The jackfruit also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry under the family of Moraceae. It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia and is believed to have originated in Asia. The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much as 35 kg in weight, 90 cm in length, and 50 cm in diameter. The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka,Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Jackfruit is also found across Africa as well as throughout Brazil, west-central Mexico, and in Caribbean nations such as Jamaica. Jackfruit is the the national fruit of Bangladesh. The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous and is a source of dietary fiber. The flavor is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. Varieties are distinguished according to characteristics of the fruit's flesh. In Malaysia varieties that are widely grown are Tekam Yellow (J33), Mastura, Mantin, Subang dan the latest variety known as 'Subang Boy'. In Indochina the two varieties are the "hard" version (more crunchy, drier and less sweet but fleshier), and the "soft" version (more soft, moister, much sweeter with a darker gold-color flesh than the hard variety) are preferred for export market.
The jackfruit juice is extracted and either drunk straight or as a side with muri. The extract is sometimes condensed into rubbery and eaten as candies. The seeds are either boiled or roasted and eaten with salt and hot chillies. As in durian the outfits outer surface is covered with the blunt thorn-like projections, which become soft as the fruit ripe. Its interior consists of orange-yellow colored edible bulbs. Each bulb consists of sweet-flavored flesh (sheath) that encloses a smooth, oval, light-brown seed. There may be as many as 100 - 500 edible bulbs embedded in a single fruit interspersed between thin bands of fibers. Jackfruit seed is encased inside a thin, transparent outer cover. It largely compose of starch and white and crisp within. Each seed measures about 2 to 4 cm in length, and 1 to 3 cm in thickness. Almost all the parts of the tree secrete white sticky latex like milk (juice) upon infliction of injury.
Health benefits of jackfruit are great as fresh fruits consumed. Every 100 g of edible jackfruit bulbs provide 95 calories. The fruit is made of soft, easily digestible flesh (bulbs) with simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly. Jackfruit is rich in dietary fiber, which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps protect the colon mucous membrane by binding to and eliminating cancer-causing chemicals from the colon. Fresh fruit has small amounts of vitamin-A, and flavonoid pigments such as carotene-ß, xanthin, lutein and cryptoxanthin-ß. Together, these compounds play vital roles in antioxidant and vision functions. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining integrity of mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A, and carotenes has been found to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. Additionally, jackfruit is a good source of antioxidant vitamin-C, provides about 13.7 mg or 23% of RDA. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals. It is one of the rare fruits that is rich in B-complex group of vitamins. It contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid. Fresh fruit is a good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Thanks!
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