captain William Bligh with the expedition of harvesting the breadfruit, and spent the next two decades transporting the fruit to various places. His first trip from Tahiti to the Caribbean in 1789 was interrupted by the mutiny of his crew, who threw the fruit of carefully picked bread into the sea. This test was dramatically depicted in the 1962 Marlon Brando film “Mutiny for the Reward.” Two years later, he took again more than 1,000 seedlings of the fruit of the Tahiti bread, this time delivering them successfully to the islands of St. Vincent and Jamaica, where it is still widely cultivated to this day. Unfortunately, the fruit of the bread was not immediately taken with many of the intended recipients, since its flavor is relatively mild. It took about 40 years for the inhabitants of these islands to introduce the fruit of bread into their usual diet, at which time slavery had already been abolished by the British Empire.
However, it is now considered a staple of the population of Jamaica and many other tropical places. In recent decades, it has continued to gain popularity in places like Hawaii (where it is generally known as “ulu”), where the first fruits of bread were grown in 1978. Because of its incredible yield – a tree can reap 450 pounds of the fruit in just one growing season – several institutes and organizations have been formed to propagate the cultivation of breadfruit, especially in the poorest countries that need cheap nutrition, such as Haiti. Breadfruit has incredible potential in many areas, including the creation of a gluten-free flour that tastes better than many of today’s popular varieties. Interestingly, the fruit of the bread is also an extremely effective insect repellent, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. In fact, the USDA found it “significantly more effective” to repel insects than DEET, the main chemical insect repellent.
Another fascinating feature of the breadfruit is the medicinal value it offers for its crust and its leaves. Leaf extracts may be able to effectively treat hypertension without the side effects associated with the most dangerous medications for blood pressure. The wood of the breadfruit is also incredibly rich in antioxidants, specifically those that can support the health of your skin. At the cosmetic level, the bark of the tree can be used to create a safe anti-wrinkle treatment due to the way it protects against damage and degradation typical of the skin. In addition, this same extract has proven, in preliminary tests, to be useful in preventing the mutation of melanin in melanoma cells, which suggests that it may be an important part of the treatment or prevention of skin cancer in humans.
Possible Side Effects / Caution of Breadfruit:
- It is unusual to experience an allergic reaction to the breadfruit, but it is not impossible. A typical allergic reaction includes hives and / or inflammation and swelling of the lips, tongue and mouth. If you experience this reaction after eating the breadfruit, stop eating it immediately and consult your doctor.
- In addition, you should only eat the fruit of unripe green bread after you have cooked it for the first time. Consuming raw and immature breadfruits has the potential to cause a risk of suffocation.
Final Thoughts on the Fruit of the Bread:
- The breadfruit is known by several names throughout the world, including panapen, ulu, Artocarpus altilis and Artocarpus communis.
- This fruit can only grow in tropical climates near the equator.
- Because 80 percent of the worlds poorest people live near the equator, this amazing nutrient-packed food has remarkable potential to help solve some hunger problems in these areas.
- It contains almost half of the recommended daily value of fiber and more than 100 percent of the amount of vitamin C your body needs each day.
- Research has found that it has incredible effects in the fight against cancer, the prevention of heart disease and the strengthening of the immune system.
- The breadfruit contains a large number of antioxidants and has an anti-inflammatory activity in the body, which also help prevent diseases.
- It is not only the fruit of the tree that contains medicinal properties, but also the leaves and bark, which contain powerful antioxidants and can also help protect against heart disease.
- This fruit can be consumed raw and ripe or cooked in a variety of methods. It is a great “base” for many types of recipes. Just remember not to refrigerate it.